Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Christmas time. Hmmph!

I'm already sick of all the commercials for diamonds and Lexus and power tools. The diamond ones are particularly offensive as they make women look pretty shallow and encourage men to indulge that shallowness. Or guilt them into it might be more appropriate. I've always had a problem with the whole engagement ring tradition, too. How come the guy doesn't get anything? If the logic of "a diamond is a girl's best friend" is to be believed, shouldn't the groom-to-be get a dog? If so, would size count? If you really love him, you'll get him a Great Dane! The whole thing is part of the view of marriage that saw [still sees] women as property and yet somehow, it's still acceptable? I don't get it. And that's not even getting into the whole cruelty issue surrounding where diamonds come from. (Nina Parrilla does a much better job breaking it down than I could.)

As for power tools, I just don't get it. You give me a power tool for Christmas (or my birthday!) and I'm giving you a sideways look while I ask for the gift receipt. Would you give a woman a vacuum cleaner for Christmas? It's the same dumbass stereotype!

We spent Saturday shopping for the kids' Christmas gifts and I have to admit to this odd twinge of guilt and hypocrisy about it. I love getting them stuff, especially the cool educational-but-fun stuff we got, but how do you balance your disdain for our consumerist economy and shopping mall lemming mentality with the desire to do right by your kids? I'm not so out there that I want to set up a yurt in the woods and separate from society but damn if I can't figure out where the middle ground is. And if I have found it, as I sometimes believe, I don't always feel so comfortable there.

I realize that this Christmas season in particular is a major battleground in next year's elections as free-spending Americans will boost the economy a bit and Bush will declare his policies a success as the short-term thinking press buys into it, blaring meaningless numbers on the news and giving people a false sense of hope. Or helplessness, if you're a half-empty kind of person like me.

If Salomé would let me get away with it, the only gifts we'd give this year would be to non-profits! Or even better, to Dennis Kucinich's campaign!

Bah-humbug! :-/


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