Bill O’Reilly and pals have long been fanning the flames of pointless cultural resentments as a way to drive up ratings and keep their annually angry audiences constantly outraged about trivial or even imagined holiday slights. But bogus “War on Christmas” rage boiled over into real life violence yesterday, as a group of Christmas zealots attacked Jews on a subway train when one of them dared to wish them Happy Hanukkah in response to “Merry Christmas.”
“Almost immediately, you see the look in this guy’s face like I’ve called his mother something,” Adler told CNN affiliate WABC.
Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler’s companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.
One member of the group allegedly yelled, “Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the day that the Jews killed Jesus,” she said.
It got worse from there: stitches, broken noses, black eyes.
The silver lining of the story is who came to the aid of the Jewish subway riders: a Muslim student from Bangladesh, who apparently knew better than native Americans that this sort of thing was despicable. (Of course, the police arrested the student initially… but later let him go after his newfound allies vouched for him).
I’ve posted several stories about holiday tribalism in just the last few days, and it just seems to get worse and worse. The ridiculous thing here is that in none of these stories was anyone infringing on the rights of revelers to freely celebrate Christmas any way they want. But apparently, that’s not good enough for the right wing’s Christmas crazies: Christmas must dominate all other choices, or else it’s not merry enough for them. And in this case, the apparently horrifying suggestion that other holidays and religions exist was enough to spark a fistfight.
Maybe folks like Bill O’Reilly should think twice before exploiting Christmas to make a quick ratings bucks off of bogus blowhardism. Some people are apparently taking this rhetoric seriously.
Update: Still think O’Reilly is serious about his War on Christmas crusade? Check this bit of utterly self-interested inconsistency out.