Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There IS A Problem With America Today...

Okay, I admit it, this is a rant, which I don't usually do, and I KNOW it's close to the holidays, a fact that should dissuade me from ranting, but I felt morally obligated to pull up the soap box for this one...

The bottom line is

I have a problem with this...

The text quoted by the stars featured in the commercial is the response to a letter written to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897. In the letter 8 year old Virginia O'Hanlon asks if there is really a Santa Claus. Here is the original letter written by Virginia, and the full response of Sun newsman Francis Pharcellus. *Full text courtesy of **emphasis added

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"

Virginia O'Hanlon.
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

So, is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with one of the nation's largest and most successful department stores using (read exploiting) this heartfelt composition that defends love, faith and the beauty of things unseen for their own corporate gain? Yes, I understand that Macy's will donate to the "Make A Wish" foundation, and that is what they are supposed to be promoting here, but I find it ironic that the people chosen to promote this campaign and quote this truly beautiful text from which we might all learn a lesson about selflessness, faith, and a belief in the beauty of the unseen are the symbols of a moral bankruptcy that appears to be sweeping our nation.

A few examples...

Jessica've seen the music videos, the tiny may have even (unfortunately) seen some of her attempts at acting. I cannot get behind a girl who renewed a furor for hot pants. Not impressed.

Donald my mind one of the sleaziest men alive and an irrefutable example of corporate America's tendency to vaunt itself above the principles of kindness, selflessness and decency

Tommy Hilfiger...One of the brands that has become a symbol of American least all of us know a "Hilfiger Guy/Girl" no comment on the guy as an individual, but still...

Martha Stewart...REALLY?!? MARTHA STEWART? The woman went to PRISON for stock manipulation and LYING to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to save her own (already very VERY rich, may I add) butt...and THIS is the woman Macy's has chosen as a spokesperson for spreading the spirit of Christmas? Aish...

Yes, I know all of these people design for Macy's and have extensive clothing, perfume, furnishing lines in their store, but REALLY? They had to take the heartfelt response of a true believer and put it in the mouths of some of the people who are responsible (in my humble opinion) for propagating some of the greatest ills in our country (okay, they're not selling drugs or porn, exactly, but still...Donald Trump?!? Come On...) They might as well have put the Enron guy in there, just for good measure.

So, I'm interested to know what other people's reaction was when they saw this commercial...Am I being too sensitive? Overreacting? Overdramatic? Surely not, since I never do any of those things...Right? What are other people's thoughts on this? Anybody have any other "great travesties against the American public" they would be willing to share?

Serve it up...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Gratitude...

Yes, I know Thanksgiving was almost a month ago...

Better Late than Never.

SO I am counting this as a general post of gratitude precipitated by the Thanksgiving holiday but carrying over into the very blessed Christmas season.

Don't judge me, I've been busy...


I hope this does not come across as is not meant to be...

I didn't get to go home for Thanksgiving this year, about which I was truly bummed. To be honest, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I think it is because when I truly take the time to make an honest reflection on the blessings that I have received in my life, I cannot help but be overcome with the most incredible feeling of peace and love. When I look at my life, there is no question in my mind that I have a loving Father in Heaven who knows me personally and is aware of my needs, joys, and sorrows and who sends me blessings and trials alike to deepen my faith and strengthen my character.

I was sad that I didn't get to go home this year to be with my family, unquestionably the greatest blessing in my life. However, I was lucky enough to be able to spend the day with a large group of old and new friends alike who, in the absence of nearby family, have truly come together to form a group that is as close to family as one can come without the bloodline to account for it.

It was a day spent full of joy found in preparing each others' meal, laughter at the concurrent bliss and discomfort that comes with eating oneself into oblivion, and a general feeling of peace and comfort in enjoying each others company. It was a day that made me so grateful to have not only a family who loves and cares about me deeply, but friends who feel like family.

One of our activities for the day was gathering all present into the living room and going around the circle with each person saying one thing they were thankful for. Consistently, each person had a difficult time choosing just one thing. It was truly a testament to the blessings in our lives. The exercise made me, once again, acutely aware of the numberless reasons I have to be thankful. So, in honor of the holiday season in which we find ourselves, I have compiled a list of things I am thankful for. Not a general list like family, a warm place to sleep, a job that provides for my needs, (although I am deeply grateful for all these things) but a more specific list of moments and memories tied to the people who are dearest to me. Many of you may recognize yourelves in this list, and there is a reason for is because you have been part of my life and have changed and blessed me in some way, for which I am truly grateful.

I am Thankful That:

  • You are my biggest fan, even when it's hard.
  • You let me wear your irrigating boots, even though they were 10 sizes too big, and everything else that went along with it.
  • You have a neverending positive attitude, even when it's all falling apart.
  • You have a level head, even in the pursuit of perfection.
  • You have a kind and unjudging heart that I seek to emulate.
  • You have unconditional love for someone I care about deeply.
  • You taught me the value of etiquette and a good picnic table.
  • You came home with M&M's in your pockets...always.
  • You taught me the value of a good meal, the scriptures, and a good crochet hook (despite my terminal failure at the craft).
  • You are always willing to dance a jig, particularly when your joints are cooperating.
  • You were the best penpal a girl could have.
  • You are strong and kind and never speak ill of those around you.
  • You will always call me 'Dude'.
  • You are smart and witty and one of the hippest moms I know.
  • You are both the first to gather around the piano.
  • Your home is always open.
  • I know you love me, even when I give you a hard time about being cranky.
  • You are truly my sister, my friend, and will always be the better half of the 'SSS' should a good windstorm ever present itself.
  • You made her happier than I've ever seen her, and have become a true and trusted friend.
  • You are always there for your friends and family is always first.
  • You are fun and accomplished, and his perfect match.
  • You are always up for a road trip and you love to move it move it.
  • You were not afraid of one of my more unsightly breakdowns and we've shared some of the worst moments in cinematic history together.
  • Getting ready for a dance together is sure to make the evening a winner, and are half of the classiest duo I know.
  • We are always up for a coffee break, even though we don't drink coffee, and everything that goes with it.
  • You are always up for a trip to the beach and a good girls only cuddle session.
  • You will never turn down a chance to get your Boot Scoot on.
  • You have convinced me to love you despite your crazy facial hair.
  • You are the most impeccable combination of eloquence, quirkiness, witt, joy, and sincerity that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in human form.
  • You are a dancer. Period.
  • You, my dear, have a way with words, and are the most accomplished bargain shopper I know.
  • You are motivation personified, and know how to make data entry at 2AM a reasonably enjoyable experience.
  • You make communism look good. Real good.
  • We met one night over virgin daqueris, free chips and salsa and a slightly awkward bet, but now I wouldn't trade ya.
  • You introduced me to the joy of eating pudding cups while listening to banjo music, and are truly, truly loyal.
  • You made me feel worth it, even when I didn't think I was.
  • You see the value in an evening of Thai food and shoe shopping and you feel your music with soul.
  • You ran with me...the first 5 blocks anyway :)
  • You are patient with me even when I forget how to tie the knot you've taught me at least 5 times.
  • You were my first friend in a new place, even though I was sure I wasn't cool enough for you.
  • You love foreign film, fine food, and a good round of tennis, even though you beat me every time.
  • You get so overcome by the things you love that you can't express yourself.
  • We met on the mission...because we both know we never would have made it out if we had met before.
  • You healed me when I was broken.
  • You will always be my best friend and no matter how long we go without talking, it always feels like no time has passed when we do.
  • You never let me forget that I have great assets.
  • You are the most refreshing combination of enthusiasm, realism and hope a girl could ever have the pleasure of meeting.
  • You tell me how you feel.
  • You are classy and never pass up a chance to convert your hair stylist :)
  • You are a class act running buddy.
  • You made the time, the tears, and all the failed attempts worth it.
  • You are not afraid of awkward.
  • You call 'em like you see 'em.
  • Your voice makes me swoon and you cook like a champ.
  • You like to talk politics.
  • You are always up for a midnight swim and you do what you love.
  • You still keep in touch.
  • You are my friend.
  • You are my family.
  • I could never do it without you.
This list is long, but it does not begin to describe my feelings and the things I love and admire about so many of you. I am truly so blessed by each and every person in my life. My heart is so fully gratitude for the love that I feel from the people in my life and I hope that in some small way this serves as an expression of the gratitude that I feel to those who touch my life in so many ways both small and significant. To those of you who find yourselves in the things above, please know that there is so much more that I want to say thank you for, but sometimes cannot find the words. I am truly blessed, and it is because of you. Thank you.