Video: The (phony) War On Christmas

msnbc.com
updated 12/7/2005 10:15:37 AM ET 2005-12-07T15:15:37
STORY

Whether it is a made-up controversy or not, you can't turn the channel without seeing a story on whether there is an attack on Christmas.

Is there, as widely made up on what is more or less another cable news network, a real attack on Christmas? 

For answers, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann welcomed television personality and Christmas anti-attack analyst Mo Rocca to Tuesday's 'Countdown.'

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

KEITH OLBERMANN:  I'm having it hard finding evidence of this attack on Christmas given I live near five minutes from the Rockefeller Center Christmas trees and all the stores are selling Christmas cards and the first recorded claim of an attack on Christmas was made by Henry Ford in about 1920 and I think the last 85 Christmases happened as scheduled.  Am I missing something?

MO ROCCA:  Well, Keith ... what you have is a lot of people in the media that are constantly emphasizing the non Christian origins of the things that we associated with Christmas.  They will tell you that the Christmas tree was originally a pagan symbol of worship.  They'll tell you the cross was originally a T square used by architects and carpenters.  Which it was.  Just ask Mike Brady, Ty Pennington or Jesus.

But the real story here for any who are willing to look for is worse than secularization, it is something I've written about extensively.  I call it the drag queening of Christmas.  The victims here are the trees.  Innocent conifers that are uprooted and brought into people's homes and then they're decorated with baubles - really, jewels I call them and wrapped in garlands, which are basically boas and some people on the bottom put a little skirt.  This is just ungodly.  It's far from anything you'd ever find in the New Testament.  It's virtually pagan.

OLBERMANN:  And the trees wind up looking like Dame Edna.

ROCCA:  Yes, exactly.  To Wong Foo, thanks for nothing.  We want our Christmas back.

OLBERMANN:  Relative to the shopping ends of this, we did find one on-line marketer guilty of swapping out the phrases Christmas ornaments and Christmas trees and replacing them with holiday ornaments and holiday trees.  The shopping part of the Fox News Channel where they were selling 'O'Reilly Factor' holiday ornaments with instructions to use them on your Holiday tree.  And we revealed this on 'Countdown' and the next morning they had switched the item name to 'O'Reilly Factor' Christmas ornaments for your Christmas tree.  So is it fair to say the Fox News Channel attacked Christmas but we personally stopped them in their evil plan?

ROCCA:  Well, it's interesting you won this battle on the war on Christmas.  And I thank you.  Because now, I can decorate my Christmas tree with the very traditional 'O'Reilly Factor' Christmas ornament.  Quite frankly, I was tired of festooning my tree with 'Hannity & Colmes' ornaments.  It just didn't seem very much in the spirit and Hannity is such a grouse.

OLBERMANN:  Also, if you put the two of them too close to each other they hit.

ROCCA:  It's lopsided and tones fall down on one side and crash.

OLBERMANN:  So if Christmas is attacked and defeated by conservatives, what will replace it?  Are we going to get reruns of Dick Cheney speeches?  What's the plan, do you know?

ROCCA:  I think Christmas and Dick Cheney are equally controversial. 

Real problem here is the salutation merry Christmas versus happy holidays.  December 25 should be a day we all come together.  It just so happens December 25 is also the birthday of actress Sissy Spacek.  And who doesn't love Sissy Spacek?  I love the "Coal Miner's Daughter."  "In the Bedroom" was a little bit of a downer I think we all some go around and be greeting each other, Sissy Spacek.  Sissy Spacek.  I think it would be really nice.  I has a nice ring.

Now, it's also the birthday of Anwar Sadat but that's a little bit morbid.  Anwar Sadat, Anwar Sadat, it doesn't quite work.

OLBERMANN:  If you go with sissy, though, you can get the afterlife and the whole religious aspect of it because Sissy as Carrie and the hand coming up out of the gravel pit at the grave-right?

ROCCA:  Sure.  And traditional pig's blood looks great on all celebrants.

OLBERMANN:  It's a nice bright festoonish red.

ROCCA:  Sure.  Absolutely.

OLBERMANN:  One other way this trickled into our discourse here, there's a radio commercial that runs starting Monday in Colorado and Wisconsin and West Virginia saying some judges have supported the radical agenda to end Christmas but not Judge Samuel Alito.  To your knowledge, would he be the first nominee confirmed to the Supreme Court who had determined in advance to overturn Santa v. Grinch?

ROCCA:  Well, his supporters are certainly hoping so.  Look, you have Alito being linked to Christmas here.  Now some people are going to object to the overcommercialization of the nomination of Judge Alito.  And these people complain about that every year at this time of year.  My beef is that the people selling Judge Alito this way are doing a crappy job of selling him.  Go all the way and commercialize him.  I say Tickle me Alito dolls, I'd say Cabbage Patch Alito that comes with a certificate of confirmation from the Senate Judiciary Committee or Xbox Alito.  That's the way to do it here.

OLBERMANN:  The television personality Mo Rocca.  And we're happy to say that you'll be back with us (Wednesday) night in another of your many areas of expertise, perhaps your highest, the White House animal historian in you, as you talked us the release of the annual Barney cam video?  Briefly, anything to look for in 10 seconds?

ROCCA:  Look for a giant Barney scaling the umpire state building gripping Naomi Watts.

OLBERMANN:  I'm betting he's going to come out and say we have to stay the course in Iraq.  He's actually going to address the audience for the first time.  That's the novelty.  That's my guess.

Watch 'Countdown' each weeknight at 8 p.m. ET

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