I have been wrapping and unwrapping another yearly Christmas gift to my readers over and over again: shifting sentences, deleting whole paragraphs, finding new focus, and finally I took this year’s column from Santa’s sleigh, returned it to the Worn Out Rhetoric, Inc. store, and decided to start again.
I didn’t get all the time spent back, but I didn’t expect to.
I understand the old cliché’ about nothing being new under the sun. No matter how clever we are shifting words around, it’s been done before. So what separates one story, one tale, from another? Why is it the stories that surround Hanukkah or Passover, or any of the other celebrations, seem to have less power than the Christmas story? Why is it Star Wars outshines Star Trek? Why do some stories fade into obscurity, like the many virgin births in mythology, but one captivates millions?
We can get into theological correctness, or divine intervention, or… so many reasons, some which may be no more than excuses.
Some might claim the story told is better than other stories. I know my talents are meager, and like everyone else, my vision not perfect, but I simply don’t find that to be the case.
Many object to Santa, the tree, elves, “Happy Holidays,” “Season’s Greetings,” as clutter that masks “the reason for the season,” but I disagree. Just like early Christians knew the power of pagan solstice and appropriated the celebration, business, appreciating the power of the Christmas story, spun their own tales. The entertainment industry snatched the ball and re-spun the story into everything from many variations on A Christmas Carol to yearly Robot Chicken satires. And every retelling leads back to the source.
How many altered versions of Hanukkah or Passover have you seen? Not many, I suspect. Star Trek is far behind when compared to Star Wars spoofs. In many ways it’s unfortunate, because the lesser known stories have value too.
Despite those pushing theological correctness, maybe it’s the constant weaving, and reweaving: retelling, that makes the magic, keeps the tale alive. As we gather in groups large and small to share our lives, to tell our favored tales: true and fanciful, and blend that with the celebration, wonderful, magical, things can happen.
I hope, in my own infinitesimally small way, I have inspired others to reweave at least a few of the tapestries I have offered in my columns.
So, to all my readers over the past 43 years, both those who have stayed with me and read my many musings, or just stopped by to share the warmth of my very meager creative fire a time or two: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings: whatever might bring you and yours closer at least for a day.
And may there be many others.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses,that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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