Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Siberian shamanism

From I've just offended Jews, Catholics, women, Arab-Americans, and the entire gay and lesbian community. Who should I call?

Group offended: Catholics
Sample offense: When a woman emailed Wal-Mart in 2005 to complain that the phrase "Happy Holidays" had replaced "Merry Christmas," a customer-service representative responded, in part, that Christmas "is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism." Catholic League president Bill Donohue announced a boycott of the discount chain.
Sample apology: Wal-Mart fired the customer-service rep, apologized for offending Christians, and changed its website so that the search term "Christmas" was not rerouted to "Holidays." Donohue called off the dogs.
How to apologize: Call the Catholic League at 212-371-3191.
What to say: Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.
Chuckles notwithstanding, it is getting harder and harder to be whimsical in gay pub snogging, palm cross banning, headscarf death threat Blighty.

(The heroically inclusive and multicultural Blighty is a slang term for Britain, deriving from the Hindustani word vilāyatī (विलायती) (pronounced bilāti in many Indian dialects and languages), from Persian vilayet and ultimately from Arabic wilayah, originally meaning something like "province".)

Lighten up, already.

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