All this made me think fondly back to actor Stephen Tobolowsky's Christmas Reflection, part of which I share with you here.
A few years ago I was driving the carpool to school. It was the day of the Christmas program. I told the kids I was eager to come to the show. I asked what Christmas songs they were singing. There was a lengthy pause followed by the innocent reply, “We’re not singing any Christmas songs. Our teacher says that they are too religious. We are only singing songs about the Winter solstice.As anyone knows who listens to The Tobolowsky Files, Stephen Tobolowsky is too good a story teller to leave us with just that ending. Go read the whole thing at his blog.
It was one of those moments I wished I carried small caliber weapons. I took a breath and said, “Who is your teacher?”
Alex answered back, “Mr. Webster.”
I said, ”Alex, you know Mr. Webster probably doesn’t know this, but the Winter solstice is religious too. It celebrates Paganism. So if he really wants to cut out religion he should just stick to Beatles songs.”
Alex was silent. He recognized the signs of an adult quietly flipping out while driving. I was too angry. I couldn’t stop. I calmly said, “Alex. I have a question for you to ask Mr. Webster. Tell him that Mr. Tobolowsky wanted to know many songs Johann Sebastian Bach wrote in honor of the Winter solstice? How many paintings of Michelangelo were inspired by the solstice? In fact I would like Mr. Webster to cite one reference to the solstice in the works of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen. Just one.”
The decision to remove Christmas songs from a children’s Christmas show was the definition small-minded. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was the kind of choice you expect from an expensive private school in Los Angeles.
I dropped the kids off. They ran inside for another date with meaninglessness.