Candida Moss, author of The Myth of Persecution, is reviewing a book that, shall we say, aims for a slightly different demographic than her own: Sarah Palin’s Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. The results are predictable:
Palin doesn’t seek the original Christmas (a fourth-century invention), the traditional American Christmas (they didn’t celebrate it), or consumerism-free Christmas (you Communist!). The festival Palin wants to retrieve is the Christmas of her youth. Palin’s Christmas is a medley of joy-filled eating, present opening, charitable giving, and idiosyncratic family tradition.
On Christmas Eve, she and her family place a menorah on the table “as a way to acknowledge Christianity’s Judeo-Christian roots” (logical error). Hanukkah is the celebration of a Jewish military victory in the second century BCE. Neither the ancient victory nor the modern celebration of it has anything to do with Christmas Eve. The festival, like all Jewish festivals, floats around the calendar—this year, in fact, it falls on Thanksgiving. And then lasts for eight days. Palin reduces it to a table decoration beside her Christmas ham.
This is a book necessary for this day and age, not just a cheap cash-in that can be rolled out every holiday until consistency=tradition. I will share this book with my loved years every year, and keep it prominently on my shelf right next to my copy of Ayn Rand’s It’s a Wonderful Life, where Mr. Potter is praised for his cleverness, and Clarence lets George kill himself for creating a culture of dependency.
But wait, there’s more! With Palin, there’s always value added. In this case, it’s the recipes in the back of the book. Here’s a summary from Salon:
Her chili recipe is really simple! “Merry Christmoose Chili” can be cooked for “1 to 5 hours” and contains five ingredients: “moose hamburger (or caribou or, heck, I suppose you can use beef),” “regular chili seasoning mix,” “hot chili seasoning mix,” tomato sauce, and kidney beans. No cumin for this lady! This actually sounds delicious but is so self-explanatory as to seem like word-count padding — an impression aided by the fact that the next recipe is for Rice Krispies Treats.
Actually, Sarah Palin is one of the few people I can think of who would need a detailed recipe for Rice Krispies Treats.