The Observer Dec. 15 

The Observer finds the current wasted-breath brouhaha, which is to say the ridiculous jawing over the use of “holiday” vs. “Christmas,” endlessly amusing.

Donald E. Wildmon, who apparently hasn’t been following world events, is in a lather over a department store’s advertising. “Target doesn’t want to offend a small minority who oppose Christmas. But they don’t mind offending Christians who celebrate the birth of Christ, the Reason for the season.”

How do they offend? By not plastering Merry Christmas all over your sales receipts.

It’s hard to follow. We’re all of us — from fundamentalist Christians to the unaffiliated, as Ulysses Everett McGill would say — confessedly embarrassed by the way we overspend this time of year, whether what we’re buying is for Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanzaa. Most of us all give lip service to our shame at ignoring “the Reason for the season” to indulge in the frenzied acquisition of material goods.

So, rather than getting worked up over department stores that don’t plug “Christmas,” why don’t these people who are raising such a fuss just spend less time at the stores?

And then there’s the fact that some churches — whose members we’d guess are among the indignant crew who insist that salespeople talk Christmas — have decided not to hold services on Christmas Day, because everyone stays home anyway to open up the loot and recuperate from the Xmas nog. If Christmas is such an important — well, holiday — why close the pews? (Even if Dec. 25 is really only just a guess at the real date? Or Jan. 7, for you Russian Orthodox folks.)

WWJD? Would he turn his focus to merchandising during the season and boycott stores that don’t refer to his birthday as a hook in their marketing strategy? Is he liable to be forgotten because Target or some other big store didn’t exploit his life story in an effort to sell more DVDs and Play Stations? Rest ye, Widmon and other merry gentlemen. Let retailers not dismay.

After a trip to Butt Crack Natural Area — i.e., downtown — we received information on what to do about the downward trend in pants. And we quote:

“Duluth Trading Co. actually sells a clothing item designed (and advertised by them) to solve this problem. It’s called the Butt Spackle Shirt and comes in a plastic container that mimics a big tub of wall spackle (for filling cracks). The solution is an extension of the tail of the shirt several inches longer than the normal man’s shirt.”

This is uplifting news. The Observer would recommend that a local merchandiser look into carrying this product.

Watergate made our mother’s day. She watched the congressional hearings on television live morning, noon and night, when they repeated on AETN. She knew every detail of the saga, chapter and verse. She lapped it up, despising Nixon as she did.

So she would have been thrilled to see the item The Observer’s daughter found in a heap of dusty old LPs, books, clothes and farm tools at a junk shop. We’re guessing it is the work of a social studies teacher, or perhaps just another dedicated Watergate watcher. Bound by two long pieces of wood screwed together across the top and covered with heavy white sheets front and back were the yellowed front pages from the Arkansas Gazette and the Pine Bluff Commercial from March 26, 1973 (“Dean Said Forewarned of Bugging,” the Commercial), to July 31, 1973 (“Haldeman Stuns Panel by Saying He Heard Two Tapes,” the Gazette). The Nixon story, played out against a backdrop of Cambodia. Now there was some news. There was some newspaper reporting. Imagine what it was like to sink your teeth into those kinds of headlines every day. One of our favorites: “Paying off Watergate Defendants Wasn’t Easy, Witness Tells Panel,” Anthony Ulasewisc’s story about the nutty lengths he went to to deliver money for lawyer fees to the first guys nabbed in the scheme.

The bundle must have hung from a wall — there’s a chain across the top. We’re guessing it once hung in a classroom. But it’s missing the beginning and the end of Nixon’s story — the break-in and resignation. Somewhere, we’re guessing, are two other bundles of Nixon headlines. We’d like to have them.


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