Issue December 18, 2007

Connected Diss: Some assembly required

I hate “The Holidays.” It all dates back to my childhood when my father objected to the Christmas pageant at my grade school and, in the spirit of ecumenical correctness, I was promptly cast as the visiting dreidel.

It’s not that I mind Christmas, although the immaculate conception thing is the best argument I know for sex ed in schools. Chanukah (which we wouldn’t even blink about, except that it takes place near Christmas) is a bit too militant for my taste, although the oil that lasted eight days might come in handy for juicing up all those Christmas lights now that oil is in the $100/barrel range. And poor Kwanzaa seems destined to remain an afterthought to the Judeo-Christian juggernaut.

Every year when my family exchanges gifts, I ask for the same two things:
1. Peace on Earth
2. Absolutely nothing that states, “Some assembly required.”
Last year, my son just rolled his eyes and said, “Mom, they’re on back order.”
I do love giving gifts, however. Here are a few on my shopping list this year:

For Steve Beshear: A spine. You weren’t elected in a landslide because we were salivating at the chance to elect another recycled white guy, it was just that we prefer indictment-free leadership. You’ve got a mandate, so puhleeze no more lumps of coal or telling us with a perfectly straight face how great gambling is.

For Mayor Jer and the Metro: What do you give a city that’s asking for an arena, a big, tall arts complex and two new bridges? Talk about maxing out the credit cards. Maybe just get them a few library books for now and wait for the 50-percent-off sales. This year’s stocking stuffer? Audubon Park just got $6,300 for taser guns and other safety equipment — never mind that the U.N. considers the darn things to be instruments of torture.
For JCPS: A do-over on the Supreme Court desegregation ruling and a repeal of No Child Left Behind, along with a new law that prohibits adding any more testing, which seems to be the only thing on the curriculum between Spring Break and Memorial Day.

For anyone who has ever gotten stuck at the Watterson and Brownsboro Road during the late afternoon: The Westport Road exit. Seriously, they were talking about this when we moved here 20 years ago. The entire Snyder Freeway got built in the interim and subdivisions keep sprouting like poison mushrooms out here, but we can’t get that one, lousy interchange built?

For the good people of Iraq and Afghanistan: An unconditional U.S. withdrawal and a huge gift certificate for reparations. In the meantime, it just warms the heart to know that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spent $1.3 million that was supposed to be earmarked for providing maternal healthcare in Afghanistan on Leapfrog electronic games for the Afghan kiddies instead. They even threw in an extra 9 grand for batteries. No word yet on whether the gizmos contain lead.

For our neighbors to the south: No more agreements that end in “AFTA” and no more being referred to as “illegal” when you work in the United States.
For women everywhere: The inalienable human right to control your own bodies and lives, and full gender equity.
For Mitch McConnell: A retirement plan. Not going to be easy to find with Crit out of the race. Maybe look on eBay.

For George W. Bush and Dick Cheney: Articles of Impeachment.
And finally, in the Holiday Cheer Department, this year’s winner of the Most Bizarre Holiday Shopping Experience Spoiler Alert: If you’ve about had your fill of Christmas tunes, try shopping at Dillard’s, where on a recent foray, I discovered that they have substituted the Grateful Dead’s “Casey Jones” for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Driving that train, high on cocaine … For real. They were playing it, I wasn’t snorting it.
Time to get to work on the New Year’s Resolutions, happy whatever you celebrate.

Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network, www.feministpeacenetwork.org. Contact her at lucindamarshall@feministpeacenetwork.org