Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas' biggest myth

Even the most unfestive of people will know that it's Christmas day this weekend - indeed it seems harder to miss every year - so it's perhaps worth noting that the all-too-frequent resurrection of the Winterval myth has once again reared its ugly head. This time it's in the guise of newly ennobled novelist Michael Dobbs, who suggests that we should do "away with all the ­levellers and their ludicrous festivals like Winterval, let’s embrace Christmas in the way we’ve done for more than a thousand years, celebrating family and showing friendship to strangers. If the flat-earthers find themselves insulted by the fact that we take pride in being British, that’s their problem." Hmm.

Even his holiness the Pope appears to have been taken in by what is perhaps the best example to date of tabloid myth made 'fact' by virtue of sheer repetition. If it weren't for the fact that this myth is used by so many to justify their own pre-existing prejudices it'd almost be funny that so many are taken in by what is so obviously a load of old cobblers.

But never fear, help is at hand! The author of Daily Rant favourite Angry Mob has put a not inconsiderable amount of effort in conducting a detailed examination of the Winterval myth, from genesis to continued perpetuation. It's an excellent exploration into the murky and at times distinctly unsavoury politics that compel those who seek to keep the myth alive. It's well worth taking a look at, as is the rest of the site.

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