Tuesday, December 12, 2006

in the news

"Christmas trees are going back up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport," announces the New York Times. Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky had asked that the airport install an eight-foot tall menorah to accompany the dozen or so plastic Christmas trees. Fearing a lawsuit, the airport removed the trees; when the rabbi said that he had no plans to sue, airport officials announced that the trees would go back up.

Christmas trees? Give me a break. Creches, no. Banners proclaiming "Jesus is the reason for the season," no. Santa kneeling before the manger, NO! (That one always gave me the heebie jeebies.) But Christmas trees, despite their name, have about as much religious content as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Saint Nick himself.

In the war on Christmas, let's pick our battles more carefully, people.

In other news, Elizabeth Bolden, of Memphis, died yesterday. Born August 15, 1890, she was acknowledged as the world's oldest person.

Our required (general education) American History course here at Kennesaw is "The United States since 1890." (There's a reason, though not a very good one, for that date.) I assume Elizabeth Bolden was the last person in the world whose life spanned that course. Sort of thought-provoking. In an hour, I will give my first final exam, in the American history course that ends in 1890. In the future, perhaps I'll call that class "America pre-Elizabeth Bolden."