Don’t you just love drama that ends with everyone losing and looking stupid? This week in censorship, that was the case. After an elementary School music teacher secularized the lyrics to “Silent Night” for an upcoming holiday concert in Stratford, Connecticut, the usual ‘War on Christmas’ nut-jobs predictably pounced, leading to its removal from the school’s Christmas carol program.
For once, they might have a point: “Silent Night” is a religious Christmas tune, not a seasonal pagan holiday song, unlike many other Christmas traditions. The secular rewrite is actually a real, concrete example of cultural appropriation. Only, shockingly for once, the victim is Christianity, the Chapel Street Elementary teacher changing the lyrics from “holy night” to “solstice night,” instead of, you know, just letting the kids sing it as written as well as songs from other cultures’ holidays:
Silent Night/Solstice Night
The story was picked up by a local rock-radio talk-show’s “Loser of the Week” call-in segment, prompting the show’s hosts to even start Facebook page “Against Super Sensitivity” (A.S.S.—how cute).
There’s something to be said for the idea that, sometimes, cry-bullying is a thing, and a problem — for instance, doxing or threatening anyone who happens to hold an opinion unlike your own is, in fact, a severe act of harassment, especially when the victim isn’t exhibiting objectively bigoted, hostile, or harmful behavior. Even if you find yourself on the same side of the political spectrum who does this, you have to recognize the behavior.
This rewrite certainly isn’t harassment, but as mentioned above, it counts as the very “problematic” cultural theft usually rallied against by those we’d typically call “The P.C. Police;” the teacher took a song that has been a Christmas hymn for its entire history and stripped the hymn of its intent.
Of course, the A.S.S.es, while calling out the same thinking that decided stretching was offensive, have gained allies that use an anti-PC-police stance as a thin veil for straight-up xenophobia. These are the people who decide that if every other word inside of a Starbucks isn’t “Christmas,” Muslims will steal their babies; that anyone celebrating any other holiday during the season is actively violent towards Jesus. They fight this liberal “super sensitivity” with their own hyper-sensitive hypocrisy and not a hint of self-awareness, decrying any Nativity-free square inch of public space a genocide against all Christians.
And, thanks to one Chapel Street Elementary teacher, Bill O’Reilly finally has one valid point to bring up to rile up these nuts every December for some extra ratings.