Sunday, April 4, 2010

I never liked painting eggs

Sunday was Easter. I learned this on Friday when somebody at work mentioned it. I grew up in a Godless household where Easter was just an excuse to eat more one on particular Sunday, so I have no clue when this particular holiday falls. It's the first Sunday in April. Clearly that isn't enough to convince me to remember it. But rather than accepting blame for my religious negligence, I'm going to pin it on Easter itself. The dog at right is essentially everything that's wrong with this holiday: rich symbolism stuffed so full of cutesy bullshit that any semblance of real meaning is lost.

The first problem with Easter: it's just not very relatable. Christmas makes sense--it celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Everyone can get down with that. The faith's focal point is a human person, so obviously you'd celebrate his birth. Even non-Christians can appreciate that. Everyone's celebrated a birth in the family. You know what nobody experiences? A death-and-resurrection in the family. As long as somebody knows who Jesus was, Christmas can be explained in a single sentence. Easter? You're in for a whole conversation. "It's the celebration of Christ's resurrection." What, he came back? Wasn't the whole point to die for our sins? Oh, he ascended to Heaven three days later? So he died. Oh, he didn't die, he just ascended to Heaven without dying. So he's not dead? Okay...what's with the fucking rabbit?

See? Easter is difficult. As a general heathen who's lived his entire life in a Christian society, I don't get much aside from the basic story. The Resurrection leads to a "rebirth and renewal" theme, which leads to...eggs? Talk about a square peg in a round hole. Eggs represent bringing life (a baby chicken) out of non-life (an egg). First, to whom are eggs non-living? They've been a core component of life and reproduction for billions of years. Only the most ignorant savage would see an egg and think it as life springing forth from some miraculous rock.

The real answer to the egg dilemma lies with the Easter Bunny. Neither of these things are symbols of rebirth and resurrection; they're just symbols of birth and surrection. To put it bluntly: fucking. What are rabbits known for? What fertilizes those eggs? Yeah, that's right. Just as Christmas is a blatant attempt to co-opt pagan solstice festivals (which resemble Christmas insofar as everyone gets drunk and eats too much), Easter is a grab for pagan fertility festivals (which resemble Easter insofar as everyone eats too much). There'd be more drinking for Easter, but it's got the unfortunate distinction of being both a children's holiday and a morning/daytime holiday. Which is to say, a bummer holiday.

The picture at right was, on its original website, captioned thusly: "A rabbit with eggs." Which is nothing if not descriptive, but it serves to highlight the silliness of this tradition. Somebody took a pet rabbit and set its terrified ass down in on the lawn next to some plastic eggs. Then a picture was taken. Could I sit my down next to a plate of muffins and claim that dogs traditionally deliver muffins to the elderly on Easter? This is bullshit. Wikipedia informs me that the idea of rabbits distributing eggs to children originated in Germany--the ancestral of home of goofy holiday traditions. Did you know that in German folklore, children place their shoes outside filled with salt on the first day of December? It's true; legend says Father Winter will cut off their thumbs and eat them if he is not appeased at the start of his vigil with salty shoes. Okay, it's not true. But you wondered for at least a second, because this stolid culture delights in macabre nonsense.

The most insidious Easter tradition? Peeps. These seasonal sugary treats represent one of the greatest coups in the history of candy. Back in 1958, some fantastically incompetent confectioner molded marshmallow, gelatin and wax into a ball. Everyone hated it. It was the candy equivalent of the clay pots I used to make back in elementary school art class--such crudely fashioned shit heaps that even my parents would see them and encourage me to put in more effort. This sugary plastic wad interested nobody, but it was incredibly cheap to manufacture. Thus, the marketing geniuses in the candy industry decided to attach it to a holiday. By making an otherwise terrible food item a "holiday tradition," you can excuse it. Candy corn? Tie it to Halloween (note: I fucking love candy corn even though it's nasty). Heavy German fruit cakes? Go-go Christmas! And Peeps have reserved Easter. This way, reasonable people who hate Peeps can say "Well, I guess this is a tradition." And thus justify an unholy abomination to the rest of the world. Screw you, Peeps. All you've ever contributed to the world was one excellent "South Park" joke in the Easter episode that goofed on The Da Vinci Code. Which reminds me: fuck Dan Brown.

The best part of Easter was the start of the baseball season. I don't actually care about baseball that much, but the Red Sox did beat the hated Yankees of New York and that brightens my day. Adding to the merriment is the fact that my roommate Rob loves the Yankees and hated watching them lose. It was a dick move for Major League Baseball to make the defending World Series champions start the season on the road against their hated rivals. Would it really be so difficult to guarantee the champs a home game to start their title defense? I hate the Yankees and I'm glad the Sox won in a detached way (I root for them, I'm not a fan), but we should have played them on the road. If it were my team I'd want it at home. So shame on you, baseball, for that BS. And the fact that instant replay is barely used in a sport that benefits most from it. And the seventh-inning fucking stretch, which on Sunday included a cacophonous performance from an apparently drunk Stephen Tyler. And shame on baseball for being a slow-ass sport. Like sand volleyball, it is fundamentally a sport of standing. I prefer sports of running. I know opinions differ.

So happy Easter, everyone! To my mom and sister, I'm very sorry I didn't come down south for dinner. I got done the things I needed to do, and anyway I blame Dad for setting a bad example.

1 comment:

  1. In France and Belgium (at least, there may be others that do this), it's not the easter bunny that brings eggs. It's bells, flying churchbells. You see, the reason they are silent between Thursday and Saturday is Jesus is about to die. So they are sad. In addition, they fly to Rome, and they bring candy back. One unsolved conundrum that haunts me to this day is how a church bell, which is so obviously open to the bottom, can possibly carry anything, let alone chocolate eggs, and let even more alone carry them the 3000 miles between Boston and Rome.
    I will grant you that Germanic holiday traditions might be macabre. But the French ones are more nonsensical.