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More Christmas Wishes:

From Prof. Geoffrey Pullum on Language Log (one of my favorite blogs):

For about thirty years, Professor Laurie Taylor (retired from the University of York) has been doing a humor column in Times Higher Education, a U.K. university administration magazine, in the form of a newsletter from an imaginary Poppleton University. This week it included a painfully awkward message from an equally imaginary Interfaith Chaplain, struggling to find some kind of contentful and seasonal greeting that couldn't possibly offend anyone of any faith:

You know, very soon we will be reaching that special time of the year when people who subscribe to certain religious beliefs rather than to others will be celebrating what they regard as a very significant event. May I therefore take this opportunity to wish all such believers a very happy special time of the year...

Language Log, however, is not quite so inclined to imagine that simple words of greeting will shock or disgust anyone; it seems to us that such worries are rather closely related to word taboo, with which we have little sympathy. So it has been our custom for some years to come out quite boldly and use the C word at this season. We love writing for you, and as time permits, in our odd moments of spare time between full-time university jobs or research projects, we will continue to do so. And whatever your religion or lack of it, we wish you a happy Christmas Day.

Hear, hear!

Fub:
You know, very soon we will be reaching that special time of the year when people who subscribe to certain religious beliefs rather than to others will be celebrating what they regard as a very significant event.
This all brings to mind the National Lampoon's Deteriorata sendup of the 1960's popular Max Ehrmann poster poem Desiderata:
Therefore, make peace with your god,
whatever you conceive him to be:
hairy thunderer or cosmic muffin.
12.28.2008 9:07pm
treebeard (mail):
That reminds me of this legal holiday greeting, which circulated around on some emails a few years ago:


From me ("the wishor") to you ("the wishee"):

Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that:-

This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.

This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.

This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes.

This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor.

This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.

Any references in this greeting to "the Lord", "Father Christmas", "Our Saviour", "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer" or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.
12.31.2008 7:42am

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