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An Alternate Theory Of The Paschal Chavez

I think The Atlantic‘s Emily Chertoff is onto something: [1]

These two ideas share one very deep philosophical root — a concept of progress [2] that originated in scientific rationalism [3]. But technological change is not necessarily politically progressive, as we define the latter term today. Many liberals are worried about the use of drones for surveillance and policing. The technology is drastic and fairly new, but very few people would argue that its newness makes it politically progressive at all. (It is more likely either a neutral tool or ethically suspect because of the powers it gives us.)

Technology companies like Google benefit when we conflate those two types of progressivism, the political and the technological. Consumer technology needs young people to adopt it, and the young often like to be associated with the political left. So do intellectuals. Tie technological advance to left-leaning politics and you have all of a sudden made the former more appealing to two large and vocal groups of people — and, of course, given them a reason to feel an affinity for your company.

Think too about the kind of progressivism Chavez represents: Not only is he a hero of labor; he’s also an icon of Mexican-American identity politics. Expression of identity is already a major part of the culture of social media. This is a form of progressive politics that sits easily alongside Google’s corporate status (more easily than would, for instance, the politics of that other Chavez [4] who has been in the news recently…) So does the type of liberalism implicated in, say, the project of mapping North Korea’s prison camps [5].

If Google markets itself as an ideologically progressive corporation, it can play on this analogy between technological and political progress even when it introduces products that patently have zero progressive political implications.

In other words, it helps Google’s image when it is seen as the kind of company that would post an image of César Chavez on Easter Sunday. Look at the readers of this blog who praised Google’s progressive gesture, versus the right-wing particularist Christian bigots who were bothered by it. It’s a culture war win for Google. Think about it: if you’re Bing, do you really want to get the reputation as being the right wing’s preferred search engine?

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49 Comments To "An Alternate Theory Of The Paschal Chavez"

#1 Comment By Roger On April 1, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

Alternate view: Chavez as ardent defender of poor is simply emblematic of Christian, catholic tradition. Rather than a goofy display of eggs, Google demonstrates an individual who fought hard for the disenfranchised thus showing vitality of the Christian tradition.

#2 Comment By EasyARB On April 1, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

Bing would love to be somebody’s…anybody’s preferred search engine!

#3 Comment By EngineerScotty On April 1, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

Of course, as Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

#4 Comment By Emily On April 1, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

I read this and I think it’s off. Google isn’t just trying to market itself as an “ideologically progressive corporation”: they actually think of themselves that way. I have friends who work in the tech industry, and the ways that certain types of progressivism clash with their views or their organization’s behavior (for instance, the disparate-impact-causing hiring processes that are basically IQ tests, or the anti-U.S.-labor H1B lobbying) genuinely do not occur to them. They’re bright, productive folks and they’re not cynical in the way this implies – they just have a very shallow understanding of politics.

#5 Comment By collin On April 1, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

Great, the cultural wars are going way of search engines. As Ed Kilgore once joked, there are ~250 shopping days until the war on Christmas starts.

#6 Comment By Dan On April 1, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

I’m sorry, but this just seems like the basest self-pitying victimology to me (and I went to college in the 1990s, so I think I know it when I see it). What possible obligation does Google have to commemorate Easter (or, for that matter, to refrain from putting up an insufficiently Eastery image)? You seem to take it as a given that one exists; please explain to the rest of us why you believe this is so, because it’s simply not obvious to me why this should be the case. While you’re up, I suppose you could let the powers that be at Google know if there are any other of your personal preferences they ought to be following.

#7 Comment By EHH On April 1, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

Bing is my favorite search engine. Love the daily pictures. And it does find what I need at least as well a Google. It’s my default in Chrome (just to be contrary).

#8 Comment By JohnE_o On April 1, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

You’d rather there had been an animated Easter Bunny hopping around the screen hiding eggs?

#9 Comment By SusanKG On April 1, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

It is bizarre. Even in secular Scandinavia, the holidays are honored even if few go to church. This is because the Scandinavians recognize the holidays as embedded in their culture.

I mean, what happens to us as a culture if we have no traditions at all? Kids love repetition, and tradition is in part about repetition and constancy. I can’t imagine raising kids without some recognition of holidays, both religious and secular. You don’t need to be religious to honor tradition. You just need to be human.

#10 Comment By Polichinello On April 1, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

As Vox Day joked, how comfortable would you be sitting next to someone who has to tell himself over and over “Don’t be evil. Don’t be evil. Don’t be evil.”

#11 Comment By Ethan C. On April 1, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

I’m kinda with Rodger here. I’d rather have Chavez be the symbol of “secular” Easter rather than bunnies and eggs. Since Chavez himself really wasn’t “secular” at all in fact.

#12 Comment By Erin Manning On April 1, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

Well, I said this yesterday, and I’ll say it again today: I don’t see this as malicious so much as egocentric. Google loves to honor the recent, trendy, leftist, etc.–anybody but “dead white Christian males”–except for scientists, who apparently get a pass on being dead, white, male, and Christian because clearly they only went along with that religious superstition stuff to appease the culture of the times.

In this they are not being edgy, hip, cool, or progressive: they are simply being the product of their times. You educate enough schoolchildren to yawn at the name of Shakespeare and shrug at the name of Mozart but cheer for Jackson Pollock or praise Salinger, etc., and pretty soon those schoolchildren will grow up to be adults who think that nobody interesting lived before the 20th century and that all of the art, music, literature, beliefs etc. of past ages were ineradicably tainted by their creators’ racist, sexist, homophobic, intolerant views to the point that it doesn’t really matter what Shakespeare or Mozart created so much as that they were born too early for progressive thought, which is their great tragedy.

It’s a mind-bogglingly narrow viewpoint for a search engine company, but honestly, it’s about like a certain national coffee chain telling investors that if they’re too evil to approve of gay “marriage” they should sell their stock and invest in other companies. Since when do the people who sell me goods and services think it’s their job to create a corporate philosophy around which I must somehow center my life to be worthy of their stupid product? Google should quit honoring random progressively-approved historical figures and stick to the occasional doodle-game, which at least has the advantage of amusing toddlers and giving their busy moms a few minutes’ break. Anybody who turns to Google for a worldview or an ideology deserves the exact idiocy such an approach to serious questions will generate.

#13 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On April 1, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

Here’s my alternate theory. Why assume negative intent or complicated machinations when coincidence is also possible?

If the culture of Silicon Valley is anything like Boston’s route 128, then the culture of tech companies is heavily biased towards nones. Not first generation nones (like me) who understand Christianity because they were raised with it. You’re talking second generation nones who wouldn’t know or care when Easter is. Or even what the word Paschal means.

They might have picked Chavez out of a hat earlier in the year, drew the doodle, and scheduled it to be displayed on his birthday. All the while being unaware of the implications.

#14 Comment By Thomas Andrews On April 1, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

Interesting.
Not quite sure I buy into the whole thing, but I can follow the logic behind it.

I do recall just a few weeks ago, several conservative Christian organizations calling for a boycott of google, bing, Microsoft and apple, Amazon and, well everybody in the industry for all signing amici briefs to the Supreme Court supporting equal rights for all Americans.

While the ‘liberal, leftist’ press was rolling on the floor laughing (had the boycott been followed, every computer, tablet and net-based device after Babage’s would have had to go out the window), the outrage and escalation of hostilities on the conservative Christian right proceeded apace, as usual.

It puzzles me, truly it does. I’ve followed all the comments about how trivial and unimportant Chavez was across this and other conservative Christian sites. I also am old enough to remember exactly what the man did for the poor, the oppressed, the weak in this country. Exactly those people our Lord has called upon us to help.

It strikes me as though conservative Christians are in a very dark place right now. Threatening the Republican party. Boycotting the entire information/computer industry.
Arguing that a faithful Catholic who helped millions of poor people was of no importance.

This is not the means by which younger evangelicals are won over to your causes. This is not the means by which we give non-Christians a opportunity to learn about Christ.

It does serve to fulfill the ‘we’re being persecuted’ mindset. And that is not a good thing.

[Note from Rod: You write, “Arguing that a faithful Catholic who helped millions of poor people was of no importance.” Nobody argues that. You love to state the position of your opponents in the worst possible light, e.g., accusing every conservative Christian of approving of torture, which is completely untrue, and then tsk-tsk. It’s so formulaic. — RD]

#15 Comment By reflectionephemeral On April 1, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

Both Google and Bing want to be the search engine of everyone.

Occam’s razor compels the conclusion that Google decided to celebrate a California holiday, not counting on an outburst of hurt feelings at the absence of cartoons of bunnies and colorful eggs.

#16 Comment By M_Young On April 1, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

“I have friends who work in the tech industry, and the ways that certain types of progressivism clash with their views or their organization’s behavior (for instance, the disparate-impact-causing hiring processes that are basically IQ tests, or the anti-U.S.-labor H1B lobbying) genuinely do not occur to them. ”

Exactly. A great Vdare essay by a pseudonymous commentator who seems to have, alas, disappeared from teh interwebs caught this perfectly.

[6]

#17 Comment By Dux Bellorum, Austinopole On April 1, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

Here’s the simplest explanation: César Chavez day is a statewide holiday in California, where Google is headquartered. It’s a big deal in Texas, which has a huge Latino community, as well as Google offices that are currently expanding.

Regardless of how badly Christian conservatives want to feel persecuted by everyone and everything, not everything is always about them. There are times when I honestly believe that one day, we’re going to see them complaining that the fact that people choose to be non-Christians is objectively anti-Christian and a hate crime, as it puts Jesus back on the cross.

#18 Comment By Connie On April 1, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

So Rod is complaining about Google not observing a holiday that Rod doesn’t observe either.

#19 Comment By J On April 1, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

A simpler cultural theory is that Google is culturally Californian. Which is to say, to the extent that Californians are culturally European they are quite obliviously and instrumentally so. When you live there (I have) Europe lies so far beyond the horizons it’s not really imaginable and becomes mythical. Jay Leno exploits this local sense that Europe and its derivative, upscale East Coast culture, are for all practical purposes too far away to matter in his ‘Jaywalking’ bit.

I’d like to think the real issue in the Cesar Chavez kerfuffle is the declining status of monomaniacal/exclusionary Christian religionism in the American public square. But that’s just me.

#20 Comment By Matt On April 1, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

I really don’t know who is worse here, the culture warriors who can’t let an outrage pass by without sounding the clarion call, or the dopey lefties with their “Cesar Chavez is the real meaning of Easter!” foolishness.

#21 Comment By TWylite On April 1, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

Wow, a San Francisco area company made a “politically correct” decision regarding a very minor cosmetic manner. Next, you’ll be telling me that a Southern Baptist CEO of a fast food company based in the Deep South has some conservative personal views regarding marriage. Strange world.

#22 Comment By Austin Rebreh On April 1, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

As Bill Hicks once mused, ‘I looked through the bible: not once did the words Bunny or chocolate appear. Who came up with this stuff?”

#23 Comment By Polichinello On April 1, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

Think about it: if you’re Bing, do you really want to get the reputation as being the right wing’s preferred search engine?

OTOH, there’s something to be said for not imposing a political agenda, one way or the other. People don’t like being preached at. I’ve generally used Google’s stuff out of habit, but their search and newservices’ preachy lefty tone has been harder to ignore. Does MS and Bing do this? I don’t know. I haven’t looked. I know MS has a liberal slant (duh, MSNBC), but their software services have never struck me as politically charged and self-congratulatory. It does seem a more neutral space, and that has no small appeal.

#24 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 1, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

The conveyence of culture to the next generation is directly proportional to the amount of personal effort made in that conveyence by the present generation.

This is not in conflict with new or changed culture motivated by the next generation. Indeed, changes in kind are secondary to the fact that the mode has been conveyed. Music is an excellent example of that.

I make that personal assertion not as some informative gesture, but to set up my utter contempt for the abdication of past generations of their commitment to make that effort. We (collectively) have surrendered it to convenience. The internet is the perfect example of that. We spend more time with “friends” online than in-person. We place more emphasis on getting information than in processing it together.

Rod, I’d like to see you blog about this opinion piece on NPR: [7]. Maybe my reaction to it is extreme, but it shows a strong symptom of that surrender and how journalism has bought into it: It is an unreasonableness born of the ideology of the anthropological approach, according to which you are supposed to report an issue, or identify a problem, with no direct knowledge or perception of it, just as you are supposed to report what someone says with no direct understand of their words.

Weschler’s approach, and mine, is grounded on the undeniable fact that we live in the world, have knowledge of it and have the right to tell stories. Alva Noë’s assertion is that journalism should tell stories rather than report facts. I find the rest to be solipsism at best… but again, maybe I’m over-reacting. Shrug.

#25 Comment By Jeff On April 1, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

I wonder what Google’s reaction would be if a latter-day Chavez tried to unionize computer programmers.

Seriously, Sergey Brin and his ilk would be a lot cooler if they were a little more Henry Clay Frick and a little less Bernie Sanders.

#26 Comment By Paul Emmons On April 1, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

I was sure of the image of Chavez and thought maybe it was someone’s drawing of Jesus. It’s a bad habit, I know, the unhappy result of being taught by the church to see Jesus in the faces of others.

Although I no longer have any faith that Google remains true to its motto (“don’t be evil”), for all I know, maybe they thought about commemorating Easter yesterday but didn’t want to offend present company who celebrate it on a different day, and also didn’t want to trivialize it with the irrelevant pagan images that even Christians mostly do not shun.

This issue was on NPR this morning, and the one-sided information provided by the complainant made me sympathetic. If the Chavez image were an arbitrary or far-fetched choice, he would have had a good point. Apparently it was not. As if his birthday and a holiday didn’t make it more than that, we also have a recent “wetback” remark of a certain elected Alaskan, which has people gasping in horror. (My impression is that the gaspers are overdoing it, but I lack the background to judge.)

#27 Comment By cecelia On April 1, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

how many people below tyhr age of 30 even know who Chavez is?

#28 Comment By Andy H On April 1, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

Those who ascribe a persecution-complex to Rod are missing the point.

The point is: Easter used to be a major secular holiday in this country, not so long ago, and suddenly it isn’t anymore.

The postwar culture that gave us “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and the Fred Astaire/Judy Garland “Easter Parade” was more Consumerist than Christian, just like today. They transformed Easter into a holiday that was more about candy and new clothes than the Resurrection…but they still observed it as the major spring holiday. When I was a kid in the seventies, Easter was still a bigger cultural deal than Halloween, for instance.

But in the last fifteen years or so, something shifted. Christmas may still be lousy with Santa Clauses, but we got the Easter Bunny out of Easter. Easter stopped being a secular holiday and went back to being exclusively a religious holiday. The “Cesar Chavez” Google page is a symbol of this cultural shift. It may or may not be a good thing, but it’s worth noting.

#29 Comment By Church Lady On April 1, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

Missing from this discussion is the important point that it is technology that is driving the social transformation of the world, and leading to the decline in traditional religion.

Whether Google puts easter eggs on its logo once a year or not is largely irrelevant. The fact that Google exists as such a pervasive and important source for information about the world is. Back in the day of Christian hegemony, if someone wants to know the truth about the world, they turn to the local priests, or the scriptures. Now they turn to Google. Or Bing, or any of a number of internet search engines. It’s not that Google is loading its search results with secular, anti-religious sites. It’s that everyone seems to agree that secularism is the place to go for knowledge about the world.

The mere fact of science and technology has been destroying traditional religious culture for centuries. As it continues to rise, traditional religion will continue to decline. Not merely because of the messages embedded in all scientific and technological enterprises, but because of the functionality they bring, and the mindset they foster.

I’ve maintained before that if you want a rational explanation for the sudden dominance of pro-SSM views in our society, you have only to look at the rise of the internet itself, and cell phones, and the ubiquitous inclusion of all voices in the mainstream conversation. This revolution in communication and public conversation and information has real consequences, and most of them are “liberal”, because openness to change is essentially a “liberal” value. Now that everyone can get on the internet, and have a blog, and make their views known, it has begun to seem natural that everyone should be included in all the realms of public life – even marriage. That’s why the “young people” are leading the charge for these sorts of “progressive” issues – they are the ones who have embraced inclusive technology, and so they are the ones who also embrace inclusive politics.

THe very notion of “progress” is almost entirely about technology. Political notions of progressivism are really just ways of tagging along with these technologically driven changes. Traditional religion is increasingly being left by the wayside, because once people embrace the scientific approach of questioning everything, the game is essentially over.

Google is a place one goes to get answers to one’s questions. The very fact that such a place is now central to our culture, means that our culture is placing the questioning of things at its core. Not the accepting of received or revelead wisdom from generations past. How is traditional religion possibly going to compete with Google? What answers does it have, that can survive any serious objective questioning process? Traditional culture was not built on such a process, and recognized for centuries that “free thinkers” were its enemies. Now free thinkers are our heroes. It cannot survive such a reversal of basic epistemological values.

#30 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 1, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

Wonder if one can even make this comment on a blog —

I consider Google a nemisis. Their are abusive and in my view hypocritical. They claim that they respect privacy, but they advocate an open source behavior which is wholly intrusive.

They are the high tech drones on the web and their prognostications as being democratically oriented in vested in one interest and one only — profit and power.

#31 Comment By the unworthy craftsman On April 1, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

As a socially conservative, old-school Labor Left winger, I can do without Google’s brand of libertarian techie yuppie “progressivism”.

#32 Comment By Geoff Guth On April 1, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

This is one of those things I’d have a hard time getting worked up over. Driving around the country, I see tons of religious iconography, the overwhelming majority of it Christian. Doesn’t bother me in the least.

It is a bit strange, seeing how much overt Christian “marketing” (for lack of a better term) there is out there, that Christians complain when not absolutely everything and everyone reflects their beliefs. None of us get to live a life where absolutely everything around us reinforces everything we think or believe, and thank goodness for that.

There seems to be a bit of a streak in a lot of conservative Christians (and political liberals too for that matter) that feels threatened if anything doesn’t actively support their beliefs, let alone contradict them (which, needless to say, the silly Google doodle doesn’t do).

It strikes me as the equivalent of me sincerely wishing that all women on the planet would disappear and all the men turn gay. And how fabulous life would be then!

There’s an idea out there that once upon a time, we were all conservative Christians, and quite a bit of their politics yearns for some halcyon time when any dissenters either didn’t exist or at least had the good taste to conceal their dissent. This is, of course, ridiculous; false nostalgia of a positively harmful type.

#33 Comment By JohnG On April 1, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

Chavez’s birthday has been falling on March 31 since he was born. It’s been a state holiday in California since 1995 (?). Google’s been doodling birthdays a good bit for at least the last five years or so. This past Sunday was the first time March 31 has fallen on Easter since Chavez died.

Google’s statement on the controversy:
“We enjoy celebrating holidays at Google but, as you may imagine, it’s difficult for us to choose which events to highlight on our site. Sometimes for a given date we feature an historical event or influential figure that we haven’t in the past.”

Google’s description of the doodle process:
“A group of Googlers get together regularly to brainstorm and decide which events will be celebrated with a doodle. The ideas for the doodles come from numerous sources including Googlers and Google users. The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation.”

That Google had no idea that it was Easter Sunday strikes me as next to impossible. The selection process is thoughtful, not helter skelter. Were they saving Chavez’s birthday for Easter? Even less possible than next to impossible, I think. But for the gaggle of doodler Googlers charged with reflecting the Google personality, it must have been a no brainer once Chavez entered the lists. Look! Wikipedia says he was a Catholic! What could possibly be the downside from their perspective? Maybe some Luddite fundamentalists would throw a hissy fit? The downside is an upside.

So I tend to think Chertoff is closer to the mark than not.

#34 Comment By Michael N Moore On April 1, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

The Chavez image was posted by Google because April 1 is a holiday in California named after Chavez. There is no statement other than noting the holiday.

#35 Comment By Deggjr On April 1, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

Think about it: if you’re Bing, do you really want to get the reputation as being the right wing’s preferred search engine?

If so, Bing wouldn’t ever be used. For example, those concerned with Benghazi clearly have never binged ‘Marine Corps Lebanon 1983’.

#36 Comment By Paul Emmons On April 1, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

Andy H writes:

>Easter used to be a major secular holiday in this country, not so long ago, and suddenly it isn’t anymore.

This is a good point. I do resent the fact that many universities used to arrange for “Spring break” to fall within Holy Week but no longer pay any attention. It would have been easy enough this year; but no, so-called spring break was the previous week. I suspect that there is actually a conspiracy that they shall never coincide. Here in Pennsylvania, where winter comes late and stays late, this is a particular misnomer. Over the years, I’ve spent several “spring breaks” at home shoveling out of the biggest snowstorm of the season, although I guess it’s nice for the rich kids who can adjourn to Florida. During Holy Week my expected work hours have always been in full force, absolutely unchanged. The only accommodation made to the observant is a provision that any examinations administered on Good Friday must be offered later to a students who is absent for religious reasons.

The public schools used to close for at least a day or two late in Holy Week. I’m not sure how general even that is anymore.

#37 Comment By matt On April 1, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

I really, really prefer self-pitying outrage to empty ‘what-it-all-means’ cultural analysis.

#38 Comment By Naturalmom On April 2, 2013 @ 12:24 am

I haven’t heard anyone note whether or not Google has doodled Easter in the past. (I don’t know the answer to that.) If they have, and especially if they’ve done something for Easter for the past several years, then I don’t see how the decision to doodle something else for this year is much of a statement about anything. If they *never* commemorate Easter, then the Christians have grounds to be miffed. After all, Google frequently commemorates holidays, including other religious holidays.

I like Church Lady’s observation that Easter is reverting from a secular holiday back to a religious one. I remember as a kid, my dad lamenting the secularization of Easter. Perhaps returning to it’s sacred significance isn’t such a bad thing. And who said Christianity has any right to expect to be lauded and respected by the mainstream culture? Certainly not Jesus, who warned that the opposite would more often be true. (No, I’m not arguing that marginalization of Christians is a good thing — I’m only suggesting a sense of perspective for those who feel aggrieved toward Google.)

#39 Comment By Hector On April 2, 2013 @ 1:29 am

Honestly, if Google was founded by Jews, I wouldn’t expect them to give a *#%£ about Easter, any more than I pay attention to Yom Kippur or Holi. it’s not * my* holiday, and neither is Easter theirs.

I think the marketplace would be nicer and healthier if businesses felt less of a pressure to never hurt anyone’s feelings, and instead expressed their own core convictions at least in little symbolic ways. If you don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead, there’s really zero reason to care about Easter. St Paul more or less says exactly that in First Corinthians.

Jesus Christ conquered death for our sakes, and for the sakes of all people, even those who didn’t care one bit about him, and even those who drove the nails through their hands. We should be happy, not resentful. Being irked that Google doesn’t put a bunny on their doodle is sort of like going to you best friend’s wedding and complaining that the cake wasn’t done just right. who cares? Eternal life is more important than Google doodles. by a long shot.

#40 Comment By Hector On April 2, 2013 @ 1:34 am

I actually kind of like that Holy Weekend isn’t a national holiday break. I come from a mostly non Christian family, and if i was expected to hang out with family over Easter it would be awkward to be running off to church three days in a row. for me, my relationships with my family and my relationship with Jesus are two different things, and the less they mix the better.

#41 Comment By M_Young On April 2, 2013 @ 2:56 am

“As Bill Hicks once mused, ‘I looked through the bible: not once did the words Bunny or chocolate appear. Who came up with this stuff?”

Well, they may have x-ed Christ out of Christianity, but the heirs of the Puritans are still world class wet blankets.

#42 Comment By M_Young On April 2, 2013 @ 3:07 am

I follow my local alt.weekly’s blog. Not word one about the Chavez holiday, but a piece about how the local Mexicans/Latinos/[email protected] celebrate ‘Easter Weekend’ (their words) with a mass cruising session up and down a barrio boulevard. The bad news is that even that custom has been ruined — with genuine ‘low rider’ type vehicles few and far between. Back when Mexican-Americans could make decent money at the trades, they had extra dough to sink into their 1969 Chevy Impala’s. Today, you’re lucky if you see a ‘bagged’ 1999 S-10 in decent shape.

#43 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On April 2, 2013 @ 6:21 am

Andy H said

The point is: Easter used to be a major secular holiday in this country, not so long ago, and suddenly it isn’t anymore.

It’s not all that sudden or mysterious. It’s correlated with the rise of the nones who are around 20 percent of the overall population. Besides being geographically concentrated in certain states, they are heavily skewed towards the younger generations.

@Church Lady, have you heard of this [8]

#44 Comment By Judith On April 2, 2013 @ 8:21 am

Matt:
“I really, really prefer self-pitying outrage to empty ‘what-it-all-means’ cultural analysis.”

That’s pretty funny. I know what you mean. I hope those aren’t the only 2 options.

#45 Comment By Steph On April 2, 2013 @ 11:00 am

Easter used to be a major secular holiday in this country, not so long ago, and suddenly it isn’t anymore.

I think this is true, but from a Christian perspective it seems like a good thing, or at least a neutral one. Like I said in the other thread, the secular Christmas can actually get in the way of properly focusing on the religious aspects–certainly during Advent. And the secular elements of Easter seemed to have even less connection to the religious holiday than with Christmas, probably because the story of Jesus’ birth works better for a happy secular holiday than the Resurrection, since that demands reference to the Crucifixion.

Of course, one reason I personally perceive Easter as less of a big secular deal is that I don’t have young children and all the secular Easter elements seem to revolve around activities for young children (decorating eggs, hunting them, Easter baskets). Christmas has that element, but a broader range also.

Anyway, around here it seems that the public schools are still mostly off for Spring Break on Holy Week.

#46 Comment By James Kabala On April 2, 2013 @ 11:46 am

You can look at all doodles past and present here: [9]

There was an Easter commemoration in 2000 ( [10]), in which early year the days commemorated were mostly just the major American holidays plus the Sydney Olympics. Easter does not appear to have been commemorated since. Religious holidays in general seem to be commemorated very rarely, usually only if thoroughly secularized in practice (e.g., St. Patrick’s Day). I do not have the energy to do the research to try to figure out if there has ever been a commemoration of a non-Easter event on Easter before.

#47 Comment By Mike On April 2, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

I live in CA and if it wasn’t for the store displays of Easter candy,baskets etc one might never know it’s Easter. Good Friday & Palm Sunday – never hear anyone really mention them. Quite different from when I lived back East where people at least had some sense of the holiday even my secular friends. Other than a few retail establishments being closed I observed people mowing their lawns,working on cars & doing all the usual Sunday activities. Perhaps it is better as another poster suggested that it’s reverting to a more religious celebration vs a pop culture free for all.

#48 Comment By J.J. Gonzalez Gonzalez On April 2, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

I guess their PR agency counseled them to do this.

#49 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 2, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

This tempest in a tea cup exemplifies why rural southern working class types used to respond to denunciation of “pointy-headed intellectuals.”

It was Cesar Chavez’s BIRTHDAY for God’s sake!

Why this penchant for reading deep meaning, and opportunity for cultural psychoanalysis, into observing the birthday of a man who contributed something to the world while he was here?