December 8th, 2010 10:43 EST
Christmas Poses One of the Great Paradoxes of Our Society
Imagine Jesus on Wall Street
Christmas in America must surely be our best example of acculturation. In the midst of glitz and an ingrained Anglocentrism that ill describes the people we have become, we are celebrating the birth of a humble Jewish carpenter who wouldn`t even be welcome in some of our churches and certainly would have chastised Wall Street and the malls with a stick.
Over time we have portrayed him as an Italian, a Greek, a Viking, an Englishman and almost anyone not likely to be taken for a member of a despised minority. We have forced him to acculturate. We have dragooned him to sell doodads, to uphold American exceptionalism, and before that all kinds of Eurocentric exceptionalisms. And all this long historical while, we have persecuted his own people because a Roman governor did not have the gumption to stand up to a mob of extremists. And now, more than two thousand years later, extremists are still calling the shots. How do you spell progress?
Hardly ever do we pause to consider whether this is an appropriate, a respectful way to worship one whom many call the son of God. In our hearts we know he would not approve of our predatory lenders, of the chasm between rich and poor, of wars in behalf of banks and contractors, but we have operated like ventriloquists on him, presenting him as the perfect justification of our hifalutin notions about ourselves.
Imagine him walking around our malls, listening to our high-pressure, must-have advertising. Just imagine him. I don`t want to belabor the point.
We know what he had to say about the usurers, and here we are in their clutches, a society brought low by usurers. Imagine him.
Would he not look at our Native Americans, our Hispanics, our African-Americans, each of our diverse and creative minorities, and say, Why are you pretending you are all Englishmen? Are you ashamed of your diversity, your colors and nuances and differences? What does this buying and selling have to do with me? What is exceptional about you except that I love you, and do I not love all of you, with no exceptions? Including our enemies. We know what he would say, we celebrate it, we glorify it, and we ignore it.
Djelloul Marbrook is a retired newspaperman. His second book of poems, Brushstrokes and Glances, will be published by Deerbrook Editions on December 20, 2010. His first book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. It won the International Book Award in 2010. His novella, Artemisia`s Wolf, will be published by Prakash Books of India in December. His novella, Saraceno, was recently published as an e-book. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com