December 26, 2006

Happy Maosday!

Maosday Greetings, one and all!

Yep, one hundred sixteen years ago today, Mao Zedong was born.

This is mighty convenient, since it permits, once the working class and its allies have established the cooperative commonwealth, the same strategic slight of hand early Christian missionaries employed as they pushed into the Northern European forests from the Mediterranean littoral. They quickly told their prospective converts, "Hey, this guy Jesus we've been talking about, did we forget to mention he was born on the same day as your Jul celebration?"

Jul, of course, was one of an astonishing range of celebrations of the Winter Solstice by early humans around the Northern Hemisphere. Even today, for most of us, the fact that the days stop getting shorter and start getting longer is a cause for cheer, conscious or unconscious.

Early Christian organizers co-opted local Jul traditions wholesale. Mistletoe, for instance, was held sacred by the priestly Druid caste in Celtic societies. Even our Christmas ham is the survival of the solstice sacrifice of a pig to the Norse/Germanic deity Freyr.

So why not simply take a well-loved and extremely widely observed holiday, and (in business-school-speak) repurpose and--it hardly needs saying--reform it? Hence, Maosday.

Hey, did I forget to mention how fond Chairman Mao was of pine trees? Loved pine trees, old Mao did...

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