Florida is a weird place. It is possibly inhuman. It may also be the last place (or the first place?) on Earth one would expect a Seinfeld-invented holiday to be celebrated in the state capitol building. But that is exactly what is happening.
A Festivus pole is being erected in Tallahassee thanks to the foresight of Deerfield Beach resident Chaz Stevens, who decided that the Christian imagery of babies in mangers was ridiculous enough to warrant his very own celebration: a Festivus pole made entirely of PBR cans. Thanks to the magic of equality, Florida Governor Rick Scott is being forced to display Chaz’s handiwork. Which is just awesome.
“I figured one ridiculous act required another,” Stevens said to local media. He’s right: given how seriously people take the Bible, which was written from memory 2,000 years ago and rewritten some 30 times before finally being copied by some monks a full millennia and a half after the supposed events occurred, it’s a small wonder in its own that the Jesus/nativity story has been taken so literally, with many Americans believing that a star actually pointed three old dudes to a baby in the desert.
Via Talking Points Memo:
“Festivus was established on ‘Seinfeld’ as a way to protest the commercial nature of Christmas, and the holiday’s traditions include displaying a Festivus pole and an ‘Airing of Grievances’ with friends and family.
Stevens applied to display the Festivus pole because he wanted to make a political statement about separation of church and state after learning that there would be a nativity scene at the capitol, according to the News Service of Florida.
‘I still chuckle, I literally can’t believe there will be a pile of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in the state rotunda,’ Stevens said.”
But Florida isn’t the only place with a Festivus pole. Wisconsin, too, was forced to install one for the Christmas season:
“The Wisconsin Civil Liberties Union sued in 1984 to remove the Capitol Christmas tree, halt a menorah lighting and end an annual nativity pageant. But the lawsuit failed, and the solution in recent years has been to embrace all religions.
‘The rotunda is getting very cluttered,’ said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. ‘But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, then there must be “room at the inn” for all points of view, including irreverency and free thought.'”
There’s even an “atheists and agnostic” nativity scene in the Wisconsin capitol: the “Winter Solstice Nativity” display portrays “Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain as three wise men, the Statue of Liberty and an astronaut as angels and an African-American girl baby doll to represent that ‘humankind was birthed in Africa.””
So there’s that. Which is nice.
The Festivus Pole stands at around 8 feet tall in total, with the Tallahassee model at 6 feet so that it conforms with the guidelines of the Tallahassee capitol building. It’s wonderful when Christians have to deal with the rest of us. It shows how much of a pain in the ass they can be when they refuse to allow anyone else to celebrate the way they want to.
Watch a video of the building of the PBR Festivus pole here (to the soundtrack of The Boss’s “Born in the USA”):