I know that my parents expended a lot of precious money and time on my Christmas gifts. But with a few exceptions (a certain Raggedy Ann and Andy Pen and Pencil Set comes to mind, along with my very own Beach Boys "Endless Summer" casette"), what I remember about Christmases is not what I was given, but the non-material traditions: the food, the family, the snow angels and crackling fires. This is true of basically everyone I know. So why do we continue to think that the gifts are the most important part?
Because they're children. Unbelievably, McArdle brags about the expensive and thoughtful gifts she received while saying that other children do not deserve the same. Once again, the rules are different for Miss Megan.
Let's not forget that hypocrisy. McArdle has a sidebar item called "Gadget of the Week." (Of course she doesn't update it because that would take effort, but never mind.) The gadget for the last few months is a $500 TIVO.
Is it worth spending over $500 on a Tivo? I'm sorry to report that it is. The Series Three has all the functionality that made its older products the best DVRs around: an intuitive user interface, transparent menus, simple and fast recording. Now it's added HD capability and two cable cards so you can record and watch at the same time (or record two shows). With the cable cards, the most annoying feature about older Tivos--the latency switching channels--has disappeared. They've also added new features that prove surprisingly useful, such as the ability to download movies on a whim from Amazon's Unbox service. I'd give up my dishwasher before I'd part with this.
Megan also recently bought an IPhone and a Mini Cooper, and we all know how important buying new clothes is to her. It's strange to see a sickness of the soul labeled a political philosophy, so that cold, calculating, greedy people can feel comfortable as they contemplate how much they own, and how much superior it makes them compared to those with less. It's a pinched, miserly attitude worthy of Scrooge himself.
And make no mistake; McArdle's post is not written out of a stringent morality or political philosophy. It is selfishness and heartlessness, callousness and fear, pure and simple. It is the refusal to feel anything at all that might touch the heart (or, with Megan, also the brain). To feel is painful, and these cowards and weaklings refuse to take that risk. They cannot cry for the children we have killed in Iraq. They cannot worry about poverty or hunger. They cannot think about the terror and desperation of men hooded and bound and kept in cages. It hurts too much, and they utterly refuse to try. Therefore they create excuses for their refusal to feel. They turn to God to justify their hatreds, to patriotism to hide their hunger to see others suffer and feel what they cannot. They turn to politics, to coat the blood and bones and burnt flesh with respectability. We can't be silent and let them do it. This world is all we have, this world and the people in it. What we do to each other is the only thing that counts.