My Fellow Inebriates,
‘Tis the season for manger scenes. I haven’t posted one since last year, but a friendly spammer visited to tell me she’d seen one featuring liquor bottles. And get this—the whole thing was an ad for Liquorstore Bear. OMG!
I saw an ad for liquorstore bear for this Christmas season, I found it to be in very poor taste!! The ad had liquor bottles placed to create a nativity seen, including one in a manger to represent my Savior!! I found this to be extremely distasteful and offensive! There are just so many other things you could have done in order to advertise for this season! If you need help in your advertising department, feel free to contact me! I assure you I can do much better than that for any season! Extending you wishes for a very Merry Christmas, and of course, a Happy New Year!
I don’t run any ads, people. The enterprise just isn’t that large. But last year I did run the pic Teena is talking about.
As heartening as it is to be pitched on advertising and chastened for blasphemy in the same missive, Teena’s objections to the Liquor Nativity seemed a little automatic and underexamined. And since I hadn’t drunk anything interesting to write about, I was happy to find myself with a topic.
What makes an alcohol nativity scene offensive as opposed to one made of clay, wood, plastic, or glass? What assumptions could Teena be bringing to the table (or stable)? Does the medium used to create the artwork carry connotations, and if so, are those connotations incompatible with piety?
The media in this case are bottles of Absolut, Jagermeister, Cutty Sark, Jack Daniel’s, etc. None of these products had been invented in the year 0, although Jesus Christ notably made wine from water at a wedding in Cana.
One of our neighbors’ lawns has a manger set-up with inflatable figures that glow in the dark. These undoubtedly were invented well after the year 0, and not until last century did blow-up figures develop their own arguably irreverent connotations. The neighbor’s display is okay, right? Or should I email him saying his lawn ornaments remind me of inflatable sex dolls? Or that I’m worried about the Lord being detached by vandals and punted around the yard?
As for other artistic media, if someone fashioned a nativity scene out of clay, and the clay turned out to be not clay but fecal matter, but you couldn’t tell…well—is the end product offensive?
Teena might well argue that intention is everything, but how can she know what the artist’s intention really is?
- To draw an association between Jesus Christ and alcohol?
- To draw an association between Jesus Christ and heavily marketed products—i.e., consumerism? (Doesn’t Teena work in advertising?)
- To make a statement about an access of reverence in any situation, particularly in a modern world where products such as Jim Beam are more readily visible than, say, fishing nets and chalices?
- To get people talking about the nativity?
- To poke fun at people who think they know what God approves and disapproves of?
I’d venture that person who constructed the Liquor Nativity scene was probably not indifferent to religion. This was surely a person who wanted to make a statement about it. Can Teena be fully confident of what that statement was?
As I mentioned to her, if I ever encountered such a scene, it would quickly be short a wise man or a shepherd 😉
But seriously, being offended is a choice. It is Teena’s choice to be offended, especially since the offence depends upon assumptions about the artist’s intent as well as, puzzlingly, the notion that God condemns the consumption of alcohol. Has Teena even thought about what she objects to exactly?
I would have let her comment be, but she wasn’t just commenting on the manger; she was trying to sell me advertising. LBHQ is a live-and-let-live outfit, with room for all beliefs—but the over-punctuated gist of Teena’s note was to plug her own services, all the while objecting that her Savior was not being respected. Unless Teena believes there are multiple Saviors (do you think she believes that, MFI?), Teena believes those who do not embrace her Savior are not saved. That they will suffer everlasting hellfire. Maybe I should be offended by that.
I don’t expect to hear from Teena again; someone else will buy her advertising help and they can rap about religion to their hearts’ content. Being a bit of a furry asshole, though, I left her with a postscript:
All world cultures with access to grain and reasonably abundant water have made alcohol. That’s far more cultures than worship Jesus Christ.