For those who came in late, Festivus — I’m not big on the whole forced cheeriness of Xmas, as readers can probably, by this point, imagine — is normally celebrated on December 23. However, because Festivus really is for the rest of us, Festivus can also be celebrated at any time, so here we go! The the actual Festivus site describes the rituals:
The usual holiday tradition of a tree is manifested in an unadorned aluminum pole, which is in direct contrast to normal holiday materialism. Those attending Festivus may also participate in the “Airing of Grievances” which is an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year, followed by a Festivus dinner, and then completed by the “Feats of Strength” where the head of the household must be pinned. All of these traditions are based upon the events in the Seinfeld episode, however, strangely enough, Festivus has roots that pre-date Seinfeld.
Some detail on “the airing of the grievances”:
Each participant tells friends and family of all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year.
Frank Costanza: Welcome, new comers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!
Well, although Frank’s approach is refreshingly open, I’m not going to take it. Maybe that makes me a schismatic. But I mean, it’s not like I don’t have grievances with family, even friends — what are friends for? — but it would take far too much time to explain. And I’m not going to retool “friends and family” to mean “the Naked Capitalism commentariat,” first because I’m not suicidal, and second because, in the main, I’m quite content.
Of course, I could do a master list of society-wide grievances, but that would be almost too simple:
- Impunity for criminal bank CEOs for accounting control fraud in the run up to the crash of 2008
- Impunity for high administration officials of both parties for torture, which is illegal under both U.S. domestic law and by international treaty, also law.
- Impunity for cops who kill young men, especially black young men.
- Administration gaslighting and warmongering on Ukraine, Syraqistan, and North Korea is just as intense as Bush WMDs.
- The neo-liberals have been running the country for forty years.
- Not coincidentally, real wages have been flat for forty years.
This is not, clearly, an exhaustive list; I didn’t even get to electoral politics. But this chin-stroking armchair thinker stuff is just too easy. So I thought I’d share some relentlessly trivial grievances. These have been building up for some time…
- “Wanna” becomes an actual word that people type.
- A bazillion incompatible designs of child-proof caps.
- Baby carriages like armored vehicles.
- ATM fees. $3.50. Really?
- My town now has a third bank but no hardware store.
- OS X gradually being crapified by iOS.
- You can’t buy a decent man’s dress shirt at a normal department store any more.
- Being forced to show ID to travel by bus. Airlines, fine, but Greyhound?
- Calvin and Hobbes, reruns only.
So, as you, readers, can see, I really have nothing but #FirstWorldProblems. Unlike Frank, I had to work for my grievances! So, what are your grievances? I hope they’re no worse than mine!