Batteries not included


Here at, visitors are invited to discuss whatever they please, but regular visitors probably have noticed by now that I don’t go out of my way to start a row. I tend to keep my opinions on weighty matters to myself, apart from an ongoing general rant about the dysfunctions of “consumerism,” on which most of us agree anyway.

It is not my intention to start a row now. In fact, I would hope to set minds at ease. I have worked in and around newspapers all my adult life, and that goes back some. I have had the rare privilege of being read by millions of people over this time. Within this context, I have had numerous opportunities to send countless strangers seasonal greetings, and I have availed myself of this opportunity on many occasions. Chief among these would have to be “Merry Christmas.”

Almost every year that I proffer a Christmas message–and there are years when I don’t–some well-meaning readers will write to thank me, not for the good will of the greeting but for the defiance it represents in their eyes, defiance of a calculated diminution of the Christian holiday. I don’t know about that, but I can say to you that in my decades of writing and cartooning, I have never had a newspaper editor or a cartoon syndicate mogul or even a solitary reader tell me, “You shouldn’t emphasize Christmas.” I hope this makes some people feel better.

When I say “Merry Christmas,” I don’t feel as if I’m making an indirect statement. I don’t feel compelled to say “Merry Christmas” any more than I feel compelled not to say “Merry Christmas,” which is never. To me, “Merry Christmas” is “Merry Christmas.” Merry Christmas!