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Conservative Group Calls For Boycott Of Radio Shack For Not Using “Christmas” In Ads

merry-christmas

Matthew Yglesias notes that the American Family Association is calling for a boycott of Radio Shack because it isn’t using the word “Christmas” in its holiday advertising:

AFA is calling for a limited one-month boycott of Radio Shack over the company’s censorship of the word “Christmas.”

For years, Radio Shack has refused to use the word Christmas on its website, in television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.

Want proof? Go to www.radioshack.com and type “Christmas” in the search bar. As of today, the website brings up zero results.

At Radio Shack, you’ll find “holiday” deals, “holiday” kickoff, “holiday” cash and a “holiday” gift guide, but you won’t find “Christmas” anywhere.
Radio Shack is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores.

Until Radio Shack proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio and television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted throughout this Christmas season.

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year. Time for the cultural right to drag out the meme of the non-existent “War On Christmas” and spread the false meme that the biggest holiday on the calendar, the one that is as much a secular holiday devoted to a guy in a red suit riding a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer as it is about the religious story that they prefer, is somehow “under assault” when the truth is that it has become so embedded in our culture that its impossible to escape.  The idea that the holiday is somehow under assault is entirely absurd.

As for the specific case of Radio Shack, outside of the whole question of how exactly the company manages to survive in today’s marketplace, the fact that they don’t use the word Christmas on their website (having not been to a store in years I can’t say what the signage there might say) is completely irrelevant. Whenever I see something like this, I have to wonder whether these people are so weak in their faith that they have to see it reaffirmed by a store best known for selling batteries and cell phones? I’m pretty sure that if Jesus were around he really wouldn’t care about it either way.

In any case, for the moment at least, the new front in the War On Christmas is at your local Radio Shack. As the battle rages on, we’ll provide updates from the front.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tyrell says:

    I don’t know of anyone who even shops there any more. They are a good place to buy my choice of communicatons and main source of news: the CB radio and the shortwave radio.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    Christmas is a made up holiday created by the Roman church to compete with the assorted pagan holidays celebrating the winter solstice. There is nowhere in the Bible that references it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  3. Moosebreath says:

    “I’m pretty sure that if Jesus were around he really wouldn’t care about it either way.”

    I’m pretty sure Jesus would be confused on why his birthday is celebrated during the pagan Saturnalia festival, when he was not born in winter.

    Agreed on the absurdity of War on Christmas protests.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  4. beth says:

    Apologies to John and Yoko:

    And so this is Christmas
    But you won’t say the name
    You say Happy Holidays
    It’s just not the same

    You’ve ruined my Christmas
    I’m sad and I’m pissed
    Let’s take all the lights down
    Let’s return all the gifts

    War on Christmas – if you want it
    War on Christmas – if you want it

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  5. grumpy realist says:

    What do people buy at Radio Shack any more aside from voltmeters and batteries? And I’m not so sure about the batteries, either.

    They did seem to be the only place that had tiny travel alarm clocks….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. de stijl says:

    @Tyrell:

    I don’t know of anyone who even shops there any more.

    Reminds me of the apocryphal Pauline Kael quote about Nixon’s victory:

    “I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him.”

    (She never actually said this, but try telling that to a right leaning blogger or pundit; it’s now an article of faith.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  7. Ben says:

    I still go to radio shack relatively often, and thank go they’re there. I do quite a bit of tinkering with electronics, and they’re the best place to go grab parts (diodes, capacitors, fuses, etc) when I don’t have time to wait for an internet order. Also they’re one of the best places to go for weird connectors and adaptors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    In the past year???
    Memory sticks.
    Fire-wires for my iPhone.
    Burnable CD’s and plastic cases.
    I have to say…every-time I go in there (usually around lunch-time) there is at least one other person shopping as well. Always a good sign for a business.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. de stijl says:

    Is there ever an actual measurable effect based upon these “War On Christmas” stories / boycotts? Does this foolishness have an actual impact on sales?

    For a supposedly Christian organization, the AFA certainly seems weirdly attached to the Festivus “Airing Of The Grievances” concept.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  10. john personna says:

    I guess these people live in those isolated parts of the country where the choices seem to be Christianity or nothing? That and Muslims under the bed?

    What ever happened to “a pastor, a priest, and a rabbi walk into a bar?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  11. John Eddy says:

    My favorite part is how they seem to be confusing ‘censorship’ with ‘not using the word’.

    I note they also don’t use the word Giraffe in their ad.

    RADIO SHACK IS CENSORING THE WORD GIRAFFE!!!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  12. C. Clavin says:

    This is just one more in a long list of reasons (certainly not the most important) why Republicans should no longer be taken seriously.
    They literally have nothing…nothing…meaningful to offer modern society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  13. mattbernius says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Christmas is a made up holiday created by the Roman church to compete with the assorted pagan holidays celebrating the winter solstice. There is nowhere in the Bible that references it.

    (Pedanticism on)
    Every Holiday is made up
    (Pedanticism off)

    More on point, Christmas was, for most of the history of the Church, a lesser holiday at best (unlike Easter). So, for example, when Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol”, Scrooge was not all that out of line in not granting Bob Cratchit the day off. Christmas only really began to become “Christmas” in the wake of the Civil War and during the Victorian era in the UK.

    And without a doubt, the Gift Giving/Commercial aspect of it was in no small part helpful in growing its popularity. And again, Max Weber can pick up the rest of the story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  14. john personna says:

    BTW, related:

    NRCC’s “Happy Holidays Is What Liberals Say” Shirt Removed From Website

    It’s all about enforcing a national Christianity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  15. gVOR08 says:

    Longer ago than I care to admit, when I was a little kid in ND, before the AF bases came in there probably weren’t five hundred Jews and two Muslims in the whole state. A lot of businesses put up “Happy Holidays” signs. Just a matter of saving the cost and hassle of changing signs between Christmas and New Years. (It was bloody cold to be mucking with outdoor signs.) Sometimes even carried it back to Thanksgiving.

    And apropos of nothing, I saw a great bumper sticker last week:

    How Would Jesus Drive? He’d probably pay attention to the road and not drive like an asshat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  16. Steve V says:

    @john personna: Gawd. But don’t accuse them of being in an echo chamber.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  17. john personna says:

    Seriously, remember that this “war” not only ignores “lesser” religions within the US, but also comes at a time when [we] are tailing off real wars (which we didn’t want to call crusades) against terrorists (who we are happy to call Muslim extremists).

    American Christian Fundamentalism does not have very open or nonviolent tendencies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  18. C. Clavin says:

    @john personna:
    I’d buy that…and wear it with pride.
    Even better if it said “Happy F’ing Holidays”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  19. CB says:

    @mattbernius:

    The Weber reference just flew right over my head, but now I’m curious…care to expand just a little?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. john personna says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I like the humility of wishing someone the best for their religious (or secular) holiday. I mean, it may not be yours, but who are you to say …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Pinky says:

    I wouldn’t say that Christmas was ever a minor holiday for Christians. It was the beginning of the Christmas season, followed by the Feast of the Epiphany 12 days later, which commemorates the arrival of the magi. In the Eastern tradition, this was an occasion for gift-giving.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. de stijl says:

    My Google-fu may be not be optimal, but I do not see any studies that even try to measure the effect of “War On Christmas” boycotts. C’mon Yglesias or Drum – quantify this stuff!

    In the absence of any actual data, I’m inclined to just ignore these perpetually aggrieved folks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  23. Moosebreath says:

    @mattbernius:

    “Christmas only really began to become “Christmas” in the wake of the Civil War and during the Victorian era in the UK.”

    My understanding was that Christmas became what we think of “Christmas” due to the influx of Germans who came to the US following the failed Revolution of 1848 keeping their customs, which became adopted by the wider community once the Germans became sufficiently influential following the Civil War.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Christians be humble? Oh, I don’t think that’s going to work. I mean, sure, if there were anything about humility in the Bible, then maybe.

    Oh, wait, here’s 100 freaking Bible verses about humility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  25. C. Clavin says:

    @john personna:
    well yeah…of course.
    as i rarely know…and never even care…what another persons orientation is…happy holidays is the perfect out.
    happy f’ing holidays…that’s just the grinch in me rearing it’s ugly head.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  26. rudderpedals says:

    Season’s beatings will continue until you’re joyful and happy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  27. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m extraordinarily proud of my humility. I’m the greatest humble person that has ever thought about being humble.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  28. mattbernius says:

    @Pinky:

    I wouldn’t say that Christmas was ever a minor holiday for Christians.

    I guess it all depends on how you define “minor.” And what period of the Church you look at.

    As you note, Epiphany was far more important than Christmas. At best Christmas was celebrated by a small “feast” (for lack of a less opulent word) in the same way that a small “feast” marks the beginning of different cycles. It definitely wasn’t the hallmark of mainstream Christian culture that it today. Nor was it the highlight of the “Christmas Season” (again that was Epiphany).

    For a good summary of Christmas’ evolution, the Wiki page on the subject is pretty solid:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_controversy
    (it also shows how the “War on Christmas has been fought for, depending on where you start, either 50+ or 300+ years)

    @Moosebreath, there’s no single source for Christmas’s rise in popularity. Given that said rise happened around the same point in a number of different locals, trying to pin down a single cause or group of individuals responsible is highly unlikely. That said, German immigrants most likely did play a not-insignificant role in the process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Rafer Janders says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Christmas is a made up holiday

    Um, all holidays are made-up holidays. It’s not like any of them actually exist in the state of nature….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. mattbernius says:

    @CB:

    The Weber reference just flew right over my head, but now I’m curious…care to expand just a little?

    Weber argues in “Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” that select Protestant (in particular Calvinist) values helped create the success of modern capitalism. Weber goes on to argue that while some values were transposed from Calvinism to capitalism, the two lost connection with capitalistic values coming to supersede Christian values.

    Hence what began as being successful in order to lead a more godly life becomes being successful to accumulate more wealth.

    For the purposes of this argument, way the very capitalistic aspects of the holiday that led to its popularization, also led to it becoming increasingly non-secular and about the (buying and) giving of gifts versus the “real” meaning of Christmas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. Grewgills says:

    Want proof? Go to http://www.radioshack.com and type “Christmas” in the search bar. As of today, the website brings up zero results.

    I was curious, so I went to the Radio Shack page and typed Christmas into the search bar and was given several pages of gift suggestions. I am SHOCKED that the AFA would LIE, SHOCKED I tell you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  32. de stijl says:

    The Reason for the Season is profits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. M. Bouffant says:

    @mattbernius:

    (Pedanticism on)
    Every Holiday is made up
    (Pedanticism off)

    The Fourth of July was “made up?” (Actually, I guess it was; wasn’t most of the signing really done in August of 1776?)

    WWI didn’t end on 11 November 1918?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. Ron Beasley says:

    @de stijl: I spent 2 Christmas seasons in Germany and one in Japan. Japan was by far the craziest – consumerism on steroids.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. grumpy realist says:

    Somewhere I seem to remember that the Puritans didn’t celebrate Xmas, considering it a pagan holiday tacked on to Christianity by those godless Catholics.

    I’d prefer whatever-it-is being celebrated as a religious holiday if only that will allow the broadcasting of traditional songs like Transeamus, Tochter von Zion, and Still, still, still rather than umpteen repetitions of A Little Drummer Boy and Jingle Bells.

    P.S. Get Ivan Rebroff singing Still, Still, Still. The human voice shouldn’t be able to DO that!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. JKB says:

    Oh, sure the cultural right or more precisely, the religious right doing fundraising, bring this up, but the only time I experienced the “war on Christmas’ was in DC and the lady pushing it was Jewish. No Christmas tree in a federal office since it was religious. Really? That would surprise the Baptists who’d been complaining forever about the secularization of Christmas. What was the name of the idiotic woman atheist who was always causing trouble in the ’70s?

    Plus, as bonus, one Christmas season, Kensington, Maryland banned Santa from their “Holiday” parade because he was a Christian symbol. Okay, they may have only said religious. Now that was hilarious. All it got them was a bigger crowd, half dressed as Santa Claus.

    Now the funny thing is, for all the whining on all sides, none opt out and just work like its any other time of year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  37. Todd says:

    It’s awfully tempting to start wishing everyone I bump into “Happy Holidays” just to see who will get mad. But then I’d be just as much of a “missing the point” type of asshat as those “Christmas warriors”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Actually, the whole pine tree thing was supposedly swiped from the worship of Atis. And Santa Claus being Christian….? Um….certainly not until relatively recently….

    (One of my friends swears he actually did see the notorious crucified Santa Claus image in Japan. It was on a poster ad for the Parco department store.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. JKB says:

    @grumpy realist:

    That’s what I mean. The whole thing has gotten ridiculous all around. I think we should just call the whole thing off and spend our money on ourselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. Grewgills says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And Santa Claus being Christian….? Um….certainly not until relatively recently….

    Saint Nicholas has always been Christian. He was a Turkish bishop. His saint’s day is Dec 6, which has its own gift giving tradition. A fair bit of pagan bits have been added on, as is the case with virtually all Christian holidays.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. al-Ameda says:

    Oh for Christ’s sake

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  42. Woody says:

    As the battle rages on, we’ll provide updates from the front

    “Sarge! Just heard Bing Crosby warble Happy Holidays outside a Radio Shack at Main Street Mall!”

    “Great job, Kid. Get Rocko, Tex, Longshanks and Lucky. We’re goin’ in!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. Rafer Janders says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    The Fourth of July was “made up?” (Actually, I guess it was; wasn’t most of the signing really done in August of 1776?)

    Well, yeah. First, the very notion of “dates” and a calendar is made up; second, the concept of a July Fourth holiday with fireworks, parades, barbecues, etc. is indeed made up (we don’t, for example, similarly celebrate the ratification of the Constitution). The historical event is real, commemorating it with a federal holiday is made up by people.

    WWI didn’t end on 11 November 1918?

    It did, but turning that into the Veteran’s Day holiday is made up. Again, we don’t have holidays for the end of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWII, the Korean War, etc. etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  44. Argon says:

    Keep f*****g that chicken, American Family Association.

    The more they talk the less influence they get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  45. Rafer Janders says:

    @Grewgills:

    He was a Turkish bishop.

    Well, to get pedantic, he was a Greek bishop from an area that is modern-day Turkey but that was, when he was alive in the 3rd and 4th centuries, a Greek area of Anatolia. Turks didn’t even exist as a people at that time, and didn’t enter that part of the world until over a thousand years after St. Nicholas died.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. wr says:

    @JKB: “The whole thing has gotten ridiculous all around. I think we should just call the whole thing off and spend our money on ourselves. ”

    You know, I really thought you would be defined for all time for your recent explanation that all work is hell, and that the best thing to do was amass enough money so that one could run away from work forever, thus proving that a home and a family were nothing but traps designed to steal your freedom.

    But this new one is so perfect, so redolent of the miserable, lonely old man Ebeneezer Scrooge… well, you’ve outdone yourself.

    If you are a troll spoofing us all, I must congratulate you for this brilliant performance. If you’re for real, I just wonder how you manage to get out of bed in the morning knowing how pointless every single human pleasure is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  47. rudderpedals says:

    The significance of 11/11 is the Armistice. Other countries call it Armistice Day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Pinky says:

    @rudderpedals: The significance of 11/11 is Martinmas, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, the patron saint of soldiers. Another Christian saint whose feast day was secularized, but at least it was for a good cause. St. Martin is so popular across Europe, including in France and Germany, that his day was chosen for the armistice as a respectful gesture to all the soldiers of the War.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  49. maggie says:

    actually since there are several religious and ethnic celebrations during this period that I am aware of , Kwanzaa, Yom Kippur, a muslim one that I cannot spell, besides Christmas. So wouldn’t “Happy Holidays” or Holiday Sales be a more appropriate way for retailers to advertise to get the biggest piece of the sales during this time of year???? The only retailer I am aware of who makes a big deal about Christianity is Hobby Lobby, and you better believe when it comes to making a buck, he loses his religion!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. Mr. Replica says:


    Happy Holidays.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  51. Moosebreath says:

    @maggie:

    “Yom Kippur”

    No, that’s typically in September or early October. You’re thinking of Hanukkah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. mattbernius says:

    @Pinky:
    Can you suggest some scholarly sources to back up the claim that the date was specifically chosen to coincide with Martinmas?

    From what I understand the final WWI Armistice negotiations occurred at a very fast rate (as the Germans were attempting to avoid an internal revolution).

    It seems that the fact it coincided with Martinmas was more luck (albeit some can say Divine Intervention) than any intentional planning. And a quick internet search doesn’t provide much to disabuse that notion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. anjin-san says:

    When are conservatives going to call for a boycott on Fox? After all, “Fox & Friends” has joined the war on Christmas:

    Fox & Friends Saturday turns Benedict Arnold in war on Christmas

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  54. MarkedMan says:

    Tyrell, CB and Shortwave for news? Hmm. Years ago I lived overseas before the WWW days and listened to a lot of short wave. Once in a while while spinning around the dial i would come upon some of the crazy right wing survivalist racist shows, and remember hearing Pat Buchanan on them, very carefully not saying anything racist himself but grunting approvingly at the incredibly racist comments (“mud people” level racism) from he crazy hosts. Is that the type of shortwave news you are getting?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. rudderpedals says:

    @Pinky: Cool, I didn’t know that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Franklin says:

    Hmm, guess I’ll have to find one to go shop at. Thanks for the idea, “conservatives”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. pylon says:

    @rudderpedals: unless they call it Remembrance Day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. sam says:

    @mattbernius:

    the very capitalistic aspects of the holiday that led to its popularization, also led to it becoming increasingly non-secular and about the (buying and) giving of gifts versus the “real” meaning of Christmas.

    From one of America’s greatest cultural observers: Stan Freberg, Green Christmas. See the wiki page for the reaction from the ad world. A taste: “Robert Wood (then station manager of KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, later president of CBS), told Freberg the record was ‘sacrilegious’ and he didn’t need to hear it because he had read about it.”

    I suppose from a certain point of view, it is sacrilegious — if your god is Mammon, that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. dennis says:

    Well, guess I’m going to Radio Shack to buy some stuff. You know; that ol’ spiteful thingy…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1