Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holidays Created by Start-up Religions to Compete With Christmas

America is as known for its many Christianities as it is its democracy. But did you know we have religions besides our various Christianities that believe more or less the same thing but still somehow resent each other? It's true! The most famous example is "Mormonism," whose followers believe in the divinity of Jesus but any real Christian will tell you that this in itself is not proof of Christianity so much as a cynical conceit. Mormonism was founded by an albino gadabout named Joseph Smith (of the Vermont Smiths), who, like most other religion founders, used little boys as fucktoys and little girls as cannon fodder. He was a sick, sick, enterprising, brilliant man. Besides founding the tabernacle choir - a collection of eunuchs from the vast expanses of Michigan who are known for both their angelic voices and their craven subservience - Smith is perhaps best known for creating a holiday to rival Christmas. Instead of celebrating December 25th as the birth of the lord, Smith has his followers celebrate on January 8, or the day that Jesus first set foot in America. Instead of exchanging gifts, Mormon families would bake loaves of white bread and craft effigies of indians and bash their skulls in. Then, the pan-flute contests. Always with the pan-flutes.

But we have other religions, TAX EXEMPT and myriad as the seas!

Founded by Henry Ford, the Autobots believe that inside every car lurks a machine man who will reveal himself and will have a specialized power according to his model. Ambulances will be healers, semi cabs for some reason will say everything melodramatically, and Porsches will be jive-talking minstrel-type figures. In 1964, a contingent of Autobots sought to force the man out of the machine by taking sleeping pills and driving toward a cliff, necessitating life-saving action on the part of these robots-in-disguise. There were no survivors.

Optimus Primas
The Autobots celebrated the holiday on December 25. Families would gather in the garage on the evening of December 24 to sleep, leaving the car on in belief (according to Ford's prophecy) that the robot-men would come to life over-night.

Sean Penn
In 1986, Sean Penn created a religion with the expressed intent that only he would follow it. Over twenty years later, this secretive religion (some say it started as a practical joke and became something much more... devotional) is apparently still going strong. Religious rights activists say that if you were at all familiar with Sean Penn's religion, Penn's antisocial behavior would seem totally understandable, even banal.

Little is known about Pennmas, but we do know it exists, and that it holds a very special meaning to Sean Penn.

Six Sigma
Designed to improve manufacturing processes and eliminate defects, Six Sigma started as a management technique at Motorola and was quickly adapted by other companies. It is not surprising that six MBA students at Marquette University tried to adapt it into a religion. Nor is it surprising that interest in the efficiency-worshipping religion waned almost as quickly as it was established. Or that the six students were summarily convicted of tax fraud.

Six Sigma Days of Christmas
Always taking place immediately after finals week at Marquette, the Six Sigma Days of Christmas were really just an excuse to gather around a laptop computer to drink beer and watch Internet pornography.

The Catholic League
Catholic League President William Donahue, disgusted with the ongoing commercialisation of Christmas, decided to make a separate and distinct Christmas, free of pagan Christmas trees and Christ-obscuring presents.


Catholic members celebrate Christmas by telling their family members who still celebrate Christmas that they are destroying Christmas. It is a time honored tradition for them to respond to a wish of happy holidays by saying, "Fuck you."

The Universal Incrementalists

This tedious time-worshipping religion has enjoyed varying levels of popularity for more than four decades, after it was founded by music journalists who believed Bob Dylan when he, in a typical bit of methamphetamine-fueled press-baiting, said he was a Universal Incrementalist. When pressed by a member of the press corps to explain Universal Incrementalism, Dylan ignored the question, re-lit his cigarette, and pulled out a giant novelty boxing glove. The reporters laughed, one by one, desperate to fit in.

The Planeternational Be-In

Joined by a game Allen Ginsberg, music journalists celebrated their most successful Planeternational Be-In in 1971 at a HoJo in Dublin, Ohio. At that Be-In, they started the tradition of proclaiming rock and roll irrelevant and insisting that they admired country music's sincerity.


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