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  1. #1
    Fear and Arrogance jrrl's Avatar
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    Secularity?
    Time for my dumb question of the week.

    On my main site, over the last year, I have a photo up by the title that changes each month. Often the picture is something relevant (perhaps only vaguely) to the month. In July, I had fireworks. In November, a bonfire (penny for the Guy?).

    So here we are at December and I need to figure out what to put there. Luckily, tis the season, so plenty of possibilities suggest themselves.

    Enter my wife with the suggestion that I go for something just wintery, not Christmassy, as the non-Christmas-celebrators might get offended. Now, she is actually much more of a Christmas person than me (her Catholic upbringing having penetrated deeper than my Episcopal one); I even usually go out of my way to find "Peace on Earth" or "Happy Holiday" cards instead of "Merry Christmas" ones.

    In October, she successfully dissuaded me from putting anything specifically Halloweeny. Again, not because she dislikes Halloween. In fact, it is her personal favorite holiday of the year. But the concern was that some potential customers/readers might be a bit reactionary. She has much more of a marketing background than I do (she is a graphic designer; I'm a geek), so went along with the suggestion at the time.

    But Christmas is freakin' huge. It is arguably not even a religious holiday to a large extent in the US.

    So, what (if anything) do others do with their sites? How large is the benefit (if any) of secularity?

    Thanks.

    -John.
    There's a reason army's wear uniforms even though it makes them easier to spot. Sometimes that's what you want. Uniforms suggest organization, power, and numbers. These, in turn, inspire fear. And, as any good operative knows, there is no more effective weapon than fear.

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  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    You'll probably offend just as many people (if not more) by making it secular.

    You probably offended some Brits with your fireworks celebrating Independence Day.

    I would do what you feel is right. There's nothing wrong with featuring the holidays you celebrate. If you were Jewish, I wouldn't be offended by a picture of a menorah on your site in honor of Hanukkah.
    Michael Coley
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  3. #3
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    You could put a pic up of a mall type scene with plenty of lights. Everyone goes to the malls regardless of secularity, so it's neutral. Or something like a rural scene with a pretty house and snow covering the ground and trees, maybe a sleigh being pulled by a horse. That's also highly seasonal for time of year, yet also isn't secularized.

    I personally think it's more up to the convictions of the site owner. There are certain things I won't put up, based not on any type of dogmatism or militancy, but based on personal background, experience and beliefs.

    There are some who are dead set against any and all secular representations of Christmas, yet I don't know if I'd ever have become a Christian if I hadn't been exposed to the secular symbolism in commercial settings - like the Christmas tags in the five and dime and holiday decorations in all the stores. One of my favorite aunts even had a Christmas tree every year, and the whole, big Jewish family gathered at her house Christmas Eve with festivities and gifts. With immigrant Grandma there, who didn't object one bit - not verbally in front of anyone anyway, as far as I know. I may be the only one in the family who knows and follows "the reason for the season" but that doesn't mean that it in any way affected the appreciation of cultural roots, even down to younger generations.

    You can't possibly please everyone out there, but there can always be two sides to an issue. IMHO, the only way is to go by what feels right and comfortable.
    Last edited by webworker; December 1st, 2006 at 08:03 PM.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    jrrl,
    You're screwed no matter what you do. There's just no way to please everybody. So do whatever makes you happy!

    This couple out in Colorado was fined $25 a day by their homeowners association because they hung a wreath on their house in the shape of a peace symbol!!! Some of her neighbors thought it was a Satanic symbol (are they dropping acid?!) and others thought it was an anti-Iraq war protest.

    http://news.findlaw.com/ap/o/632/11-...1171ec14f.html

    Actually, the board just resigned (and here's an image of the wreath):

    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Heh, I've always thought 'homeowners association' was an oxymoron.
    The 'homeowners' part of the phrase.

  6. #6
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    How about a wreath with blue and silver baubles/ornaments on it?
    That's what my apartment building has in the lobby.
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  7. #7
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Quite obviously, for the sake of secularity during this theistically oppressive holiday season and to make sure to offend most of the population (or at least make some of them laugh knowingly), you should include the emblem of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on your website. Pastafarians Unite!



  8. #8
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    The safe way is to go neutral with snowflakes and a red ribbon or something.
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  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    If you're going to bother changing your site, put something up that reminds people to BUY stuff!

    Do people go out and buy stuff to celebrate Winter?!
    NO--or at least, not enough to bother hounding after (Sorry SSanf).

    Do people buy CHRISTMAS presents, even if they're not Christians?
    YES

    It makes sense to remind them that they ought to be shopping for Christmas presents now.
    That said, Santa graphics and the like are more commercial and are therefore probably more likely to induce buying than something more blatantly religious. But snowflakes ain't It. (Unless you've got a huge ski bum visitorship or some other collection of nuts...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Coley
    You'll probably offend just as many people (if not more) by making it secular.
    You've got that right! Personally I do HATE obviously de-religiousized "Holiday" displays. I'm not out shopping to celebrate New Year!

    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Quite obviously, for the sake of secularity during this theistically oppressive holiday season and to make sure to offend most of the population (or at least make some of them laugh knowingly), you should include the emblem of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on your website. Pastafarians Unite!

    He'd better keep his noodly appendage away from any site trying to sell stuff for Christmas, that's for sure...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  10. #10
    Fear and Arrogance jrrl's Avatar
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    Finally reached a decision. I will do the experiment! Five different images, chosen based on the ip address of the visitor. Each visitor will always see the same thing while on the same connection. The photos are a winter scene, a present, snowflakes, some paper star lights, and mistletoe.

    Remind me in January and I'll let people know which sells best or least. Not scientific at all, but if mistletoe kicks everything else's butt, we can argue something!

    I think my main problem with all of this is that both my wife and I are very tolerant of, well, just about anything, as are most of our friends and families, so people being offended by my choice of picture (within taste boundaries) is somewhat alien to me. That said, I do recognize that such attitudes do exist in non-small quantities in the world (and here in the US even moreso ). I think my wife and I just differ in terms of how pervasive it is and how much it influences people's behaviors. Oh well...

    Thanks all.

    -John.
    There's a reason army's wear uniforms even though it makes them easier to spot. Sometimes that's what you want. Uniforms suggest organization, power, and numbers. These, in turn, inspire fear. And, as any good operative knows, there is no more effective weapon than fear.

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  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrrl
    The photos are a winter scene, a present, snowflakes, some paper star lights, and mistletoe.
    Forgot to mention this earlier: candy canes
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  12. #12
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Throw up a Santa, throw up some snow. Too many people are politically correct and even those who are anti christmas are offended with Merry Christmas being replaced with Happy Holidays.

  13. #13
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardwareGeek
    Throw up a Santa, throw up some snow. Too many people are politically correct and even those who are anti christmas are offended with Merry Christmas being replaced with Happy Holidays.
    You said it well
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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