Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Very Merry Xmas to You All

As it is that time of year again, POP! Public Relations wishes you and yours the happiest of Holidays and a wonderful New Year.

Well, I guess I do also have a different take on the holidays than Dave Winer, as well. Even if you know people are being fake and nice merely because it is the Christmas season, what's so bad about that? At least we get a week of people being friendly to each other, and the overall feeling of goodwill to all men and women. I'll take that one week happily, and hope others can do the same.

Speaking of XMas, though, it is interesting to read the stories on the War on Christmas. Like this one in the New Yorker, each article makes a purpose to note the history behind Henry Ford's personal war, and his anti-Semitism.
The War on Christmas seems to have come along around a hundred years later, with the publication of “The International Jew,” by Henry Ford, the automobile magnate, whom fate later punished by arranging to have his fortune diverted to the sappy, do-gooder Ford Foundation. “It is not religious tolerance in the midst of religious difference, but religious attack that they”—the Jews—“preach and practice,” he wrote. “The whole record of the Jewish opposition to Christmas, Easter and certain patriotic songs shows that.” Ford’s anti-Semitism has not aged well, thanks to the later excesses of its European adherents, but by drawing a connection between Christmasbashing and patriotism-scorning he pointed the way for future Christmas warriors.
Now, having lived in Detroit, Motor City, the birthplace of Ford Motor Company, etc ... I know how philanthropic and good the Ford family has been to various causes in the city, including Jewish ones. But, how does Ford the company - and the family, which owns the Detroit Lions among other things - combat the personal history and views (and, well, racism) of its founder?

It is an interesting conundrum for Ford - and a small PR crisis for the company and family. How do you separate the past from the present, when the past seems to come up at the most inopportune times?
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