Monthly Archives: December 2013

Two Snow Whites Dream

I had a weird dream last night.

 

I was working at a design firm.  It was my first day.  I was the only male and the youngest employee.  Everyone else was a woman over 45.

I was working on a project involving a firm and resolute Snow White from just above the navel and up, holding her right hand in a fist, arm fully extended.  It was as if she held some sort of unseen staff.  She was breaking out of a parallelogram and into the white gutter.  The top of her dress was blue with red accents on the shoulders and a red ribbon mere inches below her breast line, separating the dress from the skirt, which was slightly darker and desaturated orange.  There was no color to her skin, save the red on her lips, and no detail in the black of her hair.  The sky matched the skirt of her dress.

I had some other completed images and forgot to cite the source of some royalty-free stock.  (I was also in trouble for another reason.  One image used totally modest stock of a person, but my co-workers believed that the original stock must’ve contained “naughty bits” that I had to have cropped out.  I was in trouble for not putting the nonexistent “naughty bits” into a shared company junk folder.)

After I found the source and was bringing the information to my supervisor, I passed through a gallery.  And not a neat, sparse gallery with one picture hung every couple of yards or so.  It was one of those delightfully chaotic galleries where pictures of every size and shape are crammed into every spare inch from floor to ceiling.

A song began that I only barely remember and can only describe as bizarre.  The pictures began to switch with other pictures, some similar, some not.  I did not see the process of the swapping.  It had the overall effect of stop-motion animation.  There was a story to it.

The picture at my eye level center at the end of the short entry hall to the gallery had a matte frame inside the outer frame.  The matte separated the interior space of the frame in two.  The diptych in the two halves depicted two Snow Whites.  The one on my right was the Disney version.  The one on my left was the public domain version.  The Disney version despised the mere existence of the public domain version.  (Nevermind the fact that the public domain version came first and that the Disney version would not have existed with out the public domain one).  This resentment grew in the Disney version until, in a flash of lightning, the Disney one became evil.

She and her background lost their color except for purple, white,  black, and gray (there was some red too, but only in one feature.  We’ll get to that in a bit.)  Gone was the peaceful countryside behind her.  It was replaced by a barren cliff and a foreboding stone tower in the distance, accessible only by a narrow, jagged path.  The sun was now hidden by a blanket of cloud.  The Disney Snow White bore her teeth in a demented grin.  Her ruby red lips were a stark contrast to her paper-white teeth and skin.  Her eyes were wide.  She faced the side containing the public domain Snow White with a dagger in her right hand, raised to strike, while her left clutched her dress.  (she may also have added a cloak of some kind to her outfit, but I’m fuzzy on that detail).

The public domain Snow White began to run away with a scream of terror on her face, though no audible scream was heard.  The other pictures reacted in shock.  I then continued down the gallery.  The ever-changing pictures continued the story as I went.

The Disney Snow White chased the public domain one as they hopped pictures.  Some tried to hide the public domain Snow White.  Others ran.  Still others watched in horror.  I lost  track of the Snow Whites.

Then a picture caught my eye, as it did not change with the others.  It was to my left in the gallery hall and quartered by a matte.  The lower left quarter contained an image that appeared to be the back of Snow White’s head.  But which one?  Then the picture began to change.  The back of her head began to narrow along the vertical.  An avian face appeared, a crow perhaps?  Then the sides widened back out to normal width and the avian face was a black owl of some kind.  The head turned and it was the evil Snow White.  I turned behind and  followed her wicked gaze.  The good Snow White was on the wall behind me.  With a frightened start she began to run again.

As the chase began anew, I was awakened from my slumber.

Happy What?

Gah!  The debate over whether or not to say, “Merry Christmas!” or, “Happy Holidays!” rages on in good health.  Tiring, isn’t it?

The heart of the matter is political correctness vs honest opinion.  In the school of political correctness, it is paramount not to offend anyone.  The resultant and ridiculous lengths over which people will walk on eggshells then becomes offensive in and of itself.  And for good reason.

Here in the USA, we have the Constitution of the United States of America that kicks off the portion known as the Bill of Rights with the freedoms of press, speech, and religion all rolled together in the First Amendment.  Coincidence?  No.  Much like Voltron, the Power Rangers’ Megazord, or numerous other interlocking robots from fiction,  these freedoms combine to form one larger freedom.  The freedom of expression.

At the time our Constitution was written, technology was simpler.  The right of free speech gave us the ability to support or criticize our leaders at will to talk to one another on any subject and express ideas regardless of their popularity.  It was most certainly intended to protect dissenting opinions as popular opinion is rarely in need of protection.  The freedom of religion gives us the right to believe as we will, up to and including the belief that what you see is what you get.  Combine these two and we get the right to believe what we want and to spread that belief by telling other people about it.  Additionally, there is the freedom of press.  The press at that time was most literally the printing press.  Aside from performances which were covered under speech, freedom of press was essentially the right to record and distribute those beliefs and opinions en masse.  Combine these three into one and you have the right to express your religion verbally and in recorded form such as writing.

There is little use in denying that many wintertime traditions have religious attachments.  Even secular Christmas traditions are linked to worship (such as consumerism a.k.a. The Church of the Almighty Dollar).  As a result, we live in continual fear of offending anyone of any other faith or, heaven forbid, those who profess to possess no faith at all.  Big.  Freaking.  Whoop.  Every wintertime saying that I’ve encountered is intended to be a warm, friendly greeting.  What is so offensive about that?

If we are to be so paranoid as a society about possibly offending someone that we cannot express a warm friendly greeting from our own holiday of choice, then we deny ourselves the freedom that the First Amendment provides.  In the matter of political correctness vs. honest opinion, as Washington is credited with saying, honesty is the best policy.

The real solution is to reduce or eliminate our own indignation.  I am unashamedly Christian.  That being said, you may wish me Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Saturnalia, or most anything else.  I’ll simply take it as the well-wishing it was meant to be and I’ll offer you a Merry Christmas in return.  Just don’t mash multiple holidays with their own unique histories and traditions into one mishmashed greeting (e.g. Merry Chrismakwanzukkah).  To do so is to overlook or deny the individuality of these holidays and offend the celebrators of each.

Wish me a happy one of your celebration.  Or, if you insist on remaining politically correct, stick to your Happy Holidays.  Just don’t get offended by friendly greetings.

 

Merry Christmas.