Q. What do you call a group of Bobby Fischer fans bragging about their opening gambits in a hotel lobby?
A. Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.
If you’re still with me, there’s a reason that old joke came to mind: Even in a season devoted to gift-giving and Salvation Army kettles, sometimes things aren’t what they seem.
Bobby Fischer, if you didn’t know, was an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. He fits with toddler-tune troubador “Raffi” Cavoukian’s embrace of the Occupy movement as one of the most perplexing and head-scratching “whaaaa?” figures of my lifetime. (Cat Stevens, the “Peace Train” singer who later became a Wahabbi Muslim, is another. He famously said in 1989 that he wished for “Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie to be burned alive instead of in mere effigy.)
So why all this talk of secretly sinister public figures just a week before the world’s most celebrated birthday? Apparently every American who has been critical of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is a closeted white supremacist.
Don’t take my word for it. In a lengthy profile on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times, the embattled Holder played the race card against the “more extreme segment” of conservatives complaining about his oversight of a truly disturbing government program that put thousands of firearms in the hands of Mexican drug lords.
“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder told the Times, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”
California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa? Racist.
The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle, who has been reporting on the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal more than the rest of the news media combined? Huge bigot.
The family of Brian Terry, the U.S. Border Patrol agent murdered with one of those guns? Skinheads.
Oh, and you’d better lump in the 85 members of Congress who have either called for Holder’s resignation or signed on to a “no confidence” resolution, plus two sitting governors and pretty much the entire GOP presidential field. Klansmen, all of ’em.
You thought this was going to be a column about congressmen who aren’t allowed to use government funds to wish voters “Merry Christmas,” didn’t you?
If that’s what you crave, who am I to say no? Here’s a whirlwind tour through my “War on Christmas” top ten list.
10. Bat-wielding vandals in Fairfax Station, Va., were caught on surveillance video destroying a Christmas display that included “seven inflatable decorations, 15 figurines, a large train, and 10,000 lights.”
9. A whopping 150 websites were caught selling counterfeit merchandise to Christmas shoppers.
8. North Korea has threatened to retaliate against South Korea for lighting up a Christmas tree-shaped tower near the border zone. (Now that Kim Jong Il is dead, of course, the threat will be carried out by his son and successor, Menta Lee Il.)
7. A two-fer: Johnny Depp provided vocals to a British pop song that casts Jesus Christ as a booze-swilling car thief who frequents far too many bachelor parties. And Reuters mocked Christian groups for complaining.
6. Weirdos in China plan to kill an oddly specific 1,314 cats on Christmas Eve, in tribute to an online chat group called — you guessed it — “Abuse and kill cats.” (There’s no truth to the rumor that PETA sent a congratulatory tweet.)
5. Protesters in Ottawa, Canada, say local schools are forbidding students from wishing each other “Merry Christmas.”
4. Stockholm’s Swedish Army Museum is selling Christmas tree ornaments shaped like little hand grenades. No word on whether it was a subtle tribute to Alfred Nobel, since his eponymous Peace Prize has lost its luster in recent years.
3. A post office in Silver Spring, Md. recently told a group of Christmas carolers to cease and desist. One festive singer told reporters that a postal employee said: “You can’t go into Congress and sing and you can’t do it here either.” (But they were welcome, of course, to buy Kwanzaa stamps to help close the USPS’s $14 billion budget gap.)
2. The out-of-control explosion of iPhone apps has just crossed a new line of idiocy. Tired of putting slips of paper into a hat to draw “Secret Santa” names in your office? There’s an app for that. (The Daily Caller’s iPhone app, however, is an example of all that’s right and good about the Internet. And we’re super-tolerant of other faiths, too, including Android.)
1. Last week in Washington, D.C. suburbia, the Loudoun County, Va. courthouse became home to a garish holiday display: a skeleton wearing a Santa suit, draped over a cross. And in a strange Christmas miracle, a woman who dismantled it in full view of news cameras wasn’t arrested.
There you have it. Sorry I didn’t make room for Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee’s “holiday tree lighting,” but I couldn’t find Rhode Island on a map so I wasn’t sure it was still one of our 57 states. Similarly, the athiests who are busy taking over the Christmas displays in Santa Monica, Calif. with “Happy Solstice” signs couldn’t be reached for comment.
Truth be told, I never called them. I was too busy taking Eric Holder off of my non-sectarian holiday card list.
One last bit of housekeeping: Last week’s column included a fun Easter egg that absolutely no one seemed to notice. The entire essay was a giant acrostic, using the first letter of each paragraph. The Daily Caller had planned to give away $1 million to the first reader who spotted it before Tim Tebow was unmasked as a mere mortal. Looks like you’re all out of luck.
David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter