It’s Christmas day.
No doubt you and Sandra are hosting another Christmas celebration at Owlings Manor. Young and old, extended family and work family. All those work orphans you’ve managed to collect over the years.
All your own fault, you know. It’s what happens when you have a policy of hiring the children of divorced couples. Always eager to please, eager to work any hours, holidays be damned. Anything to garner the love of a father.
Stepfathers like me don’t really count. My stepson, Anna’s son, hasn’t spoken to me in years. Ostensibly because of my work with BP and supposedly ruining the planet for future generations. Of course he still accepts my money for his son’s private school fees. It started as as gift for his son’s first term at primary school. It’s now become a family tradition.
You’d think after Anna’s death my sins would be forgiven. Apparently not. He lives in Fitzroy with his partner and son. I should reach out, let him know I’m back in Australia. Back in Melbourne.
So many things I should do. Like help at a soup kitchen today instead of wandering about the hotel foyer. Do something gracious for the disadvantaged in the spirit of Christmas.
Although not like Rishi volunteering at a shelter for a photo op and asking a homeless man whether he worked in business. Then bragged about his own background in the finance industry. These modern conservatives can’t help themselves. No sense of noblesse oblige. Just one-upping everyone, even the poor. To their face. No shame.
Homelessness has become an industry. Governments of all stripes pledging to help those sleeping rough but doing nothing about it. Here in Melbourne there are more than 300 registered charities to help the homeless. One of the chief executives is on an annual salary of half a million dollars. Solving homelessness would put him out of a job. Maybe even make him homeless. Wouldn’t that be ironic?
I often wonder why the homeless don’t set up camp outside parliament house so everyone can see their plight, so politicians can see their shame. So the middle class can see their own disgrace.
It must be horrible to be homeless in the cold. Winter blizzards are crashing across America. Once in a generation snow storms are ripping through much of the country. Rolling power outages while the temperature plummets to minus forty degrees Celsius. People are burning their clothes to try and stay warm. To try and stay alive.
Meanwhile in Australia the heat is set to soar to forty degrees Celsius, the temperature at which most everyone in England - particularly white people - immolate.
Heatwaves barely register in the media because they’re not very dramatic. They’re not a flood or fire. They don’t destroy real estate. Just the people inside.
Most houses are poorly and cheaply designed. They’re not built to cope with climate change. An average house becomes an oven after a three-day heatwave. There’s more mortality and morbidity from heat than fires and floods. Heat stress causes loss of salt and water in sweat, causing haemoconcentration which increases coronary and cerebral thrombosis. It’s not a particularly pleasant way to die.
Although not as unpleasant as being crushed to death in a stampede of frenzied shoppers rushing as the doors open on Boxing Day sales. It’s bizarre that everyone goes mad for three weeks leading up to Christmas, overspending on gifts and food and drink to celebrate the birth of a man who admonished his followers against greed and overconsumption. Warned that there is no life in an abundance of possessions.
Even funnier to consider that Jesus wasn’t even born on December 25. The date is never mentioned in the bible. The apostles and early Christians didn’t celebrate his birth.
It was the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325AD who declared December 25 as the official bithdate and celebration of Jesus Christ.
December 25 was already a pagan holiday enjoyed by millions of Romans, a civic holiday that marked the return of longer days after the winter solstice. It followed the popular Roman festival called the Saturnalia where people feasted and exchanged gifts. December 25 was also the birthday of the Indo-European deity Mithra, a god of light and loyalty whose cult was at the time growing popular among Roman soldiers.
Emperor Constantine managed to weaken established and growing pagan beliefs and celebrations with a singular Christianity. A fusion of the church and state.
Whoever controls the story controls everything.