The Autumning Empire

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Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Oscar Mania! Your Own Facebook Madlib For The 2013 Academy Awards!


oscarsHere at The Autumning Empire we just love The Oscars – and we know we’re not alone! The stars, the styles, the suspense, and the bulimia: all converge upon a magical night in which the hopes and dreams of a chosen few are fulfilled by Oscar’s magic wand, whilst the remaining losers are forced to grind their sparkling teeth into the grimace of good sportsmanship as they choke back the bitter vitriol of humiliating public defeat. So if you’re like us (and we know you are!) you can’t wait for January 10 when this year’s nominees will be announced. And if you’re exactly like us, you’ll want to head right on over to Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Flickr, MySpace or Friendster the minute those nominees are announced so you can tell the waiting world exactly what you think about them!

But you’d better be ready, and you’d better act fast. When it comes to social media, the buzz of the day is the blink of an eye. That’s why we at The Autumning Empire have provided you with our very own Oscar Madlib Facebook Post! Who knows? You might have something else to do on January 10. Like work.  But with The Autuming Empire’s help, real life’s inconveniences become minor obstacles to be overcome with a flick and a click to your keyboard. So read, copy, and fill in the blanks so that your social media posting can make you…a winner!

My Personal Oscar Facebook Posting


Interjection! I can’t  verb it!  Number between 5 and 29 Oscar nominations! UnknownWay to go name of overrated, uplifting box office behemoth with just enough intellectual stimulation to make educated bourgeois audience members feel like their time was well spent and that everyone knew was going to get nominated! This is definitely established director who takes just enough risks, but not too many ‘s best! Of course, it’ll have adjective  noun from  other overrated box office behemoth ! I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely keeping my body part s verb ending in “ed” !

And hey! Way to go  European person with grey hair  for getting a shot at Best Supporting  trained performing animal you might see in a circus . I’ve been  verb ending in “ing”  gender specific pronoun for years!


CroweI have one complaint and one complaint only: why’d they nominate Russell Crowe ? Oh well, I guess if anyone deserves an 
obscure form of medieval punishment , it’s him. One thing’s for sure, come February 24, I’ll be sitting down with my  group of people you secretly detest  and watching the 85th Annual  ceremony program that arbitrarily confers awards upon film using no coherent standards or criteria ! Ok, Oscar! Let the countdown begin!

David Berkson

December 30, 2012

Don’t forget to “like” The Autumning Empire on Facebook. You can contact David Berkson at, or @DavidBerkson on Twitter.

Always feel free to post a comment and get a discussion going. Keep your remarks civil, but don’t feel bashful about starting a vigorous and healthy debate.


As The Autumning Empire gets ready to celebrate its 1st birthday, we thought we’d republish our very first blog! Read it, enjoy, and have a very Happy Holiday Season!

The Autumning Empire

 Rankin/Bass’s 1964 TV holiday classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has stood the test of time. Indeed, you’ve probably seen it more than once. Perhaps you approach it with joy, and even deep nostalgia as your number of viewings rise into the double digits. Maybe you’ve shared it with your children, and made it an annual holiday family night. And you might even watch it ironically, chortling over its cheesy songs, primitive production values, and ridiculously dated kitsch.

 But after you’ve turned the television off, finished up the eggnog, and hopped into bed, no visions of sugarplums dance in your head. No, something is wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. Like its protagonist, something marks this holiday special as different, aberrant, and even terrifying. So it’s time to stop pretending and face the brutal facts. Some boils disappear of their own accord; Rudolph is one that must be lanced with a sharp…

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An Open Letter to America’s Gun Rights Advocates

My Dear Fellow Americans,

When it comes to being a gun control advocate, I am a living stereotype. Take every preconceived notion you have of what a blue state left-winger might look like, and you’ll pretty much wind up with me. I’m a vegetarian who lives in Portland, Oregon. Like most vegetarians who live in Portland, I voted for Barak Obama. And like most vegetarians who live in Portland and voted for Barak Obama, I have a predictable set of opinions on a number of well-worn issues. I’m concerned about climate change. I obsessively recycle. I drive a fuel-efficient car, but not on the days when I bicycle to work.  My job should come as no surprise either: I teach English Humanities and Theatre at a private 6-12 school located in downtown Portland. I am pro-choice, pro-taxes, pro-government, pro-union, pro-Obamacare, pro-anything on that list that you’d expect from someone who shares my demographic profile. My political biography reads like a checklist; everything on it will fail to surprise. Even my former job as a Christian youth minister fits into the blue state liberal mold: I served and still attend a  church where many of our clergy are openly gay. In September, our rector was married to her partner by Oregon’s bishop within the very halls of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

Knowing all of those things about me, it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine my response to Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children between the ages of five and ten were shot to death with a semi-automatic rifle. 6 adults were also murdered in the massacre. As a west coast liberal, I did everything that you’d expect. I got angry. I got outraged. I got sad. And I cried. I posted on Facebook. I read what other people posted on Facebook. I asked myself how could this happen? I’m not sure if it was the size of the massacre, the age of the children, or the fact that I’ve lost count of the number of American shootings this year (the last one was less than five miles from my own home in Oregon)…

…but, whatever it was, something made the public response to Friday’s events play out with nauseating predictability. At least that’s how it seemed to me: I no longer felt like my own person, but a background character in a sickening tragedy of which I was both participant and observer. Everything that I said and did, and everything that I heard and saw, played out as if written in a script. Then again, I shouldn’t complain: my nine-year old son is still alive. So are my students. In the shadow of all of our massacres, every child I know has somehow, miraculously been spared.

And so I am free to play my scripted part. Even writing about Friday’s tragedy feels like a cliché, including this blog, which is, at best, read by a modest number of people, most of whom (I’m guessing) share my outraged feelings. What are the odds that this message will reach its intended conservative audience? There is, of course, no way of telling, but my hunch is that those odds are incredibly, depressingly slim.

But when faith is all there is, what else can we do but grab? That is why I am writing this letter not to my fellow lefties, but gun owners, and especially gun rights activists like members of the National Rifle Association – anyone, really, who has a stake in keeping our nation’s gun laws exactly the way that they are.

I am not looking for debate. I am not asking you to give up your guns. I am not asking you to stop supporting or defending the Second Amendment. And I’m most definitely not asking you to embrace a left wing ideology that would rob Americans of the right to shoot, hunt, or defend themselves. I am asking for one thing, and one thing only.

I am asking for your help.

I am asking because I believe that it is wrong for children to be murdered. Especially in large numbers in a place of public learning. More than that: I believe that there is something deeply immoral with a country where this kind of atrocity is even remotely possible. My son could have one of those victims. Or one of my students. Or one of your kids. Or you, or me, or anyone who ventures out into the public space that all Americans share. For all that divides us, we are still human beings: fragile, mortal, and deeply connected to the people who surround and love us.

So believe me when I say that I have no interest whatsoever in changing your mind about gun rights. We’d be wasting each other’s time with a comment-section-shouting match that would just make both of us angry. I don’t know about you, but after this last election, I’m exhausted from the political sissy boy slap fighting. Not just exhausted, but depressed, almost to the point of despair, with this nagging and awful suspicion: that in the echo chamber of what passes for civil discourse in this country it is impossible to change anyone’s mind about anything, anything at all.

So let us agree to disagree. We don’t need to argue about gun rights. But maybe we can discuss safety. Let’s take a moment to pretend. What if you and I were on a boat in the middle of a very deep lake? Imagine that the boat had a leak, and began to fill up with water. What would we do? Call me crazy, but I’m willing to bet that we wouldn’t start to argue about your right to own some of the lake’s water. My guess is that you and I would start working together to get that water out of the boat as quickly as humanly possible so that the two of us didn’t drown. We’d get a bucket and start bailing, and try like hell to patch up that hole with anything we could find – sweatshirts, wine corks, chewing gum, anything – to keep that water out in the name of our own survival. And I’ll bet we’d work even harder if there were children on that boat. Because we’d both have a responsibility, not only to ourselves, but to the young, helpless, and vulnerable. Afterwards, there’d be plenty of time for the two of us to be enemies again. Once we’d plugged the hole, and got the little ones safely ashore, you and I could argue ‘til the sun went down about taxes, charter schools, state’s rights, you name it – and believe me, I’d get right in there with you. There is nothing wrong with a good argument, or even a bad one. I like to argue; I enjoy it, and as my wife and I so frequently point out to our son: there’s a time and a place for everything.

But not if we’re starting to sink. And after Friday’s shooting, I think we can agree that America is now a rapidly sinking ship. It’s time to put aside our differences and start to work together.

Now there is a lot that I’m willing to give up. For starters, I’ll give up my dream of a gun free society, which is what I really want. Seriously, if I had it my way, we’d live in a left wing utopia. I would abolish the Second Amendment. I would cut America’s defense budget by more than half. I would outlaw the death penalty, and help our president create a massive stimulus program that focused on mental health and education, because I believe that it’s by underfunding these areas that we create our mass murderers. Trust me, if I had it my way, I would embark upon a program of social engineering that would shock even Paul Ryan.

But guess what? I have to live in this country with other people. People who hold radically different opinions than my own. Some of those people are gun owners like you. Some serve in our military. Some hold deeply held convictions that granting more power to the government is a slap in the face to our constitutional liberties. And because I live with other people, I cannot have all of the things that I want. It’s part of being an adult; there are some things you just have to give up. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

What about you? As a gun owner, and defender of the Second Amendment, what are you willing to give up to help ensure that a tragedy like Friday’s never, ever happens again? And please don’t say it’s impossible, because you know in your heart that it’s not. So much has happened during the span of my life that was once the stuff of dreams. Computers were transformed from science fiction oddities to commonplace household appliances. An African American was elected president of the United States. A man walked on the moon. At the core of the American Dream is the belief that nothing is impossible. Nothing. We would still be British subjects were it not for the temerity of a few determined colonists with an unshakeable belief in the power of radical change.

So to quote from one of my favorite movies The Untouchables (which has more than its share of bloodshed and guns): what are you prepared to do? You want your Second Amendment? Fine. Do you need to own a shotgun? Please, go ahead, be my guest. Shoot all the animals you want. I don’t like it, but I’ve had to sit through enough Thanksgiving dinners to understand that I’m in the minority when it comes to the lives of non-humans. You feel like you need to own a handgun? Let me be honest, that’s a little harder. I agree with Bob Costas: “Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it…”

But it appears that Mr. Costas is not made himself any friends with his reasoning. Fine. Why don’t we argue about that one later? After all, we’re in a sinking boat; now is the time for action. So let’s cut to the chase and talk about semi-automatic weapons. Like the ones that were used in Newtown and Aurora. Can we please agree to legally ban all firearms that were designed for the sole purpose of killing a whole lot of people very, very quickly? Make no mistake, I am talking about legislating an outright ban on semi-automatic weapons. Is it possible to agree upon that? Even if you don’t like it, would you at least give it up as a compromise? An area where we can work together? Think of it as a small stick of gum to stick in a hole so the boat doesn’t sink to the bottom.

I wonder what you felt when you read and heard about the Connecticut shooting. In particular: what was your first response? The one you had before you started talking, or posting, or blogging, or even forming an opinion. Weren’t you horrified? Didn’t you feel incredible anguish, pity, and agony? Did you for a moment (as I did) imagine your own child, or a child you knew, as one of the twenty murdered school children? Didn’t it feel as if the world had been turned upside down, that you were caught up in a never ending nightmare where any tragedy of any kind could happen to any person at any place or any time for no apparent reason? And in that wave of horror did you not, at least for a moment, feel in some sense of responsibility?

I did. I still do. Call it a guilt complex, but I blame myself for what happened in Connecticut. And Clackamas. And Aurora. I blame all of us. If the Nuremberg Trials of Germany and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa teach us nothing else, it is that we are responsible for what happens in the world – and especially the countries in which we live. Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

It is time for us to be grownups. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, but it seems to me that the ultimate character of a civilized nation is measured in how it treats its children. This week, we allowed twenty of our own to be murdered at the point of a gun. Have we passed the test of civilization? Or have we failed? If you want to end a nightmare you must start by waking up.

Back in August, I got into an argument with a Facebook friend about the movie theatre shooting in Aurora. He felt that the answer was more guns, not less. He believed that had the employees of the theatre been armed they might have prevented the midnight bloodshed. Perhaps that’s your answer to massacre in Sandy Hook. Maybe you believe that every K-5 teacher needs to be armed and fully loaded. Maybe you’d like every principal in America to have an arsenal of weapons in his or her office. Perhaps you’re in favor of private security firms patrolling the classrooms where kindergarteners play with their toys and draw with their crayons.

If that is your answer, if your solution to this crisis of violence is more guns, not less, if you would like to see firearms in our places of learning, if you truly believe that what’s needed to save a sinking boat is just a little more water, then I just have to ask you:


Is that any way for a child to grow up? Is that the way you grew up? Or your parents? Or your grandparents? If you call yourself a “conservative,” what is it that you wish to conserve? What part of the past do you want to hang on to? What childhood traditions do you find worth preserving? What kind of an educational environment is best for a little boy or girl learning to read, write, solve math problems, and discover wonders of our planet? What can we really do to protect them, not just from becoming victims, but future perpetrators of these horrific, ugly, and inexplicable crimes?

As the father of a third grader, I am willing to do a lot. I have already started (and it’s only a start) by demanding that both my president and legislators take immediate legislative action. What are you prepared to do? After all, I’m just a blue state blogger from Portland, Oregon. I’m pretty much playing by the script. But I wonder what would happen if you wrote a letter or your own blog, or called a press conference, or posted a video on YouTube, and said these words to the world?

I am a gun owner and a conservative. I love, cherish, and support the Second Amendment. I believe that it is my God given right to own and carry firearms. As an American, I treasure this belief, and I will carry it with me to my grave.

And now, I’ve had enough. No belief of mine is more important than the life of an innocent child. I am ready to do everything in my power, exert every effort, and make every sacrifice necessary to be sure that nothing like the Connecticut massacre ever happens again. I will be introspective. I will lay down my arguments. I will work with my enemies. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But now, I’m no longer a child; now, I’’m an adult, and a protector of children. It is time to for me to discern the difference between my needs and “rights” from the time honored prerogatives of my selfish desires.

As a gun rights activist, imagine the power those words, or something like them, might carry coming from your own keyboard or mouth. Trust me: people would listen. And while I’m sure you’d piss off a lot of your friends and neighbors, in exchange you’d receive the freedom of spirit that only comes to those of us who have taken that blinding fall on the long hard Road to Damascus.

Or, for those whom I’ve offended with my liberal quoting of scripture, let me bring you the words of a modern day prophet named Dr. Phil. “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” I don’t know about you, but the prospect of being right is becoming a whole lot interesting. And I’m certainly not happy, not after Friday. It’s simply unconscionable for us to be screaming at each other while children are being slaughtered. The time has come for America’s Truth and Reconciliation. Like I said, I am willing to be reasonable; I’ll give up a lot. But it is simply illogical, and ultimately barbaric, to pour water on a ship that’s already sinking.

There is nothing that can bring those twenty kids back to their families and loved ones. Our collective failure to fashion a responsible society has robbed those children of their lives and futures. It’s the kind of failure that cannot be ignored. It demands deep and painful introspection, followed by profound acts of contrition and atonement. What are we prepared to do, to sacrifice in wake of this bloodshed? Our acts in the next few days, weeks, months, and years will shape how future generations judge our civilization. More importantly, our actions can make damn well sure that we don’t murder the lot of them first.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

David Berkson

December 16, 2012

Don’t forget to “like” The Autumning Empire on Facebook. You can contact David Berkson at, or @DavidBerkson on Twitter.

Always feel free to post a comment and get a discussion going. Keep your remarks civil, but don’t feel bashful about starting a vigorous and healthy debate.


The Real War On Christmas

o'reilly xmas“You Killed Jesus.” Guess what group is being targeted in this spiteful piece of holiday vandalism. Could it be pagan imperialists of the 1st century? The descendants of Pontius Pilate? The ghost of a Roman centurion? Nope. Want to know who killed Jesus? I’ll tell you: it’s the Jews. All of them. Past, present, and future; orthodox, conservative, and reformed; Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, and Sephardic. You name it; they did it. All must bear the shameful stain of this unforgivable act of historical deicide.

Welcome to the Season of Hate. On December 1, Chabad House’s enormous seashell dreidel and menorah were vandalized in Miami Beach, Florida; the aforementioned three-word indictment was scrawled in black paint on this beloved Hanukah display.  That same weekend, near Palm Beach, a swastika was painted at Temple Beth Torah; the accompanying anti-Semitic rhetoric was so offensive that the networks chose not to quote it. Even though Pope Benedict XVI – himself a former member of the Hitler Youth – assured his flock as late as 2011 that Jews in fact are not responsible for the death of his beloved Messiah, there are some medieval customs that just won’t die. Have a Merry Christmas, America, and long live the pogrom.

Now you’d think that with his staunch commitment to “Judeo-Christian culture,” a guy like Bill O’Reilly would be warning us about a “War on Hanukah.” Yet a mere five days after a local Fox affiliate had reported the “You Killed Jesus” story, O’Reilly asked us: “Is there a growing anti-Christian bias in America?” as the intro to one of the network’s innumerable reports on The War on Christmas. Jeanine Pirro and Gretchen Carlson, O’Reilly’s fawning sycophants for the day, all but drooled in their mikes as they answered the affirmative: apparently there are some people who just don’t like Christmas.

Like everything else on Fox, this piece would be funny, except that it isn’t. I think my favorite part is Carlson’s outrage over the City of Santa Monica’s ban on nativity scenes public parks, which she claims (without citation) arises from complaints of “less than one percent” of the population. “I don’t remember any of these complaints growing up!” she wails indignantly, “I don’t remember any of them!”

Gretchen 2

 Yes, Ms. Carlson, it’s true. Even though you are paid by Fox to think and act like a child, as a 46 year old woman, you are no longer a child. The halcyon days of the mid-1970s have fallen like leaves from the tree, a civilization gone with the wind. But like Scarlett O’Hara before her, Gretchen is not going down without a fight, and neither are her offspring:  “What will my children be fighting for?” she cries. “I already have to say, ‘Hey! Way off in the back seat, waaaay off yon in the yonder you can see baby Jesus.'” Those poor children are so religiously oppressed that they are now forced to seek out salvation in the backseat of Gretchen Carlson’s car.

What the former Miss America and Fox don’t mention in their fact free piece is that when it comes to the attack on Christianity, it’s coming from inside the house! In America today religion itself is on the decline. According to the Pew Research Center, one in five American adults claim no religious affiliation at all. While the numbers of atheists and agnostics are on the rise (hey! did I just write a headline for Fox?) they remain statistically insignificant at 2.4% and 3.3%, respectively. It turns out that the largest share of religiously unaffiliated Americans aren’t even comfortable with the term “agnostic”; 13.9% opt for the category of “nothing in particular.” Does that mean that America is becoming more secular? Not necessarily. 68% of the unaffiliated express a belief in God, and 58% describe “a deep connection with the Earth.” At issue, then, is not the concept of a higher power, but with how current religions define it:

With few exceptions…the unaffiliated say they are not looking for a religion that would be right for them. Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.

But O’Reilly and his fellow culture warriors can comfort themselves with the fact that 73% of the American population is Christian. That’s pretty good, isn’t it? Not if you look at the trends. That figure represents a 5% drop in a period of just as many years. You want a Fox News headline? Try this: Christianity in America is Shrinking.

And yet the yuletide continues to thrive. “There’s a ‘War on Christmas’? Somebody tell Thanksgiving!” rails The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. “Because this year Black Friday…got moved back to Black Thursday, or as we used to call it Thanksgiving. Christmas is so big now, it’s eating other holidays.” Stewart then launches into one of his glorious litanies, demonstrating the obnoxious ubiquitousness of America’s favorite holiday:

(There are) Mormon Christmas specials, country-western Christmas specials, chipmunk Christmas specials, otter Christmas specials, bear Christmas specials, cat Christmas specials, large headed child Christmas, gay Christmas, Jewish Christmas (in a nod to Neil Diamond), Christmas underwater, Christmas from the future, pre-historic Christmas. That’s right, there’s a Christmas special that celebrates the birth of Jesus…thousands of years before the birth of Jesus.–friendly-fire-edition

FlinstonesStewart’s last mention of The Flintstones Christmas hearkens back to an earlier joke in the segment. “For Fox News, the war on Christmas has become a rote observance devoid of all its original spiritual meaning.” Ever since Charlie Brown bemoaned the holiday’s commercialization, people have been saying the same of the Christmas itself. And yet we continue to buy. In the face of boycotts and protests, Walmart claimed “busiest ever Black Friday.” The National Retail Federation estimates an overall 4.1% increase from last year in holiday sales, projecting $586 billion in overall revenue. That’s an awful lot of Hanukah candy.

In reality, the war is not on Christmas, or even Christianity, but on the birthday boy himself. I realize that questions such as “What Would Jesus Do?” or “What Would Jesus Think?” may seem all but impossible to answer, but a cursory look at the Gospels gives us a pretty clear picture of His view on material wealth and the lust of acquisition:

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10: 17-22)

 And just in case we’re confused about it, Jesus spells it out just a few verses later: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. (Mark 10: 25)

Yeah, but guess what? I’m not rich. I’m middle class.

Well…it turns out that I’m not. According to the website, I’m in the top 4.62% of income earners on the planet. The fact that I have a home, running water, a TV set, automobile, several pairs of clothes, healthcare, and an expendable income that allows me to buy Christmas gifts makes me an incredibly wealthy man. (Check out the site to see how rich you are.)

The next time you’re online or out at the mall looking to buy yourself some Brut aftershave or the Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Game or the Nikon 1 J1 camera or the iPad mini or the Kindle Fire HD (with its gazillionth chapter of The Game of Thrones series) or the Enzo Anglioni Women’s Vicso Riding Boots or a polyester backyard pink castle princess tent or the John Travolta Olivia Newton-John album, you might want to ask yourself: what does any of this have to do with Jesus?Here’s a guy who spent his entire life working with the deeply impoverished. Jesus healed the sick, and made sure that hungry people had plenty to eat. Luke’s original Christmas story itself is a parable of hope against cruel, unimaginable poverty. Jesus’ origins were so humble that once, when trying to preach, he was berated with the catcall: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” His antagonism to religious displays of wealth was so intense that less than a week before his execution, he disrupted the commerce of the merchants in the temple, Jerusalem’s holiest of holy sites, by turning over the very tables where they sold their precious wares. It is the only time Jesus ever used physical force. I guess he must have been pretty upset.

So Happy Birthday, Jesus! As a way of saying thank you for being the savior of mankind, I’m giving my sister in law $50 gift certificate to Bed Bath and Beyond. What do you think; is that too tacky?

To say that the holidays have become too secular entirely misses the point. Christmas is the holiest of holy days for America’s number one religion: capitalism. Even the left wing social engineers like our president extol the talismanic “power of the free market.” Our belief in capitalism’s virtue is so paradigmatic, so deep and unshakable, that we can not even bring ourselves to ask our government to follow most European countries, and do what Jesus did almost every day of his life: provide free healthcare.

Christians often forget that Jesus himself was a Jew. As for those particular Jews who wanted him dead, they were Roman collaborators, a fact that secular history and the canonical Gospels make abundantly clear to anyone who cares to read them. Crucifixion was a special and unusually grizzly form of public capital punishment. And whatever role “the Jews” may have played, Caiaphas, Annas, and even Herod didn’t have the authority to put a man to death. That task fell to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, second in the region only to Caesar. Jesus was killed by the Romans, and drew his last breath as a Jew.

There’s a curious moment at the end of the Fox segment. Just as O’Reilly and Carlson are about are about to end the piece, Jeanine Pirro, the network’s, um…legal analyst, blurts out a non-sequitur she appears to have been bottling up during the entire analysis. Apparently the First Amendment’s separation clause regarding religion and state applies only to Christians

If you add a menorah, the Supreme Court says that’s ok! 


It’s an ugly moment, not to mention entirely unsubstantiated, one that O’Reilly and Carlson leave lie when signing off. I’d like to think that their silence signifies an a private disagreement with this slur, but I suspect that it’s something more sinister. Last year, Fox Latin America had to apologize for an online poll asking, “Who Do You Think Is Responsible for the Death of Jesus?” Responders were given a number of choices, one of which was “The Jewish People.” Complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal center helped trigger the poll’s removal.

While there is absolutely no evidence, and virtually no probability, that anyone on The O’Reilly Factor created this defamatory poll, Pirro’s remarks at the end of the program bring us back to the place where we started. Jews get special privileges. They are not persecuted, we Christians are. The Jews get things that We don’t. They are the beneficiaries of a system that is incomprehensibly stacked up against Us. When it comes to the War on Christmas, there is surely an Axis of Evil, and on one of its points is a pernicious special interest group hell bent on persecuting Christians.

The Jews did not crucify Jesus, but the bigotry and hatred  of Florida’s vandals and the folks at Fox News are killing him every day. I don’t know the names of the people who damaged the Hanukah displays. But since Jeanine Pirro trumpets her Christian faith from the hilltop of Fox News Studios, I have, for her and her many followers, this special yuletide greeting:

Repent. Cast off the wickedness of your false idols and craven images. Fall upon your knees and beg forgiveness from your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Renew the vows of your baptism by rejecting Satan and all of his works. Love the Lord your God above all others, and love your neighbors – Christians, Atheists, and even Jews – as yourself. Practice kindness, compassion, and patience. Renounce the path of hatred, and joyfully proclaim the Good News of Christ’s love and redemption throughout the whole of all mankind.

And if not, please do us a favor and shut the fuck up. Stop pretending that you’re being persecuted. You’re part of the dominant culture; enjoy it, for God’s sake! Use the salary that Fox so generously pays you and buy your family Christmas presents – tons of them. And be grateful that you live in a country that gives you the freedom to worship in the religion of your choice. Use this time of Christmas to pay homage to the godheads of Commodity, Profit, and the almighty Power of the Free Market – America’s lords and deities, gods and rulers of The Autumning Empire.

David Berkson

December 11, 2012

Don’t forget to “like” The Autumning Empire on Facebook. You can contact David Berkson at, or @DavidBerkson on Twitter.

Always feel free to post a comment and get a discussion going. Don’t feel bashful about starting a vigorous and healthy debate.

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