Monday, February 7, 2022

The Top Godless Atheist Christmas Card of 2021!



Once again, the Not At All Nepotistic Blue Ribbon Panel of Family has met in solemn convocation to choose the Godless Atheist Christmas Card of the Year. And what a year it's been! After the ups and downs of COVID-19, it's small wonder that religious spirit is at an all-time low. Our household received fewer overtly religious Christmas cards than ever before. I think people are feeling a little ticked-off at God. Which may not actually be the wisest coping strategy. Just saying.

 After eliminating all cards lacking a strong element of godless atheism, deliberation began on thirteen finalists. They are presented below with excerpts from our very dignified deliberations.



The  card from our friends Judith and John  is a perrenial favorite. This year, however...

"I am disarmed by the fact that as a work of art it's quite good---and it comes from the artist herself."

"There's no religious element at all!"

"It has strong aesthetic values. It's not Christian, but that doesn't make it godless."

In the end, everyone was won over. It's been a hard year and we need all the good art we can get.

Ruled seasonally appropriate.



"It's a nice girl and a nice dog. It's genuinely moving."

"Gertrude Stein was Jewish! And she's autting a Christmas wreath on that poor mutt. If anything, it's anti-religious."

"What a nice dog. I want to pat that dog."

Ruled godly by a two-to-one decision.


"It's a postcard. Of a Herrerasaurus. With the words Merry Xmas written on the back. The nuns at St. Francis Xavier said that "Xmas" was a way of avoiding the word "Christ" and this goes a long way toward proving them right."

"I'm disqualifying you here because it has a warm personal message on it. Even the shockingly inappropriate image can't undo that."

Ruled not-godless.



"Asterix and Obelix being angry at one another. The caption on the back is Good News but it's not about the birth of he Savior but about finding the sender's mother's banana bread recipe. Which is included. This is a card that goes out of its way to snub the season."

"In the story, they've both fallen for the same girl and aren't talking. Dogmatix is baffled. But in the next panel, they both relent and fall into each other's arms. Anger and forgiveness. Fellowship and brotherhood. Forgiveneess and reconciliation. Godly."

"Sophists! I am surrounded by sophists! Baptist sophists! They're the worst kind."

 Ruled godly by a vote of two to one.



 Ordinarily, corporate cards are exempt from this competition. They go out to all manner of prickly people and are trying hard to offend nobody. This time, however, the card from Analog and Asimov's pushed a few buttons.

"Are those gun ports? They are! It's a warship."

"It's an off-brand star destroyer."

"It's a warship and there is no credit to the artist. So that's Godless Atheism in a nutshell."

Ruled in the running.



"It's twee and it has no religious element."

"It's sweet. It's family."

"Their expressions and cold and emotionless."

"Yeah, you're right."

Ruled a contender.



"The question, I think, is whether the beauty of nature is inherently spiritual.Does it actively reflect the Creator of that beauty.? Is it inherently deist?"

"I think it's mere sentiment."

"I wouldn't use the word 'mere.'"

"This is like the question of whether we can appreciate Buffy the Vampire Slayer, given the existence of Josh Whedon.

"We received too many nothing-but-nature cards to single out this one."

Ruled not a contender.


"A Christmas tree created by mutilating sheets of music. Appalling."

"The color values are quite nice." 

"The caption is 'Warmest Wishes of the Holiday Season.' That's walking the extra mile to avoid religious sentiment.'

"Most of our cards say 'Happy Holidays,' even the overtly Christian ones."

Ruled not-godless by virtue of a single Christmas star.




"Awww. That horse is going to eat that poor snowman's nose."

"No, that horse has locked eyes with the snowman. It recognizes another being with the spark of life, the miracle of existence. But it's a cruel lie. The snowman is a simulacrum of ice nd cold, empty, devoid of life or meaning. The miracle is a lie and there is only a horse."

"Are you sure you weren't an English major?"

Ruled a contender.



Jason Van Hollander's card is always a contender. This year was no different.

"It's a Christmas tree. Godly."

"It's made up of Satanic imagery! Evil snakes! A skull! The Papal crown! And are those weasels in a blanket? Whatever they are, this is explicitly an anti-Christmas tree."

Ruled in the running.


 "Nothing but lines and shapes. A classical snowflake design polished down into meaninglessness.
This is your quintessential Hallmark Card, made from paper harvested from well-managed forests."

"Elegant. Well crafted. Meticulously produced. The triumph of design over everything else.All surface."

"We are as one on this. A collaboration between Satan and Fifth Avenue."

"The product of a civilization that is too sophisticated to believe in a Man in the Sky."

Ruled a front runner.




Perennial contender Sam Jordan was cruising toward a Silver Medal with his jolly card showing a marshmallow man hot-tubbing it in a cup of warm cocoa which he personalized with the message You Would Sit Idly As The Candy Homunculus Boils To Nothing? before shredding the card. Memorable but not exactly a blood-stained butcher knife in a turnip, to cite only one of his earlier-year attempts. 

"I think he injected violence and death into the card. "

"I think that by shredding the card, Sam rejected the implied message and its violence. So the final meaning was extremely muddled."

"Ah, but from another friend we also received the exact same candy homunculas image from a different greeting card company!"

"That means that somebody is violating copyright law! In a household where even the cat is currently at work on a fantasy trilogy, this is heresy!"

And so, by a dark Solstice anti-miracle, a final and irrevocable decision was made.

Ruling: The title of Godless Atheist Christmas Card of the Year goes to whichever of the two cards swiped the image from the other.  

That's all for this year! Happy Holidays! We'll be convening again in December.



HANNAH'S DAD said...

"That means that somebody is violating copyright law!

Or that two different greeting card companies are “designing” their cards by purchasing their art from the great bland swamp of stock art. If so, that makes the two cards together a contender for most depressing Christmas experience.

Arkapravo Bhaumik said...

That Asterix Obelix pic reminded me of Darger and Surplus, and so Michael what is the next adventure of that duo - is it a short story collection, or another adventure? You did suggest that you will be bringing them to America! :-)

Michael Swanwick said...

I don't know what's next. I may someday publish a novel set in the island republic of San Francisco. There's definitely a story that needs to be told when Surplus returns to the Demesne of Western Vermont. And I really should record what happened to the two in Prague. But nothing's currently being written.