Friday, January 3, 2014

The 2013 Godless Atheist Christmas Card Competition Results


The results are in.  The Not At All Nepotistic Blue Ribbon Panel of Family has met in formal conclave and we have a winner of this year's GODLESS ATHEIST CHRISTMAS CARD COMPETITION.

And what a year this was!  For the first time, two family photos made it to the finals.  My sister Barbie submitted a deliberate evocation of Southern culture by posing her family in  and around a pickup truck.  When this first arrived, Marianne thought it almost perfectly nihilistic but not quite -- the pickup truck was red, which she found marginally "Christmasy."  That's how tough the competition was this year.  I, however, felt it fell short on two levels:  First, it didn't evoke any of the offensive stereotypes that outsiders impose upon the South.  (Other than the pickup truck, of course -- and how offensive is that?  Pickup trucks are cool.)  Second, it was obvious, to me at least, that these people all loved each other. 

This was not a problem with the other family card, submitted by our good friend Liz.  The picture was so heavily solarized that you'd have to know these people damn well to recognize them.  And they were all flashing gang signs.


Another contender, submitted by Beth and Mike was the photograph of a little boy standing in the snow with his tongue frozen to a metal flagpole.  So close!  Marianne and Sean, however, both felt that the picture having been taken from the movie version of Jean Shepard's  A Christmas Story and that movie being iconic, disqualified it.  I argued that the movie was the Devil's own creation but was outvoted.

From Russia came our friend Boris's e-card of a warm-looking room filled with presents, a Christmas tree -- and a short-skirted woman with great gams and the head of a horse.  This was an image so surrealistic in a nightmarish waay that I was sure it should go right to the top . . . but again I was overruled.  Marianne felt it was important to the purity of the competition that all cards be physical.  (And a good thing, too, because Boris later explained that it was a reference to 2014 being the Year of the Horse in China; the good humor behind that would probably have disqualified it anyway.)

We had reached an unspoken consensus on the winner when a last-minute entry arrived and threatened to run away with the honors.  Sean took part in a Secret Santa exchange for gamers and, along with his present (an oil painting of Cthulhu posing with a D12 die), received the card shown above and below from "your goon pal."  (Of course she was a Goon!  What else could she possibly have been?)

Was it a contender?  Just look at it!  Postmodern irony, the deliberate misspelling of "inoffensive," the in-your-face cheapness of using a sheet of lined three-hole paper for the card, a lower-case pseudonym... all topped by a promise of glitter with NO GLITTER!  I tell you, there were some fervent arguments in favor of this one.

For which reason, we must assign it Special Mention Woulda Won Any Other Year status.

Because in the end there could be only one.  And we all agreed that it was...




Eileen Gunn said...

I'm aghast at having to wait yet another few days for the winning entry. Clearly, you are toying with us, building our hopes, thrusting us precipitously into the dark, dealing with us as if we had no irreligious thoughts at all. The torture!

Michael Swanwick said...

Now you know how the rest of us felt when we discovered your card had no colophon.