Image via WikipediaYou may have decided that all the commercial hype of Christmas is not for you.....no garish lights on your house, making all visitors to the front door resemble something from a zombie film epic.....no extravagant presents dropped in your friends' gardens from diamond studded helicopters....no obligatory parties where someone will inevitably want to use the swimming pool even if it has been emptied for the winter....no Christmas holiday in the Bahamas to get away from all of the above and annoy your friends and family who have been counting on you doing all of the above.
You're going to have a quiet family Christmas at home with home made presents and Kings College nine lessons and carols on the radio and you've already started knitting the dog a festive bone.
Now, if you live in France, whatever you do, do not encourage others to follow your example...and certainly not on Facebook, or you risk a visit from the bold gendarmes inviting you to spend the festive season with them instead of with your family.
French courts have a tendency to believe that what is posted on Facebook is not a private but a public matter...(here)...which can mean that posting what you would like to have said to the gendarme when he gave you a speeding ticket will be treated exactly as if you had said it to the gendarme concerned and you risk being jugged, while moaning about your boss or your firm on Facebook can lead to the boss or firm deciding that you have incited rebellion....wonderful, the French vocabulary at times...among the downtrodden workers on their thirty five hour week with two hour lunch breaks and regular 'ponts' - bridges - to link one public holiday with another and you will be dismissed and sent to live under the pont d'Avignon rather than dancing upon it.
Why would it matter that you have encouraged others to follow your example in turning your backs on the hype of Christmas?
Because you are encouraging people to boycott Christmas.
And boycotting stuff can be illegal in France...according to the Chancellerie....the bit of the French government that controls the prosecutors, those independent magistrates whom the European Court of Human Rights declare to have no independence of government whatsoever.
These prosecutors have been encouraged to crack down on any manifestation of public incitement to discrimination against a nation....for fear of retaliation by the nation concerned it appears, though this is well submerged in the blurb which attempts to use legislation directed at incitement to racism or sexism to justify repression of boycotts aimed at particular countries.
Recently, a legislator, a senator I believe, was hauled up for invading a supermarket and encouraging a boycott of Israeli products in protest against the spread of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.....this was supposed to be and was treated as equivalent to racism.
How would the prosecutors have handled the boycott of South African products in the era of apartheid?
What about boycotting Chinese products on the grounds of its treatment of Tibet?
Or on the grounds of its use of slave and child labour?
Independent as they claim to be, with one voice they would prosecute any incitement to boycott products on these grounds, although the legislation upon which such a prosecution depends was created to attack the very basis of the policies which attract the wish to boycott the products of these regimes.
But Christmas has no country...it is universal - except for some U.K. local councils who seem to believe that it offends non Christians - so you run no risk if you encourage your friends to follow your example.
Hah! This is France!
Now, the French claim to be a logical nation...if you overlook the strange nature of some of their premises...so let us approach this in the spirit of French logic, just as the independent French prosecutors will do.
Any fule kno that Father Christmas lives in the North Pole.
Any fule also kno that Russia has been laying claim to said Pole by hammering national flags into the seabed under said Pole.
Thus, Christmas is Russian.
Your statement of opposition to the hype of Christmas and your encouragement of others to oppose it likewise is thus incitement to boycott Russian products......and thus falls within the remit of the instructions...um, no advice...given to the public prosecutors.
Whatever you do, when the gendarmes come to arrest you, do not resist arrest.
Even if you can't breathe because the gendarme has his arm across your throat.....do not bite him.
The independent prosecutors are not interested in your little problems.
And why would France be worried about Russian retaliation for your defiance of Christmas hype?
Look whose hand is on the gas taps of Europe.