Editor’s Note: We’re thrilled to announce the return of our columnist, Jim Atwell, and his legendary column “From Fly Creek.” Jim’s column will be an occasional feature, when he is able to write or he has something he wants to contribute. We celebrate his return with one of his classic columns.
You know about Mammon, even if you’ve forgotten his name. In the Scriptures and in lots of literature, he’s the personification of gluttony, avarice, and of all types of materialistic grabbiness.
Jesus warned us to back off from Mammon; serving him is slavery.
And Wordsworth echoed Christ (and the Buddha and Lao Tsu): “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”
We sell our souls to Mammon.
If American holidays were Bowl games, Mammon has now won almost all of them, hands down. The Easter Bowl was a pushover since it had lost sacred meaning for most decades ago. Nowadays, Mammon’s secular retooling has trampled down the religious vestiges like that giant, big-footed, pink Bunny that keeps going and going. . .
The Christmas Bowl? Why, Christmas was co-opted long ago. Mammon got great help from Charles Dickens, who took a holy day already overrun by “getting and spending,” and coated it with syrupy sentimentality that’s now hardened to a brittle.
If you squint hard, you might see through it, but you’ll likely get no further than sensing a feast of vague humane virtue, of “good will to men.” A phrase from a carol; about all that’s left for most.
And Thanksgiving, just past? Christmas buying frenzy has washed back over it, almost drowning the Day in commercialism
Chalk another one up to Mammon! He’d already led us pretty far into butchering the Thanksgiving bird on our own, turning the day into a fest of overdosing on food and sports. But now Mammon’s best henchman, his demigod Marketing, has moved onto the turkey turf and to mop up the job.