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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Tis the Season...

But I ain't jolly, fah-la-la-la-la, lah-la-la-fuck-you.

As the fall semester draws to a close, many of us are really feeling the burn. For myself, I feel like a man who is crawling those last few feet through the desert to an oasis. Mostly this is because teaching my class this semester has simultaneously been incredibly rewarding, and one of the most exhausting experiences of my grad school career. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

So, given that many of us are at the end of our respective ropes, we're probably focused on a handful of things. Our grading, our final exams, final papers, travel plans for the holidays, and trying to find appropriate gifts for our enigmatic relations. Those with children are probably considering the best ways to keep aforementioned younguns quiet during lengthy car rides, flights, or holiday celebrations. In short, the hassle and annoyance of the season is probably dominating our thoughts.

This, unfortunately, obscures the more important aspect of this time of year: a time when generosity is, hypothetically, the order of the day. I say "hypothetically" because, let's face it, I don't really trust organized religion any farther than I can throw it, but I'm willing to concede that a season that emphasizes giving and selflessness is probably a good thing, so I'll go with 'em on this one. And as as side note: wasn't that just a badass run-on sentence! Anyway, I think this is a good time of year to stop and consider donating to others who may be in need. This is particularly the case since some of the largest charitable organizations might be having trouble making their quotas this year.

Of course, as a devout atheist I really can't bring myself to donate to the Salvation Army. They do a lot of good, I won't deny it, but I can't stomach the thought of any of my money going to support evangelism. This puts me in a difficult spot since a great many charities are religiously oriented or organized- often because they combine community service with proselytizing. (Some will note here that this explains my willingness to donate platelets with the Red Cross. While it may have begun as a religious organization, it has evolved into a much more secular humanitarian group. Besides, the idea of a Born-Again Christian being transfused with my evil atheist platelets amuses the hell out of me.) It is fortunate, then, that there exists a secular charity that I find it particularly appropriate to donate to.

I refer, of course, to Child's Play, a charity run by the guys over at Penny Arcade that provides video game systems and games to the residents in children's hospitals. Last year the charity managed to donate over two-hundred thousand dollars in cash and video systems to children's hospitals. This year, by only early December, they have raised over one-hundred thousand dollars in donations, and show no signs of stopping. This is a wonderful effort for children who are trapped places they'd rather not be, are experiencing things we'd all rather not experience, and are desperately in need of something to do. It's also a chance to show that we crazed internet mavens and gaming fiends aren't the mindless porn addicts and ultra-violent brainwashed robots that we are often depicted as.

I mean, we're that too. Who doesn't love a little porn with their ultra-violence? But that isn't all that we are.

We are also generous human beings who want the best for others. So, show the love and support Child's Play. It's a good cause, put on by a couple of guys who didn't have to go to all this trouble.

Besides, if we don't donate, it looks like Jerry and Mike are going to hell. I mean, seriously, kittens?!

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