As much as good cheer, each Christmas reliably heralds right-wing reactionary outcry over “multi-culturalism”. This year is no different. Most notably, Bill O’Reilly informed a caller that if he was upset that the U.S., a “Christian nation”, made such a big deal about Xmas; “you gotta go to Israel”.

Less noteworthy, here in Sydney, the Murdoch-owned Daily Telegraph has been screeching that Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s paltry A$900,000 Christmas decorations (that’s $400,000 less than spent on Phillippines flood relief, for those counting) is the latest politcally correct jab into the heart of the little Aussie battler. As it turned out, Moore’s alleged holiday slight was more a result of shoddy journalism and, most likely, bigger fish to fry. This is not to say that Sydney’s decorations aren’t pretty lame, but I’m sure it’s more lack of imagination than lack of funding–I haven’t seen exact figures, but my home town of Portland, Maine in the good ol’ U.S. of A usually pulls off an impressive, fairly non-religion specific holiday decorations on, what I assume to be, a much smaller largesse.

In both of these cases, the staunch defenders of Christmas denied accusations of cultural insensitivity with claims that Muslims, Jews, etc… loved Christmas as much as any card-carrying member of the Moral Majority (or Family First). While I’m entirely unsympathetic to this as a defense for O’Reilly OR the Telegraph, I think, as employed by the Tele, it raises some interesting questions about Christmas’s place in the city. Do people who are otherwise uninterested in the holiday enjoy Christmas (or “holiday” in more enlightened municipalities) decorations in the city?