The Grand Old Partisan of Illinois

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You can't spell Christkindlmarket without Christ

From the AP (via the Chicago Tribune):

Worried that ads for "The Nativity Story" would offend non-Christians browsing in the traditional German Christkindlmarket in the heart of downtown, the city asked the German American Chamber of Commerce to reconsider New Line Cinema, which made the film, as a sponsor. The group then told the studio it would not be part of the bazaar that began Thursday.

Read the whole story when you have a chance, but let me give you the highlights, as well as my (admittedly unoriginal) take.

“Christkindl” literally means “Christ child” in German. So you have to wonder why the Mayor's Office of Special Events feels that advertisements for a story about the Christ child would be “insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market” named for Him (or him, if you prefer).

“Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Office, said the city does not want to appear to endorse one religion over another” (emphasis added). This is a City that has a public college named after Malcolm X and an expressway named after a Bishop. Apparently the city isn’t concerned about appearing to endorse the Nation of Islam or the Church of God in Christ with these taxpayer funded public properties. So why are they concerned that advertising space purchased by a private film study would appear as an endorsement of Christianity?

I think that the City's unreasoning attempt at "political correctness" is far more offensive to many more citizens than any inclusion of Christ's story in the Christkindlmarket would have been. I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I’d love even more for you to share your thoughts with the City and the GACC:

Mayor's Office of Special Events

German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest


  • Actually, you sort of can.

    In many, if not most parts of Germany, the annual market is actually called a "Weihnachtsmarkt," not a "Christkindlmarkt." I lived in Germany for over six years and rarely saw the term Christkindlsmarkt used.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28/11/06 11:16 AM  

  • Clever. But, in Chicago, it is called "Christkindlmarket." Perhaps you could write to the GACC and recommend that they go with Weihnachtsmarkt in the future, if they are really concerned about offending non-Christians who may be passing through.

    Oh, wait. That wouldn't really do much good. Because if anyone were to ask what "Weihnachtsmarkt" means, they'd have to explain that it's translated in English as "Christmas Market."

    By Blogger grand old partisan, at 28/11/06 11:25 AM  

  • Malcolm X broke with Nation of Islam prior to his assassination. He founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. which broke up after his untimely death.

    By Blogger cermak_rd, at 28/11/06 12:48 PM  

  • Cermak_Rd beat me to it. :(

    But the point is not lost.

    By Blogger Levois, at 28/11/06 12:55 PM  

  • This is the most inane piece of political correctness ever. Not only is it insulting and petty and myoptic, but the city tossed away $12,000 the market committee could well have used.

    It certainly does appear as though only words or images having to do with Christianity are verboten these days.

    By Anonymous diane, at 28/11/06 6:45 PM  

  • What amused me about the Christkindlmarket is that the items for sale were purportedly made in Germany, Austria, etc., etc. However, a number of the "authentic" items we bought in those shops had "made in China" on the bottom of them...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/12/06 1:43 PM  

  • Here's what you have to keep in mind: if Lufthansa is a sponsor, or Mercedes Benz, it's pretty clear that they are just paid advertisers. If the Nativity movie sponsors the event, it's so connected up that it's reasonable for the city to be concerned that there might be the perception of an endorsement.

    But here's the thing: having the Christkindlmarket tied to Germany, to a "cultural" tradition, has made it possible for the city to have a much more explicitly "Christmas-y" event than would usually be possible -- in other circumstances they'd have to call it a "Holiday Market" and keep it open until the end of Kwanzaa. If the city gets too many complaints, they may just decide it's not worth it. I would suggest that people choose their battles a bit more carefully before complaining so vigorously.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/12/06 4:11 PM  

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