Bird’s Eye: It seems self-evident from sales and decorations that Christmas is approaching. Herewith, a range of celebratory offerings. We start with Tom Lehrer, over a half century ago, singing a carol. You’ll notice how little has changed. The style of celebration has, as we prove with a Kung-fu panda from the Macy’s Christmas parade, a Hallelujah flash mob channeling Handel (not Cohen), a useful chart on snow, and the Guardian’s advent calendar on which each day prominent people choose their heroes. We start with Richard Dawkins, who chooses Chris Hitchens. Really, what could be more Christmassy?
* Tom Lehrer – A Christmas Carol Youtube 3 minutes
* Macy’s Kung Fu Panda Eyewitness, the Guardian
* Hallelujah Flash Mob in Food Court youtube, via Urlesque
* What People Do When it Snows chart
* Comment is Free Advent Calendar The Guardian
Who were the heroes and villains of this year? From now till Christmas Eve, you’ll find one here each morning
Day One: Richard Dawkins Like Bertrand Russell, Hitch “would scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation”. He laughs off the spiritual vultures eager for a death-bed conversion, and dismisses – but with unfailingly gracious courtesy – the many schadenfreudian prayers for his recovery. As Daniel Dennett said, in similar circumstances, “And did you also sacrifice a goat?”
I devoutly hope (not pray) that we shall see realised the 5% chance of recovery that modern doctors (not ancient gods) can offer. And if it is not to be – if, in his own gallantly insouciant words, he has to leave the party early – he will bequeath us an example worth following for centuries to come.