Friday, December 21, 2007

A Look at 'The New Puritanism': Gt. Barrington's 'War on Christmas'

Photos - Top: Fox News Commentator Bill O'Reilly of The O'Reilly Factor.
Middle and Bottom: Great Barrington's entire Christmas light display crossing Main Street and Railroad Street. Per order of the town Selectmen, curfew for the light show is 10 PM. (Middle photo by Will Whitehorn, The Berkshire Record newspaper)
Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly!
The local newspapers, especially The Berkshire Eagle, hate it when an observant, media-connected outsider (meaning someone from outside Berkshire County) draws attention to (and pricks) the little bubble of fantasy that so many Berkshire locals choose to live in.
It's especially galling for it to happen before a national TV audience showcased on a program like The O'Reilly Factor.
One misconception I wish to correct. You claim that 'rich elitists from New York City' are moving up here and 'imposing their ideology on this small town.'
The fact is that most second-home owners (the bulk from New York and New Jersey) and 'snow-birds' (retirees who fly to Florida in Winter) refuse to register to vote here. Thus, they don't get to choose Selectmen or influence decision-making. (They just have the privilege of paying the lion's share of local property taxes.)
No, Bill, this isn't outsiders moving to the Berkshires and imposing a point of view.
What is happening can be called 'The New Puritanism'. It's home-grown. It's about blue Massachusetts, and it thrives right here in the heart of bluer Berkshire County.
It's political correctness, good intentions, and the Liberal Left's agenda run amok.
I look forward to seeing if any of the Selectmen will have the gonads to defend their latest bit of silliness done in the name of 'social consciousness'.
So far, though, it doesn't look as if any of these local paragons are going to appear on The Factor to defend or to debate ideology. Selectman co-chairman Ronald Dlugosz claims he is "not a fan of Fox". This is the man's rationale for not appearing on a national stage to defend his integrity or the logic of his Luddite point of view.
And so the man makes himself and the other Great Barrington town officials (and by geographical connection, the rest of Berkshire County) a laughing-stock across the country.

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