The War on Festivus January 6, 2009

The War on Festivus

The atheists have lost.

It looks like Festivus is only getting bigger — it’s followers are going to steal our thunder as the propagators of the War on Christmas!

Most importantly, we can’t compete using our current ways of doing business, says Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle:

(Disappointingly, the atheist “display” [in Olympia, Washington] was nothing more than a cheesy cardboard sign mounted on an easel saying “There is no god” in large black sans serif letters. The atheists are not going to get anywhere until they hire some graphic artists, develop unique iconography and experiment with serif type. Sure, serifs do indicate to many the existence of an Intelligent Designer, but surely this issue should be secondary to marketing concerns.)

He has a point.

This isn’t very visually appealing:

The atheists could’ve at least gone for something a bit… happier:


Next time, we should do a sign with all scarlet As. We’ll even include several atheist symbols. We’ll go for quality graphics.

But we do have a tough battle ahead of us.

It’s like I’ve always said: Atheists just don’t have the six foot poles we need to compete.

And you can quote me on that.

(Thanks to Greta Christina for the link!)

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Maybe we should use a 6 foot monkey.
    Of course it would have to hold a sign that says “Happy Monkey.”

  • Derek H.

    I live in a small town in Minnesota and over Christmas a local sign shop had on their marquee the standard slogan, “A Festivus for the rest of us!” If a company fighting for customers in a bad economy can do that, we have indeed lost.

  • Mikey J

    I could be wrong, but those look like serif letters to me. Times New Roman Bold if I’m not mistaken.

    Serifs are those little ditties on the ends of the “tips” of the letters, right?

  • SarahH

    I’m strongly in the Festivus camp. I consider myself, as an atheist, one of “the rest of us” and therefore celebrate the holiday with gusto! In fact, I feel bad for all you poor heartless non-Festivus-celebrators because without participating in my particular holiday, how can you have any cheer? *shakes head sadly*

    Seriously though, the giant poles also help.

  • JSug

    You do realize the cheesy white sign was only temporary, right? There was a delay in shipping, and the permanent plaque wasn’t available at the time they scheduled for the unveiling. It showed up the next day, I believe. Still sans-serif, but much more tasteful, I think.

  • Um, the lettering in the picture above IS serifed.

    I do agree with his point, however. As someone whom works in a design firm (not as a graphic designer, however), the board could certainly use a lot of help!

  • Ben

    Minor point here, but I always thought a “serif” was a short line at the end of the main strokes of a character. Both the temporary and the permanent plaque appear to be serifed fonts, to me.

  • Richard Wade

    Thanks josh.f13 and Ben, you beat me to it. That is a serifed font, something like Times Roman Bold.

    This is only worth mentioning because since Mr. Carroll is making such a big deal about it and about having better visual appeal in our graphic design, one might expect that he’d take the time to actually know what he’s talking about.

    Then again, since we’re soooooo used to getting criticism from people who don’t know what they’re talking about, what’s one more?

    I’m from a design background as well and yes, we could use some professionally designed graphics, but remember that the paper poster was a quickly made substitute when the engraved plaque was inexplicably delayed for the scheduled unveiling in the Washington Capitol building.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Lulz! That bear on display would be F’in hilarious. I can just imagine Bill-O-The-Clown trying to think of his normal hateful things to say about it/us — his head would go asplodey!

  • «bønez_brigade»

    BTW, Carroll’s article must have been written relatively heavily in jest, with intentional disregard for his own stance. The sign wasn’t cardboard, nor did it say “There is no god” (nor would I consider the letters large). And the serif thing has already been covered.

  • I think THIS was incredibly artful. But then again, I’m biased.

  • Vincent

    what crappy reporting. That “cardboard” sign was what was temporarily put in place after the original was stolen.

  • Jack Applin


  • I think we should put on a free public showing of Jurassic Park. Everyone loves that movie. I love that movie.

  • Meh, I’m more interested in Winter-een-mas at the end of this month.

  • laterose

    …apparently Carroll needs to take a typography class. That is a Serif font. I suspect he means to say they should have tried a Sans Serif font. Which I would agree with. Sans Serif fonts are associated with modernity whereas Serif fonts are associated with older printing styles. Since the plaque is about claiming a new celebration for secular forward-thinking people, using a more modern font would fit better. The current plaques styles are oddly reminiscent of the printing styles of most bibles.

  • Eric

    I think Festivus is exactly the kind of alternate festival atheists should embrace. It’s a bit ironic & irreverent – funny. But also shows how abitrary many holidays are. It admits to the truth of the situation, while still asking folks to have fun and enjoy the occasion.

    I’m for co-opting Festivus.

  • Zar

    Why should we come up with our own iconography? Let’s do what the Christians did: steal someone else’s, modify it slightly, and then vilify and destroy the original culture.

error: Content is protected !!