December 2012

December 2012

Recently I saw a card in a shop window: ‘Christmas trees for dollhouses’. I guess the popularity of the dollhouse lies in the fact that it allows you to create your own ideal miniature world. You select furniture according your personal tastes and preferences. Most importantly, you can bring into your model house all those things that you value, and exclude all unpleasant things.  The miniature sphere allows for other, more symbolic uses; for instance, you can furnish your tiny house with Christmas decorations if Christmas has a special value for you. At the same time, there are people who would ban all signs of Christmas in their dollhouses (if they had any), and thus create a Christmas-free sphere amidst public celebrations, Rudolph and Santa.

Certainly, talking about Christmas, I could be talking about any other cultural practice, world view, or tradition as well. But I wonder whether the Western societies will be obliged to transform themselves into dollhouse-like systems with an ideologically neutral public square. The cultures, customs, morals and religions of different groups and communities within a society will be considered a private pursuit and the result of individual choice and something that should be left at the door when people engage in public debate. Is it good or bad, or just a necessity in order to avoid the risk of cultural rift?

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