Washington Post metro columnist John Kelly has come under scrutiny here at NewsBusters for his disdain of gun rights and his push for more stringent gun control. So it is all the more amusing, in the Advent season no less, to read his latest column devoted to his disdain for and dread of... candles?!
While there is, no doubt, some degree to which his December 15 piece, "Light a candle? I'd rather curse the dark" is written in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, Kelly did devote nearly 800 words -- 783 to be precise, according to wordcounter.net -- to his absurd keriophobic screed, wherein he admitted that a personal bad experience from his childhood has colored his view of reality:
Perhaps, like me, your firm anti-candle stance arose after your stepbrother almost burned the house down with a candle. Or maybe you just came to the conclusion on your own, based on the fact that candles have the potential to burn your house down.
And then there's Kelly's attention to issuing "refutations" to the "talking points from the National Candle Association and Waxmelters" (shown in bold):
Both men and women consider candles to be an always-acceptable and highly appreciated gift for a wide variety of occasions.
I’m fine with this if you replace “always-acceptable” with “never-acceptable” and “highly appreciated” with “highly dangerous.”
Candle sales have grown 10 to 15 percent per year in the last decade, fueled by consumer interest in aromatherapy and increased demand for home fragrance products.
I don’t get it. Do Americans stink more than we used to? Do we need candles to mask the unpleasant odors of our bodies or rotting food?
Consumers are increasingly purchasing candles as a focal point for their home decor, and for aromatherapy-like relaxation and stress reduction.
Stress reduction? You know what used to stress people out in the olden days? Worrying that the whole house was going to go up in flames when the milch cow kicked a candle over into the kerosene bucket. Our ancestors dreamed of a time when they wouldn’t have to light their house with fire. Fire! Like some caveman.
We live in that time and what do we do? Light candles.
Approximately one in five women say they use candles to decorate the yard, patio or other exterior areas, as well as the interior of their home.
I’m fine with burning a candle outside — so long as it is set atop an asbestos-coated stainless-steel plinth that is positioned within a baby pool filled with at least eight inches of water. But the “interior of the home”? No sirree.
That’s where I live, and I prefer to keep my living quarters char-free.
Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire.
Unless you burn a candle in the airless vacuum of space, it will be on or near something that can catch fire.
My family knows how I feel about candles, and yet certain members of it choose to mock me. For my birthday last month, my younger daughter — the one I now refer to as the Disinherited One — gave me a printout of the National Candle Association’s candle-safety tips, along with a brass candle snuffer. Ha. Ha.
Perhaps Kelly's simply been burning the (figurative) candle at both ends of the stick. Here's hoping he has a relaxing Christmas vacation, and good spot in a pew close to a fire exit come the candlelight service on Christmas Eve.