Universal Hub has it wrong: Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald doesn't write about Irina Koltoniuc--the Jew who loves Christmas and hates secularism--every year. It only seems that way. In fact, he wrote about her today; and on December 4, 2006; and on December 14, 2005; and on January 3, 2005.
In itself, this isn't all that surprising. Given her predilictions, Koltoniuc is a perfect foil for Fitzgerald's cranky cultural conservatism. What is surprising, though, is how shamelessly Fitzgerald passes off each iteration of the Koltoniuc story as a fresh column, rather than the reprint it really is. Because the constituent parts of Fitzgerald's love letter to Koltoniuc are remarkably durable. Consider:
--"It was like stepping into a fairy tale, with ornaments, lights and trees everywhere we looked. It was so festive, and such a joy to see everyone free to celebrate what was important to them." (Koltoniuc describing her first American Christmas on 1/3/05, 12/4/06, and 12/9/09)
--"Maybe you can't feel the way I do because you didn't come from the same place I did, but I see us being pushed in a very wrong way and I've seen its consequences." (Koltoniuc on encroaching secularism on 1/3/05)
--"Maybe you can't feel the way I do because you didn't come from the same place I did, but I see us being pushed in a very wrong direction and that's why I'm so scared now." (Koltoniuc on encroaching secularism on 12/4/06)
--"I'm a Jew, but this conspiracy against Christianity frightens me." (Koltoniuc on 12/9/09)
"I'm a Jew, yet this conspiracy against Christianity frightens me" (Koltoniuc on 1/3/05 and )
--"Back then, the John Hancock company distributed little blue booklets filled with Chrimas carols to all public schools. Anyone my age who grew up around here would remember that. And no one sued." (Koltoniuc remembering the good old days on 12/14/05)
--"Many in this city can remember a time when the John Hancock company
distributed thousands of Christmas carol booklets throughout the public
school system. Today that’s unimaginable." (Fitzgerald remembering the good old days on 12/9/09)
--"If [the ACLU] could spend one week in the life I had when I was [in Lithuania], they would drop out of that organization in a hurry.... I wish I could make them see the damage they are doing." (Koltoniuc panning the ACLU on 1/3/05)
--"I wish I could talk to the ACLU, too. If they could spend just a week in the life many of us had before we came to America, they might understand the damage they are doing." (Koltoniuc panning the ACLU on 12/4/06)
--"It's not about me being Jewish and you being something else" (Koltoniuc on 1//3/05 and 12/4/06)
Now, to be absolutely fair, Fitzgerald offers occasional hints that his material isn't absolutely fresh. That 12/4/06 iteration of the ACLU quote, for example, was introduced as something Koltoniuc said "the last time she called"; similarly, today's column includes a reference to Koltoniuc first calling Fitzgerald four years ago. Still, the line between old material and new material is blurry at best: when Fitzgerald recycled the "It's not about me being Jewish..." line on 12/4/06, for example, he had Koltoniuc speaking in the present tense.