Hoopes, Holidays and Google

Google “Tom Hoopes” and “Holidays,” and what do you come up with?

Among other things, the article our former executive editor posted Monday at the website of First Things, titled “Holidays by Google.”

Tom takes a Hoopesian look at the idiosyncratic collection of people and events that Google deems worthy of enjoying the status of a “Google holiday,” expressed through the special “Google doodle” logo that it assigns to some specific days of the year. On these days, Google replaces its standard Google logo with the holiday doodle on its website, which is the most visited site on the Internet.

Here’s Hoopes contrasting how the Catholic Church and Google go about selecting their respective feast days:

The Catholic Church, of course, transformed many secular holidays in its day into celebrations of aspects of the faith. The Church is good at this. On any given day at Mass with the monks here in Atchison, you’ll hear commemorations of saints as well as campus milestones and the death anniversaries of confreres from the 150 years of the college. This is very Catholic. One could almost explain the Church’s very existence as a place where history meets eternity and the two walk together as one.

But the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church. Google is Google.

A dark take on Google holidays could see it making its own deliberate effort to transform the holiday structure. Maybe Google is defanging Christmas and Easter on purpose, and pouncing (prematurely) on scientific developments like the “missing link” fossil of Darwinius masillae (doodled on May 20, 2009) in order to supplant outworn religious myths it doesn’t like with brightly illustrated new scientific ones it does likes.

Maybe Google is gathering a worldwide campus to its side to recommit us to the earth, and memorializing its confreres of scientific progress in a relentless dedication to a godless project that sees its great ritualistic self-expression in dancing naked around a giant bonfire in Nevada.

Or maybe Google is just being cute.