My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Music

Voltaire said, “Anything too stupid to be said is sung”, and this is doubly so of Christmas music -- it is the equivalent of being bludgeoned to death by a Hallmark card.

Having spent a considerable amount of time over the last couple of weeks submerged in Christmas music, I have come to realize the vast majority of these songs have never been nominated for a Grammy, received any internationally recognized awards for musical excellence, or have been hailed for their musical creativeness for a reason. This is because they are intentionally shallow and musically insulting.

Christmas is the time of year in which we can all be proud to wallow in our own ability to be tacky and gaudy. Everything from homemade scenic sweaters, to borderline obscene Christmas yard decorations, all the way to those CDs of dogs barking Christmas carols is fair game. And not only do we allow such embarrassing frivolity, we see it as a necessary part of the kitsch and as essential as the tree or presents.

Think about it, would it be Christmas if you weren’t bombarded with the same repetitive music about Santa and his reindeer, snow, decorations, good-will, and the several quaint reasons for the mostly Pagan holiday? True, some people (usually the die-hard Christians or desperate infotainers) do try to make the holiday out as holy, but it’s a long shot to rebrand all of those Pagan traditions as Christian. Still, it’s an excuse to be carried away in everything delightfully tacky and excessive because we do so under the banner of “The Season”.

So this year, as we spend time with our families celebrating the tackiness of the season by drowning ourselves in a self-imposed orgy of Christmas crap, try to remember that stupid Christmas song on the radio is not painfully bad, it’s painfully good.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the mall is giving 10% off of everything during the all-drum performance of Jingle Bells.

1 comment:

Neena said...

Voltaire was indisputably correct, and an idyllic choice, based on his disdain for organized religion. However, let’s not forget Eminem won a grammy for “My name is”. Perhaps a grammy isn’t necessarily a yard stick by which we should measure musical excellence.

To answer your question; Christmas would not be the same without the tacky music we listen to while knocking others over for the last Elmo doll, or filling our front yards with twelve different inflatable decorations.

Christmas Music is backmasked. Played forward it’s an innocent, if exasperating, collection of notes. Played backwards it has secret messages that create madness. Connect the dots. This time of the year we literally go insane. The day after Thanksgiving as Christmas Music begins everywhere, so does the mania. We drag a tree into our homes and decorate it, and hang up giant socks to be filled with presents. We lie to our children about a man in a big red suit who comes down the chimney and eats our food while they’re asleep. (Sounds more like a Grimm’s fairy tale to me). After the Christmas holiday, as the music begins to fade into the background, so does the lunacy. We tear down the decorations and hide all signs of our madness. New Years is an attempt to reclaim our sanity. We make resolutions in an attempt to forget the madness that overtook us.

In effect I think I’d rather be bludgeoned by a Hallmark card then subjected to this annual promenade into the Twilight Zone.