Morons sometimes use the discredited, nonsense line that they ripped off from someone who mistakenly thought he was clever that, “I can't be an atheist because they have no holidays”, when, in reality, most so-called “holidays” are secular. Think about it. New Years, Martin Luther King Day (yes he was a religious man, but no we don't go to church on that day). Ground hog day, valentines day (yes, saint valentine was christian, but no you don't need to be christian to celebrate it and other cultures had their own similar days) arbor day, flag day, Columbus day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, Spring Break, Mother's Day, Father's Day. Even Halloween and Thanksgiving are celebrated in completely secular ways by people of many faiths or no faith at all. The same is true of Christmas, or Boxing Day the next day. You don't have to be Christian to give gifts. If you want to, you can celebrate solstice, yule, festivus, or any number of other alternate events, but why bother. There is nothing uniquely Christian about reindeer, elves, pine trees, stocking or any of that. Even Santa himself might have been based on “Saint Nicholas”, but is an entirely different, secular, modern invention. That is just the reality. You might be thinking that the word “holiday” means “holy day”, but you would be wrong. It doesn't mean that anymore either. The majority of holidays are not “holy”, nor does it have to be a religious event to be called a holiday. Words change in their usage and you can't assume that the definition of a word is 100% derived from its components or etymology. As it turns out then, there is pretty much no “holiday” that atheists cannot celebrate. If only Christians can celebrate Christmas because it is a Christian holiday, then, by your logic Christians should not be able to celebrate explicitly secular or non-religious holidays like The Fourth of July, or Columbus Day, or Flag Day. The majority of our holidays are not even religious in origin, but none of them have obligatory religious components. Oh and, before you make another mealymouthed, worn-out joke, no April Fool's Day is not(1) a holiday and (2) for atheists -- it is for you gullible religious people. It was originally created because some of you die-hard religious types refused to change over from the old calendar when the Pope decided to update things, so those following the new calendar decided to mock and play tricks on people following the old ways, which were often the hyper-conservative, religious types. These days, you can bet that the religious people are the ones being fooled and mocked, due to their apotheosis of gullibility, and the atheists are the one's playing the jokes and having all the laughs at the expense of the “faithful” or more accurately “faith fools”. That is, after all, what faith turns people into and some church fathers even had the good sense to admit it.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
'Tis the season to hear crazy Christmas jingles virtually everywhere, in the malls, on the radio, and even being sung by drunken frat boys. Most people just seem to hum along, never listening to the lyrics, but if you're cursed, like me, to actually listen to the words being sung then you've probably realize that this is a mighty weird-ass time of year. I would like to encourage like minded-individuals to be taking mental notes as you read this and contribute your own favorite examples.
For starters, it seem that many popular Christmas songs were written like 900 years ago, so they have all kinds of retarded, old-timey words that only Amish people would use, like “thou” and “art” and “yon”. The vocabulary of Christmas is full of these crusty, old fogey terms, where half the time you're probably thinking, “I'd like to buy a vowel, here”, but you can't because vowels hadn't even been invented yet. When else do you say, “yo, I needs me some boughs of holly so as I can deck my halls wif 'em?” How about, “don we now our gay apparel?” Yeah, I think I'll pass on that one. I can't believe religious people haven't launched a crusade against this one. “Troll the ancient yuletide carol”? A lot of people think the word is “toll”, but that refers to bells, and the only troll they've ever heard of is Shrek. No wait, he's an Ogre, but close enough. “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh”? If you say so, Father Time. I can honestly say that I've never been in a “one-horse open sleigh”, so I can't verify “what fun it is”, but it probably ain't quite so much fun for the horse, who gets to freeze his butt off.
Anyway, I'm not even going to talk about the really whack sounding songs like “Good King Wencelaus” or “the Wassail Song”, because those songs sound like such looney tunes that they will seldom ever get played, except maybe on the History Channel. I'm talking about songs that you hear all the time like, We Wish You a Merry Christmas. That doesn't sound too weird, but, if you think about it, do we ever use the word “merry” without the next word being “Christmas”, unless you're a big Robinhood fan? Merry Arbor Day? Not so much.
But that's not the weirdest part of the song. The really weird part is where they start singing, “Oh bring us the figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer”. It then goes on to say, “we won't go until we get some” three times, followed by “and bring it out here”. Now then, it almost goes without saying that “we won't go until we get some” has a WAY different connotation today than when it was originally written. Get your figgy puddin out here right now, girlfriend. But seriously, how many of you all eat figgy pudding? I've caroled a few times and I have never been served, nor have I wanted to be served figgy pudding. I'm just saying... a cup of good cheer maybe, though it would probably violate alcohol serving laws today.
Another pretty common song you'll hear is “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus”, especially as performed by the Jackson 5. It's only mildly creepy, now that Michael's dead, to hear him testifying in his clear, innocent voice about witnessing a sexual encounter between his mother and some old pervert.
Speaking of his clear voice, is it just me or do other people notice that Michael pronounces his words perfectly when he sings, but then, when he stops singing, and does interviews as a young kid, he lapses into a thick, 1970's jive-talking accent? Anyway, back to the magic of mistletoe, I'm sure his dad would just laugh and laugh about some fat, horny cracker snogging his wife. Now then, if mistletoe makes it okay to “kiss” a married woman on her “lips”, I wonder if this includes “special kisses” on the lower extremities. Maybe that's how Michael justified it. If only he were alive today he could experiment with tunes like “I saw santa kissing mommy's mound, underneath her cameltoe last night”. How about, “I saw mommy riding santa's salami”. Santa always struck me as a pimp. That would explain his fur coat, and his dope ride, and the way he's always saying, “Ho ho ho”. Come on now, we have to contemporize these songs, you know.
Speaking of that, there's “Winter Wonderland”. What I “wonder” about in “Winter Wonderland” is who the effin hell Parson Brown is and what he's doing trying to marry children? You might be saying, isn't this the dude who married Frosty the Snowman and his girlfriend Crystal, but I'm pretty sure this song just borrowed that name from Winter Wonderland as a send up. Anyway, here are the lines I'm talking about. It reads, “In the meadow we can build a snowman. Then pretend that he is Parson Brown. He'll say are you married. We'll say no, man. But you can do the job when you're in town.” Well, he is “in town” because you just built has happy ass in the meadow, and holy under-aged shack-ups, Batman, is this guy a Mormon or something? I'm sure kids today are totally confused anyway, thinking “What the heck is marriage? Oh, yeah I heard it's kind of like what old people do instead of just hooking up, only way less cool?”
That brings us to “Away in a Manger”, where we're told that Jesus had “no crib for a bed”. Actually I think that Jesus's crib in heaven was pretty tight and tricked out, but that's not the crib we're talking about. I'm fairly sure that people 2000 years ago didn't have fancy baby cribs, play pens, romper rooms, baby monitors in their nurseries for their kids. I'm guessing that they didn't have cable TV either, and they couldn't play him Baby Mozart, or use plastic pampers or feed him Gerber baby formula, either. The point is that it probably wouldn't have been unusual for a baby to be sleeping in the same room as goats and other domestic animals. That's how you stayed warm back then, to say nothing of the opportunities for “companionship”. I know, I know, I am so totally going to hell for these blasphemies, but I gotta call them like I see them. Anyway, the song goes on to ask Jesus to “stay by my cradle till morning is nigh”. I think most people believe this word is “night”, because, unless you're King Lear, you probably don't use the word “nigh” to mean “near” on a regular basis.
Another pretty trippy song is “We three kings of orient are”. It's about these dudes who are supposedly kings, but they apparently don't have any crews to come with them and carry their s*** and didn't even have couriers to go on their behalf. Instead, they come all by themselves following lights in the sky. It sounds like someone was smoking more than just frankincense, when they decided to make that trip. Anyway, in the song they describe their long journey by saying, “Bearing gifts, we traverse afar”. OK, fine, it was written in the 1850's, so they say “traverse” instead of “travel”. But they go on to say, “Field and fountain, moor and mountain / following yonder star”. Sure, they want a word to rhyme with “mountain”, I understand that, but “fountain”? That doesn't quite sound right. A fountain doesn't exactly sound that terrible. It sounds like a refreshing little dip or a quick drink, which would actually be pretty nice, considering that there are tons of DESERTS in the Middle East. How did they fail to notice that little fact? And what's up with the reference to a “moor” or swamp? Is this The Hound of the Baskervilles or what? Hey, that might not be a bad plot twist, if the Three Wisemen got eaten by the Hound of the Baskervilles and Jesus had to use his superpowers to hunt it down and cut it open to extract his “gifts”. Now that might be a flick I could watch, if the graphics were decent.
I could go on almost without end. I was going to say “ad infinitum”, but we don't even want to get into all the Latin stuff like “Ave Maria”. I'd like to hear from other like-minded Christmas song critics about your own pet peeves and favorite finds, so make sure to contribute to the discussion.