David Thompson
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December 04, 2017

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Dom

Articles deploring Christmas are emotionally damaging and a hazard to our health. And needlessly repetitive.

Joan

So writes columnist Arwa Mahdawi, who, it seems, and unlike most grown women, has yet to master the controls of a music player or radio.

And who also hasn't heard of shopping online.

David

And who also hasn’t heard of shopping online.

Well, quite. Like countless others, I manage to buy whatever I need for Christmas without enduring more than a few minutes of department store Christmas music. Which, once a year, I think I can cope with.

#SoVeryBrave

Jonathan

Another foreign import upset by Western, Christian tradition.

Ms.Mahdawi is, of course, free to live in any country where Christmas isn't celebrated.

Meanwhile, thanks to 'diversity', we have this at Manchesters Christmas market:

Jacob

Guardian writers always sound like moody teenagers stuck with the family at Christmas.

David

Guardian writers always sound like moody teenagers stuck with the family at Christmas.

Heh. The moody teenager who’s only there under protest and who pointedly won’t join in, but who’ll be devastated if they don’t get a present anyway, even if it’s only to moan about how wrong and stupid it is. Unless, of course, it’s cash.

And it’s not just the air of adolescent pouting; there’s a lack of… gratitude.

Lancastrian Oik

Online shopping

Not a new thing:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Such fun.

Spiny Norman

The Grauniad and its readers are like the Baptists of the 19th century, dogged by a nagging fear that someone, somewhere might be having fun.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, for example, a classic of the genre… can be read as an early warning about the powers of the surveillance state...

Yeah, the surveillance state was a big thing in 1934 when it was written.

“Christmas Date Rape Song.”

You mock, the Northern Ireland 5-0 was all over this.

However, they deleted that one as it was apparently not inclusive enough and corrected it.

Just remember, at that office party, everyone is raping everyone else, and caroling is gang rape of whoever is in the house being caroled.

David
Socialising… without consent… is rape.

Hm. It’s a partial improvement.

Y. Knott

Ummmmm...... Humbug?

- And I can't BELIEVE Ms Mahdawi missed that Santa is an old, white man. This explains so MUCH I mean, flying from house to house, sneaking down chimneys, leaving gifts for little boys and girls... without their consent...

David

In other festive news, today I posted the Christmas cards. I thought it was a little early, earlier than usual at least, but given the effort involved in just getting The Other Half to sign the bloody things, I wanted them out and on their way as quickly as possible. Plus, there’s always a certain implied one-upmanship in cards, with the obligation to reciprocate, and you want to get in the first blow, as it were.

Sam Duncan

“Online shopping”

Bloody hell. Wait... is that... the badge of the Hungarian communist party that the protestors cut out of their flag in 1989 as a symbolic rejection of its tyrrany? Why, I think it is. I repeat: bloody hell.

And oh, look: “Obama: 100% socialist”. I thought he absolutely, totally, 100% wasn't, pinky swear, you hater. Well, well, well. How about that?

“Branch secretaries should write immediately for special terms”

... or else.

champ

leaving gifts for little boys and girls...

So that's it, Santa Claus is a pedophile!

Dave Moore

I work in retail, and let me tell you, the crap that bombards us from the PA speakers overhead is deeply damaging to our minds, our souls, and to Christmas itself. Middle aged lounge lizards crooning about their two front teeth. Endless reminders of the story of the most famous reindeer of all. (If Rudolph is so bloody famous, why do we need the reminder?) Lesbians discussing the low temperature weather. Women who might not get home for Christmas because of, I dunno, their intense performance schedule in Vegas? (Certainly nothing about huddling in a frozen French foxhole waiting to get killed by jerries, eh?) Dreaming of a White Christmas in Houston, Texas. Something about hippopotamuses? It's horses and sleighs and jangling bells that have no meaning anymore except to signal "Time to buy a bunch of crap."

Not a single blessed thing about, you know, Christmas itself.

It's not necessarily the music, it's the unceasing and inescapable torrent of noise that sucks all the joy and juice and anticipation out of the sacred holiday. It's the enforced jollity. It reduces the music of children and their faithful parents to nothing more than advertising and show tunes, and I absolutely hate it.

David

It’s not necessarily the music, it’s the unceasing and inescapable torrent of noise

As a customer who generally dislikes in-store music, and who’s been known to avoid stores that play it, I have much less objection to Christmas music. I suppose it’s the novelty and maybe I succumb to the intended mood-lifting effect. Though of course I don’t have to listen to it all day, which, as you say, might get a tad wearing.

Smallish Bees

The obvious irony is that we are bombarded by secular holiday season songs, because the leftist insistence that no one be subjected to religious Christian songs celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ has been taken to heart by all these corporate conglomerates. If they take the religion out of Christmas, they have no right to complain about the commercial remnants of the religious holiday.

David

Smallish Bees

I think I should start handing out free drinks for entertaining pseudonyms.

Pogonip

Sounds like the lady from the Guardian thinks "Ho! Ho! Ho!" is really a pervy "Heh, heh, heh."

David, you don't have to chase The Other Half to sign. It's perfectly acceptable for one household member to sign for all: "Pogonip, Son of Pogonip, Bob the Betta, and Pete the Keet." Just make sure the signer puts his name first: "David and Other." If you are feeling like getting out of the task this year, so you say "Other [Mr. Half], I think we have a loose shingle, do these cards while I check it out," and flee to the safety of the roof, then the ones he does get signed "Other and David." People to whom you have been sending cards so long you have forgotten why may have also forgotten who you are, so the signer will also add a brief personal note: "Have a wonderful holiday and drop by sometime for a pickled egg." You want something that sounds hospitable but will ensure they won't come within a hundred miles of you, e.g. "Good news--the health department has decided we can keep twenty of the cats, rather than only nineteen."

Pogonip

He sees you when you're sleeping
[In that sexy nightgown]
He knows when you're awake
[And he's watching you shower]

I have to admit, I never put THAT interpretation on the song!

Farnsworth M Muldoon

As a customer who generally dislikes in-store music...

Who doesn't like the classics ?

Pogonip

And they never tell you they're too tired!

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/454302/bioethicist-sex-dead-ok

Pogonip

And you'll never have to send them Xmas cards!

bobby b

"Not a single blessed thing about, you know, Christmas itself."

If they would stop with the secular crap and go back to what once was, I suspect the sheer musicality would improve.

I also hate the Rudolph/Santa/toys!-centric Muzak used to allay the fears of religious noninclusion, because the music itself is so damned boring.

But I'll linger in a store playing a good version of Drummer Boy, or the Hallelujah Chorus, or Hark The Hairy Angels, or Oh Holy Night - music with tradition and musicality that speaks to the reason for the season.

jabrwok

the classics

I've always preferred Mike Agranoff's version of this ditty:

Thin and wan and pale and wasted
The girl with emphysema goes walking
And when she passes, each breath she passes goes "Aaauuuuuggghhh!"

Part of his classic work: "My Favorite Diseases".

Can't find the original recording online, alas.

Smallish Bees

I live to delight and befuddle.

Smallish Bees

Oh, and the drinks. To delight, befuddle, and free drinks.

Daniel Ream

Hark The Hairy Angels

Wait, what?

David

Re Baby, It’s Cold Outside, this seems apposite.

David

See also this feminist defence of the song by someone who actually listened to it and did some elementary research:

As she’s talking about leaving, she never says she doesn’t want to stay. Her words are all based around other people’s expectations of her — her mother will worry, her father will be pacing the floor, the neighbours will talk, her sister will be suspicious of her excuses and her brother will be furious, and my favourite line that I think is incredibly revealing, — “My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious.” Vicious about what? Sex. Unmarried, non-good girl having, sex.

Later in the song, she asks him for a comb (to fix her hair) and mentions that there’s going to be talk tomorrow – this is a song about sex, wanting it, having it, maybe having a long night of it by the fire, but it’s not a song about rape. It’s a song about the desires even good girls have…

The line “Say, what’s in this drink” needs to be explained in a broader context to refute the idea that he spiked her drink. “Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn’t really used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse.

Apparently, such subtleties escaped Ms Mahdawi.

Spiny Norman

Of course, we also have the "amusing the first time, but soon to become an annoying earworm" parody of an "amusing the first time, but became an annoying earworm" novelty Christmas tune:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a55ondH9EP4

Squires

The proper response is: Quit being such a prude.

Follow up with something about the whole scene being Squaresville, and your intent to soon as possible be outtahere.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Given all the recent rage about gender, a carol for the confused.

Trevor

... a carol for the confused.

Good old Bob Rivers. I was just thinking about 'Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire'.

R. Sherman

Palate cleanser.

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

As it is also Hanukkah season, The Chosen Surfers favor us with Dreidel Dreidel.

Hopp Singg

IIRC, "Baby it's cold outside" was written by a NY songwriter for a housewarming.

Yes, here it is: https://www.steynonline.com/6690/baby-its-cold-outside It's by Mark Steyn, so enjoy.

The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. Someday, we may even let you see it.

Hal

Hark The Hairy Angels

Wait, what?

It has always seemed to me after all, that Christmas with its spirit of giving, offers us all a wonderful opportunity each year to reflect on what we all most sincerely and deeply believe in.

I refer of course, to money.

Trevor

As it is also Hanukkah season ...

Other ancient and venerable traditions are also available.

Philip Daniel

Some music for the season:

Jacob Collier's rich (some would say overwrought or even cloying) harmonization of Harold Darke's setting of Christina Rossetti's "In the Bleak Midwinter" -- transcribed by one Jun Lee, who possesses an ear as tremendous as Collier's grasp of harmony and voice leading (and of different tunings and temperaments, too). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-nRv0uQvH0

A shill of my own work -- a series of four "rhapsodies" for piano, which one fellow musician/composer (with a large youtube following) described as "gothic in the best possible sense." https://soundcloud.com/philip-daniel-694653902/rhapsodien-sturm-und-drang-sonata-da-chiesa-empfindsamkeit-stylus-phantasticus

champ

OOT, "Eating Meat Perpetuates "Hegemonic Masculinity", Professor Says"

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10221

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

You want piano, you get piano.

A merry Hendrix Christmas.

Canadian Christmas.

Squires

Other ancient and venerable traditions...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulana_Karenga

Philip Daniel

@ champ You think that's bad?

Admin frets for 'humanity' of children raised by white parents
https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10226

Redolent of Ms. Ashleigh Schakleford's venomous tirade (before a group of sycophantic church ladies -- err, I mean woke white allies) vilifying people of European descent as literal demons, as "not born into being human."

Pst314

In the ledger of “futile materialisms” the first entry is “dialectical materialism”. And

Pst314

In the ledger of “futile materialisms” the first entry is “dialectical materialism”. And

Pst314

Please ignore that trailing “and”.

Darleen

To delight, befuddle, and free drinks.

ooooo.... Oxford comma!

Smallish Bees is already delighting me.

Pst314

And the mysterious double posting. More futility?

Hal

Oh, and there's also Puddles the Clown.

Oh, Holy Night

Christmas Time Is Here

Captain Nemo

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working for a budget retail establishment, which I'm not going to directly name, but it was along the lines of "QuidNation". From September to mid-November, the music I had to listen to was dire. I knew I wouldn't be listening to Beethoven symphonies or Bach chorales, but I thought that I could cope with the trite, cliched banality that in the main constitutes modern, chart-topping pop music, and which, I was sure, made up the background music of the store.

Alas, nothing quite prepared me for the sheer mind-numbing dreck the shop played. It appeared to consist of rejected band demo tapes - none of the songs were from the charts, or even bands my fellow workers recognised. Worst of all was the fact it played through in the same order each night, to the point where I was able to tell what time it was without even needing to look at my watch. For instance I knew it was eight PM when the song which began; "I am the voice at the end of the horse", (and went both lyrically and melodically downhill from there) came over the speakers.

As a consequence, I was ecstatic when the Christmas playlist was loaded up. Wizzard, Chris Rea, the festive album Phil Spector produced in the early 1960s, even Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You", among many, many others. It was a most welcome change from the aural drudgery I had become used to, not least because the Christmas songs were set to play on shuffle as they would have been on a proper radio station.

And so, Ms. Mahdawi, instead of being annoyed and irritated, I was relieved. Because there are song playlists out there even worse than constant Christmas music. And also because I'm not a constantly miserable killjoy who wants to ruin things for other people.

Allan

I have this theory that almost everything that is wrong with the left is basically a trained anxiety disorder.

My girlfriend suffers from bad anxiety. She believes that other people will think she's behaving weird because she is terrified of behaving weird. So she actively scans for evidence that suppoets the theory. Cbt is training her not to do this, and to subvert the process.

The modern left actively train in the opposite direction. If you told a story of someone physically pushing you out of the way on a train the reason chamges depending on who tells the story. The person could be racist, homophobic, islamophobic or even perpetuating rape culture. Only if you dont belong to a victim group is it possible they could be a bit rude and in a hurry

This guardian writer has an anxiety disorder that causes her to see sexual violence in christmas songs. Instead of retraining her, our society is advocating this idiocy.

David

The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. Someday, we may even let you see it.

The annual denunciation of Baby, It’s Cold Outside is pretty much symbolic of woke posturing more generally. In that, the people doing the denouncing are typically relying on a simplistic, tin-eared construal of the song, bleached of subtlety or historical context, and which actually inverts the intended sentiment. As when these progressive chumps bemoaned the song as “aggressive and inappropriate,” and were supposedly distressed by the fact that, despite all the lyrical and musical clues, they couldn’t discern whether the woman goes home or, in their imaginations, is drugged and sexually assaulted.

And yet they imagine they’re the clever ones.

Burnsie

And yet they imagine they’re the clever ones.

They do seem to struggle so when it comes to music. Who can ever forget this insightful feminist reading of Beethoven's Ninth?

The point of recapitulation in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.

Feminist musicology. Where would we be without it?

WTP

Burnsie, that wouldn’t be from this broad would it?

McClary was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and received her BA in 1968 from Southern Illinois University. She attended graduate school at Harvard University where she received her MA in 1971 and her PhD in 1976. Her doctoral dissertation was on the transition from modal to tonal organization in Monteverdi's works. The first half of her dissertation was later reworked and expanded in her 2004 book, Modal Subjectivities: Self-fashioning in the Italian Madrigal. She taught at the University of Minnesota (1977–91), McGill University (1991–94), University of California, Berkeley (1993), and University of California, Los Angeles (1994-2011), before becoming a Professor of Musicology at Case Western Reserve University. She has also held a five-year professorship at the University of Oslo (2007–12). McClary is married to the musicologist Robert Walser.

MA & PhD from Harvard. In the 70’s. Over 40 years ago. I can’t imagine questioning the value of a Hahvahd education back then and still be taken seriously. And yet...

Burnsie

WTP, that's our gal! A well-credentialed...loon.

With all the projection you get from liberals, you almost have to wonder what went on between the sheets with her hubby, Mr. Walser.

WTP

Oh, you gotta check out his book on Heavy Metal music. No time to extract it (can’t copy the text) but read the acknowledgements section of the book at this link and let me know if something about typical leftist behavior jumps out at you.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Running_with_the_Devil.html?id=_qEUBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button

PiperPaul

"almost everything that is wrong with the left is basically a trained anxiety disorder"

A sort of weaponizing of emotional or mental fragility, then. Why, that's not cruel or vile at all!

Governor Squid
And yet they imagine they’re the clever ones.
That's what has always bothered me most about the whole elaborate production. I wouldn't mind so much being chastised by a wise old sage who was trying to help me understand things I was too immature yet to grasp, but being told that I'm stupid and horrible by the equivalent of Otto from A Fish Called Wanda really grates after a while.
Ben

That's what has always bothered me most about the whole elaborate production.

You're being condescended to by your inferiors.

Pogonip

Well put, Ben! 👏. Queen Pogonip hereby knights you into the prestigious Order of the Shiny Seat.

Ben

Alas, I can claim no credit - saw that at Instapundit & John Irving is quoted as saying "... the process of being reviewed is often an exercise in being condescended to by your inferiors."

kicks rock, returns butt polish

Sam Duncan

“Wait, what?”

Oh, you know the one. It's always next to When Shepherds Washed Their Socks By Night on the hymnsheet.

“And yet they imagine they’re the clever ones.”

Let's just carve that in stone and put it above the door. I find myself thinking the same thing on a daily basis. It's a clumsy construction, but Nassim Nicholas Taleb nailed it with “intellectual-but-idiot”. The Reynolds/Irving quote is a belter, too.

bobby b

"Hark The Hairy Angels"

"Wait, what?"

Sorry. I was raised Liberal Lutheran. In the combined Christmas-Easter hymnal, this came right after "Gladly The Cross-Eyed Bear."

Philip Daniel

@ Ben

"...the process of being reviewed is often an exercise in being condescended to by your inferiors." -- John Irving

Composer Max Reger's scatological response to a harsh critic comes to mind.

"I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me."

WTP

"... the process of being reviewed is often an exercise in being condescended to by your inferiors."

Well, that's pretty much everyone's story. Cute how writers so often think that there is something special about themselves.

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