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December 2017

Feeling The Season

Christmas music is emotionally damaging and a hazard to our health.

Yes, the Guardian’s signature inversion of the festive spirit has once again started to blossom:

‘Tis the season when you can recite every single word of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year because you’ve heard it 25,671 times this morning already and, let me tell you, there is nothing remotely wonderful about the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you to be of good cheer. It’s extremely annoying.

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.  

To bolster those eye-catching claims of musical health hazards, Ms Mahdawi cites a report sharing the hitherto unguessed-at news that round-the-clock exposure to in-store Christmas songs can irritate a significant minority of retail staff. Yes, I know. I’ll pause while you steady yourselves. However, these anhedonic tidings extend beyond mere in-store playlist repetition:   

The report [notes] that 43% of people who hate holiday music think it’s too repetitive and 26%, who I imagine all read the Guardian, said they the dislike the materialism of Christmas music.

Yes, people are buying their loved ones things that they might like. How ghastly.

It’s true that a lot of festive music is extremely materialistic.

It’s a “futile materialism,” apparently.

But, worse still, a lot of it is just deeply weird if not outright disturbing. 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 and the pervasiveness of sexual predation.

This, remember, is written by a grown woman. 

Continue reading "Feeling The Season" »

Because The Comments Are Worth Reading

Yet again, we find that the victim group du jour’s distress is not predicated on any overt act of exclusion or discrimination, but upon the group’s own internal emotional hang-ups.

So writes R Sherman in the comments, regarding this latest fit of identitarian psychodrama, shared by Atempdog, in which implausibly delicate students and administrators rail against the “homonormative whiteness” of a campus LGBTQ centre. As commenter Farnsworth M Muldoon notes in reply, the students are, inevitably, also aggrieved, or pretending to be aggrieved, by a great many other things, including gay pride flags, which apparently perpetuate “a white gay ideal”; notions of fraternity and sorority, which are “problematic” and a cause of discomfort, albeit for reasons not entirely clear; and the campus gym, which, we’re told, reinforces “expectations of manliness” while simultaneously creating a crushing and intolerable “pressure to be fit.”

Being, as these things are, the result of pretension and personal dysfunction rather than anything approaching actual injustice, the umbrage on display is of course insatiable. There’s no way to please the compulsively, competitively, neurotically indignant, whose in-group status and sense of importance depend on disaffection and imaginary woe, and any effort to appease such creatures is likely to encourage further scolding and demands.

As illustrated, for instance, here and here.

Friday Ephemeraren’t

Yes, I know, you’re getting another glorious opportunity to throw together your own pile of links and oddities in the comments. Oh, don’t pull that face. Besides, you’re getting pretty good at it. I’ll set the ball rolling with an assortment of home maintenance horrors, an improbable heist, a lesson in the importance of tilting your head, a second-language difficulty ranking, a burly chap in search of jewellery, and an endeavour that starts with jumping off a mountain and only then gets tricky. 

Oh, and how to turn a cat into a black hole