Fa La La la...
Note: I wrote this post on December 12, but didn't have internet access to put it onto the blog (thanks to a goof by my service provider...they forgot to update the build on a server). By the time I got DSL up and running again, I'd forgotten about this and didn't post it. So here's my last curmudgeonly post of 2006, backdated to avoid confusion (mine).
Today I received the following in a mass e-mail from the "room mom" for the Bunster's Pre-K class:
[About] Friday's concert/potluck: Thanks to all of you who have signed to bring something and those who will. The children will be singing "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer", however, the songs will be changed so that the word "Christmas" doesn't appear. Ms. Tonya wanted me to make sure that you all knew that.What. The. Hell???
How does removing the word "Christmas" make "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" into anything other than screwed up Christmas songs?
I'm Jewish and I'm offended by this.
For one thing, since taking out one word doesn't actually make these into anything other than Christmas songs, they're still completely ignoring the holiday I (and quite a number of the children) celebrate. So much for multi-cultural educational experiences.
For another thing, I'm bothered by the attempt to disembowel songs and strip them of their meaning. While these particular tunes aren't evocative of much in the way of religion, they are still symbolic of the holiday they belong to. And I'm generally against stripping the meaning from the various symbols and icons of a culture. Changing and evolving the meaning, sure, either as the culture changes or in an attempt to change it. But not stripping away all meaning until they're just hollow shells to hang crass commercialism on.
Maybe I shouldn't be. Perhaps the answer is to pervert every holiday and meaningful icon into complete unrecognisability, so that absolutely everyone can spend each holiday being offended and excluded. It would be very egalitarian.
So we can sing "I had a little top, I made it out of clay, and when it's dry and ready, oh top I will play" on Lighting Candles Holiday, salute the Lady of the Flowing Dress as we enter New York City Harbor, and of course fly our Strawberry/Blueberry/Vanilla Flag high on National Relax With a Picnic Day.
Nope. I'd rather keep Christmas, Santa, Chanukah, dreidels, the Statue of Liberty, American flags, and Memorial Day. We can just add more holidays and icons to our cultural pantheon until everyone is represented, instead of no one.
Update, 12/15: Turns out the lyrics in question have been rewritten as follows:
Then one foggy winter's eve,As my next door neighbor said, "He-Eee? Who the hell is He-ee supposed to be, Baby Jesus?"
He-ee came to say,
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
And people wonder why younger generations sometimes seem so ignorant. We've taught them to be.