Tuesday, December 12, 2006

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,
He-ee came to say,
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
As my next door neighbor said, "He-Eee? Who the hell is He-ee supposed to be, Baby Jesus?"

And people wonder why younger generations sometimes seem so ignorant. We've taught them to be.

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At 1/06/2007 11:18 AM, Blogger Steve Buccellato said...

This belated blog makes me retroactively upset! Count me among the people who are sick and tired of all attempts to water-down culture for the sake of some twisted egalitarian ideal!

I am not religious AT ALL, yet I can respect those that are, and I have no problem taking part in the Christmas holiday as part of our generalized, American tradition (it is, a national holiday, after all--at least, for now).

Why can't people stop picking on Christmas? We're becoming a nation of Scrooges!

I feel sorry for people who feel the need to destroy time-honored traditions because they somehow feel maginalized. Their own beliefs must be pretty weak if they can be threatened by the existence of a Christmas tree. These people obviously have psychological problems. I feel sorry, but I still want to collectively punch them in the face!

And that will show them the true meaning of Christmas!


At 1/06/2007 6:10 PM, Blogger Don Hudson said...

He-ee Came to say? That's really sad.

At 1/06/2007 7:04 PM, Blogger Steve Buccellato said...

By the way, when is "Winter's Eve?" Sounds like a bitchin' holiday! Woo Hoo!

At 1/10/2007 5:05 PM, Blogger mmclaurin said...

It took me a few days to post. After I stopped laughing at the reactionary school...okay, I'm not done laughing at them. Give me a sec.

Anyway,okay wait.

Anyway,I think its pretty sad. But here is my prediction: that this year, so many people will silently see this as stupid, and next year it will change. As the pendulum swings from Reactionary in the government and progressive in the populace, so will it swing to reactionary in the populace and progressive in the government. (Sorry to be lumping this in as a progressive issue, but I see the right wing more as shoving Christmas down your throat, than removing religious connotations from holiday songs.) As this happens, maybe even as soon as next year, I predict the songs will be back.

The larger relevant issue (if they ever want to deal with relevant issues), is the message of Rudolph, which is that society abhors the different and unique unless they can find a way they are socially useful-otherwise they ought to just blend in. There's a great South American (I think)commercial I saw that has a heavyset AfAm woman talking to the camera about her soccer skills, and her hopes and training to play pro. At the end of the commercial they ask the question (something like), do immigrants need to all play soccer to be part of our society? Same message. That and the fact that Hermie the dentist is gay and needs to just come out of the freakin' closet and stand proud!

Ahem. Sorry.


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