Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas is at war with us

As I walk around the shops today, and here's what I saw: tinsel, Santas, conifers. Here's what I heard: Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a melancholy song about a deer with a coke habit. Here's what I didn't see: anyone complaining. However, as this blogger points out, some people are still convinced there is a war on Christmas If truth be told, Christmas is at war with us. From Thanksgiving to Boxing Day, there is no escape from the barrage of mulled wine, elves and people leaving office parties wearing their trousers back to front. As for the shopping duties entailed, well, "Christmas shopping: the conversion of one's indifference to people into active hatred".
Cliff Richard and Christmas: a painful combination
One aspect of Christmas I'd gladly have a war with: the music - anything featuring an expression of seasonal cheer or sleigh bells or robin redbreasts or swaddling clothes, I recommend total destruction. Cliff Richard, the high priest of Christmas schmaltz, should be gently lain athwart a Yule log and burnt by rosy-cheeked children. Actually, I would gladly open a second front and extend my war to carols - any song that has 'ding, dong' in the title should be in the Eurovision song contest, not a paean to the mythical Christ child.
Bach's Christmas Oratorio and The Messiah can stay - for now. But the Hallelujah Chorus - sorry, people, it will accompany the Cliff Richard boring stuff to the song mortuary.

"So what's killing Christmas"
It's not just the economic chill that's dampened spirits this year. but going in search of festive cheer - and failing to find much of it.
If we're being honest, only the young look forward to Christmas any more. For the rest of us, it's an endless round of boozing, bingeing and fake jollity with your in-laws. But we find ways to cope, with sex, alcohol and arguing being the most popular pressure valves.

'The only merry soul this Christmas is the ghost of Cromwell past…'Oliver Cromwell my fav-deliver us from Royalty'
One in four, we are informed, spread a little love at this time of year by staggering from the office party to have sex in a car park.
Fortunes - some AU$40 billion in Strayer- are frittered on Christmas fripperies from such temples of spiritualism as Oddbins and the day we actually mark the Mythical birth of Jesus is likely to pass in a sozzled, bloated blur watching Penelope Keith on telly (or is that Her Majesty?), before ending in some fantastic, plum-pud-throwing family bust-up.
But this year, no one has much energy for this terrific Christmas entertainment: where's the spirit? My self well I am too knackered to to throw my keys on the table, and younger women get better looking as we that grow old become older, but being on a diet doesn't mean I can't look at the Menu.
Christmas starts later every year. At the risk of talking ourselves up, the Family normally have a Living room festooned with Christmas cards and invitations.
This year I don't think we've even received "seasonal greetings" - ie, appeals for trade - from an estate agent, pest control officer or local undertaker.
Unless you count flu, like what I have right now(Or a bug I caught cutting grass on Tuesday last), nobody has the Christmas bug; no one is even roused to mutter bah humbug. But make no mistake, Christmas traditions are on the wane: very few plan to put coins in their Xmas pudding.
Our festive depression is caused in part by the economic cold front moving in with record debt, but this year retailers are talking big, big falls: the worst Christmas trade for a quarter of a century, money worries are reducing fun. Even the Windsors are feeling the pinch, I am downloading about 5% of our gross annual income in order to cover the costs of pressies to children and food of which a lot of it will go to waste
Contrary to what has rapidly become popular mythology, there is no Muslim terror plot against Christmas. tune into Bahrain radio and you will hear O Come, All Ye Faithful In Arabic.
Sure, many are not putting up Christmas decorations for fear of causing religious offence, but would anyone actually be offended by them?
Nativity plays - only a small percentage of schools are staging them - or the drowning of their Christian message in a soggy sea of multi-faith. Far from being driven by followers of other religions, this apology for Christmas springs from within our timid Christian community.
And not sending Christmas crackers (Bon Bons) to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because they were "too dangerous". The Brits send troops in faulty armour to face Taliban gunpowder, yet can't let them face the death alley that is a cracker and a silly joke from Woolworths.
But there is, surely, a deeper cultural shift. Puritanism did not die with Cromwell.
Our history since can be seen as a continuing battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers, between those who can't really be doing with fun and those who refuse to equate pleasure with wickedness.
The message is: don't drink or eat as you will turn into a fat alcoholic. Don't take your children to see Father Christmas as he's almost certainly on a *government register, and as for his reindeer…
How can you enjoy Christmas when the world is snowed in with sadness?
And it is indeed terrible. Millions starve as we eat.
Christmas has become like any other time. The plum pud is shorn of treasure. The lights aren't twinkling. Even the car parks at night are eerily quiet. It seems the only merry soul this Christmas is the ghost of Christmas past…

7 comments:

lower deck lawyer said...

Good stuff vest. Are you staying at home or going somewhere at Xmas? MIKE.

Aggie said...

A rather sad indictment of an overindulged society Vest?
It is of more excitement to the younger ones I'm sure ... my two younger nieces still get a kick out of it ... but we keep it low key and make it about family, rather than the retail Christmas Hype.
I hope you and yours enjoy it whatever way you choose to celebrate ... having an end of year holiday is always welcome here.
Merry Christmas!

Jim said...

How can you enjoy Christmas when the world is snowed in with sadness?

And it is indeed terrible. Millions starve as we eat.


JESUS loves u VEST

Jim said...

Have a great Christmas Vest and Rosemary

and your brood too

Jim said...

Bob Dylan says

Down over the window

Comes the dazzling sunlit rays

Through the back alleys - through the blinds

Another one of them endless days

.

Honeybees are buzzin'

Leaves begin to stir

I'm in love with my second cousin

I tell myself I could be happy forever with her

.

I keep listenin' for footsteps

But I ain't hearing any

From the boat I fish for bullheads

I catch a lot, sometimes too many

.

A summer breeze is blowing

A squall is settin' in

Sometimes it's just plain stupid

To get into any kind of wind

.

The old men 'round here, sometimes they get

On bad terms with the younger men

But old, young, age don't carry weight

It doesn't matter in the end

.

One of the boss' hangers-on

Comes to call at times you least expect

Try to bully ya - strong arm you - inspire you with fear

It has the opposite effect

.

There's a new grove of trees on the outskirts of town

The old one is long gone

Timber two-foot six across

Burns with the bark still on

.

They say times are hard, if you don't believe it

You can just follow your nose

It don't bother me - times are hard everywhere

We'll just have to see how it goes

.

My old man, he's like some feudal lord

Got more lives than a cat

Never seen him quarrel with my mother even once

Things come alive or they fall flat

.

You can smell the pine wood burnin'

You can hear the school bell ring

Gotta get up near the teacher if you can

If you wanna learn anything

.

Romeo, he said to Juliet, "You got a poor complexion.

It doesn't give your appearance a very youthful touch!"

Juliet said back to Romeo, "Why don't you just shove off

If it bothers you so much."

.

They all got out of here any way they could

The cold rain can give you the shivers

They went down the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee

All the rest of them rebel rivers

.

If you ever try to interfere with me or cross my path again

You do so at the peril of your own life

I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound

I've seen enough heartaches and strife

.

My grandfather was a duck trapper

He could do it with just dragnets and ropes

My grandmother could sew new dresses out of old cloth

I don't know if they had any dreams or hopes

.

I had 'em once though, I suppose, to go along

With all the ring dancin' Christmas carols on all of the Christmas Eves

I left all my dreams and hopes

Buried under tobacco leaves

.

It's not always easy kicking someone out

Gotta wait a while - it can be an unpleasant task

Sometimes somebody wants you to give something up

And tears or not, it's too much to ask

.

Jim said...

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
[…]
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
[…]
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
[…]
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Jim said...

When you're sad
and when you're lonely
and you haven't got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end

And all that you've held sacred,
falls down and does not mend
Just remember that death is not the end

Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

When you're standing at the crossroads
that you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all your dreams have vanished
and you don't know what's up the bend
Just remember that death is not the end

Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

When the storm clouds gather 'round you,
and heavy rains descend
Just remember that death is not the end

And there's no one there to comfort you,
with a helpin' hand to lend
Just remember that death is not the end

Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

Oh, the tree of life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation shines
In dark and empty skies

When the cities are on fire with the burning flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end

And you search in vain to find just one law abiding citizen
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

-Bob Dylan

Goodbye Dear Rosemary. (Final)

      It was around 3 pm Wednesday March 8 That Rosemary returned from 'Day Care', she looked fine and healthy and bubbly and gave ...