Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It's Not About XMas Anymore

There are many people in the blogosphere commenting on the alleged "Death to Christmas" campaign, a.k.a. Anti-Christmas/Jews Run the World/We Hate Anyone Who's Not Circumcised movement, so it seems like this week is the perfect time to toss in my 2 shekels. I wasn't going to say anything...until a certain event took place this evening, which simply crossed the line.

As background, let me just say that I don't really care too much that the entire city of Chicago turns red and green this time of year (much like Santa's brain in that old carolling classic "I Found the Brains of Santa Claus"). Truth be told, I rather like the little white lights that magically appear on the trees in the week following Thanksgiving. They're pretty. I don't care if people wish me a Merry Christmas or a Happy Kwanzaa or even a Felicitious Festivus (not that anyone ever has. Those ill-mannered fiends!). I take advantage of the after-Xmas sales just like everyone else. Now, I can't say I actually enjoy the deluge of Christmas commericals, posters, and men on street corners dressed as Kris Kringle, but it certainly doesn't offend me. After all, I live in a city, state, and country that is predominantly Christian. What else would I expect?

There is, however, one aspect of the Christmas Craze that drives me up the wall: uber-shmaltzy Christmas music being pumped through the speakers of every coffee shop and retail store imaginable. It's not the fact that it's Christmas-related that really gets to me. It's the fact that it's just plain bad music. Even the radio station that I sometimes listen to at work has started interspersing bad renditions of Christmas songs into their shows. Normally, though, I forget the bad song as soon as it ends.

Tonight, that all changed. Tonight, Starbucks did the unthinkable. They not only played absurdly bad Christmas music, but also absurdly bad music that should never be played in a business that is trying to encourage return patronage. The squeaky soprano singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was bad enough. And then it just got worse. The strains of "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" soon assaulted my ears.

I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly?! Have they already run out of gimmicky Xmas tunes, that they have to resort to this? And what kind of self-respecting artist records it? If it has been musically-inclined children singing it, it might have been cute enough to be tolerable. But no. This was a grown man, accompanied by a piano, singing with apparent seriousness the words, "I don't know why she swallowed the fly,/ perhaps she'll die."

I don't care about Christmas songs in public schools or mailmen wearing Santa caps. It's dreck like this that should really be illegal. The ACLU is fighting the wrong fight.

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