It’s Boxing Day here in Canada, which is a statutory holiday, and absolute MADNESS in the stores. The legend goes that Boxing Day got its start as the day when gifts go back in their boxes and get returned to the store for stuff you actually wanted. In the spirit of returning stuff, here is a golden oldie from my very first blog that I started back in 2004 with a buddy of mine from Greece. In this edition, I take the piss out of Christmas music.
A Porocrom look at Christmas Music
It’s that time of year again… when there’s a crisp chill in the air, and a spring in your step. Where the only force stronger than the love that unites all of mankind is the force urging shoppers to trample each other in order to save 50 cents on a dented DVD player. It’s that magical time of year that we tell children to follow in the example of the baby Jesus and DEMAND another fucking Furby doll from parents too kid-whipped to stop and think what long-term damage mindless commercialism could do to their progeny.
It’s the one time of year that the voices in your head telling you to pull out an AK and spray death all over your local mall are drowned out by the sickening pablum of
In true Porocrom style, I’m here to take a closer look at the songs that warm our hearts as we empty our pockets. Maybe some of the insanity that accompanies this season can be explained by the drivel that we play ad nauseam year in and out.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleighbells in the snow…
Now I am not sure when this song was written, but I would have to guess it was some time in the 18th century, when it was still fashionable to own and operate a sleigh. This song doesn’t get a lot of air-time in places south of the Canadian border, since snow to most non-Canucks is either a crappy white rapper or a slang for cocaine. Maybe the latter definition would explain why the treetops are glistening. To my memory, the only time I’ve ever seen treetops ‘glisten’ is during the Quebec ice storm of 1998, and I really doubt that’s the kind of nostalgia we really want.
Sleighbells ring, are you listening?
In the lane snow is glistening.
A beatiful sight, we’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland.
Seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? That’s how the blasted Ruskies infiltrate your mind. Before too long, you’re getting a common-law marriage presided by a snowman that you built yourself in the lane. Then, if the laudanum-induced winter “wonderland” isn’t enough for you, you and your comrades will “conspire” indoors to overthrow the snowperson empire, facing your evil designs “unafraid”. It’s always the nice Christmas songs that end up going so terribly wrong.
The Little Drummer Boy
Come they told me, pa-rumpupum-pum
A newborn king to see, pa-rumpupum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa-rumpupum-pum
To lay before the king, pa-rumpupum-pum, rumpupum-pum, rumpupum-pum
So to honour him, pa-rumpupum-pum, when we come.
I tried this with my baby cousin. Free piece of advice: babies do NOT like drum solos at close proximity. I tried to throw in some Neil Peart with a Travis Barker twist and all I got for my trouble was loud wailing and a ticket for noise violation. To top it all off, my aunt threatened to break her foot off in my rumpupum-pum…
The 12 Days of Christmas
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
12 drummers drumming,
11 pipers piping
10 lords a-leaping,
9 ladies dancing
8 maids a-milking,
7 swans a-swimming
6 geese a-laying…
5 GOLDEN RINGS (pause for emphasis)
4 colly (calling? nobody seems to agree on this one) birds
3 French hens,
And a patridge in a pear tree.
It must be nice to have a true love whose portfolio includes both forays into animal husbandry and the slave trade. It’s a good thing there are only 12 days of Christmas (although last time I checked, it was only the one…) otherwise the narrator in this story would have to request a warehouse to store all this shit. If it were me in this story, I’d tell my true love to skip the drummers, pipers and leaping lords (why the HELL would anyone want a bunch of riverdancers?), leave me the 17 bitches and the bling, and trade the livestock in for a decent-looking car. Then again, I’m a man of much more refined tastes.
Also it would be funny if you served your true love a dish of partridge with pear stuffing…
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
They didn’t hear me creep downstairs to have a peep
They thought that I was tucked up in my bedroom fast asleep.
It’s a good thing that the kid didn’t walk in on the second half of the performance when mommy begins pumping on Santa’s North Pole, trying to get some presents out of his sack. It makes me wonder why this perverted song still gets played every year. The lost verses include mommy tying up Santa and making him beg her in German not to take a dookie in his mouth. Heart-warming stuff.
Santa Claus is coming to town
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry
You’d better not pout I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!
Wow… just wow. If any child wasn’t already petrified by the prospect of a fat white dude dressed in blood red and leather who enters the house by the chimney, they can now talk to their therapists about the fact that he sees them when they’re sleeping. One wonders where he finds time to monitor every child in the world in between sexually molesting his army of elves and whipping the crap out of his eight tiny reindeer.
So if you’re flummoxed trying to pinpoint the origin of the holiday madness, look no further than your friendly Christmas songbook. Our team of songwriters is working around the clock to come up with some less intimidating holiday hits such as:
- I’m Dreaming of a non-race-specific Holiday gathering
- All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth… and a PSP
- Silent Night, holy shit buy me a Tickle Me Elmo NOW
- It’s Beginning to Look a lot like another crappy sweater from grandma
And many other instant Christmas favourites. If you don’t buy them, the baby Jesus will come down your chimney and burn your fucking house down.
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I wish it was a stat holiday in Nova Scotia. I’d love to be making double time and a half today.
Well, you are on your snark today!
“White Christmas” was written duing World War II by a songwriter in Los Angeles. (Where there is no white Christmas ever.) It became very popular among the soldiers. Even those who’d never seen snow. Nostalgia man, nostalgia.
And you do know that boxing day dates back to the victorians, right?
Or am I just suffering from terminal literalness and egg nog overdose?
“It must be nice to have a true love whose portfolio includes both forays into animal husbandry and the slave trade. […] leave me the 17 bitches and the bling, and trade the livestock in for a decent-looking car. Then again, I’m a man of much more refined tastes.”
So… when did you jump on the feminist bandwagon?
Well, I always considered myself a feminist, but there’s been a gradual progression from “using the word ‘bitches’ in jest” to “recognizing that words can have unintended consequences” that’s happened over a number of years. I can’t say there was ever a point where I started being ‘a feminist’ – I’m just more feministy today than I was then. Who knows – it’s entirely possible that I’ll look back on my current writings and cringe as much as I do when I read my older stuff. Obviously I hope not, but you never know. It’s part of the reason I blog – so that I can have a record of my shifting thought processes and intellectual growth.
Its weird to see you joke about sexual slavery of women too.
Yeah, it’s weird for me too. Again, I meant it solely in jest, but it’s well outside normal behaviour for me today.
“White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin and first sung by Bing Crosby for a radio show on Xmas Day 1941. His recording of the song may well be the best-selling song by anyone. Berlin was likely in sunny southern California when he wrote the song.
According to Wikipedia, Berlin’s family fled pogroms in Russia and settled on the Lower East Side of New York City. He was the son of a cantor. So the kind of Christmas scenes he depicts in the song are purely imaginary.
Regarding the 12 Days of Christmas…
The earliest known versions were influenced by French (which, thanks to the Norman Invasion of 1066, was the official language of the English court until the late 1400s.) Day one was “A partridge, une perdrix” (perdrix is the French word for “partridge”,) a “colly bird” was a small black bird, and five gold rings referred to five ring-necked phesants. Seven days (the Octave of Christmas, for those of you with a Catholic education), seven types of birds going from small and useful to large and mostly decorative.
In England, the festivities continued until the Epiphany on January 6, which is where you get 12 days. Having run out of birds, the song continues on with retainers, people who worked for the lord of the castle in exchange for food, shelter and protection from maurauding Northmen. The pattern continues from common and useful to extravegant: 8 milkmaids (who would have also fed and otherwise cared for all of the lord’s livestock), 9 ladies dancing (“ladies in waiting,” who would have spent their days making clothes and their evenings looking for suitable husbands), 10 lords a leaping (a troupe of actors), 11 pipers piping (an orchestra) and 12 drummers drumming (a dozen regiments of soldiers.)
There was no question of slavery here, just a change of employer: the people would have been free to refuse, but probably figured that a life of service at the manor was better than a life of backbreaking labor on the farm. It was a pretty common type of exchange, back in the day when wealth was measured by how many people you could support.
You may enjoy the Canadian version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”: