Christmas Songs and Hucksters Blow

We three clods from Omaha are
Spending Christmas Eve in a car
Driving, drinking, glasses clinking
Who needs a lousy bar?

This, um, hilarious Christmas parody comes to you courtesy of ’70’s-era Mad Magazine, via my pre-adolescent memory of yesteryear. It’s wretched, but I’ve never been able to expunge it from my brain.

Today, I discovered that the same geniuses who produced this dreck very likely wrote my daughter’s choral program at her elementary school. Witness some of the lyrics I had to endure for a full half an hour:

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
You are a fire hazard

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
I like presents – what’s it to ya?

Over the freeway and to the mall
A-shopping we will go

Suddenly, We Three Clods from Omaha looks like a Christmas classic.

At the outset, I was bracing myself for repeated use of the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas,” but in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the opening song was a generic little ditty called “Holiday Lights,” but the word “Christmas” was used plentifully throughout the program, and the show ended with a hearty “Merry Christmas” being shouted by the kids.

Yet somehow I still managed to be bugged. Go figure.

Each Christmas song was altered to become this pseudo-Mad Magazine parody of itself, and I just didn’t understand why. Couldn’t they have actually sung “Over the River and Through the Woods” without mentioning shopping malls and credit cards? Why did “O Christmas Tree” have to be mutilated? I’ve long ago resigned myself to the fact that only secular carols will be sung in public, but, gee whiz! Why can’t you leave even those alone? And what’s with the slaughtering of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic?” That’s not even a Christmas tune, yet they still managed to mangle it.

At least “Battle Hymn” used to be religious. We also got a health helping of new, “shop ’til you drop” lyrics for “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” and “Bingo Was His Name-O.” With all the great Christmas tunes out there, why do you have to write nondescript new lyrics for such generic sludge?

Each song was so sickeningly “clever” that I wanted to vomit. This was true until the final number, a Celine Dionish power ballad about Christmas being in the heart. Which came as news to me, since I always thought Christmas was in the bowels. This program certainly was.

That’s not to say that I enjoy all religious Christmas greetings, either. Mike Huckabee’s new ad, which is a very simple Christmas message praising “the celebration of Christ’s birth,” is such a shrewd, simple, anti-Mormon hatefest that I want to scream. He lays the Christian stuff on with a trowel, gleefully exulting in the fact that Christian dupes in Iowa will see him as one of their own, with the tacit implication that Mitt Romney isn’t. Never mind the fact that Mitt could have delivered the same message. Actually, he couldn’t have, because the Huckabites would accuse him of pandering, or trying to pretend he’s a Christian when he’s really a cultist. Yet Huckabee can slather it on all day long and pat himself on the back for his own bigoted ingenuity. What a turd.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty damn Grinchy. Happy Festivus.

Christmas Eve
Primary Thoughts

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