Time for another snarky, Grinchly diatribe against the commercial rape of the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus. Actually, I find that my last (and first) “Bah, humbug!” was three years ago (3 Dec 07). In fact, my illustrious blog, world-famous for its rapier wit and profound insights, has been practically dormant for the last year (one post in February and one in August), as it became evident that, world-famous as it was, nobody ever read it. But that’s another story.
Gosh, there’s so much to bitch and whine about! In ’07 it was about (1) the fact that it’s not Christmas until after the 25th, not before; (2) the mangling of Christmas carols blared from store speakers to make people spend more money; (3) the “war on Christmas” bullshit spouted by that demagogic asshole Bill O’Reilly. I could add “I’m dreaming of a black Kwanzaa” and “It’s the most horrible time of the year” to “Rudolph the purple-assed baboon,” “I saw Mommy blowing Santa Claus,” and “Roadkill roasting on an open fire.” I could note that the spending frenzy encouraged by the stores ultimately supports the economic growth of China and the stranglehold of the financial-services crime syndicate on consumers who are goaded into squandering money they don’t have and never will have. I could make more of an issue of obscenely opulent displays of decorations of such spectacular magnitude that they can be seen from outer space by the disrobed eyeball—displays which must create staggering amounts of greenhouse gases from the hundreds of kilowatt-hours of energy they use.
But this year I will attack Santa Claus—or, more precisely, what Santa Claus has been turned into by the secular-commercial society. Last year I was requested to act the part of Santa Claus in a fund-raising benefit at a local bookstore, and I replied that I’d only do it if I could call attention to the derivation of the present-day Santa Claus from St Nicholas, bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey) in the 4th century. Boy, did that ruffle some feathers among the secularists and atheists! (It didn’t help when a gay friend of mine asked to play the part of Mrs Claus.) Since St Nicholas’s feast day is 6 December, nineteen days before Christmas, it is rather curious how he became associated with the latter feast. According to the Wikipedia article on “Santa Claus,” he is derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, a “historical, legendary figure” who is said to bring gifts to the homes of good children on Christmas Eve. The legend has a hagiographic basis in the historical St Nicholas because of his generous giving of gifts. Nicholas is still revered as a saint in eastern Christendom, and up until recently was depicted in the regalia of an Orthodox bishop, which in western Christendom was gradually transmogrified into the ridiculous costume associated with Santa Claus today.
Enter Clement Clark Moore, the attributed author, in 1823, of that unspeakable abomination, “’Twas the night before Christmas,” for which I fervently hope he is eternally frying in Hell. It is to him that we owe this asinine business of flying reindeer pulling a sleigh through the sky and this fat fuck climbing up and down chimneys without getting a speck of soot on his absurd costume. I am warmly comforted by the fact that some children are terrified of this hideous apparition when they see him in stores during their parents’ spending orgy, and by the hundreds of jokes and cartoons which depict him as child-molesting old pervert who is often drunk when playing his part—as anyone would have to be to make such a monumental ass of himself in public. Then add that further atrocity Rudolph, who was introduced in a 1939 book before being enshrined in the 1949 song, and the debasement of Kiss-my-ass to a spectacular orgy of obscene prostitution is complete. Mind you, I’m not much more fond of some of the quasi-religious celebrations which focus on a sweet little Baby Jesus who looks distinctly Anglo-Scandinavian, and on immaculately groomed farm animals without a trace of cowshit anywhere in sight. (I still love the possibly apocryphal story of the choir that programmed a concert with “Here betwixt ass and oxen mild” followed by “Whence is this lovely fragrance?”) For my money, the best contemporary take on Christmas is still W. H. Auden’s For the time being, in which Joseph is the subject of town gossip because Mary is pregnant out of wedlock, and Herod is depicted as a liberal who resents being manipulated by God into being a bad guy against his will (i.e., slaughter of the Holy Innocents). I find it hard to beat these lines:
The garden is the only place there is, but you will not find itTry singing “Santa Claus is coming to town” after reading that.
Until you have looked for it everywhere and found nowhere that is not a desert;
The miracle is the only thing that happens, but to you it will not be apparent
Until all events have been studied and nothing happens that you cannot explain;
And life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die.
Happy Feast of the Nativity of Jesus.