From what I understand, this is from several years ago. But, MOST. AWESOME. EVER.
It’s been a slow month here at 3ws; I’ve been busy and, since my cohorts abandoned the place long ago (Lyta because blogging, she says, isn’t really her thing, and Beth because she can no longer afford to be associated online with someone like me who isn’t generally polite and uses really bad language – and who can blame her?), I’ve been a bit lax with posting. But I couldn’t let the whole holiday season get by without at least one post, so below you’ll find a David Sedaris reading of 6 to 8 Black Men, which is his take on Christmas in the Netherlands. It’s a long piece in 3 parts but thoroughly enjoyable, so I recommend clicking through to parts 2 and 3, which you’ll find below, when you’ve finished this one.
Just a word about the opening, though: it concerns something that is now, sadly, topical to recent events, while at the same time highlighting some of the insanities of US gun laws. I hadn’t remembered the story opening with this until I went to grab it for posting. I’ll be putting up something else about the insanities of US gun laws later, but didn’t want that bit to come as a shock to anyone still feeling, as I am, a bit raw over what happened last Friday in Connecticut.
That having been said, enjoy the story.
…without a little Gunther.
First, the good. I’ve always loved this one because…Eartha Kitt, what’s not to love? She went on to play Cat Woman and I have a pet named after her. This one is kind of the ultimate Christmas gold digger’s anthem and plenty sexually suggestive without being all whiny soul about it, but it retains its charm almost 60 years later:
The following is bad as in “not nice”, but it’s one of my favorite Christmas recordings, one that you don’t hear on the radio these days, probably because we’re all getting old and YOU DAMN KIDS GET OFFA MY LAWN!!! Anyway, since it’s not a regular radio feature anymore, I looked it up on the youtube, so here it is:
This next one isn’t ugly itself but the song it covers is. It’s ripping on the worst Christmas song of all time, which I covered in some great detail last year. I didn’t know this bit existed then, so it’s a relief to know that others hate that song every bit as much as I do:
Trivia about the topic of that last video – they actually made that shitty song into a made-for-TV-movie (I posted a clip of it last year – !Rob Lowe!) and it was the second-highest-rated TV movie of 2002, proving that A Very Brady Christmas‘ ratings coup in 1988 was no fluke and that we are indeed a decadent and dying culture.
The whole “War on Christmas” thing has always amused me for a lot of reasons, the primary one being that Christmas is so ubiquitous in this culture that you probably couldn’t kill it even if you rammed a pine tree with an angel on top through its undead heart, and anyone with even two brain cells to rub together must be able to see that with their own two eyes. Hell, it’s so obvious that even a blind person could see it.
I think that’s what most of these posts this month have demonstrated. We co-op Christmas and its symbols and lore for literally everything, creating mash-ups with the popular culture of the moment and in some cases, creating new lore and traditions that become part of the whole ball of wax going forward.
A good example of how the holiday gets co-opted for everything might be 1988’s A Very Brady Christmas. I watched this probably a few years after it first aired, though strictly for my own sardonic purposes. When I told friends about it at the time, the response was, “why didn’t you call – we could have talked you through it.” In my defense, at the time I got only 4 channels with the rabbit ears on my 13″ TV, so it’s not like I had a lot to choose from, and I’ll further note that when it premiered in 1988, it was the highest rated movie shown on TV that entire year. Which just goes to show that the rot from within has been going on for a very long time now.
I said I had my sardonic reasons, and to be honest, primary among them was I was checking Robert Reed for visible signs of illness, or as a friend put it, “looking for lesions.” Hey, I’ve never pretended to be a good person, but I am a better one now than I was when I was younger. I’ll further admit that around this same time I had this idea stuck in my head of wanting to see Robert Reed doing a commercial and saying “I’m not a heterosexual, but I play one on TV…” like all those “I’m not a doctor…” commercials of the time. The humor there for me was not “hee hee, Robert Reed is gay” but rather playing off the stupidity of the whole “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV” thing. It’s like saying, “I’m not an actual authority on this but I pretend to be on TV, so take my word for it.” Which could explain much of our current pundit class, when you think about it. Like I said, the rot has been going on for quite some time.
So my reasons for watching could be summed up under the heading of sick fascination, which pretty well covers the ground. It wasn’t just Robert Reed – I wanted to see what lame-ass adult lives they had concocted for the kids. I don’t remember it all, but I do remember these bits: Greg has grown up to be a porn-stached Ob-Gyn, who’s banging a nurse in his office (of course, this is depicted as a very chaste relationship onscreen – it was a made-for-TV movie – but we know what was really going on.) Peter or Bobby is now a race-car driver. And so on and so forth. The “dramatic tension” occurs when there is a structural failure at the jobsite for a skyscraper Mike Brady has designed (not at all surprising when you consider the only thing he had ever designed up to that point were insipid tract homes like the one they all lived in) and they all think Mike has been trapped or killed in the collapse. In a true made-for-TV Christmas miracle, Mike escapes unscathed, and there is much rejoicing:
Like I said, this is just an example. Other examples of holiday puerility as egregious or even moreso abound.
So it’s little wonder that the malcontents, the smartasses, and the curmudgeons feel the need to retaliate and take the holiday back from the Bradys and the Smurfs and Lifetime and everyone else with degrading depictions of Santa, observances of Festivus and Cthulhumas, and other not-socially-sanctioned traditions which lie outside the mainstream and probably always will.
That doesn’t stop them from developing their own holiday lore and traditions. Cthulhumas has reached its tentacles out in several directions, encompassing not only the Christian but the more secular and commercial aspects of Christmas as well. Below we see a depiction of the birth of the Hello Cthulhu Christ Child:
…and here is the more secular, commercialized version of Hello Cthulhu:
That depiction of Cthulhu Claus is downright warm ‘n cuddly compared to this next one:
…and of course, what would the holiday be without caroling?
That’s just one of many. Other classics include: Do You Fear What I Fear?, Great Old Ones Are Coming To Town, Have Yourselves A Scary Little Solstice, Away In A Madhouse, I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth, and several more.
With this creative conflation of popular culture with both the religious and secular aspects of the holiday, how long could it be before the Shithouse Troll as Santa tradition takes root?
(h/t to B^4 for tipping me off to the Cthulhu carols.)
You want pictures? I got your pictures RIGHT HERE!
Continuing the “Scat Santa” theme, we have the following:
There’s a lot more stuff based on Santa’s ass and what comes out of it, but I’ll spare you the rest. Besides, I’ve got better stuff in reserve, which I will be rolling out as the season progresses. You’re just gonna have to wait for it, bitches!