The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – Christmas Care-less?

I’ve got news for you, wishing someone a Merry Christmas who does not celebrate Christmas is not an outlandishly rude thing to do.  It is, however, presumptuous and, perhaps, a little awkward.  Similarly, it is not particularly rude to call me Jeremy, Jared, or Jason even though my name is Jamaal — it is, however, a little presumptuous and slightly awkward.  It also makes you seem too inconsiderate to get to know me as a person and learn my proper name.

I’d like to take this moment to wish you a Happy Birthday.  

What?  It’s not your birthday?  That’s okay.  (kinda awkward, eh?)  

Imagine me walking around daily and wishing random strangers a Happy Birthday.  While it wouldn’t be rude to those individuals, I would probably seem… weird?

Happy Holidays is not a way to take away from Christmas, it is a way to add to it.  Happy Holidays – all of them: including Christmas, if applicable.  

When I address my class in the morning I don’t typically wish the boys a good morning, I wish it to all of the students.  Everybody.  Inclusive.

But if it makes you feel better to go around Merry Christmass’ing people go ahead, but try not to get offended over something so unoffensive as a Happy Holidays.  There are far worse things floating around the Holiday Season we need to address.

Christmas Carols.

Have you ever really listened to these things?  I mean really, really.

Let’s ignore for a minute that Santa Claus is a Peeping Tom who watches you sleep (what is he, some sort of bearded Edward Cullen?) and let’s pretend it is reasonable to give live firearms to Barney and Ben with their hop-a-long boots, and let’s not even bother to ask who tells scary ghost stories during the most wonderful time of the year.

Though I may have seemed to imply differently, I find nothing wrong with wishing someone a Merry Christmas.  In fact, it is a generally polite thing to do.  It is a pleasant way to spread cheer and happiness.  Often Christmas Carolers would (will? do people still do this?) go door to door wishing friend, neighbors, and perfect strangers a Merry Christmas.  Often to the tune of  We Wish You a Merry Christmas.  Nice, right?  Wrong.  

Carolers singing WWYAMC have an ulterior motive.  A pushy ulterior motive.  They are there for your figgy pudding and they are not leaving until they get some.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, listen to the often ignored second verse:

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; 
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; 
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won’t go until we get some; 
We won’t go until we get some; 
We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here

But the carelessness of Christmas Carols doesn’t stop with some pushy, uninvited house guests.  We teach bad lessons as well.

Probably the most famous carol of all teaches us that if we make fun of those who are different (for example, one who may have a bulbous, glowing nasal protuberance) unless they prove themselves useful in some very unique way, at which point he is to be celebrated sans apology.*

It is okay that you don’t fit my stereotypical vision of beauty IF you serve some unique purpose.

The worst, most disturbing lyrics however, come from the duet Baby It’s Cold Outside.  About the only little bit of info that can make this obvious date rape ballad any creepier is that fact that in the original score the male character is referred to as Wolf, the female, Mouse.

I really can’t stay
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go ‘way
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
This evening has been
(Been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice
(I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

My mother will start to worry
(Beautiful words you’re humming)
And father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry
(Beautiful, please don’t hurry)
Well, maybe just a half a drink more
(Put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think
(But, baby, it’s bad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
(No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how
(Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break the spell
(I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)

I ought to say no, no, no sir
(Mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
(What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay
(Oh, baby, don’t hold out)
Ah but it’s cold outside
(Baby, it’s cold outside)

I simply must go
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
The welcome has been
(How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm
(Look out that window at that storm)

My sister will be suspicious
(Gosh, your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door
(Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
(Gosh, your lips are delicious)
Well, maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)

I got to get home
(But, baby, you’d freeze out there)
Say, lend me a coat
(Its up to your knees out there)
You’ve really been grand
(I’m thrilled when you touch my hand)
Why don’t you see
(How can you do this thing to me?)

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied
(If you caught pneumonia and died)
I really can’t stay
(Get over that hold out)
Ah, but it’s cold outside
(Ah, but it’s cold outside)

Where could you be going
When the wind is blowing
And it’s cold outside?
Baby it’s cold, cold outside

Roofies.  A clear declaration of “no” being ignored.  Emotional games and guilt manipulation-  Imagine how bad I’d feel if, instead of staying for coitus, you were to go outside and die of pneumonia.  I’m really thinking of you here.  

This rape anthem deeply disturbs me.

What about you-  what Holiday or Children’s songs or books disturb you?


* – Jack Johnson was also disturbed by the Rudolph situation, so he did something about it.  Something beautiful:


About Jamaal

Lover of words, liver of life, director of theatre, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Twitter: @JamaalAllan

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