Monday, December 17, 2012

Musical Monday - Christmas Is Interesting by Jonathan Coulton (with Paul & Storm)


I know Christmas is supposed to be happy and uplifting, but I increasingly find the holidays to be wearing and a little bit sad. As Jon Coulton says, he started writing this song with the intent of making a cheerful and funny tune, and ended up writing a sad song. I understand completely where this sentiment comes from. And when you think about it, so many of the stories he references in the video are filled with a certain amount of sadness layered within the ostensibly happy message that they try to hit you over the head with.

Even the happiest and most child-like of tales, such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, referenced in the lyrics "So you're and elf, but you want to be a dentist/Maybe you're a train with square wheels/Maybe you're a squirt gun that only shoots jam", carries an undertone of unhappiness. In the story it is only when the "defective" people and toys are found to be useful that they are accepted into society. Fairly early on, I started hoping that Rudolph would tell Santa to solve his own damn problems when the big man comes and asks for help after spending the entire movie taking part in making Rudolph's life miserable. Though the story is supposedly joyful and full of Christmas cheer, it seems to me that it is about excusing bullies and accepting differences only when they are able to be exploited by the existing order.

Is Christmas a happy time when families get together and share goodwill and make memories? Sure. But that's generally true any time a family (at least a reasonably happy family) gets together. But the truth is that so many of the accompanying stories and images that go along with Christmas are sad and depressing when you spend any amount of time thinking about them. And of course, if you are sad and depressed during Christmas everyone thinks something is wrong with you and you need to be "fixed". So people put on an artificial happy face and pretend that the forced cheerfulness is actually real.

Previous Musical Monday: Kidnap the Sandy Claws by Lock, Shock, and Barrel
Subsequent Musical Monday: Present Face by Garfunkel & Oates

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2 comments:

  1. I suspect this Christmas will be difficult for many families.

    ReplyDelete