Friday, 7 November 2008

Fuck Christmas!

Fuck Christmas! Fuck it in its stupid ass.

Christmas is shit. The never-ending ads on TV trying to sell me Christmas crap are shit. Crowded streets and shops are shit. Millions of Christmas lights using valuable energy is shit. Loads of people having to go places they don’t want to because of family obligations is shit. Christmas music is really shit. Christmas music repeated endlessly in every fucking shop and pub is really fucking shit. Annual “What I’ve done this year” bulletin letters are shit. Buying gifts for people who don’t buy you presents is shit. Being given a gift by someone for whom you don’t have a present is shit. Getting shit presents you don’t feel you can immediately sell or throw in the bin because you feel you might offend the giver is shit. Christmas cards, office Christmas parties, Salvation Army bands, children singing carols, Cliff Richard, lying to kids about Santa: all shit. Christmas TV specials, even ones of shows that are normally good, are shit. Houses covered in lights, illuminated giant Santas on ladders or in sleighs or giant inflatable snowmen are shit. Advocaat, “Eat Me” dates, net-bags of nuts, turkey, sprouts, jokes from crackers, “gifts” from crackers, people buying mountains of food because the shops will be shut for a whole day: shit, shit, shit, all of it.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: Jesus, if he was born at all, almost certainly wasn’t born on the 25th of December; that date was almost certainly chosen by the Romans because that’s when the festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun) fell. You would think that if a religion was meant to hold the birth-date of their messiah as some special event that Jesus himself might’ve said that, or even told people when it was, but apparently he never mentioned it; it certainly doesn’t appear in the bible anywhere, or even in the apocrypha*. You can’t even rely on the gospels to decide the year he was supposedly born, let alone the month and day. The census of Quirinius, explicitly mentioned by name in the gospel of Luke (2:1-7), the one Joseph and Mary were supposedly going to, was held after Quirinius took power over Judea in 6/7AD; while Matthew tells us that they lived in Bethlehem, so no need for the census to take them there, and only moved to Nazareth later. He also tells us that Herod the Great massacred all young male children in the village of Bethlehem† (Matthew 2:16-18), trying to murder Jesus, but Herod died in 4BC. So Jesus was born after 7AD and before 4BC? Hmmm, something is not quite right here. Oh and the census was for Roman citizens only, and thus didn’t cover supposedly pure-bred, descendant of David, red-sea pedestrians like Joseph the carpenter‡. The whole nativity stuff in Bethlehem was just fabricated to make it look like Jesus fulfilled some old Jewish prophecy. It’s not even mentioned in some of the gospels; in fact even the Gospel of John even tells us of complaints that Jesus cannot be the messiah as he wasn’t born in Bethlehem (John 7:41-42). It’s fiction; just all made up; no stable, no manger, no star, no shepherds, no magi (that’s wise-men or “kings” for the ill-educated among you), no angels or little lambs, no gold, frankincense or myrrh; none of it; It’s all bollocks, sorry.

So having established that the principle on which we base the three-month long orgy of commercialism we call Christmas is just plain false, what’s actually wrong with it? Surely it’s only a nice tradition that we can and should all enjoy? The festival of goodwill to all men, surely? A time for remembering that we have it well, gathering with our friends for a little life-affirming merriment, and perhaps giving a little something to the poor? Well if that’s all it was I’d be happy to go along with it and you wouldn’t hear a word of complaint from me, but unfortunately it has been hijacked by hucksters and hawkers, who have turned it into a festival of greed and ostentatious waste that lasts fully one quarter of the year.

Christmas cards

What a fucking waste of paper? OK I’ll grant that having a time of year when you think about those you haven’t seen for a while and send them a token to show you haven’t forgotten them is a nice thought. But to friends you see all the time? Your spouse? Your fucking workmates? If giving a bit of card with a picture of a snowman on it to someone you hate but are forced to see every day isn’t a waste of time, money, effort and natural resources I don’t know what is. And if the people you do like and see all the time don’t know that you like them already then a card probably wont help and is frankly the most pathetic way of trying to show it.

Christmas presents

People like giving gifts, people really like receiving gifts. However, the idea that you have to give gifts to all your friends and family all at once is just a colossal pain in the arse that leads to all the big-businesses rubbing their hands with glee at all the cash they can get from us poor bastards who’ll buy any old shit just to have a prezzie for great-aunt wossname who we never see and don’t like anyway. Boots lily-of-the-valley twat-freshener? She’ll love it. C’mon people, let’s give it up and save the cash for either A. giving to charity or B. getting that person a better birthday present than usual when you have more time to think of a decent gift and the shops aren’t full of pointless tat and crowds of inconsiderate idiots buying it. If you were going to buy me a present, I’d rather you gave that money to charity, especially if you were going to go for a “thought that counts” type present from the “3 for 2” aisle. I don’t want it and that money could feed a child in Africa for a month; assuming of course you don’t give it to one of those “Christian” charities that will waste it setting up schools that do nothing but teach them about the bible, and that using a condom (likely the only thing that will save them from a lingering death) is evil. If you bought me something from my Amazon wish-list, excellent, thank you; that is the thought that counts: the thought that you might buy me something I actually want. I really do appreciate the gesture, but I would still prefer you to have given the cash to a worthy cause.

Christmas Lights on Houses

I’ve no serious objection to the odd string of lights tastefully strung from your eaves or windowsill, except that the combined energy waste of everyone doing so probably contributes significantly to global warming, but c’mon, an entire house smothered with gaudy flashing monstrosities? Who’s that for and why? Not only is it a monumental waste of our dwindling energy reserves and a contributor to global warming, it’s also fucking gaudy, hideous, and makes your house look like the eyesore abode of an over-extended family of charving scumbags. Save the money you’re spending on lights and electricity and buy your school-age kids (and their kids) some books for fuck’s sake.

Christmas TV

Actually, I’ve been finding it increasingly OK over the last few years thanks to the advent of cable TV “on-demand” services and PVR technology. Last year I rarely had to watch any of the re-runs of shit Christmas specials of yesteryear (Dad’s Army FFS!? Haven’t we been tortured enough?), Eastenders, The Queen’s Speech, or any of the twee movies that are hideous in their niceness. I could instead pretend Christmas wasn’t happening and watch Sharpe, Ray Mears, Coast, Planet Earth and the like. Last year the either the History Channel or National Geographic did a whole day of programming about why Christianity is all bunk, which was nice, but I bet we won’t get anything similar this year.

Christmas Music

Insipid drivel all of it. Look at the list of UK Christmas Number Ones, go on, LOOK AT IT! Now download all those songs and listen to them in one sitting, in the order of your choice. I defy you not to try to gouge out your inner ear with the nearest object that looks sharp/solid enough before you get halfway through. If by some miracle you do make it, invite the local old people’s home round to jostle you while you mime picking tat out of the “3 for 2” section and listen again and you will have accurately simulated the experience of Christmas-shopping in Boots or Woolworths.

Strangely I’ve nothing in particular against religious Christmas music, other than the obvious fact that it’s religious, at least it’s largely written by decent composers; when it’s murdered by pop-artists though it does become the world’s most execrable horror.

“Carol” Singers

Sorry kid, badly shouting “We wish you a merry Christmas” through the letterbox doesn’t entitle you to free handout. Fuck off and beg somewhere else. If you can actually sing and will sing an actual Christmas carol I’ll to do my best not to stab you, although I can’t promise anything, but either way you’re still not getting any cash.

A Christmas Carol

When I wrote my list of things I wanted to rant about last year, I put this on it, so it must’ve fucked me off in some way, but currently I can’t remember why. It’s shit anyway.

Supermarkets

Christmas gifts on display at the start of October! FFS! Is Christmas not bad enough without making it last for three fucking months?

I could go on, but I think the prosecution rests here. So, you can don your “gay apparel” and watch the year’s most depressing episode of the most execrable example of the detestable genre that is soap opera, if you like. Then you can follow it with a speech by another pointless relic of an embarrassing history if you must, but I won’t be joining you. Next year, we’re going to take a holiday in whatever place around the world celebrates Christmas the least, although finding one may be hard; I understand there was a Christmas tree stall in Baghdad square a few year back. So it’s the North Pole here we come. Ooh maybe we’ll see Santa!
_________________
*The gospels that the Romans decided were too embarrassing, or not sufficiently misogynistic, to be included in the New Testament.


† A mass-slaughter for which there is not one shred of actual contemporary evidence.

‡This just reminded me of an old gag:

Jesus dies and goes up to Heaven. The first thing he does is look for his father Joseph; He looks high and low but can’t find him.

He asks St. Peter "Where is my father?" But St. Peter says he doesn't know.

He asks the archangel Gabriel "Where is my father?" But Gabriel doesn't know.

He asks John the Baptist "Where is my father?" But John does not know. So he wanders Heaven, impatiently searching.

Suddenly he sees out of the mist an old man coming toward him. The man is very old, with white hair, stooped over a little, and seems familiar. It’s been years since he’s seen his father so he’s not sure if it’s him so he says to the old man. "Who are you?"

"Oh, please help me, my name is Joseph, I was once a carpenter, I am just an old man in search of my son, you look a little like him." Jesus is very curious. Could this be his father?

He demands "Tell me of your son, old man."

"Oh, you would know him if you saw him. Holes in his hands where the nails used to be, he was once nailed to a cross, you know..."

"Father!" Screams Jesus, throwing his arms wide to reveal the holes in his hands.

"Pinocchio!" yells the old man.
_________________
FYI: Geppetto is a nickname for Giuseppi, which is the Italian form of Joseph.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Excellent! I don't think I have read anything as funny as this in a while! I completely agree with your opinion on the rampant commercialism we have to endure and your history is well researched - I actually learned something from that. Nice one!