Five For Friday: You’re A Mean One, FRister Grinch

It’s that time of year again.  God dammit.

Tyler: Any Christmas TV special other than A Garfield Christmas or A Charlie Brown Christmas

Okay, Garfield‘s a bit of a personal pick, as Garfield is Garfield and Garfield is often garbage.  But the shit with the grandma and the love letters gets me every time, and, of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas is unimpeachable.

After that?  Your creepy stop-motion Rudolph?  Your low-budg’-ass Frosty The Snowman?  Out.  Outta here.  I suppose I’m outta date with my recollected specials, but, no matter what may have flown under my radar in the interceding years since my youth, can anything ever beat the dulcet tones of Lou Rawls and Lorenzo Music, not to mention, y’know, this?  (Or this, or this, or this?)

The answer is no.

P.S. – This is epic.  Get after it, you old broad.  I totally wanna toss back some eggnog with Arbuckle’s g’ma.  Oh, the stories she’d tell.

Travis: Christmas Creep

I get the term from football columnist (and generally worthless writer known for his championing of “scrappy” white football players and extraneous first-name consonants) Gregg Easterbrook. While I disagree with just about everything he has to say about football, I agree that Christmas Creep is a huge problem. Holiday music and decorations were once confined to the time post-Thanksgiving, then post-Halloween, and now as soon as the leaves begin to turn, talk of Black Friday sales and holiday cheer is hitting just as kids are returning to school. Soon the Christmas season will begin as soon as the last Christmas season has ended (and yes, this gripe was very Andy Rooney-ish. RIP).

Nathan: Eggnog 

Who drinks that bile?

Tyler: Stuff.  Much much more stuff

Gift-giving is an art.  I believe that.  It shouldn’t be restricted to Christmas, nor birthdays, and it should be thoughtful, refreshing, and based in knowledge about the recipient that the giver (recipi….ee…?) intuits into something unexpected or satisfying.

0.43% of Christmas gifts meet these criteria.  Figure approximate.

Travis: Commercials

This is the awful shit I’m talking about.

Nathan: Music

Christmas music is the worst when it’s bad and it’s the best when it’s good. Too bad it’s mostly bad AND catchy. This means that horrible songs get stuck in your brain at all times. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is tolerable for only so long. Radio stations actually change their programming to 24/7 Christmas music. Ew.

And on a note of personal preference, churches these days just aren’t allowing enough hymns to be sung at their Christmas Eve services. I don’t really need another sermon about Christmas.

Tyler: Excessive Christmas decorations

Tasteful, non-blinking lights?  Fine.  (The white ones are of course prettier and classier, but I’ll always have a soft spot for multi-color.)  A good old wreath?  Sure.  I guess you gotta have a tree, so go ahead.  Stockings, no doubt.

That’s it.  Leave it.  LEAVE IT AT THAT.

Travis: Travel

Further Andy Rooney-esque griping about having to take off my shoes to get on a plane is unnecessary—traveling around the holidays sucks, slain and pimple.

Nathan: Politically Correct Terminology 

I realize that not everyone is a Christian. That’s fine. But outside of the fact that Hanukkah is celebrated at the same time of year, there is no reason to insist on lame stuff like “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”. Bah. Say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”; at least pretend to recognize that all this celebration is rooted in religious belief and remembrance. And then, when you’re done thinking about that, go on and pepper spray someone for that XBox.

Tyler: A Christmas Story

This movie doesn’t just suck.  It blows.


Travis: Every Kiss Begins With Kay

More commercials I can’t stand: the maudlin, often creepy Kay Jewelry commercials that hit hard during the Christmas season and again near Valentine’s Day. IF YOU WANT WOMEN TO LOVE YOU BUY THEM JEWELRY.

Nathan: Christians who Worry About Terminology 

I think I’m just annoyed with the war over terminology in general. I used to hear sermons where the pastor would say something like “Even when you say ‘X-mas’, you can’t take the Christ out of Christmas, because the Greek letter X stands for Christ”. My immediate thought: really? Of all the things in this horrible world, you are even remotely worried about the fact that people are trying to take the religious connotations out of Christmas. If you believe in Christ at all, you should know that he is greater than some dumb politically correct secularization of a holiday. Frankly, I doubt that Christ gives a damn at all about what people call this holiday.

But the joke is on anyone who uses X-mas anyway. Why? Because they forgot to take the mass out of Christmas! It’s still a religious holiday, morons.

Tyler: Christmas music

Having worked on the floor of restaurants on-and-off for years (back on, now, after a three-year hiatus), this is a real fucking sore spot for me.  Endless, endless cycles of hackneyed holiday tunes burrowing my brain as I do my damnedest to remember which cocktail Jenny Ecstatic over on 122 ordered, whether Peter H. on table 231 wanted fries or house potatoes with his overpriced burger, all while mentally timing appetizers and entrees and salads and desserts for the rest of my tables.  The work itself is fine, I’m good at it, but, good Lord, it already takes a bit of brainpower, and that brainpower bends and creaks when I’m assaulted at the point-of-sale computer by, I dunno, Darius Rucker buttering out “A Christmas Song.”  (I dig Darius Rucker, but come on.)  Just today, I heard perhaps the most unnecessary recording of musical expression in the history of the world while setting up some tables: Barenaked Ladies (much love, old friends, but…) covering, inexplicably, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”  What?  Why?  I don’t understand.  I just don’t understand.  Plus, y’know what exists?  “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas.”  That song exists.

There are two truly great Christmas songs in Christmas history.  “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” but that one annoys me this year for various reasons.  “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”  The end.  Happy holidays!

Travis: The terms “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”

I’ve spent much of my adult life working, either cubicle-bound or freelance, in “online marketing,” and the terms “Black Friday” for the shopping day after Thanksgiving and “Cyber Monday” for the newly-appointed biggest online shopping day of the year (the Monday following Thanksgiving) make me want to suicide myself. The term “Black Friday” used to be used only to describe terrible things happening, from 1869’s Fisk-Gould scandal-related finanical crisis to 1978’s massacre of Iranian student protestors. Now it describes fat, stupid women trampling each other at doorbuster sales in a secular glorification of the Walmartization of the land I love. I love America, but sometimes I really hate America. And though it helps to pay my bills, I hate Cyber Monday, too.

Nathan: Christmas movies

Is there anything worse than a bad Christmas movie? From Miracle on 34th Street all the way down to The Polar Express, the Christmas (or holiday, if you’re into politically correct terminology) film has become one of the most throughly annoying rituals of each year. There are a few good ones here and there (Elf), but most of them are so sugary sweet that they make you want to barf in your mouth just to see a trailer. I got a headache just from watching the preview for Arthur Christmas.

6 thoughts on “Five For Friday: You’re A Mean One, FRister Grinch

  1. I’ll say that the original Grinch Who Stole Christmas cartoon special is a personal favorite of mine.

    And the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” is also a great Christmas song.

    Beyond that, I agree with just about everything else.

  2. Nathan, I agree wholeheartedly. It makes me laugh and if I’ve had a couple of drinks it makes me teary-eyed. Most Christmas music sucks, but I wanted to put to rest the idea that there are only two great Christmas songs.

    It always blows my mind when some NBC broadcast ends showing the tree in Rockefeller Center and people ice skating joyously and they queue up “Fairytale.” Like they missed the entire second and third verses.

  3. The whole “Christmas music sucks” idea needs to be qualified a little. Agree with the theology or not, Christmas hymns – most of them anyway – are amazing. And it’s not just “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” that I’m talking about here; there are hidden gems that don’t get sung very often, like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.

    My sense is that most modern Christmas songs aren’t very good because they aren’t actually about anything. The fact that “Fairytale of New York” happens to be about Christmas is secondary to the fact that it’s about America and immigration; it’s not about snowflakes or reindeer or mistletoe.

  4. Also, young love turning old and bitter, having big dreams that never pan out, and many other things that just about anyone, particularly Americans and Irish (though not limited to) can relate to. Kind of funny that many of McGowan’s most powerful lyrics had to do with America even though his family emigrated to England instead of America (see also, “The Body of an American”)

    And, to your other point, if Handel’s Messiah falls under the Christmas music umbrella (it does in my association with it anyway) that’s another one. But when someone says “Christmas music” sucks I figure they mean “Jingle Bell Rock” and things of that ilk, not hymns or classical pieces. Christmas hymns are pretty awesome.

    Though I’d love it if I ever had kids and in their fourth grade Christmas program they, as a choir, sang “You scumbag you maggot/You cheap lousy faggot/Happy Christmas your arse/I pray God it’s our last.”

  5. After drafting my #1, I remembered the existence of hymns, with which I have no problem. I was hoping that my bit would imply hatred of merely secular tunes, but I’ll make it clear here. The hymns are just fine by me.

    Something about Grinch always left me cold; despite the fact that our title this week plays on it, I didn’t think of it until after I wrote my #5. It’s good, it’s classic, but…I dunno. Plus, I was forced to see the live-action version in the theater as some misguided attempt at a family outing and, I mean, good Lord.

    I’ll listen to “Fairytales Of New York,” which I’ve never heard, sometime soon. Right now I miss New York too much and have had the Trav-forementioned couple of drinks, so I’d probably just end up wistful and brimming.

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