Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Fever

Thanksgiving is fun. If you’re hanging out with the right people, it can be a great time to relax, enjoy good food and drink with friends in a convivial all-day/all-night atmosphere. I imagine Roman and medieval ‘feast days’ were something like what we do that Thursday in November, sadly only once a year. We all need more days spent together in this style, I think, time to take a deep breath and commune with one another, in a world where our fun is crammed into bite-sized packets and consumed before we rush headlong back to the gray drudgery of ‘the real world.’

But then there’s Christmas and all that ‘the holiday season’ implies.

I get very tired of hearing that it’s the people who don’t buy into the holiday hype who are wrong, who are ‘dead on the inside,’ or ‘broken,’ etc.

I would argue that if you actually stop and think about it, it’s the freaky-enthusiastic holiday harpies who are truly a bit off. Those madly grinning, ‘joyous’ people who dress up their houses, their dogs and their kids in green and red costumes starting in mid-November. Who fart candy canes and shit cookies. Who revel in shopping on the sickest day of the year. And frankly who seem to be lacking something real and genuine and human within themselves, and who try to make up for their hollowness with holiday niceties.

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Nice sweater, Aunt Mabel.

If it’s about your family, and how much you love them, then you’re doing it wrong. Presumably your family exists the rest of the year too. I’d suggest you work on being more loving toward them--and maybe even toward all of humanity--all year round, not just on one magical day in December when Mithras (oops, I mean Jesus) was allegedly born under a mysterious star that appeared out of nowhere.

If it’s about hearkening back to ‘a better time,’ some Norman Rockwell wet dream of wholesome American life, then go fuck yourself. That time never existed. It has always been a lie sold to us to cover the sickness at the heart of this nation and humanity as a whole. If such a time ever was real for some, keep in mind that it existed at the expense of the freedom of black people, and women, and laborers, and was built on the broken and dying backs of the slaves who built this country and the Indians from whom it was stolen.

[SIDEBAR: America is a gas station: out front, the sun shines down on dad as he smiles tensely and wipes a small spot off the fender of his shiny new car. He fills the tank on credit, plucks a stray thread from his crisp, pressed shirt and squints into the sunlight, wondering how far they can get before nightfall.

Mom sits on the passenger seat staring straight ahead at nothing, unseeing, unblinking. She clutches her purse in a white-knuckle grip.

In the musty, dank shop out back, Sis is on her knees sucking off the fat, grimy mechanic who smiles through his tobacco-stained teeth and pats her on the head with his greasy hand, calling her a good girl.

Junior sits on the broken toilet in the flickering fluorescent light of the filthy bathroom, ramming a needle into his arm in a desperate attempt to find some way to tolerate the perfection of his life.]

But back to the holidays:

If it’s about taking joy in the consumerist orgy of Christmas shopping and how much fun it is to get new stuff, then go double-fuck yourself.

Fuck everything about this.

If that’s the case then you are a dead husk, a useless meat sack gobbling up the empty calories of this bereft culture, with nothing of your own to offer the world, no light of any kind living inside you. You are the dead eyes of Kim Kardashian; you are the bland idiocy of Justin Beiber. The happy glow of your new iPhone will decay soon enough, leaving you longing for the next object that will temporarily illuminate your miserable, empty life ever-so briefly until it too becomes passe and needs to be replaced. You are overgrown children coming to your senses at the tail end of the annual Christmas morning present orgy, sitting amid a pile of shredded wrapping paper and staring glassy-eyed at the pile of toys that are already growing old.

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I gots me sum light bulbs! For real cheap!

You could argue that the holidays are simply a microcosm of what’s wrong with this country: false joy plastered over sick-at-heart underlying problems, all of it buried under a pile of mindless consumption and shiny things to distract us from the doom toward which we are careening.

So, uh, Happy Holidays!

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