12/09/95 (Guest Ranter: Scott Jennings)
tell me tell me why you do whatever you do tell me tell me why you always let me down tell me tell me how you can ever sleep at night tell me tell me tell me tell me why you lied about my god tell me tell me why you let me live in pain tell me tell me what you get from this holy farce tell me tell me tell me yell me what there is that I can do tell me tease me with the hope of something good tell me make me into something bit more whole tell me tell me tell me
And a "Ho Ho Ho!" from this sad, benighted administrative corner of Ellison Webderland. I'm I'm your guest ranter this evening. Please do not adjust your audio, and whatever you do, ignore the leopard.
I'm told Harlan Ellison doesn't like receiving Christmas cards.
This is probably due to some nagging small detail such as some of his best friends being Jewish (his mother and father, for example) but I'd like to think it's a bit deeper then that. It is for me, anyway.
Christmas for me died when I was 12 years old.
At the time, I was a fairly typical juvenile delinquent, breaking into thinks, staying away from school, plotting how best to vex authority figures, looking at girls oddly, the usual.
Anyway, it was Christmas morning (which is always anticlimactic for me anyway, since my birthdays a week before Christmas and the celebratory thing just kind of all ran together into a sloppy mess) and I, as was usual, argued loudly and with great gusto with my mother and finally stormed out of the house.
However, as I said, it was Christmas morning. The arcade was closed -- so much for answering the challenge "Can You Penetrate Our Scramble System?". In fact, pretty much every damn thing in the city was closed, and it was unseasonably cold (this being Florida, any degree of cold qualifies), and I was left to wandering the deserted streets aimlessly.
Twelve years of age is far too young to start developing angst, but I was well on my way. What was it with this place, anyway. Dammit, the whole country shuts down just over some Jewish kid who got killed later anyway. Goddam Christian theocracy. Everyones supposed to be happy. Well, Im not happy, dammit. Im wandering aimlessly down University Avenue (every large city has a University Avenue -- its the law) and its Christmas morning and it would be nice to just have a normal life once in a goddam while like you see on TV.
That was about the time I quit merrily singing carols.
As I grew older I looked at the phenomenon with a bit more depth -- the callous cynicism of using a supposed religious holiday to move money from pocket A to merchant B. The enforced good cheer, deviance of which was punishable by smart bombs, or at least societal approbation. And the fact that this little farce happens EVERY YEAR. Like clockwork. Every year. Twelve months and it happens again, and you get to grin and go out and buy moldy fruit cakes and silly ties and elbow aside millions of the lumpenproletariat in malls and pretend as though youre having the time of your life.
And every year it gets earlier and earlier. I dont know if anyone else noticed, but Thanksgiving was CANCELLED this year. The Christmas monster encroached against the November holiday so much, that the wimpier turkey day just delivered an unconditional surrender.
And yes, I am well aware that children take a special joy in this time of year and it inculcates a sense of good cheer and wonder that we would do well to emulate. Uh, I hate to be the bearer of foul tidings, but most children I know take a special joy in this time of year because they get stuff. Lots of stuff. Very few of the precious little rug rats would have that special joy and wonder if the Blue Power Ranger was not delivered unto them. And they grow up into frat boys and Southern American Princesses expecting the world to be nice, clean, tidy, white, Protestant, and reasonably wealthy.
Its the Christmas conspiracy. Do your part to sabotage it -- take the opportunity this year to open a CD or something equally miserly. When happy carols come on the alternative rock station, slip a Public Image Ltd. tape on, just as an antidote.
And as the year draws to a close, remember that the really cool holiday is just around the corner -- because on New Years Eve, no one cares if you drink yourself senseless.
Editor's Note: Scott Jennings is the Webmaster of www.snider.net, the server on which Ellison Webderland lives. Scott is a fine friend and a poet who wouldn't want you to know he is often kind to small animals.
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