Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dumbest Christmas song.

As we come to port on this Christmas Eve Day, I thought we might reflect on the stupidest Christmas song ever.

Sure, there are a million nominees. "I Believe in Father Christmas" by ELP is pretentious and dumb. "Father Christmas" (the Kinks) is cheerful and dumb. "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" is the second-wrongest song Lennon ever wrote ("Imagine" is of course a monstrosity of epic proportions). "Wonderful Christmas Time" may be the dumbest song McCartney ever wrote, but the competition is stiff.

James Lileks's podcast "The Diner" has reliably found horrible Christmas songs you never heard of, like "Icky the Icicle," "Boogaloo Around the Aluminum Christmas Tree," "Santa Come Up to See Me" (by 73-year-old Mae West), and "Rufus the Goofus/Christmastime Elf," among others, any one of which would make your socks curl with horror. If we go down the rabbit hole---or I guess up the chimney---on really obscure stuff, I guess we could find things so stupid they barely communicate in any language. Let's stick to the dopey crap we get assaulted with year after year.

And as for that: Of popular Christmas songs, I think we all need to agree that "The Little Drummer Boy" is the stupidest one ever written, and could possibly be the stupidest song ever written. Sure, it's good to have songs that celebrate the birth of Christ rather than just snow or miscellaneous reindeer or presents or Santa or something, and but you don't get a pass because of that. In fact, that's what makes this song so dadgum dumb.

A baby was just born, so you want to go honor him by barging in banging a frigging DRUM? What the hell is the matter with you?

You're lucky Joseph didn't whup your ass for you, kid. And I don't mean your pet donkey.
Dave Barry was on top of this one years ago, when he noted: "If I were taking care of a newborn baby, and somebody came around whacking on a drum, that person would find himself at the emergency room having his drumsticks surgically removed from his rum-pa-pa-pum, if you know what I mean."

Dave was also skeptical that the ox and lamb could keep time. But I'd sooner believe that the ox and lamb ticked like a metronome before I'd believe Mary and baby Jesus were thrilled to have this little nut come in slamming on a drum like the first act of Stomp. And if the baby just smiled at him after that, I think we'd have to reconsider Cana as the site of Jesus's first miracle.

Wikipedia tells us that the composer, Katherine Kennicott Davis (who never had children -- hmm), claimed to have based it on a Czech carol, but no such carol has ever been found. The Czechs aren't that stupid. They should be insulted. I would be.

Couldn't he have been the Little Flute Boy? That might have been all right. You can play flutes quietly. Or the Little Harp Girl? The Harmonica Kid? Anything but a DRUM, for Pete's sake. But no, the Holy Family had to get the Timpani Tot.

At this joyous season of love, I should be kinder to the late Ms. Davis and her song, which has brought joy to millions who never thought about it very hard. Maybe I'll focus more on "Imagine." That always makes other songs seem better by comparison.
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