Last year, as Christmas approached, I gathered some articles that seemed to suggest that we weren’t quite understanding concept of “holiday spirit.” Here are the headlines to those articles:
“Six Toys That Could Make a Progressive’s Head Explode”
“A Jolly Christmas, Retailers Count the Extra Days”
“Americans Buying More Gifts for That Special Someone—Themselves”
“Five Ways Companies Are Ruining the Holidays”
“Middle-Finger Holiday Display OK’d by Judge”
“’Santa Army’ Takes over Yard”
“Should Santa Claus Still Be Fat”
“Tech for Your Dog, High-End Holiday Shopping List for Pet Lovers”
“Twelve Days of Christmas Now Cost $107k”
Although I am a progressive, you will notice that a number of the headlines on the list have a clearly progressive slant. So, it is a small proof that, contrary to the Far Right’s frequent caricatures of us as humorless zealots, we can laugh at ourselves.
And although I am decidedly not buying into the Far-Right’s annual “War on Christmas” theme (which now seems to have become a “meme”), I will readily admit that we people on the Left do sometimes seem kind of tone deaf.
Here’s my favorite example of that tone deafness from this year. This has got to be one of the clunkiest parodies of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that I have ever read; it comes from Public Citizen, a group that does fine work and is well worth supporting:
Here are twelve ways Big Business
Twelve Chambers chumming
Eleven pipelines ripping
Ten lords o’ Wall Street
Nine Pharma rip-offs
Eight BPs “spilling”
Seven Company Does
Six tax evadings
Five Goldman Sachs
Four Karl Roves
Two Brothers Koch
And a miscarriage of jurisprudence and affront to democracy known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
The author, Robert Weissman, adds: “Yeah, I lost the beat on that last one.”
I am afraid that the self-appraisal applies to more than the last line—and I am being very kind in the most charitable spirit of the holidays.
This parody reminds me of a summer night about forty years ago when a very good friend and I sat drinking beer outside his family’s cottage at a lake. At a point at which we had very obviously had far too much to drink, we amused ourselves tremendously and endlessly by substituting the word “shit” for words in the titles of songs, films, and novels.
For years afterwards, we would crack each other up by recalling how hilariously un-funny the concept seemed even the next morning, when laughing made our heads hurt even worse.
If I were Robert Weissman, I’d hurry to construct a similar explanation.