Christmas 2005, or, What Would Mr. Blobby Do?
Well, it's another Christmas over at the rellies in Levittown, PA. A pleasant day of opening pressies, watching football, and eating and drinking too much. Last night my good woman and I got to watch once again--our little Xmas tradition--the Christmas Eve broadcast, on WHYY, of the Alastair Sim version of Scrooge/A Christmas Carol (though, to be honest, we fell asleep before it finished. But that's OK--we know how it ends).
As I wrote last year, Christmas bugs me rotten--at least up till Christmas Eve. Before that, I can't be bothered. There I am, all through late November and December, trying to be (ahem!) a serious media scholar, grading papers and getting my manuscripts published so they can be read by six or seven like-minded scholars who give a damn . . . and Christmas keeps butting in with its lights and ads and jingles and shiny baubles . . . you just can't ignore it! I'm forced to align myself with comedian Lewis Black's exasperation. Black, as a very lapsed Jew (I'm a very lapsed Presbyterian), has been heard to exclaim, in one of his Comedy Central specials: "How long does it take you people to shop!?"
This past year has seen some pretty significant media developments. There's been the developments over the media coverage of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and the Valerie Plame leak case, among others. Media consolidation continued, with moves by Sony to take over MGM and Viacom's year-end acquisition of Dreamworks. NPR chair Ken Tomlinson tried to interfere in the CPB's activities and overreached. The Bush administration made ever more pernicious efforts to undermine the country's independent media. I'll do the end-of-year wrap-up properly sometime later, but suffice to say for now it's been an interesting (and excruciating!) year.
Last year I was pontificating on the general tackiness of Christmas--both in the States and especially in Britain (and we must never forget how mystifying it is that Americans associate Christmas in England with Dickensian snow, frosted windows, happy carollers, cherubic children, chestnuts on an open fire, all that. But of course it's not like that at all! That's all bollocks, really! Brits open their pressies, eat Christmas Dinner, maybe watch the Queen, then sit round the telly and drink till they pass out. Then it's Boxing Day and no-one knows what the hell to do with that day . . . well OK, they eat Christmas leftovers, sit round the telly and drink till they pass out. Maybe there's football on). Anyway, where was I . . . oh yes, this year I'm just resigned to wallowing in the tackiness. Too tired to do otherwise.
If I had more energy I'd go off on all the rubbish I've been reading by those on the right complaining about how "Merry Christmas" is being squashed by those evildoers proclaiming "Happy Holidays" to all. But as I say, right now I can't be arsed. Merry Christmas, all--let's just leave it at that, shall we? That's what Mr. Blobby would do.