Monday, November 30, 2009

The Way We Live Now

Will somebody please explain to me why if there's a war on Christmas, the Boston-area town in which I live started putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving? And also why the Sunday after Thanksgiving--apparently networks can't even wait for December to start--two major networks started a Christmas ratings duel: and their choice of weapons was movies about cute dogs that save the holiday? Never mind that The Dog Who Saved Christmas is as insipid and meaningless as the phrase "War on Terror." Why can't we have something a little more original from our TV networks? Start a surprise ratings war in two and a half months with a seasonal movie like The Grizzly Bear Who Mauled Ash Wednesday.

But if you really want to know what an all-engulfing wave of aesthetic rot is taking over the media in the next month, go here and see a list of all the Christmas specials appearing on television in the next four weeks.

You will want to lock yourself in a mountain cabin that has no electricity.

That is, if you still have the will to live.

Admittedly, some of these specials are not without their charms: It's A Wonderful Life has Jimmy Stewart, A Muppets Christmas has muppets. But my God, A Garfield Christmas? A Very Brady Christmas? This country has been through 9-11 and the worst economic crisis in seventy years. Haven't we suffered enough?

Reflecting on the upcoming month-long nightmare reminds me of the time when I was twelve and my father dragged me along to a medical convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (think Branson, Missouri, without as much class). We were going to lunch one day when we passed a store dedicated to nothing but Christmas merchandise. And this was in March. Think about it: a store that could suppport itself by trafficking in nothing but Christmas merchandise all year 'round. And the glory and horrror of the Internet is that I can verify that it is still there.

The horror, the horror.

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