Okay. Just so we’re all clear, this is the only time I’m going to grumble about this, and only because it’s been building up for a long time and I don’t have anywhere else to go with it.
I hate this time of the year and have for a long time. I’ve tried to figure out what made this time so uniquely aggravating. I realized that while there were a number of factors, pretty much all of them either got fixed or really aren’t a big deal anymore.
In-your-face religious fanaticism: I’m well aware that major religions, in particular the most powerful branches of Christianity, have been some of the most harmful, poisonous influences in the goddam history of the human race (just the fact that it’s protected frickin’ child molesters for decades, nearly all of whom are never going to see a day in court, is an abomination). The thing is, while this was beyond awful while I was in school, as an adult I barely even notice it. It helps that the right side of history won some critical battles and we no longer have things like nativity scenes in freaking City Hall or mandatory prayer in public schools. I don’t have a problem with a homeowner putting a baby Jesus in her front yard or the mall having Silent Night or Hark The Herald Angels Sing in the rotation (heck, they need something to replace Baby It’s Cold Outside. :D).
Endless terrible songs: This was a problem when everywhere I shopped and every TV channel played this crap nonstop. Now that I have a lot more shopping options (Sam’s Club doesn’t even have a PA system) and DVR pretty much everything, it’s a lot easier to avoid. Pretty much just the malls where it gets unbearable.
That forced merriment thing: Yeah, this was gross. Not really seeing it too much anymore, though. At least if I am unhappy, it’s treated as unfortunate and not an insult.
So what’s the problem? It’s so overwhelmingly, suffocatingly, cloyingly…mainstream.
That’s really all there is to it. The music is treacly and worthless, the biggest bible-thumper gives a big, loud prayer and I can’t do a damn thing about it, everything on TV is either boring or obnoxious…and there is not the slightest alternative, anywhere, ever. Heck, the two alt-rock stations I listen to pretty much tell the whole story; the only thing any of them did…at all…was something called “Melekalikirocka”. I vaguely remember one song that mentioned the word Christmas at all. For years I lamented that there were no alternative Christmas songs, until I realized: it’s an oxymoron. Christmas is all about conformity to a safe, vanilla, bland, arrow-straight manstream. Alternative has no place here.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the greetings. Good lord, what a monumental clusterfrag that became, eh? It’s reached the point where I’m actively afraid to use any greeting whatsoever. But a lot of people do, and that bugs me. Not what they choose to say (they can say “frivolous winter solstice” for all I fricking care), but that they’re compelled to say anything at all…and to everyone they meet. Is there any other event, situation, or tradition outside of the military where so many people feel obligated to continually acknowledge it to absolutely everyone? Compliance! Obey the mainstream!
And even that pales in comparison to the ungodly insanely loud aerials that go off completely at random. But wait, you say, didn’t the state of Hawaii ban fireworks? Sure did, and as a result, instead of two solid goddam months of dozens of eardrum-shattering fireworks going off at random every goddam night, we get 1-5 kinda eardrum-shattering fireworks going off at random nights! No offense, lawmakers, but when I fired off that intensely passionate plea to end the madness back in 2010 (which to date is the only time in my life I’ve written to my State government), I was hoping for something a tad better than this. At any rate, I’m astonished by the culture of obnoxiousness that’s allowed this to happen. Believe it or not, there was a time when fireworks at home of any kind were limited to two nights a year, and there were NONE of those heart attack-inducing aerials. People understood when tradition permitted making tons of noise and what the limits were. Now every November-December is like living in a tense war zone where the next gunshot can ring out at any time. And the worse part is that nobody seems to have the slightest idea how to fix this. We live in an era where literally everyone has a camera and a video of a random drunken frat stunt can find its way to a million homes in ten minutes, and were powerless to identify or stop these cretins. I’m in a line of work which regularly deals with the dregs of society, so I know very well the vile practice of protecting the scum of the earth (which is why that Catholic pedophile priest story didn’t surprise me too much), and it’s dismaying that nobody seems to give a crap and I’m going to have to deal with this godawful noise every year.
I’m convinced that this crap is never going to change, so again, this is a one-and-done. Thank you, everyone, for your patience. Insert greeting of your choice here.