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Censoring Christmas Songs


It would seem that the latest target of the Care Bears are Christmas songs. Among this year’s victims is Shane MacGowan’s Fairytale of New York. Now, there are any number of reasons why those who have our moral well being at the forefront of their mind might want to censor poor old Shane.

The song celebrates drinking, betting, not to mention some Irish Americans who were most likely not pink hat wearing Occupy Democrats and of course the racist, transphobic, right wing “boys of the NYPD choir” who were singing Galway Bay a song that demeans the entire Irish emigration experience, not to mention women being forced by the patriarchy into “diggin’ praties.”

All valid grounds you will agree. However, the reason given by some RTE DJ who surely ought to be busy trawling his Boyzone catalogue for “nice” songs, is that the inclusion of the word “faggot” is offensive to gay people. Is it? It would certainly be if directed at a gay person in an aggressive manner. As are many other words. But hardly in the context of this particular song.

Anyway, if this is to be the criteria for someone to decide what we should see, read or listen to then the libraries would empty out pretty sharpish. Especially when the justification for censoring the MacGowan song is apparently that “phrases that have zero social utility should fall away.” Think about it.

I don’t particularly like Christmas and I don’t particularly care for Christmas songs and I don’t particularly like Elvis. So, Elvis Christmas songs then are anathema. Ban them I say. And I know someone who has a whole CD of them. It contains the usual ones like Silent Night and White Christmas but some pearls you may not have heard before, if you are lucky. Unfortunately I have heard them all. Too many times.

Among the nuggets on this classic collection is Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me which includes the immortal lines:

Don’t fill my sock with candy
No bright and shiny toy
You wanna make me happy and fill my heart with joy
Then Santa, hear my plea
Santa bring my baby back to me

Now even for a pathetic losebag like myself who has probably debased himself in every manner known to man in order to inveigle the women who have dumped me to put up with my strange behaviour for another while in the interests of, well you know what I mean…. Even I, however, would stop short of invoking the bearded one (Santa that is) in pursuit of those who have escaped.

I don’t trust people who are too sentimental about Elvis. I once got in free to the long gone and much missed Tudor Rooms to see a well known Elvis impersonator some years ago. The highlight of the evening was after Elvis had died he descended back from the roof space above the stage in a white suit surrounded by angels singing Glory Glory Halleluiah. As Oscar Wilde said of the death of Little Nell in the Old Curiosity Shop, you would have needed a heart of stone not to laugh.

That was our first mistake, to laugh, as it attracted the attention of several lachrymose thugs who set about us. We were only saved by the intervention of some women who persuaded them just to throw us out. ‘Ah jaysus, they’re not worth bating.’ Which while derogatory of our collective manhood was preferable to being kicked up and down Great Denmark Street by chaps with dodgy sideburns.

Of the really bad Christmas songs, and I would be of the school of thought that ALL Christmas songs are bags of puke, several stand out even among the rest of the sentimental drivel. Take John Denver’s Please Daddy, Don’t get Drunk this Christmas. Now John Denver was never exactly the Velvet Underground but he even surpassed his own standards with this one. Just to give you a flavour one verse goes like this:

Just last year when I was only seven
And now I’m almost eight as you can see
You came home at a quarter past eleven
Fell down underneath our Christmas tree

Right, fair enough which of us has not fallen down drunk under the Christmas tree although in my defence it was always someone else’s Christmas tree and there were no crippled whinging eight year olds about to witness my unYule like behaviour. So anyone of you contemplating making a show of yourselves this year, think of this:

Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry
Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas
I don’t wanna see my Mumma cry

Another really bad one is Christmas Shoes which is about a poor little boy who hasn’t enough money to buy new shoes for his dying mother for Christmas so that she will scrub up well if she kicks the bucket. Anyway, the narrator of the song gives him the money and the young fella goes off and buys heroin.

No, that’s not what happens of course. He gets the shoes, the narrator feels good about himself and concludes that God had sent the wee lad to remind us of what Christmas is all about.

Those who value the social utility of not falling down pissed under the young fella’s Christmas Tree and of buying shoes for your Ma’s funeral might approve of Comrade Denver’s advice. Although on reflection it does invoke a privileged white male God and perpetuates the illusions of the Colorado proletariat in an after life.

Maybe it is another one for the index of forbidden Christmas songs.

On 08-12-2018 0 42

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