Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, but the relentless commercial onslaught that is Christmas is not done with us yet — not by a long shot. To borrow what Matt Taibbi vividly wrote about Goldman Sachs, the commercial Christmas machine will continue to wrap itself around the face of Western humanity for the next 30 days like a great vampire squid, “relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” As you’ll see, even some metal bands turn into vampire squids this time of year.
Yes, we need to vent a bit. That’s all. To be brutally honest, which is the only kind of honest we know how to be at NCS, we have nothing original to say about Christmas. Will that stop us from expressing our opinions? Fuck no! If incisive original thought were a requirement for NCS posts, we’d be in very deep shit. Lacking any such constraints, however, we will proceed — and you can’t stop us!
You might infer from the title of this post that it will just be an atheistic diatribe against Christianity, but you would be wrong. From our point of view, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian, an adherent of some other faith, or someone who has concluded that God is a myth, that Jesus was just a man, and that religion is for feeble-minded sheep.
Really, it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe: All right-thinking people, Christians or not, theists or atheists, should raise their voices and middle fingers in unison and repeat after us: FUCK CHRISTMAS! (more after the jump . . .)
Maybe you believe Jesus was the son of God and died to redeem our manifold sins. Maybe you don’t buy the idea that Jesus was the son of God, but you still respect how he lived and what he taught before his crucifixion. In either case, it would be understandable that once a year, you might want to pause, remember, and reflect on his birth, and maybe even celebrate it — quietly and humbly.
Good luck with that. Is there a worse time of year than the “Christmas season” for quiet reflection about anything? Every available print, audio, and video media outlet is relentlessly spewing out exhortations to spend your fucking money, whether you have it to spend or not. Almost everything that is said publicly about Christmas is linked overtly or subtly to loosening your wallet, to converting your money into someone else’s money. Even the churches expect better-than-average contributions from their congregations this time of year.
A time for remembering someone’s birth has become, like virtually every other Western “holiday”, an occasion for commercial interests to part you from your money. If a business has got something to sell, this is the primo time of year to sell the shit out of it, even if the person whose birth is the excuse for the money-grubbing was famously disdainful of material possessions. They’ll spend the next 30 days trying to stick electrodes up your bunghole and fire up the voltage, repeatedly, until you surrender and spend yo fucking money.
It really doesn’t make sense. Do you know of any other occasion where we are exhorted to celebrate one man’s birth by giving presents to other people? Lord knows, Jesus doesn’t need the presents. Depending on your beliefs, he’s either fucking dead or he’s someplace where he don’t need a nice Blu Ray player. We don’t claim any special insight here, but we’ve got a feeling he wouldn’t want a celebration even if he were still alive, much less any presents. In fact, our feeling is that he would be fucking apoplectic if he saw the materialistic orgy that erupts at this time of year.
Look, we know some people love to shop, to wrap presents, to decorate, to drink the fucking egg nog, and for lots of those people, any excuse will do, and it’s got precious little to do with religion. But if you’re not one of those people, Christmas just becomes a fucking grind in which you feel pressure to give gifts to family members — whether you want to or not, whether you can afford it or not, whether the gift recipients really need or want the gifts, whether there is any genuine reason to do it at this time of year, except we live in a culture that has conditioned us to do it.
And that commercial compulsion is perpetuated down from generation to generation. What we do for children at this time of year — the presents under the tree, the Christmas-oriented entertainment in which we immerse them, etc. — the things we do either because that’s what we think we’re supposed to do or because we like seeing the happiness and wonder that all those things can generate, well, there will be a reckoning for all that. They will grow up to be just like us — more fodder for the vampire squids whose mantra is: Spend! Spend! Spend ’til it hurts! And if you don’t, you’re a fucking waste of a human being!
It’s almost all bad, and if you’re not a Christian it’s even worse. If you don’t buy the line that Jesus was the son of God, if you don’t even buy the line that there is a god, well then, the “Christmas season” is an annoyance at best and an insufferably obnoxious alien invasion at worst. Except it’s not like Independence Day — you can’t send Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in a purloined alien fighter up to the mothership and blow the living shit out of it. No, this is an alien invasion that can’t be repelled or exterminated — because we’re doing it to ourselves.
And don’t get us started on the music! The wretched carols you’ve heard thousands of times before, the Christmas-themed pop songs, the “Christmas albums” churned out by performers who just want to cash in — in other words, the absolutely unavoidable deluge of seasonal crap music. No doubt, some artists make Christmas-themed music as a display of faith, but many are no more Christian than your average hyena, and what they’re doing is just hoovering up the dollars.
You think metal bands are immune from the impulse to make a buck off Christmas? No such luck. Mastodon is promoting “a super-limited-edition Christmas t-shirt”, yours for only $18.99 plus shipping. Black Label Society has released a holiday single, “The First Noel”, available for purchase at iTunes. In what has become an annual tradition, August Burns Red has released a cover of yet another Christmas carol (this year, “The Little Drummer Boy”). BEC Recordings has released a compilation called Happy Christmas Volume 5, featuring “fourteen holiday cuts with a focus on more edgy, alternative style of music than what is expected for this time of the year”, including tracks from the likes of Demon Hunter, August Burns Red (again), and Emery. And there’s more, but that’s enough.
You can talk about happy and jolly and ivy and holly and mistletoe and Santa and elves and reindeer all you want, never mind that none of that stuff has anything to do with the nominal occasion for all the fun, but at its blackened core, Christmas is really a frolic for the vampire squids, a march of the drones (thank you Obitus), and we would be better off without it.
There. We’re done. We got that out of our system. Tomorrow, we’ll be our normal friendly, kind-hearted NCS selves once again. Now we have to go think about what fucking Christmas presents to buy for family members. But ringing in our heads while we do it will be this little anthem:
Do you think this rant is off-base?
Do you think we’ve got a toxic case of humbug?
Or do you subscribe to our un-original thoughts about this artificial excuse for commerce?
Speak up! This is what comments are for!
[UPDATE: One of the comments below reminded us of this video. Yes, this is one of the few pieces of Christmas music we can tolerate. In fact, it’s better than tolerable — it’s fucking great. And this video never ceases to put a smile on our Scroogy faces. There are even snazzier versions of this idea out there, but the original is still very strong. Trans-Siberian Orchestra — “Wizards of Winter”:
Well written and I fully agree. I wasn’t planning on getting Christmas presents this year, but having read this, I’m tempted to get something for my girlfriend afterall.
I’ll also be munching away over the holidays, like a starving bear after he’s been on a hunger strike for half a year. And I do it all lovingly with the thought of Christmas constantly with me. (Yeah right!)
You make a good point — the excuse to binge on food that will sit in your gut like a free weight for weeks is one redeeming quality of Christmas. Will you be having Christmas burgers?
I’m contemplating them! I might have some on Second Christmas day (that’s what we call Boxing Day).
How ’bout you?
It’s a mighty tempting idea, but I’d probably have to put my wife in a head-lock to make that happen. She likes to cook the usual Christmas fare, so there’s probably another tryptophan coma in my future.
Loving the rant, anything that was special about Christmas as a child is soon removed by it being relentlessly shoved down your throat as an adult. However I can’t say I hate the season, it brings me all my close friends for together for one hell of a piss up on Christmas Eve and consequently I get to miss Christmas day by nursing a hangover, honestly I can’t think of what I would rather be doing.
Plus note, I’m making a Christmas Tree out of beer can’s and Kegs, it’s going to be about 2 meters high!
Now there’s a Christmas tradition I could get behind! In fact, I’m wondering why I never thought of it. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten blasted on a Christmas eve in my entire life. And the can-and-keg tree idea? Awesome.
Islander good sir this must be resolved sooner rather than later, this tradition of mine gathers more and more followers each year and receives more planning than Christmas day itself!
I shall send you a picture of the tree once it’s complete…………although that’s a way off, I need more cans, such a pitty I’ll have to drink more, possible “that’s metal (literally) but it’s not music” post?
Oh, I think this would definitely be fodder for a THAT’S METAL! post. Please do send photos.
You aren’t off base at all. I quite enjoyed reading the piece. Some random thoughts follow.
You know what’s fucking bizarre that I’m experiencing for the first time in my life? Christmas in the southern hemisphere. Commercially, it’s still hell (though with the school work I don’t really have time to watch tv and get pissed by the ads). But you know what is sweet? It’s fucking summer. The days are long and I can still do shit outside. Also, I’m studying abroad (away from friends/family), so I’m gift-immune this season because I’m not at home (of course everyone will probably want a godamn boomerang and kangaroo x-ing t-shirt when I come back, but that’s another story)….where was I? Oh yeah – I know this helps you very little, but my situation isn’t that bad this year, haha. Maybe you can go buy some Christmas-discounted whiskey? If you’re straightedge, well, I don’t know what to tell you.
Also, the only good Christmas music is Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
I have a slight idea of what you’re talking about since I grew up in Texas. There were plenty of Christmas days when the temp was in the mid-to-high 70s, the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky, and my brother and I would spend the rest of the day romping around outside after we’d finished ripping into the presents. We’d watch all the Christmas season TV shows and movies filled with scenes of snow and sledding and snowmen and feel left out. It all looked so cool. Now that I’ve experienced winter in some truly wintry places, I realize what I a good thing we had.
Oh yeah, forgot to add: I’m glad you mentioned Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Check out the update at the end of this post.
I’m not a fan of Christmas either, but I have other reasons.
The commercialism doesn’t help, but since I rarely watch TV, I am thankfully spared the torment of Christmas ads, holiday specials (including 24 hour marathons of “A Christmas Story”) and the like. I can’t completely avoid the signs of the upcoming credit card apocalypse, but I can deal with my limited exposure.
As for Christmas music, you have mentioned TSO, but neglected the evil that emerges. The heavy metal versions of Christmas songs. Or the metal Christmas albums. Okay, there are some decent Christmas themed rock/metal songs (“Mistress For Christmas”, “Christmas With The Devil”), but for every decent song, there are 57 crappy ones. The good:shit ratio is even worse outside of metal, especially where it tends to fester and ooze the most – pop music.
Other than personal issues I have, I get bothered by the PC crowd that rant and rave about Happy Holidays. It’s fucking Christmas. It doesn’t have to be a “Christian” thing. Guess what? The nativity doesn’t even necessarily have to be a “Christian” thing. It’s part of the story of Christmas, the part that doesn’t involve some fat bastard who uses cheap labor and invades peoples homes to eat their cookies, drink their milk and leave boxes under a tree. Sometimes a real tree whose life was ended prematurely and will end up on the curb at the end of December or in early January.
Not only Christians celebrate the holiday. And it doesn’t even have to be a joint Christian and secular holiday. Yes, I know, Jews, Muslims and others celebrate this time of year in other ways. But take “Merry Christmas” as a greeting and not as an insult or ignorany remark. You know, something like: Hi, Hello, How Ya Doin’, Wassup… It doesn’t mean “I hope you have a good holiday with your friends and family, unless you’re a bastard/heathen/pagan/atheist/whatever, in which case – fuck you!”
And fuck off with your separation of church and state bullshit if there’s a nativity outside a city hall. Or a Christmas tree. That’s not what it fucking means, dumbasses.
Okay, I think I’m done. For now.
“It’s part of the story of Christmas, the part that doesn’t involve some fat bastard who uses cheap labor and invades peoples homes to eat their cookies, drink their milk and leave boxes under a tree.” Awesome.
I’m all in favor of friends and/or families getting together, and even giving gifts to each other when they genuinely want to for some reason, but we don’t need Christmas to do that. What Christmas does way too often is force behavior that’s not truly voluntary, and create stress for no good reason.
And I think you know this, but our rant today wasn’t an exercise in PC. This tirade wasn’t prompted by concern over the hurt feelings or anger of non-Christians or atheists who feel their rights are being violated by having Christianity foisted on them. That’s a different issue. The main point is that Christmas isn’t about Christianity. It’s about unrelenting commerce. And fuck that.
Yeah, I know. But sometimes I need to vent. The PC bullshit is part of what bothers me about Christmas.
Christmas is meant to be a time to spend with friends and family, with everything else secondary – thankfully a lot of people still get that. While I don’t really celebrate Christmas myself anymore (it’s no fun alone), I am more in favor of it as opposed to Thanksgiving, oddly enough. But there’s so much more than can go wrong this time of year, for any number of reasons.
Oh, I hate eggnog too. But that’s not really all that important. I shudder to think of what obscenities the Jones Soda company is going to try to pass off as something drinkable this year. Not every unusual flavor they craft is horrible, most of their seasonal/holiday crap is… well, liquid crap. I’d call it diarrhea, but that might be a compliment in this case.
I think you either love eggnog or hate it. I’m in the love-it camp, particularly doctored with a big slug of bourbon. It’s a real health-food drink, too. 🙂
What, the eggnog or the bourbon?
The combination. All the food groups are there. The grain, the protein, the dairy, the high fructose corn syrup.
I agree with you while disagreeing.
I don’t mind people saying “Merry Christmas” particularly. Whatever, it’s like people saying, “Good morning,” even though it’s clearly NOT. (Who thinks morning is good???)
But by the same token, it’s so simplistically annoying. And anything that pisses off Bill O’Reilly gets a pass in my book. I mean, really? The War on Christmas???
I’ve been trying for years to convince $wife that we should stop doing xmas – (and I’m not being PC I’m being lazy although I love telling fundamentalists that “X takes the Christ out of Christmas” – but that’s just me being a contrarian douchebag) – mainly using our favorite Homerism “but I don’t even believe in Jebus” as an excuse. However traditions are deeply rooted and families would just have a hard time accepting it (despite neither of our families being religious – just as has been pointed out it’s really got nothing to do with that).
Now all that said, to quote another one of my favorite people, George Carlin, “coveting thy neighbors goods is what keeps the economy going…coveting creates jobs, leave it alone”. So while we can rile against commercialism all we want, unless you want to go back to living in a cave where the only unclean singing you’ll ever hear was that of apes raping you, I think it’s something I can live with.
To chime in, I think the problem is that it becomes supersaturated after Thanksgiving and lasts until the first or second week in January. I don’t want the economy to wither (not to mention lewd acts by apes, as you suggest) – but I don’t want to be ear and eye raped either. Though I’ve avoided the commercials, I’ve seen Christmas trees, lights, ornaments and garland already – and have for a couple weeks, which is too early for me.
I must admit, I do miss being able to see the M&M’s Christmas ads. I don’t know why, but I like the chocolate pair. And there are a few other companies that do a good job with their ads that isn’t cramming sales and products down our throats.
I dunno, maybe it’s just the greed factor that kicks in or the oneupsmanship that surges at this time, people trying to find the perfect present that’s going to be better than what they get, yet people want to get the better present at the same time. While not being part of a family does help in some regards (I get to avoid petty fighting), I do kind of miss being able to be part of something – tradition as you’ve said. Granted, I could go out more often and still take part in stuff, but that’s easier said than done.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly like this season either. Fuck they’ve been selling santa hats at CVS since the day after Halloween, and there are people out there with way too much money to spend decorating their house. Also it’s the time of year when the only radio station I occasionally listen to, the classical station, becomes unlistenable because it’s all xmas themed music.
I even wrote a blog post about this last year (and yeah I never really write much, just on occasion when I’m more pissed off than usual or feel that I have some brilliant insight).
Just think, such neighborhoods could cause midair collisions as airplanes try to come in for a landing. And if that’s when Santa’s in the air at the same time… venison jerky, anyone?
I think “fuck off and die” shows your attitude is simpatico with ours. 🙂
I checked your 2009 best albums list while at your blog — lots of good stuff on there. Will you be doing one for 2010?
If I can find the time I’d like to do it again, I might compromise and do a list of albums but no mini-reviews justifying their inclusion on the list. However looking back at what I wrote making it any shorter than that would almost be disingenuous. I have been thinking about this years albums so something will appear I’m just not sure what or how yet.
Oh, this post is triggering some great lines in the comments. “unless you want to go back to living in a cave where the only unclean singing you’ll ever hear was that of apes raping you, I think it’s something I can live with.” Yeah, if that were the choice, I’d live with the status quo, too. No doubt about it. Eeew.
Just wait until Phro wanders by…
I’m getting queasy just thinking about it . . .
Don’t worry, the unclean and the unholy shall be spared………..
You know that Fuck Christmas is originally by Fear, right? Because IMO their version is so much better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zgol2NQhlM
That and The Frogs – Here Comes Santa’s Pussy are the only holiday tunes that get played around my parts. Not even Manowar – Stille Nacht. No way, no how. There’s a war on Christmas, and my apartment is HQ.
There are no little kids in my family anymore, so we’ve basically phased out gift giving in favor of bringing as much red wine and favorite novels as we can carry to the dinner table. It’s nice, I don’t have to do battle at the mall on Black Friday or stress about wrapping anything, nobody has to stand in line on the 26th to return yet another scented candle that they didn’t ask for, the time that used to be spent unwrapping gifts is spent gathered around my dad and his guitar, singing Irish murder ballads. I highly recommend it.
I might just be responding to any and all calls of “Merry Christmas!” with “Ave Satanas!” this year. :3
You’ve gotten to where I want to be — no gifts, no crap Christmas music, just company and booze. Unfortunately, I can’t snap my fingers and just make that happen. But I’m working on it.
I did see that the Bad Religion bootleg was a cover of Fear. The original is cool, too. I just like Bad Religion in general. I’m definitely going to have to find Here Comes Santa’s Pussy. With a name like that, it’s got to be good!
Hah, I always get so shrill about covers – also I’m a big Fear groupie. 😉 I also forgot, there’s a RI guy who books all the good metal shows around here, I think he’s in a hardcore band too, but he posted a bunch of Christmas covers that get kind of funny: http://www.reverbnation.com/richhorror
It took many years of slowly scaling everything back to get to this point with my family – everyone was so worried that we’d offend someone by suggesting that we cut back on the gifting and pressure, but one by one people started calling and asking, “Would you mind if we opted out of presents this year?” and everyone was into it. If there were still Santa-worshiping little cousins to shop for, sure, I’d be in Toys R Us right now, but thankfully we’re all old and crusty. I do still do a token gift for my mom and dad, but otherwise we’re all happy passing the bottles of Cabernet around. Even my boyfriend and I aren’t gifting this year, we saw one too many Zales commercials. 😉
So I guess what I’m saying is, start working on it now and in 10 years you might get lucky and be sitting on the couch chugging mulled wine and watching The Grinch while everyone else dukes it out at the mall. 😉
I am definitely working on it — a most worthy goal. It might almost make Christmas enjoyable, assuming I could spend the next 30 days in a sensory deprivation tank with just some earbuds plugged into a special playlist.
Oh, yes, Fuck Christmas. Fuck it dead and fuck it’s rotting, stinking corpse with a fucking strap on.
Being an atheist ethnic Jew from the Midwest, there is very little I loathe more than the holiday season. Christmas is fuck stupid. Channukah is fuck stupid. New Years is a goddamn waste of good booze and time. Fuck Kwanzaa and Ramadan!!! (I realize Ramadan isn’t always in the holiday season, but fuck it anyway.)
The holiday season is nothing but bullshit. The idea that we need a day to contemplate anything is fucktarded. If you want to contemplate, sit your ass down and do it. If you want to see your family, there’s the door, go do it. If you want to waste a shit ton of money and develop serious credit card debt, there’s the economy, go shit on it.
There is literally NO NEED for any holiday is a civilized, advanced society. Especially not one that celebrates a bullshit myth co-opted by a death cult.
The worst part is the fucking music. I moved to Japan thinking: non-Christian country! Yeah, the Buddhism is stupid and Shintoism is laughably asinine, but at least proselytizing is minimal and it’s unlikely that state Shinto will be tapped to lead the march against the rest of the world while I’m still alive. So, yah! I’m free of all the holiday bullshit!
No! A thousand times no!!!! They are free to commercialize and play that atrocious music!! No one is around to be offended, because it’s nothing more than a symbol for shoppers and a Pavlovian signal to buy more. All day, over and over and over and over, it’s the same horrible, shitty carols, only they seem to have been redone in MIDI.
MIDI CAROLS!!! THE TENTACLE BUGS! THEY ARE IN MY BRAINS NOW! THEY ARE EATING MY BRAINS AND TELLING TO MAKE DILDO BOMBS AND STRAP-ON SWORDS! HAHAHAH!!! NONE SHALL SURVIVE, THE DEATH OF MY SANITY WILL BE AVENGED!!!!
DIE, MALL SECURITY GUARD!!! DIE, SCREAMING CHILD!!! DIE, CHECK OUT LADY WHO COMPLAINS I DON’T SMILE ENOUGH, DIE AND SUCK SCUM OFF OF SATAN’S GENATAL WARTS!!!!
Ah, my man, you’ve outdone yourself with this one. Well worth the wait. I should have let you write this post.
I can do a part two, if you can wait for me to get really drunk and angry tonight. Hahahaha!
But of course!
fucking dokkaka, that’s all I have to say.
Dildo bombs? Okay, that might be interesting to watch go off, just make sure you use the Christmas colors!
But strap-on swords? I think I just felt my IQ drop reading that.
MIDI/Musak versions of Christmas carols are nothing new, but the idea of combining them with the high pitched voices of Japanese J-Pop tarts scares me.
Dildo bombs and strap-on swords: This is Phro’s version of the Christmas spirit. He did say his brains were being eaten by tentacle bugs and he did make reference to the death of his sanity. What’s got me worried is jh’s reference to fucking dokkaka. I’m afraid to even google that.
The only thing that comes to mind is Dokaka, the Japanese beatboxer who uses multiple tracks and loops, but no effects or auto-tune. He’s done Led Zeppelin, Slayer and others.
My guess is that’s who Johan is referring to, but it there’s another Dokaka (or Dokkaka) out there I’m not aware of, all bets are off.
I’m pretty sure that’s what he was referring too….
yeah … Japanese dude who did these crazy slayer cover (I’d have been more verbose but I posted that from my phone while at the bar at the Watain show last night)
Dude! Posting to NCS from your phone from the bar at a Watain show? That is just awesome! I assume Watain killed it . . .
They were fucking amazing. although I still think I stink of blood, fire, and death (sorry couldn’t resist). The fact that they ended the night with “Waters of Ain” (one of my favorites from Lawless Darkness) was a nice bonus.
They are high on my list of bands to see in the flesh. I want to stink of blood, fire, and death.
This makes my ears bleed. I want to huddle in a corner and cry like a little bitch after listening to this.
I wonder if Jonathan Rosenburg reads NCS…
What a cool site! Dude’s definitely got a few loose screws. In other words, just the kind of reader we’re trying to appeal to here.
I am just going to give you a standing ovation. I have nothing to add since everything I want to say has been said.
Thank you! I like standing ovations.
It was worth it. This post made my fucking day. Work sucks and life is a bitch, but goddamit you made me fucking laugh out loud reading this.
🙂 My work here is done.
You are all fucking stupid. Aww daddy didnt love me enough… fags