Archive for the ‘They Regretted That Later’ Category

Keep this thing in a galaxy far, far away

December 14, 2009

This post features what is perhaps the most awful piece of cultural detritus ever produced to take advantage of the Christmas season. It’s not so-bad-it’s-good. It’s painful to watch, especially for two hours. Indeed, it’s completely forgettable, except that it’s the bastard stepchild of one of the most profitable cultural franchises of all time:

The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Where to begin with this hideous thing? (George Lucas himself said that “if I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”) The bizarre roster of guest stars? The fact that the first ten minutes, and much of the rest, are in untranslated Wookiee, as if this was some kind of grad student art film? Carrie Fisher’s “Happy Life Day” solo at the end? The acid-trip sequences? Bea Arthur as proprietress of the Mos Eisley cantina? The seduction of Chewbacca’s father by a holographic Diahann Carroll?

The Holiday Special merges the worst of George Lucas’s imagination, commercial exploitation, and the (in)aesthetics of the 70s.

Do they know how awful they sound at all?

December 12, 2009

File this obnoxious little ditty under “Not Getting It, Department of.”

Leave aside the execrable pop/rock tune. Leave aside Bob Geldof’s ghastly 80s hairstyle. And leave aside the fact that this song is all about moral posturing with other people’s resources.

Leave all this aside and merely consider the ludicrous lyrics that alone make this a Christmas Spirit Fail.

  • And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy / Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime.” This is just BS on the level of “We Are the World.” It means nothing.
  • “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears / And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom.” Well, the Congo River has the second-heaviest flow of any river in the world. And the Nile is the world’s longest. Dammit, Africa is overflowing with natural resources. It’s not like the whole continent is some kind of wasteland. If China can extract Africa’s resources, why not Africa? Moreover, this song was written to raise support for famine relief. Amartya Sen showed, however, that famine is more of a political problem than a resource problem. “Famines are easy to prevent if there is a serious effort to do so, and a democratic government, facing elections and criticisms from opposition parties and independent newspapers, cannot help but make such an effort. Not surprisingly, while India continued to have famines under British rule right up to independence. . . . They disappeared suddenly with the establishment of a multiparty democracy and a free press.” It’s no coincidence that a mostly undemocratic continent conforms to Sen’s sad logic.
  • “There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime.” O RLY? (Actually, there will be.)
  • “(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows / No rain nor rivers flow.” That “oooh” is some good poetry there, man. But seriously, see comment above.
  • “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” No comment necessary, but seriously, that’s all there is to this song. The single may have been used to raise money for anti-hunger efforts, but the words themselves leave you in a place of smug depression at the sad state of the world, poor them.

This ghastly ballad ends with a “(Here’s to you) raise a glass for everyone / (Here’s to them) underneath that burning sun,” signifying nothing done other than sanctimonious moral preening. Merry Christmas, yeah right.

P.S. What would it take to get a supergroup of pop/rock stars to record an anti-foreign-aid single based on Dambisa Moyo’s book?

Almost an ally

December 6, 2009

For a while, we thought that Christmas Spirit Fail had found a friend at the Wall Street Journal. Jim Fusilli’s article (h/t to Ben N.) takes aim at pop and rock stars’ Christmas albums, and the author includes plenty of bilious remarks:

  • “Do you know anyone who’s crazy for Christmas albums by rock and pop artists? Me neither.”
  • “Most aren’t very good.”
  • “Artists who stay close to Christmas traditions and yet mark the classics with their own stamp tend to offer cloying versions slathered with sentimentality, as if we need to be coated in honey to remember that Christmas is the time of year to celebrate faith and cherish family and friends.” [AMEN, brother.]
  • “The new one by Andrea Bocelli, he of the magnificent voice and the dreadful taste in pop music, offers “My Christmas,” produced and arranged by David Foster and featuring guest appearances by Mary J. Blige, the Muppets, Reba McEntire and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (What, no duet with a death-metal act?) It’s this year’s top-selling holiday album and is so overwrought and saccharine that it’s likely to become a holiday staple.”

Fusilli finally reaches the apotheosis of his misanthropy by quoting an Amazon reviewer on Bob Dylan’s new album: “Forced to sit through it again I might very well have to hang myself by the chimney with care.” LOL!

But then, Fusilli lets us curmudgeons down at the end by refusing to go in for the kill. “How anybody could act like Scrooge about a rock or pop artist’s Christmas album is beyond me,” he closes. Well, then, Jim, if that’s the way you want it–you can be our Christmas frenemy.

Fool of good cheer

November 19, 2009

Thanks for Davy C. for reminding us of one of Nancy Reagan’s worst decisions:

I pity Mrs. Reagan

Who's fooling whom?

Mr. T is, of course, responsible for another classic piece of Christmas cultural detritus, as seen below: