Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SIlly Christmas Lyrics

Mark Leslie's Silly Christmas Lyric meme

Mark started an annual Silly Christmas Lyric Meme a couple of years ago. The idea is to consider lyrics that either confound or beg for shredding. Here is his entry for this year. Here is my entry from two years ago. This year I will be attacking Bob Geldoff's Do They Know It's Christmas?

Now, before anyone begins to attack me as perhaps lacking a heart for the starving millions let me say my attack is not a manifestation of Scrooge-like attitude. I just have thought, ever since the first time I heard the song that it was ridiculous in its oversimplification of matters, not to mention a pathetic attempt at emotional manipulation. Let me also say, I will credit Bob Geldoff for being moved enough to do something to alleviate the suffering of millions of people who were in famine at the time. If more people listened to the voice that says, "Get off your butt and do something," there would be a lot less suffering in the world. I still find the lyrics inane, incorrect, and shamefully manipulative. Let's examine them, shall we? My comments will be in italics.

It's Christmastime
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime
But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
(Ok, no problems so far. Christmas cheer but let's be aware of other less fortunate people. That's appropriate.)

At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
(So Johnny, when you go to bed to wait for Santa...just remember the bogeyman is lurking out there too.)

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging
chimes of doom.
(Sing it with me now, to the tune of "Silver Bells"...bells of doom, bells of doom...it's Christmastime in the desert...)

Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
(Wow, God. I'm sooo glad you let someone else suffer. Really, thanks!)

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
(Apparently, Bob Geldoff isn't aware of the snows of Mr. Kilimanjaro, which happens to be in Africa. As for the Sahara, well, snow would be unusual there at any time. Also, once you get south of the equator it would be summer time, hence snow would be unlikely. Are we supposed to feel bad for anyone who doesn't get snow. OOOH, those poor Australians, and Hawaiians, and even the Floridians...there won't be snow in those places either! How will they live?)

The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
(Well, hey, isn't that true for all of us? Really? We're just taking it for granted.)

(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
(You mean to tell me the Nile River dried up too???)

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
(Well, I can attest to the fact that people all over Africa know it's Christmas. My friend Regina is an ethnic Kamba from Kenya. She grew up as a Catholic in Mombasa. She was well aware of Christmas. Her husband is a Luo from near Nairobi. His Protestant family celebrated Christmas too. My friend Aggie is an Ashanti from Ghana, which happens to be across the continent from Kenya, in case your geography is a bit iffy, she celebrated Christmas. Her husband is from a different tribe and area of Ghana...also a celebrator of Christmas. Interestingly, all four of these people, when they came to the US wanted to know what on Earth Kwanza was. That holiday utterly confounded them. Oh, I also had a friend who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, which is in the southern part of Africa. She tells me Christmas is well known in Botswana too. Also, the Muslims [generally north Africa] I have known from Africa seem to share an awareness of the holiday, as well. In fact, the Koran has a description of the birth of Jesus and makes special note of it. There are some differences between the Koran's telling and that of the Christian Bible but it's still there. So the evidence seems clear that Christmas is widely, though perhaps not universally, known on the continent of Africa.)

(Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
(How is toasting the starving millions going to help them?)

(Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmastime at all? (The sun in Trinidad was burning when I lived there. Was I also being toasted? Oh, yeah, they know it's Christmas there too.)

Feed the world
Feed the world
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again
(How about it we do what we can to make sure hungry people can eat all year long, not just at Christmas. How about if we also do so in a way that maintains their dignity too. Need some ideas? Heifer Project Kiva Compassion International Or even... FreeRice.com if your own money is tight.
All you have to do is play the game.
Oh, and while you're at it, make a donation [of of money or good food, not just the 2 year old can of red beets collecting dust in your cabinet] or volunteer some time at one of your local food pantries or soup kitchens. There are hungry people all over.)


Cocotte said...

When I was managing a dept. store, this song came out (which coincided with the advent of video cameras). We made a video similar to the one shown on MTV with a bunch of us employees singing the song.

I think ours was better.

Craver Vii said...

Perfect!!! I don't hate that song, but it sure is fun to play around with it. Well done, You!

Did you know that my wife is director of a food and clothing pantry? I work there with her every Thursday. We're closed Christmas day and New Year's day, but there's always plenty of need. Donations of food are nice gestures, but the most practical helps are time and money. It takes a lot of time to sort and fold clothes every week, and we get a LOT more food for the buck than regular consumers, because we purchase deeply discounted items from a "food bank." Still, we have never turned away a donor's kind gesture of non-perishables.

S said...

Those are about the weirdest lyrics I have ever seen in a holiday song.

Thanks for those important links.

Desmond Jones said...

Thanks for this, Lime. . .

(M)ary said...

Merry Christmas!!

And thank you, thank you, thank you. that is the perfect song for a ripping. i cringe when i hear the lyrics. (the sentiment behind the song is great, i am sure.)

(M)ary said...

I did the meme too, thanks for the idea. Of course, everyone is too busy celebrating Christmas to be reading blogs, but oh well!

Anonymous said...

Nice job. There are far more excrebale Christmas songs, but I always found htis one a little odd.

Beach Bum said...

Free Rice was cool. Starting some volunteer work in my area at the start of new year.

Anonymous said...

how about feeding the folks in the United States who are fighting street rats for dumpster leftovers?

As Sam Kinison used to scream...
Move where the food is!!! You live in a f*cking desert!!!!!

Just trying to inject a little levity.

Merry Christmas....

misticblu said...

LOL @ coop!
Seriously, though, i had an epiphany the other evening at an off ramp. I ususally treat the sign holders with much disdain, my thoughts being 'they had the same chance I did'.
But something touched me and
said 'Maybe they didn't.'
Maybe their parents didn't stay together.... Maybe they were even more economically depressed than I was growing up. Maybe they had NO ONE pushing them along the way telling them they were capable of anything they put their mind to. I was suddenly overcome with these thoughts and empathy poured out.
Really, I give a to the bell ringers and my local groups but i generally I have looked away from our local homeless population. It didn;t help that they have been interviewed on local news and quoted at making hundreds a day on an off ramp.... I remember being incensed at hearng that.

Not so much anymore.... I wish I could help or at least encourage them all.

Merry Christmas Lime!

Mark Leslie said...

Beautiful commentary to the song, Lime. I know what you mean - wonderful cause, a great movement of musicians rallying together - but your commentary provide insights and tickle the funny bone. (I'm imagining a re-mix of the song now with your comments spliced in)

Mona said...

Merry Christmas to Lime & family!

snowelf said...

Lime, I totally agree. These lyrics are almost insulting and though I've always liked the music, they could have been constructed so much better!

Woo hoo for the Heifer Project!!
One of my best friends works for the Heifer Project in Arkansas. (I should do a blog post about that some time.) He sent my chilis the book Faith the Cow--it's such a sweet story and I LOVE the Heifer Project! It's one of the best charities out there in my opinion!!

Merry Christmas and thanks for all the Cooking support!! ;)


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