Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Xmas (War is Over)


While All I Want for Christmas Is You will always make me the Christmas-happiest (and yes, I am purposely staying entirely ignorant of anything related to this song and Justin Bieber, just because I dislike the audacity of messing with perfection), Happy Xmas (War is Over) makes me the Christmas-my-guts-are-all-tangled-up-in-my-throat-iest. Right from the get go--and let's discuss how much I love how this song just STARTS--as soon as he sings, "And so this is Christmas," I am already fighting off the tears before he even asks what we've done. (I don't know, John.)

This may be blasphemous to say, and maybe it's just the sentimentality of Christmas, but there is something about this song that I find even more moving than John Lennon's biggest contribution to humanity, which we can just say rhymes with Shmishmagine. Don't get me wrong, I am not downplaying Smishmagine, but, I don't know. I can't describe the depths to which this song slays me.

I have a pretty strict No-Christmas-merriment-until-after-Thanksgiving rule, and so when they started playing some Christmas music at work sometime in that weird marketing season between Halloween and Thanksgiving where we all wander around stores scratching our heads, I tried to block most of it out, until I heard this. And all of a sudden all I wanted to do was be wrapped up in an afghan beneath the Christmas tree at my mom's house, and I wanted to run around in circles yelling NO, NO, THE FEELINGS! IT IS TOO EARLY FOR THE FEELINGS!

There are so many good things about this song but my favorite is my favorite part of all Christmas-related things: the feeling it expresses has nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever, but is about the general feeling of, for one moment of the year, a camaraderie of mankind, a general feeling of just wanting to Be Good To Each Other. The rich and the poor ones, the old and the young.  It's gratitude and warmth and strength. It is cliche, but it is good. 

I mean it's not all red suits and candy canes; John's cynicism is still there throughout the whole thing, but in the end it's all about the chorus of children singing at the end, at least allowing ourselves to pretend that we could stop all the fight, just for a short while. This is why I will never understand people who hate this season and go on about commercialism and yadda yadda yadda. Dude. We are all aware of the commercialism. Nobody thinks that's what it's all about. 

& the simplicity of this line: "War is over if you want it." Seriously. This song just makes me lose it.

While I generally view this as a song that shouldn't be covered, people just keep wanting to do it anyway. The only one I find acceptable is Melissa Etheridge's. There is one by Celine Dion that I dislike so much that it makes me inexplicably upset even just thinking about it--SHE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE CHILDREN (OR ANYONE) SINGING THE WAR IS OVER CHANT AT THE END, WHAT IS SHE PLAYING AT? Kathy likes to bring up this Celine Dion version sometimes because she thinks it's funny that I get so mad just thinking about it, but it is NOT FUNNY.


PS. You probably shouldn't watch the John Lennon video; it'll make you want to slit your wrists. Happy Christmas!

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