Itâ€™s Holiday Season. We all know what that means â€“ several radio stations switch to All-Holiday-Music-All-The-Time, commercials start running their annoying versions of carols, and everyone walks around with mind-numbing earworms of truly hideous songs like that terrible one about shoes (CRAP. Now itâ€™s in my head.). Now, donâ€™t get me wrong. I like quite a few holiday tunes â€“ like that one by that guy. You know, with the snow in it. Okay, so Iâ€™m lying. I really donâ€™t like holiday music. All that canned sentiment gets to me. Sorry, Internet.
But, to be fair, very little about holiday music bothers me. Itâ€™s largely inoffensive, it captures the sentiment of the season relatively well and, at the risk of sounding uncharacteristically cheery, it makes people happy.
Generally speaking, that is.
There are some holiday songs that I find truly horrifying. Truly, truly horrifying.
Like this song, for example:
I know Iâ€™m not the first person to notice how serial-killer, date-rape creepy this song is. I love me some Dean Martin. I really do. But when the female vocalist (called â€œThe Mouseâ€) says things like, â€œSay, whatâ€™s in this drink,â€ â€œThe answer is no,â€ and â€œAt least Iâ€™m gonna say that I tried [to leave]â€ and is met with the manâ€™s (â€œThe Wolfâ€): â€œWhatâ€™s the sense in hurting my pride,â€ â€œBaby donâ€™t hold out,â€ and â€œGosh, your lips look delicious,â€ I canâ€™t help thinking that Iâ€™m going to hear about this woman later on an episode of Cold Case Files. Whatâ€™s really creepy? How cheery and damned catchy the song is. *shudder*
Or take this little ditty:
Allow me to preface this by saying that Eartha Kitt was a goddess. Straight up GODDESS. And best frigginâ€™ Catwoman ever. But I digress. The song. What would we call this? Extortion? I mean, she is implying (rather strongly) that Santa might have a chance with her if he makes with the Christmas loot. Is anyone else troubled by the fact that the woman reduces herself to little more than an exchangeable sexual commodity? In return for shiny things â€“ at least I assume the yacht she asks for will be shiny. It makes my feminist brain hurt. And of course, lest we forget, sheâ€™s promising to put out for this guy:
And, finally, perhaps the most condescending, offensive, neo-imperialist(?) Christmas song ever written. EVAR.
Letâ€™s see, where to start? How â€™bout with the categorical representation of Africa as a â€œworld of dread and fearâ€ whose only â€œwater flowing is the bitter sting of tearsâ€? Poor Africa is a place that *sniff* has no snow, and â€œNothing ever grows / No rain nor rivers flow.â€ Thatâ€™s right, NO RIVERS. Whatâ€™s that? Youâ€™re wondering if they have Christmas bells there? Well, they have bells that â€œare the clanging chimes of doom.â€ Does that count? Well, I dunno about you people, but I think that it is clearly the time to go to Africa and spread civilization and Christianity. Itâ€™s weird, even though Iâ€™m not a White Man, Iâ€™m feeling a Burden coming on. I realize this song came out in 1984, and I should probably be over it by now. But Iâ€™m not. Seriously BAND AID? This song can suck it.
Then again, what do I know? This is my favorite holiday tune:
Happy Holidays, everyone!!
Rima Abunasser is Assistant Professor of Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture at Furman University. She also teaches Contemporary American Popular Culture, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Literature of the Arab World, and the Feminist Literary Tradition. Thatâ€™s all a very complicated way of saying that she really likes to read. And to think and talk about what she reads. And, you know, to have an audience. She really likes having an audience. It makes her feel special â€“ and somewhat drunk with power.