Thursday, December 18, 2008

Carbon monoxide Christmas songs

I like Christmas songs. I have about 200 songs in my Christmas music collection which run the gamut of styles, and while other people often talk of Christmas music with a groan as if it's just something to be endured, I actively like to play my collection during the season.

But tonight we went to a doctor's office for an annual opthamology exam, then a run of grocery shopping with a dinner out, and along the way I got to listen to a lot of Christmas music on various radio stations and store music systems. When I say "a lot", I mean not more than an hour's worth of music, a fraction as many songs as my own collection. And some of those were even songs that are in my collection. Burl Ives, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Frank Sinatra, that I remember.

However, the other songs, many of them, soon made me grimace and grit my teeth, and for a few moments evoked a knee-jerk reaction of feeling as if I hate Christmas music. But of course I don't. I just hate some Christmas music: the kind that's sappy and bland, from which any trace of emotion or soul has been removed in favor of saccharine sentimentality devoid of matter so as to be devoid of offense, the kind that sticks in your head so firmly it even prevents better music from taking root.

It occurred to me that those songs are the carbon monoxide of Christmas music. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas, which kills by the simple expedient of bonding to your blood cells in the same way that oxygen would -- thus preventing oxygen from bonding by taking its place, while offering no actual value to you.

Well, the analogy seemed a lot more amusing and apt when I first thought of it.

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