Archive for November 29th, 2007

The Captain Says Bah Humbug

In as much as I’ve usually enjoyed Thanksgiving throughout the years, I have pretty much always disliked this particular week of the year.  Originally the week after Thanksgiving used to be the biggest “oh shit” moment of the year during my school days.  I’d come back to school after a weekend of vegging out to find myself light-years behind in all of my classes.  Finals were now a mere two weeks away and I’d inevitably have 5 long papers due that I had not started.  The week after Thanksgiving was the start of three to four weeks of cramming and stressing out.

I’ve been out of school for two years now and yet I find myself dreading this week just as much.  Only now, I’m dreading the ever increasing onslaught of Christmas.  Maybe I’m getting cynical at the ripe old age of 29, but it seems that every year people make a bigger and bigger deal out of Christmas for no reason.  I’m not opposed to the idea of Christmas, but I find myself ever increasingly opposed to what it has become lately.

By this I am not referring to the popular assumption that “Religion has been removed from Christmas.”1 I’m not trying to offend anyone here, I’m simply trying to point out that the

religious aspect is not what I see as the problem.  The way I see it, the two biggest problems with what Christmas has become are:

  1. The rampant consumerism that takes place at Christmas.
  2. The watered-down pop culture drivel that is released this time of year.

The unbridled consumerism of Christmas has reached epidemic proportions lately.  Never mind that stores replace their Halloween displays with Christmas displays on November 1st.  What bothers me is the constant push towards shopping.  The original idea of “BlackFriday” always seemed silly to me.  Waking up early the day after Thanksgiving to stand in line for hours to go shopping seemed like a giant waste of time.  Also, the idea of ditching your family to spend time buying them gifts they don’t need seemed to be counterproductive at best to me.  That was bad enough, but this year all the news was about “Cyber Monday.”  Now the message has become “come to work on the Monday after a four day weekend and keep on shopping.”  This is ridiculous.

While this fanatical consumerism bothers me, at least I have the option of not participating in the madness.  However, it is not possible for me to avoid all of the Christmas nonsense that is produced every year.   December has become an all consuming force on the cultural landscape.  While I don’t really like it, I’ve gotten used to the idea of 24 hour all-Christmas radio station and the same crappy movies over and over on television.  I understand that some people get nostalgic this time of year and actually enjoy hearing the same 50-75 songs on the radio, at every store, and every other place with a speaker.  What really bothers me is how much new-yet-completely-unoriginal crap comes out every year.  Every two-bit singer now puts out a shitty Christmas CD , and every washed up actor and two-bit comic hack now put out a shitty Christmas film .

The lack of originality in modern Christmas makes me dread the holidays every year, and the week after Thanksgiving is when the dread really sinks in fully.  At least when I was in school, I was too busy studying to pay much attention!

Ok, I’m done with my soapbox for now.  Gotta mention two quick things.  First, how the hell is Mizzou ranked #1 in college football? Up until last year, I couldn’t give two shits about college football.  Watching college football seemed like the equivalent of watching minor league baseball to me.  Well, moving down to Florida last year brought with it a crash course in college football.  It’s the only sport people give a shit about down here.  Since moving to Tallahassee every sports conversation I’ve heard either involves:

  1. The Florida Gators
  2. The Georgia Bulldogs
  3. The Florida State Seminoles2

I’ve generally steered clear of these conversations.  The numerous times I’ve been asked who I cheer for I’ve given the same stock answer, “I don’t have a dog in the race.”  Thanks to Mizzou, I finally have a team to cheer.  Go Missouri!  Our team is number one, and we don’t even care about college football!

Finally, after all the bitching I did earlier about rampant consumerism let me be a huge hypocrite and tell you how much I love the new bar cabinet.  This is the most excited I’ve ever been about a piece of furniture.  I spent hours on Thanksgiving arranging the booze and booze related items inside this gorgeous beast.  Here’s a pic of my new best friend with our Thanksgiving feast on top.

Now that I have a proper wine cabinet, let me take this opportunity to raise my glass of wine and say cheers to all of my family and friends this Christmas season.  May it be more pleasant than I make it out to be.

Cheers,

The Captain

1  Christmas never struck me as a particularly religious holiday, I’d say quasi-religious as best.

2  Which are referred to as “The ‘Noles” in Tallahassee.  Seeing the words “Go Noles” on the back of sweatpants is beyond comical to me.

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