Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Jukebox: Carols for a Secular Sort of Saint Nicholas Day



Although the rest of the outfit got the day off I'm working today, so I have a computer to hand and, hence, you have this.

It is no secret that I am Hell-bound, and my "holiday music" tastes run to my unchurched bent. I enjoyed this simply because it's clever and melodic and still retains some vestigium of the "season".

Sadly, for me the season is colored by the grim anticipation of what is to come in the New Year; the ankommen an Macht of the Old Regime, the Return of the Oligarchs and their new dauphin, the Vulgar Aristocrat, the resurgence of the plutocratic, punitive Bourbons that I had thought were scourged for good from our politics in 1932.

And because this was a self-inflicted wound I cannot echo Ebenezer's nephew in his optimistic blessing of the holiday for what it symbolizes in human nature: (h/t to Pierce:)
"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew. "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"
It seems to me more likely that this season belongs to a country, my country, that now belongs to a powerful minority that is trying to force it, and us, to shut its and our hearts to the least and lowest of our own, and I dread and fear what may happen if, and when, the sort of America that my grandparents knew, the America of the Gilded Age, the America that preceded the New Deal, is forced back upon us.

I am not by nature a happy man. That requires a belief in the justice of the world and the goodness of others and I have seen too much injustice to believe in the antithesis and I have little, if any, trust the goodness of humankind.

Still I try and look for happiness and hope. But more and more, on these, the longest nights of the year, I am drawn back to the old spare, sorrowful songs from the times we huddled against the cold and the dark unsure of whether the warmth and the light would ever return.

O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor youngling for whom we sing,
By-bye-lulee, lulay.

Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.

Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By-bye-lulee, lulay.



5 comments:

Ael said...

Well, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I'll also add lemons, lemonade, darkest, dawn, reap and sow.

I know you are going to fight for what you believe in and god speed.

If the wheels do come off entirely, we have plenty of room in Canada.

FDChief said...

Thanks, my friend.

We got through eight years of Dubya, but...this guy is a complete goombah.

All we can do is fight to the degree we can...

Syrbal Moore said...

No aristocrat, no matter how debauched, was ever as vulgar at the Ingrate Pumpkin! If he and his are the new normal? Call me "Abby"! (Thank you, Young Frankenstein.)

Anonymous said...

Since you're threatening to becoming all religious on us these last few days, you may not be aware that the image of that Jolly Old Elf St. Nick has been terribly transfigured over the centuries, especially in our corrupted days.

He began his existence as the patron saint of prostitutes and pawn shops. I'll leave you to figure out the rest through thought and investigation. And REALLY!, an Elf? Where'd THAT come from?

Merry Holidays and Survival of the Next Disappointment :)

bb

FDChief said...

Basil; St. Jude our aid...

Old Nick is an interesting story. A lot of the medieval saints are; Barbara of the Artillery was one of those "virgins butchered in a spectacularly horrible way" sorts of saints before she started dabbling in mining and explosives and from there to cannon.

The really infuriating thing about the coming four years is that I keep running into this "oh, you silly...what's the big deal? It's just politics..." when I can't express how truly transformational the Drumpf Administration may and probably will be.

For the first time...well, since 1932 the GOP has not only the desire but the actual power to undo the social contract that has prevailed more-or-less since the Great Depression, and now, just as the Lesser Depression revealed the extent to which we've made ourselves hostage to what used to be called "panics" back in the 19th Century; bubble implosions that crater the economy.

Throw in the effect of capital mobility the like of which we haven't seen since 1914 and automation technology we have NEVER seen before AND a Chief Executive who is the sort of unmoored corrupt grifter we haven't seen since the Harding Administration and the possibility that we could be facing the challenges of the 21st Century with the social fragility of the late 19th makes me...really, REALLY nervous.

Remember that the last time we had that sort of condition we got Red revolution in places like Russia and Spain and Black revolutions all over the damn place; Italy, Germany, Spain, eastern Europe...and there was a real possibility of something like that happening here.

But a combination of industrialization and a welfare state helped stabilize the U.S. and prevent a demagogue taking power. Now..? Well, the demagogue is already here...

I'm hoping for a Happy New Year. But I fear the beginning of a tumultuous Year of the Cock.