So next week I turn the free days over to Christmas music, and while I don’t have the 24 hour posting I did last year, I do have something I think is cool prepared for Christmas Day. (If I get it done on time. 😦 ) But before I put the site on full automatic (yeah, right, I wrote this on Wednesday), there is one Christmas song I need to have a stern talking to.
On the surface, it’s a good song (although I’ve heard a few covers while tracking this down that I liked more, like this one, because I have odd tastes in music) and I do support the message. However, there is a line, one line, one facepunch-inducing line, that makes my eyes roll.
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you!
Look, I have no problem with the weapon of shame being brought to bear. Heck, most of these celebrities could use it now and then. Maybe the tabloids would have less footage to use, and that’s one piece of media we’d all be better of without. (Except for Weekly World News. The wrong company folded!) On the other hand, there is something about that line that screams “self-righteous bull&$#+” to me. Is that what Band Aid really thinks we’re thinking? I see that as actually turning people OFF to your message, rather than convincing them to help.
Christmas is a time to care, and to give of yourself to others. Why do you think the Salvation Army is out in full force this time of year? People normally don’t enjoy standing outside in 20 degree weather ringing a bell until their ears block up begging people for money. (Unless your Mr. Freeze, and then you usually just steal it and keep it for yourself while turning people into ice blocks.) I fully support these kinds of operations, and try to put something in the pot at least once a shopping trip, and if I miss a toy drive I go into a minor funk. Charity is a part of Christmas, and a song that reminds people to think of others, including “third-world” countries gets a thumbs-up for me.
But that line. That evil line! And I found numerous covers, all of them with that line. And you know what’s worse? Watch that video again. We see the people singing the song, fine. You watch the video to see your favorite performers and figure out who sang which line. (Not that watching the video for “We Are The World” helped me with that very well. I didn’t recognize half those people at the time, and only a few more now. Same for all the Band-Aid covers of this song.) However, the video for the second Band Aid cover shows scenes that reflect what the song is talking about. This one shows the performers coming in, posing for photos, and so on. Another cover shows the performers goofing around, like some behind the scenes version.
A lot of these efforts come off as self-promotion. There are exceptions (Bono’s “One” campaign, for example), but the focus should be on either the song or the subject of the song–the poverty stricken of Africa (and other areas, including the US to a lesser extent of other countries)! That’s why this is one of those Christmas songs that even I, who can love even the songs from last year’s “The Christmas Songs That Aren’t” article (except for “My Favorite Things” and that one about the guy who gets drunk with his married ex-girlfriend in a car), who supports the charity side of the Christmas message as much as all the other sides, wants to punch someone dead in the face whenever that line is sung.