Hey, how was your holiday? Whatever. This week’s debrief comes to you straight from my parents’ sofa in San Francisco where I’m watching Elf for the third time and having my mother make me all kinds of snacks. We’re all about to get “tanked up” though, as my dad says, so let’s run through this debrief quickly.
With Thanksgiving over, the Christmas season is now officially underway, and with that comes the traditional pepper spraying, shooting, and stabbing of holiday shoppers. What, that’s not tradition where you’re from? Oh it’s not traditional here either? Well, it unfortunately might be now. This year, shoppers intending to capitalize on Black Friday deals had more to deal with than just long lines, as people across the country were injured in attempts to get survival necessities like Xboxes and waffle makers.
Nationwide, the biggest story to come out of the near-Black Friday Massacre, was that of a woman who pepper sprayed over twenty people in a Los Angeles-area Walmart in order to get to a crate of Xboxes. Though really, can you blame her? Those things go fast. And apparently, a security guard in North Carolina also pepper sprayed customers looking for various electronics. Two Xboxes says he’s from Davis.
Crowds in New York reportedly looted a Soho clothing store, a crime that could be committed at any point during the year, thereby defeating the purpose of Black Friday. And in San Leandro a woman was robbed and shot in the foot while loading her Black Friday purchases into her car. In retaliation, her husband took out and fired a sawed-off shotgun from the glove compartment, because that just happened to be in there. With Americans outdoing even a fictionalized enraged version of themselves, we can only hope for a string of viruses and internet bullying on Cyber Monday.
Here’s a thought: Dr. Pepper should be the name of a superhero who wields pepper spray.
Just a thought.
Black Star Friday
For those uninterested in scoring deals, as well as a burning sensation in their eyes, Black Friday also turned out to be Black Star Friday. Just when you thought the year of colossal hip hop duos was over, Mos Def (recently switching to the name Yasiin Bey, though here he will just be known as Mos Def because the name change is unnecessary) and Talib Kweli (recently switching to the name Mos Def, now that it’s available) (not really) return as Black Star and drop two new songs. The first, “Fix Up” is available on iTunes and will be on their upcoming album, and the other, “You Already Knew” is available for free on their website, and is from their upcoming mixtape Aretha.
The two tracks, produced by Madlib and Oh No, respectively, are great. With nice soul samples and quality rhymes, they’re exactly what you would expect from two emcees of this caliber. Production-wise, however, something is off. The beats are wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but the songs both sound unmixed. “You Already Knew” isn’t as bad, but “Fix Up” sounds straight up like it was recorded with a built-in laptop microphone, which is funny because at the beginning Mos can be heard saying, “Nice. Nice levels.” Nice levels, they are not. Go download these songs, I’m out of jokes.
Santa Claus Is Dead
With Elf wrapping up for the third time, a perplexing thought has occurred to me. What’s the connection between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ? While Christmas is technically the celebration of Jesus’ birthday, it is very much also about Santa. It’s like Santa Day; the one day each year he gets to exhibit all of the hard work that he’s done for Hasbro and Mattel and Lego and Nintendo. At some point St. Nick must have taken over as the authority on Christ’s birthday, but, I mean, when did that happen? How did they even get that arrangement going?
“Listen, Nick, I want you to co-sponsor my birthday. Every year, on the night of December 24, go around the world and give people gifts.”
And then what did Nick say?
“Yeah JC, I’m in.”
Is there someway I can get a Saint to co-sponsor my birthday?
Then Christ likely threw in the whole disclaimer about how Nick would have to move to the North Pole, change his name to Santa, and spend all year hand-making toys with the help of a bunch of magical beings. What’s puzzling though is why this switch was even made. Was Jesus unable to handle his own birthday duties? He is a pretty important guy; I could understand if he’s got other things going on. But at this point, Christmas, at least in my barely-Jewish household, is solely about Santa (if that. What’s up, consumerism?).
In actuality (as actual as this discussion could ever get), that could never have been the condition under which Nick took the reins of Christmas. Let’s not forget that a person must die before becoming a saint, an unfortunate policy that still, to this day, bums the hell out of me (I think I’m a perfect candidate for sainthood. My mother agrees). What this means is that JC never even spoke to Nick about him being his birthday mascot, as both of them were dead when the decision was made. Further, ol’ St. Nick didn’t even have a choice when it came to working all year making toys for people in exchange for, if he’s lucky, some Pepperidge Farm cookies. At some point a priest, or the pope, or maybe God himself, must have decided that someone needed to be the new face of Christmas.
“You know, we need to spice up Jesus’ birthday. I think we need a mascot.”
“You do?” asked another person in the conversation.
“Yeah. Definitely. Let’s just give it to Nick, he’s a saint now, right?”
And what a way for a saint to be rewarded. You spend your whole life being saintly, and then you’re rewarded with an afterlife full of physical labor. And let’s face it, Mrs. Claus is no trophy wife. At least for St. Valentine, he’s got Cupid working on his day. So what are we to believe, Santa is a ghost forever inhabiting the North Pole? That sure would make the whole chimney thing more feasible. Or, rather, is he the renegade saint who hi-jacked Christ’s b-day? Oh, none of this matters because Santa doesn’t exist? Well, true, maybe, but culturally he exists, and culturally he is the representative of someone else’s birthday, which is weird. If someone had told Nick while he was alive that one day he would be known for piloting a reindeer-assisted sled and work all year long with a bunch of elves, all in the name of Jesus, he probably would’ve been excited. Really excited. It’s Christmas time. Get excited.