@MarkSteynOnline [And Bob] On Christmas
The American Spectator has kindly reprinted Mark Steyn’s article It’s The Best Time Of The Year from their December 1995 issue.
I well remember reading it because it was one of my first exposures to his writings. It aided me in becoming a fan of his.
Please do take the time to click here and read the whole thing, but here are a few highlights:
In Vermont the first school board of the season has already declared that songs about Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty are offensive to those of other backgrounds. Really? The hallmark of democratic American culture used to be that it was simultaneously universal and specific. In denigrating the secular Christmas as it has evolved over 200 years, these groups are moving beyond the separation of church and state to the separation of American from American; they’re saying that the very notion of any common culture is suspect….
That, of course, is the Leftist Thinking behind most of it.
The soundtrack to the American Christmas dates from Coots’ 1934 seasonal staple to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” written by Johnny Marks 30 years later. Every Christmas standard you can name—“Frosty,” “Silver Bells,” “Sleigh Ride”—comes from that period, the apogee of mainstream American popular culture at its most confident and embracing.
It’s not surprising, then, that the last three decades have failed to produce a single Yuletide song of any lasting impact. Broadcasting has degenerated into narrowcasting, pop music has split into mutually antagonistic minority interests like grunge and gangsta rap, and, following the same pattern of fragmentation, Christmas has begun to subdivide too. If the American Christmas is a triumph of the American ideal—E Pluribus Unum—then the pseudo-African festival of Kwanzaa is surely the reverse. It exemplifies the trend of recent years, whereby large groups of Americans go to great lengths to make themselves more foreign than they really are. The language of Kwanzaa is Swahili, and the underlying philosophy of its seven “Principles” is the distinctively incompetent Afro-Marxism that bankrupted Africa’s richest countries. To placate disgruntled kids, Kwanzaa has since been obliged to introduce its own Santa figure—a wise man called Nia Umoja. But what was wrong with the old Santa figure? Will our society really benefit from Santa separatism?
In 1966, the same year Kwanzaa was invented, Jerry Herman, composer of Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles, wrote what looks like the last Christmas standard. “I snuck in just in time,” he told me. “We don’t really have Christmas songs anymore and we don’t really have songs that step out of shows and get taken up by jazz singers and country singers. But every year I get another half-dozen different recordings by different artists.” And, in his frail songwriter’s croak, he began to warble:
We need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the hallway
Carols on the spinet…
Well, maybe not the spinet. But we do need a little Christmas. Right this very minute.
Indeed, we do, especially in these dark times of the Leftist Era in America.
Hold your loved ones a little bit longer.
Pray a little bit harder.
Cherish those merry moments with friends and family a little bit more.
We know not what the future holds and we rightly fear that it will not be pleasant. But we must never forget the admonition of God to never despair for He is always there for us in the silent night.
We also must never forget that America is an idea that knows no physical limitations — as long as it remains alive in the soul of one Human Being, America will live on in the world.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Let Nothing You Dismay….