Christianity the fandom

Speaking of Holiday Spirit...

The Christmas Shoes: A Deconstruction

In the realm of sappy music, two names come immediately to mind: popular Christmas music, and that guy who did Butterfly Kisses. Those of us who get off on this sort of crap (almost always in secret and shame, sort of like how we wish furries would operate) have oft wondered what untold brilliance would result if ever these two were to meet.

Thanks be to God, in 2000 AD, this collaboration came to pass. What resulted was the ultimate in melodramatic, emotionally manipulative schmaltz: "The Christmas Shoes," a song about a desperately poor little boy whose mother is slowly dying of some unnamed disease and the heartless bastard who gets his Christmas Joy (TM) from other people's pain.

This horror story was turned into a novel and a movie (starring Rob Lowe and that lady from The 10th Kingdom, it expounded on the story of the poor family, the dying woman, and the heartless bastard, who is Rob Lowe. I think he's in the middle of a divorce or something, and the encounter with the poor little boy helps him learn to love his wife again, but I'm not sure, as I only saw it once and spent most of the time laughing. It's extremely humorous. I recommend you YouTube it), but for the purposes of this post, we'll focus on the song. Lyrics can be found here, and you can also find the song itself on YouTube. Let's take a look at some of them...

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
Trying to buy that last gift or two
Not really in the Christmas mood

To begin, we are presented with the quintessential asshole: the guy who put off an important task 'till the very last minute and then gets pissed off that it's taking him a long time to get this important task done. You can find this guy, who is not always a guy, at the mall on Christmas Eve, at the costume store on Halloween, and at the post office on April 15, though he is by no means limited to these events. You've met this guy. You either hate him, or you are him, or you are Jesus, or possibly Ghandi.

Standing right in front of me
Was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing around like little boys do
And in his hands he held
A pair of shoes

Our Symbolic Character, the little boy, who is not given a name.

And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe

What, daddy can't put the kid in the shower while we're waiting for mom to kick it?

And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say
Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please

Not sure why the cashier needs to know this, but kids talk, so whatever.

It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size

It's Christmas Eve? No wonder there are so many cranky people out shopping. Memo to me: shop earlier next year, avoid Spirit of Christmas type moments.

Could you hurry sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus, tonight.

Translated chorus: because we are very poor, my mother dresses badly. The materialistic, greedy, image-driven society in which we live has taught me that even Jesus Christ hisownself cares more about appearances than what's in a person's heart. Please allow me to purchase these shoes so that my mother can get into heaven, which has a very strict dress code.

He counted pennies for what seem like years
And cashier says son there's not enough here
He searched his pockets frantically

One might think that the cashier would be searching his/her pockets, and that's what the verse is referring to, but no, it's the kid. The cashier is just window dressing, and apparently doesn't care one way or another.

And he turned and he looked at me
He said Momma made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me sir
What am I gonna do?
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes

Protip: if you want somebody to donate to the Mom's Deathbed Makeover Fund, straight up ask him or her. Nobody likes the guy who drops blatant hints like this, and 9 times out of 10, they don't work.

So I laid the money down

That this is the 1 time out of 10 should be chalked up to the fact that the song would be very short otherwise. Incidentally, is "laid" correct here?

I just had to help him out

I like to think that this means the singer, who doesn't offer to also buy the little boy and his family food or give him a ride to the hospital or anything else useful, became a left-leaning progressive and started voting for social justice, donating enormous sums to charities benefiting the poor, and supporting health care reform. The song offers little evidence of this, but it pleases me to think so.

And I'll never forget
The look on his face
When he said Momma's gonna look so great.

"Thank God, Jesus won't have to see my mother's disgusting feet! Seriously, sir, you don't know, they are gross."

I know that God had sent that little boy to remind me

Here's where this particular sappy song really loses me. Really, Bob Carlisle? You think God gave this boy's mother a wasting, terminal sickness, destroying her family in the process, just so you could get into The Christmas Mood? Fuck's sake, man, not everything is about you.

What Christmas is all about

Apparently Christmas is all about desperately poor women dying in terrible pain while their small children run around the city unsupervised, holding up lines and begging money from strangers (and teaching Valuable Lessons, so at least this woman's death wasn't in vain!)

I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus tonight

If she's going to die, she'd better look good doing it.
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Announcements re: CRF and friends locking

Well, no CRF this year. They very much wanted me to perform, but didn't have money left in the budget for me. Oh well. I just didn't contact them early enough; next season I won't make the mistake of waiting for auditions. I can't say I'm not bitterly disappointed, because I most certainly am, but we are intrepid; we carry on. I'm sending off to Tennessee as soon as I get pictures back from Chip, and there are Stone Mountain Christmas auditions on Monday. In the early spring I will re-apply at CRF.

In other news, I've finally decided to friends lock this journal. Weird. I never thought I'd do that. Anyway, if you read and are not a friend, let me know.
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