December 16, 2004

Contemporary Christmas Classics

: There's strong feeling in favor of The Pogues' "Fairy Tale of New York" from 1987, a duet between poor Shane MacGowan and Kirsty Macoll, about a drunken Irish immigrant:

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The rare old mountain tune
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

He tries to to patch things up with his spitfire girlfriend by bringing up all the good times they'd shared:

Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day

It's not coincidental that this, possibly the greatest of all recent Christmas songs, explicitly refers to the music of mid-century Manhattan when Tin Pan Alley, and its Christmas song-writing minions, was at its peak.

Other nominees include:

Father Christmas - Kinks
2000 Miles - Pretenders
Christmas Must Be Tonight - Robbie Robertson
Merrry Christmas, Darling - Carpenters
Light of the Stable - EmmyLou Harris
The Rebel Jesus - Jackson Browne Christmas Wrapping - Waitresses
Christmas With the Family - Robert Earl Keene
Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
Christmas at the Zoo - Flaming Lips

And here's John Derbyshire's updatings of Christmas and other songs, such as "The Seven Days of Kwanzaa," "God Rest Ye Merry Democrats," and the the admittedly unChristmasy Gilbert & Sullivanesque "I Am the Very Model of the Modern Homosexual:"

I am the very pattern of a modern homosexual:
I wear a suit and tie, I am impeccably respectable;
I live out in the suburbs with my partner, who’s a blogger; we
Are very nearly ready to commit to strict monogamy.
We party, but we always beg the neighbors to excuse the noise
Of after-midnight dancing to the music of the Pet Shop Boys.
We’re active in the local church, which is of course Episcopal
— ‘Piscopal — ‘Piscopal —
We help out with the youth group — I assure you there’s no risk at all!

(All) They help out with the youth group, he assures us there’s no risk at all.

You needn’t fear we’ll turn your kids, the whole thing is inborn, you see.
It’s nothing we can help, so disapproval is just bigotry.
My hair is cropped, my goatee’s trimmed, my lisp is undetectable;
I am the very model of a modern homosexual!

(All) His hair is cropped, his goatee’s trimmed, his lisp is undetectable;
He is the very model of a modern homosexual!

My HIV I manage with a handy pharma-copeia;
With modern medications now we gays are in Utopia!
I shoot up with testosterone and work out till my limbs are sore;
My voice is deep, my chest is broad, I’m butch-er than a stevedore.
You’ll just have to get used to us, adjust the laws to suit our needs;
To take another attitude from adherence to worn-out creeds
Would mark you as intolerant! a basher! and a criminal!
Criminal! — Criminal! —
We’ll slander and defame you and you’ll find support is minimal.

(All) They’ll slander and defame you and you’ll find support is minimal.

I wonder which fan of the Pet Shop Boys the Derb was thinking of when he penned this?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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