Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Who Of Us Could Write Like This?

Besides Lileks, that is.
This year I winnowed out many ornaments and bits of holiday decoration that get put out for no reason other than they were put out last year. There’s a fat monk we got in DC, for example – a free gift from Macy’s, I think. I don’t like him. There’s nothing wrong with him, but some ornaments you’re glad to see, and others just annoy you as the years pass. If I had a vast ceramic monastery into which I could place him, well, yes. He would make the cut. But standing on his own he suggests a sort of medieval Christmas, with birds eating from the hands of monks and chants and illuminated manuscripts and people using words like “Shrovetide.” And frankly, that isn’t Christmas at Jasperwood. Nor do we fix Christmas in the Victorian era – as much as I love the Gospel of St. Scrooge and its filmic manifestations, I can’t quite buy the little houses and lamps and shops and Merrie Olde England stuff without thinking of Whitechapel, the horrid sanitary and social conditions, the tanneries spilling offal and toxins into the gutters, urchins threading their way through gin shops to find the syphilitic heap they call mother, etc.

I’m more of a cranberry topiary kind of guy, is all I’m saying.

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