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Last night raqs called me to report that I have apparently been identified as an Enemy Combatant in the War on Christmas by one B. O'Reilly. Because apparently, having a Christmas tree with white lights, instead of COLORED LIGHTS THE WAY GOD INTENDED, is an assault on Christmas Values, or some damn thing (thanks to neodods for the link). Of course, folks who've seen me post pics of my tree will know that I strongly favor all-white-lights on the tree, which was a perennial battle with raqs and my_tallest, who favored multi-colored lights, and who are apparently not GOING TO HELL, according to O'Reilly. Unlike me.

And all I can say to that is: WOO-HOOOOOO!!!!!

I mean, honestly. Nothing brings me GREATER JOY this holiday season than the idea that my cherished traditions make Bill O'Reilly foam at the mouth. NOTHING, I TELL YOU!!!

So, anyway, my subject line: here's the deal.

Approximately four years ago, I woke up one morning to discover that the radio station whose morning show I listened to had, without warning, decided to entirely change their format, get rid of the DJs, and also get rid of things like on-the-hour news reports and weather... which is a great deal of the reason that I listen to the radio in the morning at all. Mightily disgruntled, I defaulted to the morning show of Boston's "oldies" station, reasoning that while the morning team there was a trifle too studiously "wacky" for my tastes (the previous station had been blissfully straightforward and without wackiness), they and the music they played were largely harmless.

This lasted for nearly a year, and then we came to Nov. 29, 2004. Ah, I remember it well. The Monday after Thanksgiving. And the oldies station very suddenly switched to an ALL CHRISTMAS MUSIC FORMAT.

*gack* Now, look. I may not be Christian any more, but I actually like Christmas. I like it for a lot of its traditional trappings. But I have strong feelings regarding the holiday season. MY STRONG FEELINGS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. It boils down to this: too much of any good thing ceases to feel special, and starts feeling mundane. A fairly simple notion, no?

Not according to the people who advocate putting up Christmas decorations in malls starting in, like, October. :P

As far as I'm concerned -- call me a traditionalist (although Bill O'Reilly would disagree, obviously) -- "the Christmas season" starts on the first weekend of Advent (which is usually the first Sunday in December). That ca. 3.5-4 weeks' worth of Christmas is itself a trifle long, but at least that contains it within a reasonable boundary. For me, keeping the trappings of Christmas confined to a specific period like that is a way of keeping "the holiday spirit" from getting diluted and not-special.

I have another point, though, and it's this: when it comes to "modern" Christmas music of the sort that an oldies-rock station is likely to play, a little goes a LONG WAY, people. Most of it, I'm just not that fond of. I mean, it's okay, but I don't CHERISH it. I can hear it a couple of times, and then, you know, I'm good. You know what I don't need? A selection of the same dozen or so modern Christmas-rock songs played every morning for a month.

So, within 15 minutes of ascertaining that the radio station had indeed switched formats for the duration, I turned the dial on the radio in the bathroom to another local classic-rock station that has its own wacky morning show (no, not that one; the OTHER one, the one that isn't helmed by guys trying to be "Howard Stern Lite"). I mean, that should be okay; I like classic rock, so sue me. Also, most importantly? They weren't playing Christmas music. As the month progressed, they never switched over to a Christmas-music FORMAT until, like Christmas Eve. Yes, they occasionally busted out with a classic-rock seasonal song, or played the Adam Sandler Hannukah Song, or one of their own "wacky" Christmas songs. Whatever. I can take the odd intrusion here and there, as long as it's not wall-to-wall "festivity".

Yes, that morning show and I had a good 3-year run, there. You will notice that I use the past tense.

Now, I want you to take a look at the date. Go ahead, I'll wait....

*tap tap tap* Yes. It's November 13th.

And this morning? My formerly sane (more or less) classic rock morning show started up with, and I quote here directly from their website: "[station] celebrates the Christmas season by playing Boston's Favorite Christmas Songs all day and night through Christmas day."

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???? ON NOVEMBER FUCKING THIRTEENTH????

So, that's it. Farewell, Other Classic-Rock Morning Show! As I did before, I'm walking away and not looking back. (Although, this time, I fired off a highly irritated email to the station president, program manager, and morning show DJs; for all the good it will do, which I suspect will be "none whatsoever".) I'm not sure what morning show I'll select tomorrow morning, but it damn well won't be one playing Christmas music, I can tell you that right now.

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Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
jenlev
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
I totally love you, just so you know. And now I want to email O'Reilly a photo of my holiday tree that's got nothing but cartoon character ornaments on it. Yes.

How about 92.5?

Also...did you hear the story about the DJ who played "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" 37 some odd times in a row? He was fired, but apparently brought back after the radio listening community started a hue and cry. Not kidding.
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
I'll check out 92.5. I'm vaguely hoping that if I go back to 92.9, they'll have, like, morning DJs and news reports and weather again. *is bitter*

Also...did you hear the story about the DJ who played "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" 37 some odd times in a row? He was fired, but apparently brought back after the radio listening community started a hue and cry. Not kidding.

Now, see, THAT I would respect.

It reminds me of one of the funniest moments I ever heard back on WMMR in Philly, the year after I graduated when I was working for BMC admissions, and I had this little back office were I did data entry and could have the radio on all the time. It was during the "wacky" morning show, god, I can't even remember the DJ's name, and I believe the Ramones were in town for some kind of concert. So we were hearing a LOT about the Ramones.

So at one point, the guy plays "I Wanna Be Sedated", the way you do when the topic of the Ramones comes up. Fine. And then, once the song's done, apparently he hit the wrong button or something, and instead of playing the next song, he played "I Wanna Be Sedated" over again.

So after that ended, he and his sidekicks came back on, laughing, and the main guy was like, "Oh no, I *meant* to do that! Here, I'll prove it" *click*, and "I Wanna Be Sedated" started playing for the third time. So after THAT, they all come back on, practically unable to talk for laughing, and one of the secondary guys says, "Man, are you gonna get in trouble for this!" And the main guy replies, "No no, I'm not going to get in trouble for that -- I'm going to get in trouble for THIS!" *click* Yup. Fourth time in a row for "I Wanna Be Sedated".
(no subject) - jenlev - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC) - Expand
vampyrusgirl
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC)
I totally agree. Christmas is a nice time of the year if it doesn't last over two whole months!! Have they never heard of over-saturation?? Stores are playing Christmas music, too, and all the ads are out, too, now. At work, he have the Zoo Lights event nightly from Thanksgiving through Dec. 30th. To prepare, we have to start stringing lights in the beginning of November. We don't light them up at all until the first night of it, though, so it's not really bad on our part. But my boss started putting on the Christmas music we play for Zoo Lights today while we were stringing lights. He does it on purpose, because he's fresh and likes to torture us. :P But every night at Zoo Lights, it's the same songs on a loop. It drives me insane! The only thing that consoles me is the overtime in my paycheck. :)

Please let me know what station it is so I can write and complain, too! I may even play the Jew card! ;)
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
Yeah, I can understand that it can take awhile for a really big place to put everything up while not making it hell on the employees. I think you guys get points for at least not turning the lights ON until it's time. In regards malls etc. -- you just can't tell me that it takes so long to put up all the Christmas decorations that they have to start in mid-October, I'm sorry.

The station is WROR; the latest one, I mean. Oldies 103.3 was the previous station that I left because *they* started on the Monday after Tgiving.

I know! I was thinking about the whole "um, are you trying to tell me that this station doesn't have Jewish listeners? Surely not?" thing. But I stuck to my own point, which was -- LOOK, PEOPLE, I *do* celebrate Christmas, I do not "hate" it by any stretch of the imagination, but it's still too damned much.

I am deeply hoping that they are receiving a LOT of "WTF?" and negative emails. :P
(no subject) - vampyrusgirl - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
cityofbeige
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
The War on Christmas™ also has come earlier this year, which means it dovetails nicely with the War on Halloween™.
vampyrusgirl
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
According to Sean Hannity, we're teaching our children to be beggars!!
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jenlev - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
surreallis
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
Hahahaha! Oh, Bill. Well, I'll keep you company in HELL, since apparently living in Madison, Wisconsin means I'm 'cavorting with Satan'. It's true, I admit it. I cavort with Satan regularly. I can't seem to stop.

Also, 2 weeks of Christmas music is FINE. 2 months seems a tad brain-washy.
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
*nods* I would give them 2 weeks of Christmas music. I still wouldn't be thrilled because I'm no so fond of the modern stuff -- but, you know, anyone crying "Scrooge" can just BITE ME because I have several Xmas mixes on my iPod, but it all consists of really old traditional folk-music-y stuff, which is what I prefer.

I was saying to Jenlev that... you know, if the station had just announced their intent last week, and then said, "we're having a poll on our website to find out whether our listeners want this", I would have [a] gone and voted, and [b] told everyone I've ever known via the internet to go vote too, but then, I would have abided by the results. I still would have gone elsewhere for the remainder of this month-and-a-half, but at least I would probably have gone back to that station afterwards.

... So what's the deal with Madison, Wisconsin?

I mean, I'm writing to you from Boston, Massachusetts, and I think we alllllll know how ol' Bill feels about *us*. Hey! Even the POPE is avoiding us! w00t!
(no subject) - surreallis - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
miera_c
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
I'm ready to give my total shopping allegiance to the first store that promises it will not put up a Christmas-themed decoration until the day after Thanksgiving (OK the day before if they want to give the employees Thursday off).

I'm so sick of it already. They were airing Christmas-themed commercials on November 1st. Bed, Bath and Beyond had their entire Christmas display up before Halloween. I'm also *this close* to doing one of those "I'm making donations to charity in everyone's name and rejecting this miserable consumerism that has destroyed this holiday season" things.

Oh and I use both white and colored lights**. Am I going to the special hell for mixing the clean and unclean together promiscuously?

** I was told by a former decorator that if you wind the white lights around the center of the tree it provides a depth illusion that makes the tree look better, and it seems to work
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
I'm ready to give my total shopping allegiance to the first store that promises it will not put up a Christmas-themed decoration until the day after Thanksgiving (OK the day before if they want to give the employees Thursday off).

OMG me too!!!!

The thing is, I appreciate that decorating an entire big store could take some time, if you're not to run the employees into the ground. So I could give 'em an extra week or whatever before T'giving for the actual decorating phase. Keep that shit off the musak, though, plz thnx.

But... I do very little shopping any more anyway, I do a lot of stuff over the internet, I avoid retail places like the plague after Tgiving, and if I have to go in, it's usually a lightning strike, and I can put up with the onslaught in small doses. What wears me down is the whole "inescapable format beamed into your home whether you want it or not" thing. (I'm not counting TV, because I don't watch that much and I have TiVo for blasting through commercials. But what the radio is playing during the 45 minutes a morning when I'm showering and getting ready for work -- I can't escape that.
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
mirrorskippy
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
OMG I know that station! It's horrible during Christmas, drives me absolutely nuts. It's not just that they *always* play Christmas songs, it's that a lot of them are just horrible contemporary Christmas songs with the worst lyrics *ever*.
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
Right, this is what I'm talkin' about. You know, 'ROR and 103.3, it's not BAD ENOUGH that you're sticking us all on the Holiday Music Rotation From Hell whether we like it or not. It's that there's only so many contemporary holiday songs and... honestly, most are in the not-very-good to fuckin'-awful range. And the few that I kind of like... yeah, I only need to hear those about once or twice a year. Thanks. Die in a fire.
cofax7
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
My neighbors down the street put up a Christmas tree last week. It's in the front yard: a large green inflatable tree, lit from inside. And they've got it plugged in at 5-frelling-thirty in the morning, when only running lunatics like myself and the paper guy can appreciate it. ::head-desk::

As for your radio woes, my sympathy. I am a die-hard NPR-in-the-morning gal, because all morning programs of any level of wackiness at all give me hives. Although I do rather miss the dulcet tones of Robert J. Lurtsema, who was the morning guy at WGBH for many years.

(Besides, it's not Christmas properly until after my birthday!)
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
My neighbors down the street put up a Christmas tree last week. It's in the front yard: a large green inflatable tree, lit from inside. And they've got it plugged in at 5-frelling-thirty in the morning, when only running lunatics like myself and the paper guy can appreciate it. ::head-desk::

Um.

... Yeah, no. Again: PEOPLE, WE HAVE THANKSGIVING. That creates a CLEAR demarcation between not-the-holiday-season, and holiday-season.

I mean, if you MUST, go ahead and put up the giant inflatable lit-from-inside turkey (... oh, come on, you know that somebody makes one somewhere). Whatever, knock yourself out.

CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR, OKAY???

I am a die-hard NPR-in-the-morning gal, because all morning programs of any level of wackiness at all give me hives.

I can only put up with a certain level of wackiness, and then it's kind of white noise. But, sheesh.

The thing is -- I don't think I could listen to NPR at that time of morning. I think it would make me too angry. I get enough of that by reading Salon every day, you know?
(no subject) - miera_c - Nov. 14th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
telepresence
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
*hugs NPR*
okojosan
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
Oh yes, I love WBUR. I listen to it via the internet allll the way out here in Spokane!
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - telepresence - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - telepresence - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 14th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - veejane - Nov. 14th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
troyswann
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
I prefer all white lights on my tree. We have multicoloured because Sig is O'Reilly's bot likes them.

Also, I was in the airport on OCT 29TH and they were playing Christmas music. Apparently they were trying to fend of the satanic power of Hallowe'en or something. I cried.
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
I prefer all white lights on my tree. We have multicoloured because Sig is O'Reilly's bot likes them.

Here's the thing: when I was little, we had NO LIGHTS on our tree. Of course, that was back when having lights was hideously dangerous anyway. Also, because my father was insane, we had an ALL GOLD tree. Yes: the only decorations on it were three graduated sizes of plain round gold glass balls (big at bottom, medium in middle, small towards top), metallic gold garland, and a gold glass spike on top. Yup. That's it.

When I was about 12, some switch went off in my parents' brains, and they allowed themselves to be prevailed upon by a friend of the family who at the time was into the "hobby" of creating Themed Christmas Tree kits, and she graciously offered to loan us an entire one of these kits to do up our tree. The first year was the All Scandinavian Tree, with a plethora of straw ornaments and red plaid bows, and white lights with clip-on red candle lights too. We loved it. This tree was followed by the All Fruit Tree (... artificial fruit, obviously), and the All Fake Birds tree. And then after that we decided that, you know what, we'd really liked the first one, and by that time we'd accumulated enough random ornaments to start creating our own.

So it was just... white lights was what I was used to. Plus, to me they reminded me the most of candle-light, which I felt was the whole point. Nothing is nicer than turning off every other light in the place *except* for the tree.

So for years and years, first with raqs and then with my_tallest, I INSISTED that it wasn't CHRISTMASSY unless we had white lights, and colored lights were just TACKY. I was -- I can admit this!!! -- a bitchy little tyrant about it, and I am surprised that one or the other of them did not strangle me with some garland and bury me with a stake of mistletoe through my heart.

And the hell of it is? After both of them got their own places and put up their own trees with, of course, COLORED LIGHTS, and I went over to their houses and saw their trees... I had to admit that actually the colored-light trees are quite nice, really. And the effect when you have all the lights out is not really bad at all.

*hides*

Also, I was in the airport on OCT 29TH and they were playing Christmas music. Apparently they were trying to fend of the satanic power of Hallowe'en or something. I cried.

Well, there's just no CALL For that. All you CAN do is cry. Or... go and rant on the internet. Or... grab a rifle and go up onto a clock tower.



Edited at 2007-11-14 02:15 am (UTC)
(no subject) - my_tallest - Nov. 14th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eregyrn - Nov. 15th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
okojosan
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
Aww man, now I feel like I can't have colored lights on the tree or I'll be buying into some weird propaganda. :O

And in my opinion, you can't beat NPR. I listen to WBUR at work via the internet!

I am really tired of Christmas starting before Thanksgiving.
eregyrn
Nov. 14th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
Okay, people who are NPR morning show fans need to convince me by describing exactly what the morning show on NPR usually consists of. Because otherwise, my assumption has been that listening to it would only raise my blood pressure and depress me, and I get enough of that later in the day when I do my rounds of the online news sources. There is only so much being-informed I can take.

Also... I hate to admit it, but I like a show that will do enough of a range of news to give me local sports news. One of the things I am most going to miss about this particular morning show is that during baseball season, on Monday mornings they have a guy on at 7:45am who is a former Red Sox pitcher, and he gives a weekly informed commentary about the team, which is quite funny. And on Tuesday mornings at 8:15, they have on a guy who writes for one of the local papers who covers the Patriots, and he gives a weekly informed commentary about the team that is also quite funny.

But then I realized that they've been saying for a while now that if you miss these spots you can go listen to them on the website or something, so okay, that's what I'm going to do; JUST those spots.
(no subject) - veejane - Nov. 14th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cofax7 - Nov. 14th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC) - Expand
veejane
Nov. 14th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
I also meant to add, I have made nasty noises in public about early Christmas crap for years. (About 5 years ago, I caught Filene's doing it in September, and cracked up a pair of unsuspecting suburban housewives with the foam upon my lips.) Then again, the earlier they start, the more desperate they become to make a sale, the sooner and deeper the sales go.

I am all about exploiting market inefficiency that way. Although Bill O'Reilly would call it communism.

Colored lights have a habit of being garish, even when they are not cool-toned; the colors are red-yellow-green-blue, and don't match, and overwhelm the eye. (I do have one set that is red-gold-burgundy, so-called Renaissance colors, which sidesteps the garishness problem neatly.) White lights at least leave some room for other items to garner the attention; and they are illumination one can read by without wondering who slipped acid into the cocoa.
eregyrn
Nov. 15th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think a colored-lights tree is a little too... BUSY for me, too. I like the uniformity of the white lights sparking off the variously colored ornaments. That said, I always assumed that colored lights would be *more* garish than they turned out to be.
barkley
Nov. 14th, 2007 05:44 am (UTC)
Back in the day when everyone had colored lights outside, the little town of Bethlehem which was all about Christmas and even had a star in the mountain was always all decked out in white lights. It looked very classy. So Eat That Bill!

And even though I have enough Christmas music to play 8 hours a day for over a week without a repeat, I still don't start adding to my iPod until the day after Thanksgiving. And even then I gradually add to the amount I'll play in a day.
eregyrn
Nov. 15th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC)
The logic is not strong with O'Reilly anyway. :P

(I feel a new icon coming on... I need something with white lights and text about Bill O'Reilly saying I'm a commie or something.)

I admit, I only have about 18 hours' worth of Xmas stuff on iTunes that I really truly like. But yeah, I also do not start selecting those playlists on the iPod in the car, or playing them on iTunes in the house, until, again, Advent starts. That's when the tree goes up, and the Season can be acknowledged.
pepper_field
Nov. 14th, 2007 10:32 am (UTC)
My main tree has coloured lights (to placate the bf, who likes a 'traditional' tree, i.e. one that looks like a big, colourful mess). However, the little tree that's leftover from when it used to be our main tree, and with which I have licence to go crazy, has blue lights, silver lametta, and orange butterflies. So... Purgatory?

I have been known to turn around and right walk out of shops the moment I hear the first strains of Slade. My tolerance has got lower each year. Do you have the Slade song in the US, or is it just us Brits who suffer under this curse?
eregyrn
Nov. 15th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
Okay, you need to take a picture of the little tree! That sounds kinda awesome. It also sounds like it has raqs written ALL over it.

I have been known to turn around and right walk out of shops the moment I hear the first strains of Slade. My tolerance has got lower each year. Do you have the Slade song in the US, or is it just us Brits who suffer under this curse?

HAH! Okay, confession -- I have been a sort of massive Slade fan for (*does math*) about 25 years. But, no, hardly anyone else in the U.S. has ever heard of them. So I'm familiar with the Slade Christmas Song, and I even kind of like it... but I sympathize, because I think the only reason I can still like it is that no, they NEVER EVER play it anywhere in the U.S. I think I might have heard it on the radio somewhere like ONCE.

But we have our equivalents. Sadly, you probably have them too. It's like, look -- the Bing Crosby/David Bowie "Little Drummer Boy" is perfectly nice, and I enjoy hearing it once or twice a year. Not all the damn time, okay?
(no subject) - pepper_field - Nov. 15th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
betacandy
Nov. 15th, 2007 06:45 am (UTC)
You know, I neither love nor hate Christmas, but I might actually like it if I didn't have to endure a sustained assault of it from Halloween to mid-January every year. I enjoy a reasonable amount of Christmassy stuff... only that's never what we get.

Anyhow, I looked it up in the Bible and he's right: apparently, Soddom and Gemorrah only had white lights on their Christmas trees. ;)
charmedstrange1
Nov. 19th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Hi- just chiming in to say, I feel your pain. My go-to station for pop when nothing else listenable is on has gone to an all-Christmas format already. Grrr. Once I figured that out, I refused to listen to any whole Christmas song on that station. I can take a stray one now and then, if the station is playing other stuff. But constant? Just no. It's the principle.

I totally agree with the "shorter time=special" argument. My family always put up the tree about 2 weeks prior, and used to scoff at everyone who put theirs up before Thanksgiving.

Now, it's more than ridiculous. Christmas gets earlier every year. I just avoid it, like spoilers. I refuse to participate until *I* am ready. Which will be, like, I dunno, December. *g*
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )