Have we ever discussed the truly parlous state of Seinfeld's wardrobe? I've never seen such awful, flimsy collars on a dress shirt, for instance. Xmas always puts me in a weird position. As a lapsed Methodist, I have absolutely no use for metaphysics; yet it's the secular facelift the holiday has received that I find most obnoxious. The surreal commercial frenzy, the pre-packaged empty sentiments (in today's mail: a computer-generated
Xmas card from State Farm Insurance?.?), and the laxative, emasculated, PC music piped through store speakers all frequently leave me with the urge to maim. My own countermeasures have included: --shopping on eBay, Amazon, etc. instead of stores --a return to sane gift-giving (our extended family does a secret name-drawing thing in which each person gets ONE gift from ONE other person) --killing my television (OK, not for everyone, but life's been pretty good with the home theater, DVDs from Netflix, and not so much as a second of Faux News.) --recalling and reveling in the old European cultural expressions of Xmas. Before there were tasteless cookies sprinkled with neon-dyed sugar or Safeway pasteurized eggnog in the gallon carton, there were Lebkuchen and GlÃ¼hwein and gebrannte Mandeln. Long before Sleighride
and Jingle Bell Rock
were conceived for our perpetual torment (and before nervous social arbiters focused on the religious specificity of lyrics over the universality of melody), there were people like Praetorius and Bach cranking out breathtakingly gorgeous music that is now almost criminally neglected. If you're sick to death of department-store muzak, buy this CD
and turn it up to 11. If that fails to inspire you, please check for a pulse. Then help keep music like this alive by attending a concert
(plug plug plug). OK, all done with the non-fashion-related rambling now.