Tuesday, December 26, 2006

More evidence that the world is not fair, and Christmas Music

What is wrong with the Guardian?

Isn't it bad enough that the world is full of nitwits who like this Paulo Coehlo guy, without the Guardian encouraging them by publishing this vapid short story as a Christmas special. I mean, seriously, this thing is so putridly sentimental that even the folks at Doordarshan would be embarassed to make adaptations of it. It's the kind of story I would have rejected summarily if someone had sent it in for my college magazine. And the book section of the Guardian publishes it as Original Fiction (original forsooth! can you imagine anything more hackneyed?). What are they going to do for St. Valentine's day, publish Mills and Boons?


In the Guardian's defense, it has to be said that Christmas is, after all, a time for universal sappiness. Take the music for instance. Barely are we into the third week of December, before stores and restaurants everywhere are suddenly invaded by 'Christmas Music' - cloying syrupy tunes rendered in all their awful tinniness. I know it's all part of the Christmas spirit and c., but does the Christmas Spirit really have to be tone deaf.

John Eliot Gardiner, over at Guardian Blogs, makes a pitch for celebrating Christmas to the sound of Johann Sebastian Bach, a suggestion I strongly second, reaffirming my vote for the Christmas Oratorio from last year.

Other Christmas favourites include Lennon's Happy Xmas (which KM blogs about here), Simon & Garfunkel's version of Silent Night and, of course, Lehrer's immortal Christmas Carol.

But my all time favourite Christmas song is, without doubt, Joni Mitchell's River. Now there's the true Christmas Spirit for you.


scout said...

River's been on a loop for two whole days now.

And Paulo Coelho... why bother, eh?

meditativerose said...

I think you mean third week of november ...

Anonymous said...

Hahaha. :)

Tabula Rasa said...

totally with you on river. i've caught myself thinking the same myself.

Szerelem said...

I had never real Coelho till some time back and everyone kept talking about how the Alchemist is such an amazing book. It was such a huge disappointment. I just dont get why people like it that much. Also the Kite Runner....it was soo hyped and such a let down.

Anonymous said...

A favorite of mine is "Fairytale of New York", by the pogues.
listen to it. really. can't think of any other christmas song with lyrics like:
"You scumbag you maggot,
you cheap lousy faggot,
happy christmas your arse,
i pray God its our last"

Anonymous said...

aaaaaaarghhhhhh Just what I needed for the day to finish...a story ( though to his credit he didnt actually write it but hey whose telling François Coppée was not Paulo coelho in his previous 'janmam'? Oops I forgot..he is a christian..)

But as I always people who read Paulo coleho and 'likes it' probably deserves it...
- G

km said...

Paulo Coelho readers are only a notch below Ayn Rand fans and kids who thought Rush was a great band.

KM *runs for cover*

Falstaff said...

scout: I guess. It's just that I like the Guardian - this story is so beneath them.

MR: 3rd week of November? Really? Hmm...I need to get out more often.

tseringatisang: glad you're amused

tr: glad to know it

szerelem: Yes, pretty much the same thing happened to me and I had the same reaction. And in Coehlo's case there are apparently dozens of these books.

heh heh: Lovely. Trust you to know songs like these.

G: That only makes it worse, really - if you are ripping off someone else's plot, you could at least find an interesting plot to rip off.

km: I'm with you, as long as we're not taking potshots at kids who were Ayn Rand fans (guilty, your honour). Does Ayn Rand actually have any fans over the age of 18, I wonder? I always think of Ayn Rand as one of those embarassing phases everyone has to go through - like that brief period in adolescence when you use four letter words a lot because you think they make you look cool.

Personally, I think of Paulo Coelho fans as one notch below the folks who think Kahlil Gibran is a great poet.

Cheshire Cat said...

There's no excuse for being an Ayn Rand fan, at any age. Of course, if one completely disavows any relation to one's adolescent self, that's a different matter...

As for Ayn Rand fans over the age of 18, there's Alan Greenspan, for one. The world's largest economy in the hands of an Ayn Rand acolyte - such fun.

Anonymous said...

No offense to anyone here but have you stopped to think why we have Ayn Rand's and Paulo Coelhos?

And there is no such thing as a paulo coelho or ayn rand fan- simply because there are too many of them, hard to categorise, scores of people from all walks of life.
As much as you and me would like to dismiss them as a random mis-informed person, its not tht easy to bracket.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to re-read Atlas Shrugged. If you have the intellectual ability to challenge her premises go right ahead. I'm waiting...

I'm a 35yo Ayn Rand fan. If you think rewarding incompetence and inertia is more agreeable than rewarding competence and productivity you belong where you are (the hopelessly uninformed).

In the end it's the same: the world struggles to advance because of people like you and advances only because of people like Ayn Rand. Socialism will never succeed in the end. It will cause only a long slow decay of that which free men created, and it will ultimately end in revolution; thus returning society to its rightful and natural path. Simply calling your philosophy “progressivism” won’t make progressive, and Ayn Rand fans know this, which is why you hate us. Achievement for personal gains (monetary or spiritual) and rewarding that which is best, is the engine of progress. The words "from each according to his ability and to each according to his need" is the mantra of the "progressives" though they say it as "wealth redistribution".