First off, I dont hate Christmas ... not in the way I hate, say, Republicans or yeast infections. I have no reason to hate Christmas. I have kick ass parents, no annoying relatives, and, like everyone else, I love getting presents. Im not religious, either, but no one need be to celebrate the holiday at least not anymore.
No, I dont hate Christmas but the unstoppable monster of Christmas commercialism? After hearing that goddamned Radio City Rockettes commercial for the 12th time, this is definitely not the most wonderful fucking time of the year for me, thank you very much. The other day I had the misfortune of being trapped in a retail store that was tuned to WNIC-FM (100.3), which is now all Christmas, all the time. Within minutes I was having visions of blinding people with candy canes, the spurting blood mixing festively with the whites of their eyes ...
What was I saying? Oh, WNIC. For the third year in a row, the adult contemporary station began playing Christmas music 24/7 and this year they started the day after Halloween, the same day that every Walgreens and Rite Aid in the country busted out the X-mas bling-bling. Ho mofo ho!
Over the years, Ive been called a Grinch, a Scrooge and a heartless bitch (OK, so the last was from an ex-boyfriend) simply because I object to the rampant commercialism of Christmas and Im not even a Christian. Maybe its because I have far too many friends for whom the holiday is a very unhappy time, or plenty of Jewish pals ... but Im really over this Christmas monopoly. Santa is like the Notorious BIG of holiday mascots yo, let some other playas on the field, fat man!
WNICs festive jumping of the gun had more than a few (non-bloodied) eyeballs rolling, for sure, but the stations program director Darren Davis says the positive feedback outweighs the negative, 10 to 1. In fact, Davis says, for the month of December, Arbitron Radio Ratings listed WNIC as the most listened-to station in metro Detroit, with more than 20 percent of total listeners tuning in.
But arent there some people wholl just get plain sick of Christmas music?
Evidently not, Davis says.
Furthermore, 24/7 Christmas radio broadcasting is becoming a national trend in Michigan, two stations in Muskegon and two in Grand Rapids switch to an all-Christmas format in November.
Dick Kernen, vice president of industry relations for Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, says he personally isnt a fan of the Christmas craze, but acknowledges plenty are.
This technique has been around for three or four years, and it has, in almost every case, been tremendously successful, Kernan says. For the past two years, WNIC has reaped amazing ratings.
Kernen cant believe hes the only person who finds such a format distasteful. I think there are people whose gag reflex is set off by this, but clearly theyre the smaller group.
Or just less vocal? WNICs regular format is adult contemporary or soft rock or whatever they call Michael Bolton these days a listening crowd thats less likely to object than if WRIF decided to go 24/7 Christmas.
In an interview with the Freep, Davis whom I like to picture not as a person but as a giant yellow smiley face said he didnt have much negative reaction: Nobodys mean-spirited about it. Its hard to get mean-spirited and angry about Holly Jolly Christmas and Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.
Personally, Id like to see him express the same sentiment after hes been hog-tied with tinsel, coated in eggnog and forced to listen to Jingle Bells for 48 hours straight but thats just the Grinch in me.
Of course, ripping on someone like Davis is sort of like kicking a puppy and thats what pisses me off. Just as its your Christian God-given right to go apeshit over Christmas, its my heathen right to not like it. Yet, anyone who doesnt profess utter rapture with the season automatically becomes a nasty, joy-killing, puppy-kicking Scrooge. You know, its just plain un-American to hate Christmas.
In all fairness, Davis does have a point, and the ratings to back it up. People who dont want to hear it can just switch to another station (unless, of course, theyre trapped in a store), but its hard to escape everything else the nonstop commercials, the displays, the lights, the office parties, the cards. Please try to understand how all this can be a bit too much for us nonChristmasphiles.
And Im not going to fault you for making your house look like a wing of Bronners go for it, man. Ill even make sacrifices for you; I wont go near any retail establishment after Oct. 31 or throw beer bottles at carolers or threaten to strangle mall elves with candy wreaths. In return, all I ask is that you not call me a damn Grinch just because I dont want to do a freakin Rudolph sing-along, OK?
We can live in harmony, if we try, and work together to forge a fragile peace. After all, its the season for peace, and love, and joy ...
Ah, fuck it. If I hear that Rockettes commercial one time, its gonna start to look like a post office Christmas party around here.Sarah Klein is the culture editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.