The Humanoids: Merry Christmas

I figured that the Christmas Day edition of The Humanoids had to have a seasonally appropriate title. It was either that or “Bah! Humbug”! While I’m not exactly in a merry mood, I figured that a humbug-ish title wouldn’t get as many page views. After all, Christmas is the time of year for hope and happiness and all that other stuff that I don’t have most days of the year.

Since you’re here, why don’t you listen to some Christmas music while you’re reading this post. I have just the thing for you. This week’s Lowdown radio show was our annual Christmas special with the weirdest and wackiest Christmas music that we could find. I think we found a new Christmas tradition at Lowdown HQ. Click here for the Christmasy goodness.

Political Correctness
It’s the bane of my existence. We’re not allowed to say “Merry Christmas” anymore because it isn’t inclusive to people that celebrate Ramadan or Hannukah or Diwali or Festivus. The thing I don’t get is that today is Christmas Day. Everyone gets today off whether you’re a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, or whatever else. It’s a statutory holiday now and not just a religious holiday. Sure, not everyone is Christian so not everyone would celebrate Chritstmas for it’s religious meaning. Hell, not many people Christians celebrate Christmas because of the birth of the baby Jesus. The fact remains that if you see someone around the 25th of December, you should wish them a merry Christmas. So what if they’re offended by it. Tell that person to stop being such a tight-ass and get a life. I’m agnostic (figures I wouldn’t have the balls to declare myself an atheist) and people wish me merry Christmas all the time. Am I pissed off? Hell no. I just wish merry Christmas right back. People are so worried about being politically correct and not offending folks that they’ve really lost all common sense and independent thought.

Sadly, political correctness at Christmas means having to tolerate your family. Christmas isn’t about visiting people you want to see but people that you’re obligated to see. Unless you actually like the folks that you visit or visit you over the “holidays.” (See, there’s that damn PC word again.) Actually, when it comes to complaining about dealing with extended family, I’m drawing a bit of a blank. The thing is that everyone has something that they could complain about when it comes to relatives. They could be annoying, cheap, catastrophically bad hosts or any one of a number of things that you could complain about. The worst part about them is that you don’t like dealing with them and it’s likely that they like putting up with you even less. Lord knows I’ve heard about the behind the back sniping about how I wasted my time and money by going to the best business school in Canada rather than go to the Soo’s Whatsamatta U. But you have to put up with that all because that’s what society tells us to do. Maybe that’s why we don’t like dealing with the relatives. You put up with everyone to make everyone else happy when you could think of millions of things you’d rather be doing with your evening. Another case of being so worried about being politically correct and following societal/social norms that we’re losing independent thought.

Rage Against The Machine
In Britain, the #1 single in the charts that come out before Christmas is called The Christmas #1. Winning the title of Christmas Single is one of the highest honours that a band can earn over there. It’s the musical equivalent of winning the World Series. For the last four years, the winner of the Christmas #1 spot has been the winner of the TV show X-Factor who are always managed by Simon Cowell. Well, someone had the bright idea to say to Cowell “Fuck you! I won’t do what you tell me.” So began a grassroots campaign that saw Rage Against The Machine’s classic Killing in the Name win the Christmas battle. A husband and wife started the campaign on Facebook to topple the multi-million dollar machines that are Simon Cowell and X-Factor. The campaign worked so well that Killing in the Name won by 50,000 sales and was the first ever UK single to take the top spot without selling a hard copy of the single. in an interview on BBC Radio 1, RATM’s Zack de la Rocha called it action to topple “this very sterile pop monopoly.” I would say that sums up what all the Idol and X-Factor stuff has done to music very nicely.

If you’re not from Canada, Mac’s is a national chain of convenience stores spread across Canada. Their big selling point is that they’re open 24/7/365. And it really is 365 days a year. (Well, technically they’re open 365.25 days a year because of leap years but let’s not get too bogged down in technicalities.) They’re even open today for any hapless Canucks who need to do some last minute shopping. Really, why would a convenience store whose closest product to a Christmas gift is a carton of smokes be open on Christmas? They don’t have giftware. They don’t have really food unless you need milk or butter. So if you forgot butter for the mashed potatoes, Mac’s being open is a great thing. If you forgot the turkey or the ham or squash or corn or cranberry sauce or anything substantial, then forget about it. So why is Mac’s open? I’m all for free enterprise and the capitalist state. I wouldn’t have gone to an overpriced business school if I didn’t. I just don’t get why a convenience store would open on Christmas Day. Though this stupidity pales in comparison to the stupidity of my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. More on that right now.

Boxing Day Sales
In America, they have Black Friday which I’ve mentioned before on The Humanoids. The Canadian equivalent is the Boxing Day sale. Now I’ve heard all about Canadians heading south to support the American economy by taking advantage of the Black Friday sales. I’ve never heard of a Yank flipping the script and supporting our economy by buying things here. Once you factor in all the sales and currency exchange, there really can’t be much of a difference between what you’d pay on Black Friday and what you’d pay on Boxing Day. The only difference is that the Americans have some sense of pride when it comes to supporting their own. Canadians (or at least the Canadians in Sault Ste. Marie) are too concerned about saving a buck to actually care about whose lives they’re affecting. If you’re in the retail sector, then you would understand the importance of buying from Canadian stores because big sales generate a disproportionately large portion of a store’s annual revenue. Leaving the country to buy from another store does no one over here any good. Unless, of course, you’re in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. The city council decided it would be a good idea to force all businesses to close on Boxing Day. They didn’t want anyone to be forced to work on a statutory holiday. I guess capitalism doesn’t exist here. Doesn’t surprise me, though. This is a union town. Capitalism is a novel but non-existent concept here.

Something, Something, Something, Dark Side
Normally I wouldn’t review anything TV-ish because that’s Jackie’s domain but I had to make an exception. SSSDS is the second instalment in Family Guy’s Star Wars trilogy. I love all the bits of Family Guy randominity that comes with the episode. But the best part of the whole episode is the dedication to the source material. All the original sound effects and music from the original trilogy are to be found in SSSDS. Actually, that’s about the coolest part for me. Being a radio guy, that’s the stuff I appreciate more  than anything else. Sure, the visuals are almost as good as the original movies and rival the animation quality of Lucasfilm’s own Star Wars: The Clone Wars animation series. I know it’s supposed to be on Fox sometime this spring but why not catch the full episode now. If you’re a Star Wars or Family Guy fan, you’re gonna love it… Sorry about the pseudo-review. I’ll leave that sorta stuff to Jackie from now on.

World Junior Hockey Championships
It’s the hockey tournament that only Canada gives a shit about. It’s time for the IIHF World Under-20 Championships which is also called the World Juniors. Why do I say that only Canada cares about the World Juniors? One: The only major junior hockey system in the world that gets major NHL recognition is the Canadian Hockey League. Two: Switzerland was originally awarded the 2010 tournament but withdrew. The only cities that applied to replace the Swiss were Canadian. Canada already gets the tournament every three years because they know folks here will go see it. They only move it around as a token acknowledgement of hockey’s international appeal. If the IIHF had any sense at all, they’d just make the damn thing a permanent fixture in Canada. The only way it would fall out of favour in Canada is if Team Canada lost every game for years on end. I know it’s supposed to be a world championship but junior hockey is Canada’s game. There’s the occasional hiccup in our national team’s dominance of the Under 20 crowd but they’re so rare now that we know the ship will be righted sooner rather than later. And, once again, it’s “Go Canada go!” If I have to launch a grassroots campaign against that bullshit Pepsi cheer, then I will rain hell upon those corporate fatcats.

It may be Christmas but Jay-Z just gave the whole world a great Christmas gift on Wednesday. The rap/hip-hop icon/mogul had his name legally changed. He and his wife (Beyonce) both changed their names to celebrate their over year-and-a-half old nuptials. Beyonce took the classic hyphenated route and is now known as Beyonce Knowles-Carter. (Jay-Z’s real name is Shawn Carter.) For a reason that seems to defy all logic, Jay-Z changed his name too. But unlike so many stars that work under pseudonyms, he changed his name to Shawn Knowles-Carter. The reason that they’re giving out to the media and the public is that the Knowles clan has no sons so this would keep the family name alive. The real reason, the one that would destroy Jay-Z’s empire if it were to get out, is that Jay-Z has literally no testicles at all. (See, I’m not being crass by saying he has no balls.) Beyonce is the one wearing the pants in this relationship. No, I’m not a misogynist. See, being a bad ass rapper means that Jay-Z has to play by a different set of rules and is held to different standards than other men. He has to be a man’s man. He can’t look like he’s being pushed around by his wife. There’s nothing wrong with them being on even footing. Lord knows that Beyonce is a bigger mainstream star than Jay-Z. The fact remains that he has lost all of his street cred with this move and there’s nothing he can ever do to fix this. Unless he caps some fools or whatever it is that the white kids that want to be black say.

New Year’s Resolutions
I think I may have mentioned it before but I don’t like the idea of a New Year’s resolution. I’m not really sold on the whole idea of New Year’s parties to begin with. Do we really need an excuse to drink ourselves into the ground other than the day off the next day? Maybe it’s the four year’s at a party school talking but the weekend was a good enough reason to go drinking for most folks. The only difference between December 30th at 11:59:59 PM and December 31st at 11:59:59 PM is that you need a new calendar when the clock chimes midnight on January 1st. (There’s me being technical again. Hopefully you can track my nerdiness in that last sentence.) That’s why I don’t understand why people set New Year’s resolutions. What makes January 1st so different that you decide to dedicate yourselves to some endeavour that you will inevitably fail at. How many people say that they’ll lose weight, workout and get in shape only to give up or forget about it or otherwise fail? I remember a study coming out that said that people that fail at their New Year’s resolutions will be more depressed than when they started. In another study, people that slam their fingers in doors say that their fingers hurt when their fingers get caught in doors. So save yourself the trouble of being depressed and don’t set resolutions. No good will come of them. Unless you cheat and pull a Ron Popeil: Set it and forget it.


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