December 8, 2009
Ideally by now your house is so completely covered in lights that your next-door neighbor has to wear welding goggles to find his car in the morning. His raccoon-face sunburn is an epidermal shroud of Turin, a moving testament to your profound faith in the One True God. No doubt the baby Jesus would smile upon your handiwork. Not only is he the Truth (although according to his Holiness, the Shaq, that title now belongs to Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics), he is also the Light. Check the paintings. His head glows like a lightbulb in nearly every one of them. Surely He wouldn’t mind you sucking a few hundred kilowatt hours out of the matrix to let the neighborhood know that you’re on the Jesus team. After all, Christians have been rolling strong since about AD400. It was a long, ugly road from the manger to Vatican City, for the persecuted to become the persecutors, for Christianity to go viral. They needed a flashy marketing campaign to keep that kind of buzz afloat: lots of ostentatious bling, fly vestments, and lots of lights. Everybody likes lights, right? Well, unless they’re being burned as a witch or branded with hot pokers. Yes, Christianity has had at least a few million low points over the last 2,000 years, but it’s also done quite a few good things too. There are just too many children in impoverished Third World countries running around in ironic American T-shirts to argue otherwise. Even still, not everyone is on board the Jesus Bus. For some, Christmas lights are just an external manifestation of the oppression of Western imperialism. That’s not too far of a stretch.You wouldn’t ask someone who was waterboarded at Gitmo to go water skiing, would you? Of course not. Fortunately, there aren’t many people left in our little corner of the world who have a psychotic aversion to ostentatious lighting displays. For the most part, they’re just a sparkly way to further accelerate global warming, but otherwise they’re mostly harmless. That’s because sometime around the turn of the last century the bulb replaced the candle as the primary means of Christmas tree illumination. One can assume it really put the kibosh on the holiday burn ward business … until the invention of flammable polyester pajamas. Really … who knew toddlers would get too close to open flames? So yes, there are probably a few people out there who are terrorized by Christmas lights through no fault of their own (note to acid droppers: You buy the ticket, you take the ride), but by and large people dig them – so the more, the better. We can always build more windmills. Plus, you wouldn’t want to deny all those 10-year-old boys in the neighborhood something to shoot at with their BB guns, would you? Hells no! That would upset the cosmic equilibrium, or at least the ongoing symbiosis between the creators and the consumers. This time of year it always seems like there is a surfeit of consumers, but in reality the creators kick it up a notch as well. For instance, through Christmas Eve, more than 100 local artists will be peddling their wares at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar at the Monarch Event Center. This isn’t just another holiday crafts show to ignore; it’s an especially good one. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by attending. If their stuff doesn’t get bought, they may very well be applying for your job next year, and the only other thing you probably know how to do well is shoot out Christmas lights with a BB gun.