Xmas Medley and Open Thread

By Lambert Strether of .

Christmas (or, for the un- or differently churched, Xmas) has never been my favorite holiday; Thanksgiving is, because — its unfortunate history aside — Thanksgiving is about conviviality; also too tryptophan and football. Christmas, I feel, even if I did score one or two nice practical gifts, should be something more than a Saturnalia of consumerist excess (see, e.g., , cited by Jacobin in ). Maybe that’s why my favorite part of Christmas was singing carols with the rest of the family round the piano. And since I don’t feel like writing an extended commentary on , here’s some Christmas music for you. The range is broad, and perhaps, readers, you’ll share some of your own favorites (or pet peeves) in comments. Musical or otherwise!

To start off on a high note, here’s Elvis Presley singing the distinctly secular Blue Christmas:

I like the part about when the “blue snowflakes start falling…” How true it is that America’s had , but only one King!

And here’s another crooner, Bing Crosby, doing I’ll Be Home for Christmas:

(As readers may have guessed, I love the Presley tune, and loathe Crosby’s vile treacle. Am I being too harsh?

Here’s the original rendition of the most virulent shopping mall earworm of all time, The Little Drummer Boy:

I hate The Little Drummer Boy so much I mentally classified it as secular, along with (ick) and (ugh).

And here’s what Christmas ought to be about: Once in Royal David’s City, the first carol of the King’s College :

(No pressure on that choirboy, eh?) It still tugs at my heart, even though I have no belief in the doctrine whatever, whether purveyed by Anglicans, fundamentalists, the one holy catholic and apostolic church, or the orthodox church. Beauty–unearthly, angelic beauty–is very strange. How is it even possible?

* * *

Readers, how was your Christmas? Or Xmas? Or your holidays?

NOTE
I actually went to some trouble to curate this; I decided to leave out the dub version of The Carpenters Christmas, as well as (because it’s truly awful).

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

110 comments

  1. Susan C

    Thanks for the listening lineup Lambert! I was going to write into links earlier that nothing beats Christmas morning like a cup of hot coffee and some Santana which I was playing – the Welcome album. And to be followed this afternoon with some loud and excellent Led Zeppelin – it’s a family thing, a tradition for Christmas.

    For the holidays, love listening to Carol of the Bells by George Winston – so beautiful! And there is always Nat King Cole.

    1. craazyman

      Whoa. Sounds like your a stoner.

      Maybe some brownies with the Cheech and Chong Christmas song. It’s for real! No lieing or fake news. Check it out right before Dazed & Confused. Oh man, nobody shot Santa Claus last niight. If they had it would’ve been on Drudge Report for sure.

      I thought somebody on Asteroid Alert wouldd shoot Santa Claus right out the sky. I thought it woud be on Drudge this morning as a totally real news story, no faker at all, not a word that isn’t true: “Santa Downed by Missle” World News Service — Dec 25 — Arctic Circle — “Santa Claus and his reindeer were downed last night by a missle shot near the North Pole, according to sources close to NATO command. It is unclear who was responsible for the action, which temporarily disrupted Christmas present delivery. Santa and his reindeer regrouped and returned to the sky within minutes, since they are part reality and part imagination and are not constrained by the laws of physics. Both NATO and Russian forces denied responsibility. “It may have been a lunatic on Asteroid Alert” said Lotenent Carl Young of the psychological division of Global Peackeepers. “They tend to shoot first and then figure out what they hit afterward. Fortunately in this case there was no lasting damage.” According to astronomers, Or at least to 1 astronomer ed by WNN, Santa and his sleigh resemble an Asteroid when seen directly from the front or the rear, but look like a comet from other angles. It was probably an accident that was regrettable, according to NATO sources close to WNN, fortunately deliveries were not interrupted for very long.

      1. polecat

        speaking of George Winston …

        Was at a local Good Will store yesterday .. found ‘Winter into Spring’ ( My favorite ) and ‘Forest’ CDs, in pristine condish….price : $2.50 ea. …… along with ‘The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos’ …a compilation of chants for the season …. or ANY season for that matter !!

        what’s repurposed is good again ….

        May you Not be found in Krampus’s Basket !

        1. ambrit

          I found the Benedictine Monks works at a thrift store several years ago. When I need to unwind, chanting does the trick. Hymns and chants are, after all, a form of mantra exercise.

    2. steelhead

      I am so tired of Christmas”Classic” Songs today so I pulled Led Zeppelin Celebration Day from my collection and will play it through dinner. Great tradition. It will be the alternate for the next family Christmas dinner along with more Bruno Paillard champagne.

  2. Robert Hahl

    Donald Lawrence & Co. – Spiritual

    There’s A Storm Out On The Ocean – Bishop Ronald E. Brown

    Something On The Inside – Bishop Ronald E. Brown

    Bert Kaempfert – Toy Parade

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – All Gods Are One, He is everywhere & within everyone

    Jamie Berry ft. Octavia Rose – Lost In The Rhythm

    WARNING: Listening to this song too closely or too many times may cause it to stick in your heard permanently.

    1. Anon

      That line-up of songs does an interesting task of exposing listeners to many modern music genre. From Lambert’s Renaissance choral choir, to Southern (US) Gospel, to a Blues rendition, then a light Pop instrumental, then a droning, 22-tone Indian blessing, and finally to the the truly “catchy” near-jazz of Jamie Berry.

      I wonder if there is any Afro-Pop Xmas music?

      Cheers to All during the Holiday, and beyond.

      1. Robert Hahl

        These songs were in comments yesterday, but for completeness since this page is mostly music:

        Sufi
        Okhay panday by Saieen Zahoor

        Romania
        Romanyi Rota – Diri, diri so kerdjan

        Rományi Rotá Jóska bácsi

        Brazil
        Elis Regina & Tom Jobim – “Aguas de Março” – 1974

        Mariana Aydar – Casa de Marimbondo

        Bau & Voginha de visita a Taninho Evora Boston, MA

      1. Robert Hahl

        They remove this from youtube sometimes but it keeps poping back.

        Alison Balsom, David Goode – Bach Trumpet & Organ Concerto D major

  3. ambrit

    Ye Gads Lambert. The original Gene Autry recording of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” put the sugar in sugarcoating! Also, the “B” side of the Autry disc had “Here Comes Santa Claus” on it!
    See:
    The wiki on the story of “Rudolph” says that it was first published by Montgomery Wards, making it one of the “original” marketing icons. What could be more Neo than that?
    See:
    Really, there are three christmases. First, the religious one. Second, the secular cultural one. Third, the commercial one. (Punk christmas can be considered as a parody of all three.)
    Then there was Vaughn Bode’s cartoon send up of the few remaining humans and their Christ-mess. As told by a robot officer.
    The days will now be getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere!

      1. ambrit

        Yes good polecat, sir. I believe it was in one of the Junkwaffel series. If my chemically addled memory bank serves me right, the Robot officer was Lt. Nit. In a similar universe with Cobalt 60.

        1. Laughingsong

          Wow, I still have all of these Vaughn Bode rags, including “The Man” with his pet lizard (?) Erg. I have not met anyone who remembered him in donkey’s years.

  4. DJG

    Thanks for quoting the Magnificat. Yes, it is a moral statement that goes beyond Christmas. Not so surprising that it comes from Mary the Theotokos, one of the most contradictory aspects of Christianity. And then there are all of those black madonnas. Chthonic Mary, who evokes the earth and the demands that the earth itself makes on us. (Now I’m thinking of the ruins of the Temple of Uni in Tarquinia. Hmmm.)

    Christmas is a glorious mess. The solstice is the reason for the season, and the Romans, who were great inventors of just about everything, even if the Greeks got all sniffy about it, came up with Saturnalia, which is pretty much Christmas but with a god who was less blood-thirsty. (As more than one person has pointed out, once a person finds the theology repellent of a mean-spirited Father God demanding the sacrifice of a child to His Wonderful Exclusiveness, the Abahamic religions and monotheism evaporate. Judaism and Abaham and Isaac and the ram. Islam and Ishmael and his abandonment. Jesus, who didn’t escape. You don’t need Freud to figure out that something might go wrong here, morally.)

    I was headed out to the house of one my nieces yesterday for the “traditional” Seven Fishes dinner, something else more Saturnalian than Biblical, when I heard Little Drummer Boy on a black-owned station. Some poor jazz singer had been pressed into singing it. And not even a female black singer can salvage that mess. But I now have a slightly improved ear worm.

    The best song to sum up this pastiche of a holiday? Chryssie Hynde singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. So, if the fates allow….

  5. joe

    Lots of newer Christmas music is sad as Christmas is about family and family is not always happy for some of us.

    My favorites include Robert Earl Keen “Merry Xmas from the Family” (live versions best) and The Pogues “Fairytale of New York”

    Both have rather dark themes and language.

  6. Jen

    The Pogues Fairytale of New York

    One of my all time faves. Merry Christmas NC friends. It would have been a tedious year without your wit and wisdom.

  7. Roger Smith

    One of my favorites: The Miser Brothers songs from A Year Without a Santa Claus

    Also another Winter themed favorite, from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Genesis) —

    1. frosty zoom

      the miser brothers!!!!!!!

      also, for those anti-rudolphers, here’s the fleischer brothers’ 1948 version:

      this one is great, another fleischer classic featuring “grampy” of betty boop fame:

  8. lezmaz

    Nice medley, the last one especially!

    In an attempt to block out the materialistic side of secular Christmas, I’ve been thinking about its uncanniness. As a child, Christmas introduced me to much of the shadow-world. For instance, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? Ghosts! Oh yes, and death. Also: remorse. Santa’s judgement of my actions as “naughty” or “nice?” As a kid I thought, “Does this mean he can see me in the bathroom?” ETA Hoffman’s story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King?’ Tilt!! Full on Unheimlich!! Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? I can’t even.. No. Back to Santa’s gleeful, punitive omniscience. Couldst Santa look into mine soul? Might I actually deserve coal? Maybe I did, maybe I did! When I didn’t get it, a part of me was disappointed and thought Santa was a dupe.

    All this is just my a fun way to ward off the crushing materialism of Christmas as I now know it. What is unheimlich about sweating in one’s coat in line at Barnes and Noble after spending 45 minutes gift-hunting, growing more and more despairing and finally, grabbing something one senses is *exactly* the wrong choice but won’t find out how it’s wrong until said gift is opened (e.g. 1000 piece puzzle, advanced macular degeneration.)

    …a short medley for Christmas:

    -A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim, 1951

    -bizarre short documentary:

    -All the Great Pumpkin strips from Peanuts. In the excellent Duane Michaels biography of Charles M. Schulz, I learned that Schulz conceived The Great Pumpkin as a parody of Santa and Christmas commercialism. Pairs nicely with Lionel Trilling’s Sincerity and Authenticity, The Brothers Karamazov, or the Simpsons.

  9. Annotherone

    Mixed bag of goodies:

    Chris Rea: Driving Home for Christmas

    The late and much lamented Merle Haggard : If We Make it Through December

    Tom Lehrer’s Christmas Song…lol!

  10. barrisj

    James Brown, “A Funky Christmas”…best cut: “Santa Claus go straight to the ghetto!”. The ultimate antidote for mallish “Little Drummer Boy”.

  11. ChiGal in Carolina

    Jessye Norman singing Holy City…ethereal beauty that still gives one the shivers whatever one thinks of the bloodthirsty Christian religion

  12. KLG

    “vile treacle”

    Maybe, if you don’t know the backstory of the song, 73 years ago. Wiki is ready when you are.

    Merry Christmas, y’all!

  13. Suzanne Burns

    This is one of my favorites and it works as a great antidote!

    Uploaded on Nov 17, 2010

    – On Nov.13 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a big surprise while enjoying their lunch. Over 100 participants in this awesome Christmas Flash Mob. This is a must see!

    thank you, Lambert. Merry Christmas to you.

  14. roxana

    Great holiday carol medley. I also like Gaudette. There are many versions, but I like this one. Medieval Carol ‘Gaudete’ – Choir of Clare College Cambridge – YouTube

    Does not the very existence of ‘unearthly beauty’ point to something more than meets the eye? For instance, why are butterflies so lovely? Surely, ugly little grey things could do their job as well.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    Say what you will, but Bring a Torch is my all time favorite:

    And, go figure, everything comes to a full stop when I hear the opening of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas. It’s the only song ever written that makes me want to dance.

    1. Bob

      If you haven’t seen the CBS Sunday Morning report about All I Want for Christmas Is You it’s worth a few minutes of your time. Amazing $50M in royalties.

  16. Waldenpond

    We had an excellent morning. The day is still, clear, wispy clouds with strips of teal and blue peeking through. Took the dog for a trail walk (the footprints and puddles still frozen) at the marsh… egrets head down on small islands, buffleheads and wood ducks making a bloop sound when they go under water leaving a dozen circles and then resurfacing. Then swung around the bay and went to walk on the beach and watch the waves. We picked up a good sized bag of garbage which was timely as families with small children were arriving on our way back.

    Got home and started a fire, company will be over for leftovers later (bring a book as we’ll turn off the music for a time before we start in on the stash of movies. Has anyone seen Peregrine’s Peculiar Children?) and the card tables are up for games and puzzles.

    1. Archie

      I watched Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and think it is easily Tim Burton’s best effort in many years.

  17. Bunk McNulty

    A spirited recital of by Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns.

    Never mind Charlie Brown. With my Xmas cocktail I need Charles Brown singing

    And of course, the sad tale of one too many Xmas cocktails, from The Youngsters:

  18. frosty zoom

    one night, whilst playing with a local band, one of the singers (who also does a great elvis; he was not in elvis mode that night, however) said, “and now we’re gonna play something by the king of rock’n’roll.”

    me, the bassist, yelled from the back, “we’re gonna play some chuck berry?!?”

    run, run, rudolph.

  19. pmorrisonfl

    I think singing together, as an act of worship (say, in a church building), and out caroling as an act of generosity and good spirits, are my favorite parts of Christmas, an the songs sung in those circumstances are the worthiest of Christmas songs. And it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got the King, as in Elvis’ Christmas album. That said, it’s not Christmas, for me and my own personal reasons, until I’ve heard Ray, Patty, Holly, Chrissy, and Vince.

    Ray Davies: ‘Father Christmas’, The Kinks
    Patty Donahue: ‘Christmas Wrapping’, The Waitresses
    Holly Cole: ‘River’ (covering Joni Mitchell)
    Chrissy Hynde: ‘2000 Miles’, The Pretenders (kt tunstall will do in a pinch)
    Vince Guaraldi: ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ (whole album)

  20. PQS

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all here!
    This year I bought Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings It’s a Holiday Soul Party and have enjoyed every track.

    Jones passed away a month or so ago from cancer, but she was performing until the end, which is an inspiration for the holidays and the upcoming New Year.

    Here’s her version of White Christmas which will get you up off the couch.

  21. oliverks

    I always liked the modern piece A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten

    Written by one of the masters of 20th century choral works.

  22. oliverks

    This is a less well known piece, and the recording is not so good, but it would be nice to get it wider recognition

    Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata

  23. Carl

    Got two for ya: Brave Combo’s “It’s Christmas, Man!” (album) and
    Tish Hinojosa’s Arbolito (English or Spanish)(single)

  24. davidgmills

    Or the hottest holiday song on Youtube. 97 million views since Oct. 21. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah covered by Pentatonix.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Nice, but autotune is not the answer. The voices would be prettier somehow if they could actually sing that way.

  25. Atypical

    I recently watched a 90 minute documentary on Bing Crosby. For one of his Christmas specials David Bowie was hired and it was decided to do Little Drummer Boy.

    Bowie told the producers that he hated the song and would not sing it. If they tried to force him he would not do the program. He only agreed to be there, he told them, because his mother liked Bing.

    The producers rewrote the song in around an hour and the show had Bing do the usual parts; Bowie did the rewritten sections which sounded unlike the usual tune. His look while singing it shows no pleasure or holiday cheer – or even a smile.

    And, all was well.

    1. [email protected]

      I was flabbergasted to see a clip of that on youtube. This explains it. Thanks. I then came across Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s parody of it. Fun but not hilarious, since the thing itself is so weird:

  26. Stormcrow

    How is it even possible?

    Perhaps it is only possible, because it’s actually true. Heretical thought in these precincts, I know.

    Merry Christmas!

  27. witters

    Have you seen all those medieval Madonna Baby Jesus paintings? They are all weird and artistic failures because of the impossible challenge. To paint the loving new mother all in love with future and the all knowing baby Jesus who knows the end – and his end – of it all.

    So, a song for Christmas, by a religious man – the Reverend Gary Davis – which seems to me to be just right for the little/old baby Jesus’ viewpoint.

    (Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to moderation I go…)

  28. sd

    Picked up a lovely CD, On a cold winters day, early Christmas music and carols from the British Isles (with harpsichord)

  29. sgt_doom

    I am unconcerned with the Jewish male named Jesus today — I am concerned with the sacrifice of two Jewish-American males who gave their lives in one way or another in the fight for liberty and freedom and social autonomy: Eugene B. Dinkin and Aaron Swartz.

    To understand how the Deep State came after these two bravehearts, and what they both individually attempted to accomplish, one will understand what I mean by the continuity between these two brave souls’ fearless behavior and the End Game!

    God bless their holy memories!

  30. Oregoncharles

    Happy holidays, everyone! I think we’re ready for a fresh start.

    How were mine? Very quiet; put our grandson on the bus last night, so it’s just the 3 of us, and some celebrated by sleeping.

  31. dk

    Deer Mr Strether, Mommy said to say thank you fro all the interistign initrestgin nice stuff you post almost evary day. Daddy sez your a godless hethin and just wait Trumps goona round yall up and take yew behind the barn but Mommy sez you geive her hope but sometimes she cries and plese sey thank you to Mrs SMith too Mommy sez shes french Love Danny PS say hi to Santa too and i got teh coal

  32. charles leseau

    Rachmaninoff’s Vespers is sublime Christmas music, though maybe a bit too Russian for comfort here!

    Happy hols to all the wonderful NC people.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Not too Russian for me, thank you very much. A great work of faith in the Russian Orthodox tradition. Love those basses.

  33. JerseyJeffersonian

    The first 3 of 6 cantatas of J.S. Bach which as a group are known as the “Christmas Oratorio”.

    A great live performance led by John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. The concluding group of 3 cantatas are also available on YouTube.

    Il est ne!

  34. aletheia33

    if you like traditional carols–cambridge singers, one of the best albums IMHO.

    last night a dinner with new friends, followed by more conversation and some spontaneous singing in the living room.

    today 2 hour drive to visit friends on their farm, our young dog meeting their dog and cat and two horses and a new friend of theirs, walk to a high view over miles of farm land that has been protected forever (southern columbia county, NY).

    everyone very concerned about the state of things, not just trump, and especially climate change.

    driving home to miles davis–mmm.
    check in here–grateful for the sane and funny company of NC all this year, beyond words.
    now a last listen to the carols before putting them to bed for the year.

  35. savedbyirony

    Joyful Holidays to the NC crew and commentariat. Thank you all for your work, wits and company thru the year; and for fighting the good fight.
    Not a Christmas piece, but Prince taking us to church one more time:

  36. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

    Merry Christmas From the Family (Robert Earl Keen):

    Some friends get together every year and rework Christmas songs to Black Sabbath tunes. ‘Santa Sabbath’ performing’Children of the Sleigh’:

    No children were harmed in the making of this film. ; )

  37. Kim Kaufman

    re Once in Royal David’s City, How is it even possible?

    I love all of that old religious choral music, despite having zero interest in the religious message part of it. It’s just beautiful music. How is it even possible? The ones who had the $$$ commissioned art in those days. Poor people couldn’t afford to make art just because they wanted to. So the Vatican had the $$ and that’s what they commissioned from the best artists of the day. The aristocrats threw some money around also so there are some symphonies and minuets and stuff and it’s why paintings are either religious or portraits of… them.

    Otherwise, I have listened to all kinds of Christmas music on the radio today from classical to the hokey – country to blues to Caribbean to rockabilly to surf to Eydie Gorme singing Christmas music in Spanish. About the only thing I like about Christmas is Christmas music, corny, sentimental… I’m OK with it all. Except Little Drummer Boy, which is just beyond annoying. And in 20 minutes, the forced holiday cheer, insincere and impotent wishes for peace on earth, good will to all and all of that will mercifully be over.

  38. Sound of the Suburbs

    If robots are a problem there is something wrong with the system.

    Everyone in the 1970s and 1980s believed automation would lead to increased leisure time as robots would be doing so much of the work. Many boring, dull and repetitive jobs could be done by robots freeing human beings up for better things.

    As this has started to come true we are starting to realise how the capitalist system turns this into a massive problem.

    Capitalism had started to run into difficulties with over-production by the 1920s and extensive advertising became necessary to shift all the stuff the system could produce. Demand for the goods had to be manufactured along with the goods themselves, which no one really needed.

    Consumerism had to be actively encouraged in the thrifty population of the time as they were not used to wasting money on things they didn’t really need. Today we have to build storage units to house the sur stuff from the private sector that people can’t fit in their houses.

    As natural resource limits become apparent such a wasteful system looks as though it’s approaching the end of the line.

    In the 1950s John Kenneth Galbraith wrote a book “The Affluent Society” discussing how they were still bound by pre-1920s ideas where increasing productivity and efficiency were essential, although they lived in a land of plenty. By the 1950s the only problem was shifting all the stuff the system produced and advertisers faced an uphill struggle. He also noted how a world of private luxury co-existed with a world of public squalor and there were no advertising campaigns for better schools and hospitals.

    We still think in terms of those pre-1920s worries today, productivity and efficiency. Larry Summers and the IMF have noted that demand is the problem that even today’s ubiquitous advertising can’t over-come.

    Capitalism is a way of organising society. The lower class does the manual work, the middle class does the managerial work and the upper class live a life of luxury and leisure. Since the dawn of human civilisation nearly all societies have been organised along these lines.

    The UK Aristocracy where there for the transition from feudalism to capitalism and barely noticed the difference as there life of luxury and leisure continued as before. They are still living the same life of luxury and leisure today as nothing has really changed.

    Adam Smith observed:

    “The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers.”

    It was all much easier to see in the early days of capitalism.

    In the early 19th century things were much the same and the great wealth of the British Empire was claimed by those at the top. The men, women and children at the bottom of society were housed in slums, worked almost every hour they were awake in the factories of the wealthy and still lived a bare subsistence existence. It was only organised labour movements that bought an end to the natural order of 5,000 years of human civilisation and those at the bottom had a mechanism for getting a larger slice of the pie.

    This internal welfare state to look after the lords of the manor was just the norm. in the days when capitalism came into being, today we have moved on and expect everyone to do their bit, even the descendents of feudal warlords (aka the aristocracy).

    We need a system that is efficient and doesn’t use advertising to shift the massive excess it produces. Natural resources are approaching their limits.

    We also need a system that can use improvements in technology like robots to benefit all. A system like capitalism, that makes robots a problem, obviously has fundamental flaws.

    It’s time for something new, a finite earth cannot cope with this wasteful system.

    It’s time for something new as robots prevent capitalism from being a way to organise society, over-production becomes so excessive even advertising can’t cope.

    It’s time for something new, a system without an internal welfare state for the lords of the manor, it’s the 21st century.

    Previous systems used technology to expand the area in which workers provided for those at the top from villages, to city states, to regions, to nations and now globally.

    2014 – “85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world”
    2016– “Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world’s population”

    Doing the maths and assuming a straight line …….
    5.4 years until one person is as wealthy as poorest half of the world.

    It’s working well at the moment but its end is near.

    A better future awaits when we can think of a new system.

    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      With robots too many people are sur to requirements and those people don’t just disappear. A stable society provides for all its citizens to give them a role and keep society stable. Even the welfare state has a purpose in pacifying those at the bottom to keep those at the top in luxury and leisure although the current incumbents have forgotten.

      Those at the top always have a tendency to take too much out of the system and never appear to realise …..

      all emplyees = all consumers (approx.)

      “The Marxian capitalist has infinite shrewdness and cunning on everything except matters pertaining to his own ultimate survival. On these, he is not subject to education. He continues wilfully and reliably down the path to his own destruction”

      The introduction of a billion workers apiece from China and India has caused problems in maintaining jobs, wages and demand, add robots and things get a whole lot worse.

      With the rich being so greedy, the chances of capitalism staying afloat are about zero.

      The globalists play a game above national politicians and just can’t help destroy the system through their own short sightedness and greed.

      1. Robert Hahl

        It occurred to me just the other day why Bill Clinton & Co. probably needed to destroy welfare as we knew it. Because they foresaw that NAFTA and subsequent trade deals would produce many ghost towns. and we couldn’t have all those people sheltering in place (in boom towns) waiting for a recovery that would never ever come. (Just like single payer heath care.)

  39. nechaev

    did i miss somewhere above any reference to the first hymn composed in northern north america, aka the huron carol? particularly haunting in this version, no matter the considerable ideological baggage it carries…. .. .although i prefer middleton’s 1926 english translation

  40. McWatt

    The greatest Christmas song you have never heard is “Christmas Everyday” written by Cliff Johnson and Mimi Betinis.

  41. Mark Alexander

    I agree about the fun of singing around the piano. We had a couple of friends over yesterday, and while none of us are believers, we had a great time taking turns at the piano and singing everything from O Come All Ye Faithful to the Chipmunk Christmas (which we all sang in high squeaky chipmunk voices). Lots of wrong notes but we had a blast.

    1. Robert Hahl

      The next one in line on youtube was Arlo Guthrie Thanks the Narcs which is ok, but the song really rocks. I didn’t know he had it in him.

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