Monday, November 12, 2007

Holiday Spirit, part I: Preconsumerism

For a few years, I've sworn, mostly by myself, that the "holiday" season was encroaching on my autumn. This was not a popular opinion. "No," some might say, "stores have always put Christmas stuff in stores this early." Or "What's wrong with it? It's getting chilly out, might as well celebrate." Finally, though, the Fish Wrapper (Atlanta Journal-Constitution for those of you keeping score at home and unfamiliar with my uncle Jim's pejorative) has sided with me. See the cover story from last Wednesday. Rather, have seen the article, as using Douglas Adams' time-travel vernacular seems appropriate here.

Is it really a bad thing? Mostly, yes. The only reason that we care about a special occasion is that it's special in the first place. Artificially extending that sort of dilutes the "speciality" of it. People don't celebrate birth months, or birth weeks, it's birthdays. Retailers are interested in expanding on their most lucrative month of the year, by stretching it into two months. Problem is, that doesn't actually work. People are going to buy at three times: 1) when the season starts, out of a burst of enthusiasm, 2) Black Friday, if only out of tradition, and 3) right before whatever holiday you're interested in buying for, out of last-minute desperation.

At the same time, I don't necessarily want to start hearing Jingle Bells on November 3, when it's still like 60 something degrees outside. I'm not exactly sure why I have this admittedly traditionalist view of the holiday, but the point is, I'd like my Christmas confined to after Thanksgiving. That said... Starbucks holiday drinks are out, which mandates an immediate trip to the local coffee house.

Brief Commentary: Macbeth

DramaTech's production of "the Scottish play" (as it's known in paranoid, superstitious theater circles) was truly excellent. A few missed deliveries and muffled lines against imaginatively choreographed swordfights, an impeccable Lady Macbeth, and an awesome guy with no hair and a footlong beard providing percussive accompaniment throughout? Well done, DramaTech. You've won my ticket purchase for all the rest of the shows you do, from now on.

Oh, and as Zach correctly pointed out, that one Wyrd Sister was totally hot.

Critique: "Orange Juice: With Additional Fiber and Vitamins"

The few motivated friends who are bored enough to read about me for ten minutes and still find themselves wanting can now experience the joys of "Orange Juice: With Additional Fiber and Vitamins."

Cinematic genius, by the way. The suspense at 1:15! Who could the mysterious figure be, who creeps in the foreground by the fridge, with accompanying icy overtones? What is this mysteriously skeleton-shirted girl's motive? Perhaps we shall never know. A superficial critique of the situation after watching the ending says that it involves hand-drawing, but the more observant viewer will notice the nuanced change in mood, pace, and movement that she exhibits in her latter appearance, suggesting something far more mysterious--sinister? or merely secretive?

The contented sigh at 3:09--does it foreshadow a startling turn of events, in which our hero shall never enjoy his juice this deeply again? Or it is it more of an existentialist nod, wherein the protagonist experiences a sort of Zen of citrus that is in itself nutritious and enlightening? A bitingly oblique social commentary from a repressed capitalist, who knows that the most satisfying outcome can only come from his own mixing efforts? Of course, the postmodernist's trademark at the end, allowing the tightly wound sequence of events simply to unlace and free itself from artificial constraints of "plot" that plague other forms of storytelling.

Says my roommate Hershel, "I'm intrigued. Captivated really. Yearning for more. There must be more!" Hopefully, hopefully.

Currently listening: "Mohammed," the Dandy Warhols