By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper
It’s Thanksgiving, Christmas songs are being played 24/7, and one of the most beloved (read: incessantly overplayed) Christmas tunes is, “The Christmas Song”, commonly subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” or “Merry Christmas to You”, or, “Oh, by gosh by golly, do they play ANYTHING else this time of year?!” or, “Is it just me, or is it kind of creepy when Natalie Cole sings that song with her dead father?”
The song is considered a classic and was written in 1944 by vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells and made famous by Nat King Cole, or so I read on Wikipedia.
So I got to thinking – never a good thing on a slow news day – what if that song were written today (2010) in these politically correct and not-so-innocent times? What obstacles might the songwriters face in getting it recorded and published? Well, wonder no more…
Mega-Goliath Music Conglomerate Studios
To: Mel Tormé, Bob Wells, Nat King Cole and Justin Bieber
From: I. M. Grinch, CEO and Executive Musical Director
Gentleman, I am in receipt of your tweet and email of the lyrics for your new song, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and have serious concerns: First, we need to target our key demographic so are requesting that the song be performed by Justin Bieber rather than Nat King Cole – we want to go with a known singer. Second, after speaking with our comptroller, all six of our legal departments, compliance groups, as well as our focus and marketing groups, we will require the following changes to your song in order for it to suitable for publication and recording. None of what follows is optional.
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
— Alternate title needed – open fires are dangerous and forbidden in most states without a permit. Also, title is insensitive to individuals with allergies to chestnuts.
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
— Obvious product placement for Jack Daniels Whiskey. Remove entirely or add disclaimer line, “The surgeon general reminds you that the consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.”
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
— Yuletide references Pagan Yule festival of Saturnalia; this company cannot endorse ancient tribal religions. In addition, most references to “Choir” are religious; replace with “musical ensemble of singers.”
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
— “Eskimo” is offensive to Arctic-Americans, is stereotypical generalization, and arguably racist. Delete.
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
— “Everybody knows” is scientifically impossible and implies a state-mandated “thought police” or dictatorship-directed policy. Change to, “One unscientific poll indicates that some respondents said that…” Also, eating turkey is offensive to Vegans. Turkey contains Tryptophan, a preservative with sleep-inducing properties, and is not approved by the FDA as a sleep-aid. Delete. Mistletoe is a poisonous plant, dangerous to pets and small children. Replace with “plastic hanging plant.”
Help to make the season bright
— Scientifically invalid. Neither turkey nor mistletoe provides any sort of self-powered illumination. Also, which season? Your song would be played from November to the end of December, encompassing both autumn and winter seasons in the northern hemisphere, and spring and summer in the southern hemisphere. Please clarify.
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
— Context implies babies or children, but “Tiny Tots” is a registered trademark of the Super-Yummy Potato Company of Idaho, and used for their “Tiny Tots Taters.” Also: “Eyes all aglow,” is an obvious reference to the Stephen King horror story, “Children of the Corn,” Unsuitable for young audience. Possible reference to demonism and Satan. Delete.
Will find it hard to sleep tonight
— Our medical lawyers find this obvious reference to childhood sleep apnea distracting and a veiled commentary re: the lack of effectiveness of the pharmaceutical industry’s sleep medications.
They know that Santa’s on his way
— In addition to Santa being an anagram of Satan, we object to the notion of a morbidly obese older male with unknown intentions and no criminal background check entering private homes in the middle of the night, by implied paranormal means, unsupervised, and leaving toys for children. Delete and review attached document, “Mega-Goliath Music Conglomerate Studios Vs. Kringle et al, 1998.”
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
— Ignoring the scientific impossibility that any physical method of conveyance could conceivably be large enough to hold toys for all the children of the world, we remind you that this company does not endorse candy or sweets due to their detrimental effect on tooth enamel, and any toy would be required to be cleared by the FDA, the Toy Safety Council and comply with all state and local safety regulations.
And every mother’s child is gonna spy
— “Mother’s child” is blatant pro-life propaganda and devalues homes where mother may not be present or whose role is diminished. Role of father clearly devalued/ignored. Also, Homeland Security office objects to asking minors to conduct covert surveillance (unless said child is on their payroll).
To see if reindeer really know how to fly
— This corporation can not and will not endorse the supernatural. The common reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou, is incapable of flight. Delete.
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
— Use of the word, “simple” is condescending to the audience. Delete.
For kids from one to ninety two
— One could infer this lyric is a possible reference to senior citizens acting like children. A reasonable person could conclude that this is a veiled reference to Alzheimer’s. Delete.
Although it’s been said many times many ways
— What has been said, by whom, and where? Please cite sources or delete.
Merry Christmas to you
— Please change to the politically correct greeting: “Have a happy whatever.”
Please submit your revisions as soon as possible; we would like to time this release to coincide with Justin Beiber’s seventeenth CD, “Greatest Hits Volume Five” due the same month.
Finally, all of us here at Mega-Goliath Music Conglomerate Studios wish you and yours a sincere, “Happy Whatever.”