English: Model Mayra Veronica sings "Sant...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the local radio stations has been playing Christmas music since early November. Not that there was a rush to beat because most of the stations in the Edmonton area shun holiday tunes before the week before or even the day of Christmas. Edmontonians are not big on the genre.

The station in question is an easy listening slash pop rock venue. Nothing that offends or taxes the ears. Just background music for the retail or office space. But they have one of the most limited Christmas playlists I think I have ever encountered and it includes the dreadful Beach Boy’s Little Saint Nick, Jose Felicano’s 70’s earworm,  Felice Navidad, Dean Martin’s Marshmallow World and the worst Christmas song ever – Santa Baby, the Eartha Kitt version.

I am being subjective when I single out Santa Baby because I know that country music has its own offense to the genre with the tear-jerkers written about dead moms at yuletide, but the only other Christmas song that comes close to the sheer materialistic whoring of Santa Baby for awfulness would be Baby, It’s Cold Outside with its creepy seduction meets quasi date rape theme. Not that the latter can’t be a tiny bit charming depending on who is singing it, but Santa Baby is always a song about a woman whoring herself to a sugar daddy no matter who sings it.

The local station plays it every effing hour, and that is not an exaggeration. I can almost tell where the minute hand is based on the songs that pop up in rotation. It’s gotten to the point where either Dee or Rob will chortle madly when it comes on and say,

“They’re playing your favourite song!”

On the way into town today, we were stuck listening to the pop-rock Christmas carol channel because Dee has finally come into her tweener tunes taste and Rob remarked,

“I’ve got to dig around and find the old Christmas cd’s because I can’t take much more of this.”

And I agreed. I grew up on carols of which many where religiously influenced. Despite the “war on Christmas” proponents insistence that the holiday is more secular than not anymore, the fact remains that it is a religiously influenced holiday from paganism to Christianity, the holiday is not devoid of spiritual roots. Even Santa has his start in “saint”.

In the meantime, I continue to grit my teeth and gird my eardrums.

All sixteen years of it, begging to be immortalized in black on a white pages.

I shouldn’t poke fun except at the lunacy behind the notion that a 16-year-old teen idol with a combover has anything to add to life’s discourse that he couldn’t just croon to little girls who will outgrow his feminine-tinged attractiveness soon enough.

Dee expressed mild interest in Justin “Beaver” recently. Her best friend, Tina, let her listen to the collection of Bieber tunes on her iPod.

“The other kids on the bus make fun of her and say that Beaver sucks,” Dee commented.

We were watching a clip of the boy on You Tube. He is very young and not the least bit masculine in the way of most teen idols. I remember a distinct preference for slightly girly boys myself when I was young – longish hair, trendy dress, no facial or chest hair. My, how I have grown up.

“Well,” I said, “what do you think?”

“I think his music is okay,” she said.  She did not comment on the boy himself. This past year she has abandoned her chatter about boyfriends and husbands and even babies.  She is “just friends” with boys because she is “too young to date” and anyway “I am never getting married or having babies.  I will have a dog instead. Only after you are gone, Mom, because of your allergies.”

I didn’t query about where I might be going.

“You don’t have to like the music that other kids like,” I said. “If you like his music, then don’t worry about what other kids think.”

“Oh, ” she said, “I don’t. That’s just what kids tell Tina. That Justin Beaver sucks.”

Dee begged for Miley Cyrus‘s autobiography, which interestingly was written when she was sixteen as well. A milestone year for the too famous/too early crowd. I don’t think she’ll be asking Santa for the Life of Bieber for Christmas though.

The unknown narrator, or is he Tyler Durden, ponders an IKEA catalog, wondering what his stuff says about him. But it’s not just stuff, it’s attitude about/identification with things and how what we wear, listen to, read and watch comes to represent us in the world.

Programmed from near birth, we come to view externals as part of ourselves and believe that they lift us or damn us according to society’s ranking of them and hence us.

Our musical tastes, for example, allow the majority to rule us. We are cool or not so much depending on our earworm preferences. Liking Nickelback and Taylor Swift earns scorn while pretending to get the deep meaning of Tool rates high social marks.

I like Nickelback by the way. Just plain old pop/rock and occasional boy band ballad-e-ness with a bit of growl. Pretentious? Perhaps. Lyrically challenged? Most definitely. Fun? In my opinion, yes.

I listen to Tool as well though I prefer Perfect Circle. It’s also pretentious, but it’s angsty in a discomforting way that allows people to pretend it’s more meaningful than Daughtry and therefore elevates the listener to some level the masses just “wouldn’t understand”. Forgetting all the while that music is poetry and poetry’s meaning is subjective and totally relative.

What kind of music defines me as a person?

And what does it say about me that I need external definition?

Yesterday was “cheer up, Keanu day”. Generated by a viral paparazzi shot of the actor morosely munching a sandwich on a park bench in a decidedly homeless guy sort of way, people with a soft spot of maligned movie stars decided to dedicate a day – and a Facebook page – to share their fond memories of his movies, music and their actual encounters with Reeves.

It reminded me of a memorial service.

For a man who’s not dead in case anyone missed that. Although maybe in a world obsessed with whatever one has done lately, a career not in full throttle is akin to a death of sorts. Even middle-aged men are put to pasture in Hollywood, however, but if I had Reeves resources, I doubt that I would be pushing myself very hard either.

Oh, wait. I am not pushing myself. Nevermind

What kind of movies define me as a person?

Can I be defined by the fact that I sometimes watch films just because the actors are pleasantly attractive? Or that I am sufficiently imaginative to be able to immerse myself in a story regardless of the quality of the acting and the CGI?

The latter perhaps is the more admirable quality but the former is nothing to hang one’s head shamefully over.

My fondness for Virgo men aside, I like Reeves the actor. I never have difficulty believing he is his character in a way that “better” actors like Tom Hanks, for instance, can never not be “Tom Hanks” regardless of the film.

Because I prefer to not wear make up, live in my yoga togs and forsake underwear, am I bohemian? Does being a yoga teacher/blogger make me trendy or edgy? Or does the fact that I’ve blogged for money blogs rob me of “cool” cred?

I’ve viewed people from way atop the bridge of my nose, but that vantage point didn’t put me above anyone as much as it revealed my own pettiness and superficiality.

What defines you as a person? Music? Movies? A dining set?

I’m still trying to find my true self. Excavate her, really.

But in the meantime, I like Nickelback and Keanu Reeves’ movies and buying my yoga duds at Sears.