Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Christmas Time in Suburbity

I detest what holidays have become in America - sanctioned greed, gluttony and familial obligation - but I can be briefly taken back into the magic through one of the old time songs by Bing Crosby etc. Though these "old songs" were new at one point, the ideas and time period they represent were, I believe, something special even at their inception. You can't capture any of that in new Christmas songs because the suburbs have ruined Christmas (and not to be too dramatic but America as well).

What the whuk right? I know that seems like a stretch to blame this on suburbia but let me explain. Suburbs are the middle ground, the "best of both worlds": the benefits of the city with just enough grass to feel like you have some space to breathe. When your only neighbors are a mile away or are literally crammed all around you, you get to know them out of necessity or pure proximity. Most suburbian residents know their neighbors on a cursory level but isn't that the point - having just enough space where you can exist in a perfect little bubble? When you try to climate control life and make a comfortable baseline, nothing is special anymore. When I lived in LA, I loved the winter because there was occasionally inclement weather to break up the monotony of "another shitty day in paradise".

New Christmas songs are produced and "perfect" just like the planned developments and communities a majority of Americans clamor to live in. Modern renditions lack the rawness and excitement that the older songs evoke because they are representitive of a society that has gorged itself on plastic mediocrity. Instead of being excited for a trip to the city to see the lights and displays, neighbors attempt to outdo each other with their decorations; try and make a timeless song about that. Or what about kids a few generations ago excited about getting a handful of candy and maybe a new penknife or something they would cherish for years? Most children will get more toys this Christmas than their grandparents had their entire childhoods. Sadly they will also lose interest or break half of them before January ends.

I really have no idea if I'm going to end up living in the city or country but whichever it ends up being, I want to settle down where I can be part of a community. Instead of being concerned about how close I am to a walmart or target, I want to find a great deli for instance where I can get to know the Italian family that owns it. If I live that long, I'll be the geezer playing chess in the park, singing Silver Bells and drinking coffee with Saul from 10B.

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