Sunday 2 December 2007

Merry Bleeding Chrimbo

The idea of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ always strikes me as a good thing. Depending on who you speak to the man could well have been a freedom fighter that spoke about love and peace, the John Lennon of his times, or a rebel that upset the Jewish faith. Some people don't even think someone special existed but its a hell of a construct to insert a fictional character into history with ideas that have spread around the world and are, in many instances, not so far from some of the other major religions including the social responsibility stuff from Islam and most of the eight major precepts of Buddhism.

I'm rereading Bulgakov's The Master and the Margarita at the moment (thanks Sasha) and I'm still blown away by that scene where Pontius Pilate has a splitting headache and fundamentally doesn't want to crucify Jesus but is under enormous pressure from the president of the Sanhedrin, the high priest of Judaea to crucify this awkward vagrant philosopher and let the common criminal Barabbas go free instead, as was the custom during the Passover to commute a sentence for one individual. Its so vivid that it might well be one of my most favourite chapters in any book ever. It brings to life, a life and death decision that possibly changed the world.

Why am I talking about this? Well as I've pointed out elsewhere if you try and bring up politics and religion in general discourse today people think you're nuts. They really think you've lost the plot. Yet is it just me that looks at the insane Christmas consumption frenzy (as the planet heats up) and thinks that the rest of the world has gone nuts? Don't get me wrong I think its a great time for children along with an opportunity to talk about some the ideas that were shared a couple of millennium ago. But what we have now, is so far removed from the idea that started it all I now have no time at all for the whole Shitmas gig.

Just last night I took a scout around Beijing's Nan Jiu Ba Jie in the SanLiTun area to see if I could find any decent DJ's and sure enough I did, although I had to work my way through the usual expat dribble of crap hip hop, drunk for life anthems and low-so discourse. But on leaving one place I saw this poster and as much as I think too few women know how important top quality lingerie really is I couldn't help concluding that this poster captures the essence of Christmas in the 21st century. A self indulgent piss up with the chance for an office party leg over followed by mince pies, Christmas pudding, liquor galore and gifts all round without a hint of what the gift of giving is really all about.


  1. That image is well shocking.

    I don't like Christmas sometimes because it changed a lot from what it used to be a while ago. I remember how kids at school would ruin it for each other saying Santa doesn't exist. I keep thinking kids today are more and more pretentious about what they want (consider 85% of them mention a brand when writing a letter to Santa) and WHERE they see it.

    I keep thinking about what it will be like for my own kids, how will I explain to them that the gift wrapping team is there to umm...well...and that ebay ad on tv...well you know, Santa doesn't exist really. I find it sad in a way that the magic only lasts till you're about three or four now, maybe five but that's already a huge stretch.

    Boo for future Christmas holidays.

  2. Thoughtful comments Andrea. Children go nuts for presents. Its like a dream come true. Possibly a nightmare though if we continue at this rate.

    Recreating the magic in a meaningful way though. That's an interesting challenge. I'm up for it.

  3. how good is the master and margarita! i wanted to wear a pince nez all the time after reading that book...