Saturday, December 22, 2012

Comic Satire for Christmas

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New World Notes News
Vol. 5, No. 51 -- December 22, 2012

This week in New World Notes, radio program #251, December 25, 2012

Comic Satire for Christmas

Some brief commentary by me, five seasonal songs, and one satiric imitation Broadway "big production number." All take a comic but critical view of American hypocrisies, religiosity, commercialism, class warfare, and other Christmastime traditions.

I'm especially fond of the pseudo- "big production number": Stan Freberg's 1958 masterpiece, Green Chri$tma$. The audio fidelity is excellent even by today's standards; the production is rich and sophisticated; the script is witty; and the message (alas) is still relevant.

Even its "dated" references are fun. All those cigarette ads Freberg parodies! One forgets (or one is too young to remember) how ads for cigarettes dominated the media. I have trouble remembering important names and dates, but I can rattle off 50 cigarette advertising slogans and jingles from 1960. Remember how great cigarettes used to taste? Luckies still do. And I never even smoked the damned things!

Anyway, "Comic Satire for Christmas" sounds good -- like a radio show should. And it is mild!

Hot presents this Xmas: the perfect gifts for adults (above)
and for lower-class female children (below).

Notes, credits, & links

  • Hugh Blumenfeld, "Long-Haired Radical Socialist Jew"
  • Simon and Garfunkel, "Silent Night / Six O'Clock News"*
  • Anne Feeney, "Brave New Christmas"
  • David Rovics, "Pirate Santa"
  • Stan Freberg, "Green Chri$tma$"
  • Tom Lehrer, "A Christmas Carol"
New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "nihil obstat") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford.

You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both and (from #90 onwards) The Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chrono listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page, and each page has links to the recorded audio. See the gray sidebar on the right ("CONTENTS [Links]") for a table of contents.

Series overview:
Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.

* Christmas Trivia: In fact it's not the six o'clock news. It's the seven o'clock news. Listen closely at the end.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • January 1 -- New Year's Potpourri
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northierthanthou said...

Awesome links. I added them to a Stumbleupon list I've been working on, Christmas Queered:

Kenneth Dowst said...

Thanks for your comment and the link.

Roy Zimmerman's "Buy War Toys for Christmas" is another fine song. Last year, I took it out of the program at the last minute, owing to the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. Too many references in the song to children and shooting. I may put the song back again this year (2013).

Cheers, Ken