Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Don't give up your day job

This is the first and greatest commandment of knockoff doggerel: It has to scan. Not "almost," not "most of the time," but relentlessly and throughout, else you are no craftsperson. And that increases the likelihood that you will be mocked through the streets by urchins. Take it away, Las Vegas Review Journal!

’Twas the season of Christmas, and all through the land

OK so far ...

Were signs and symbols some folks couldn’t stand

BZZZZT! Those pesky anapests claim another victim.

The evergreen conifer many decorate with glee,
But don’t you dare call it a Christmas tree.

Those two kind of work, if you close your eyes and imagine the Child Knights of the Round Table as voiced by Yogi Bear.

Heaven forbid a Nativity in the town square

For fear the grievance mongers soon would be there.
Meanwhile the choirs at many a public school
Are told no religious carols — those just aren’t that cool.
Don’t say “Christmas Concert,” for that’s full of shame.
“Winter Festival” — now that’s the new name!
A California judge, trying to squelch more good will,
Orders a war memorial cross removed from a hill.
The postman leaves Christmas off his “holiday stamp” fliers.
Forget the reason for the season — they’re Christmas deniers!
This despite Jesus’ birth named a federal holiday
On which those in government get a day off with pay.

Oh, come on. If the ox and lamb can keep time, they ought to do better than one out of 12, either by chance or divine intervention. With more than half the poem yet to go,* you almost want to help the author out. Just delete a couple words in the ninth line:

The postman leaves Christmas off "holiday" fliers

... and get a little more into the spirit of things in the 12th:

On which those in gummint get time off with pay.

Well, freedom of the press is guaranteed to those who own one. And on this most wondrous night of the year, spare a kind thought for the copy editor who not only had to read the poem but almost certainly endured the inevitable follow-up: "That was pretty good, wasn't it?"
* And we haven't even worked in "Establishment Clause"**
** Santa's older brother***! Thanks, I'll be here all week
*** In Clement Clark Moore terms, that one should have been a piece of cake.

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Anonymous Ed Latham said...

Hey, this War on Meter idea's got legs! Or at least feet. The most fun is trying to get "California" to fit into an anapaest

1:09 PM, December 24, 2013  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Today we have War against Christmas. Last month
we had compulsory insurance, and next year
we will probably have martial law. But today
Today we have War against Christmas
"Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion"

but today we have War against Christmas

This is the White House Christmas Tree. And this
is the National Christmas Tree, whose use you will see
when you're watching the Pageant of Peace. And this is the Muslim Usurper,
which in your case you have not got. "The Court asserted pointedly:
We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being"

which in our case we have not got

This is the creche, which is always displayed
With a facile nod to tradition. And please do not let me
See anyone label it Christian. You can call it tradition
If you have any right to be here. "Presidential Proclamations and messages
have also issued to commemorate Jewish Heritage Week"
no-one would label as Christian

And this, you can see, is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to get on TV, as you see. They run frantically
backwards and forwards, they call this spreading the news.
"Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders";
we call this spreading the news.

We call this spreading the news: it is just our tradition,
if you have any right to be here: like the creche and the tree
and the cards, and the "secular legislative purpose"
Which in their case they have not got: and the peace and goodwill
and the crowds running backwards and forwards
For today we have War against Christmas

1. Obvious
2. Lynch v Donelly, Burger J for the court
3. loc cit
4. Lynch v Donnelly, O'Connor J concurring
5. Lemon v Kurtzman, Burger J for the court.

3:46 PM, December 25, 2013  

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