Arts & Culture News

The Soundtrack to "Baptist Vegas Saturnalia," Or, the Five Least-Christian Christmas Songs

People keep telling me that Christmas is a religious holiday, but judging by the sheer number of commandments broken in the following seasonal pop hits, I'm starting to suspect that Jim Schutze's assessment of the Park Cities' celebrating "Baptist Vegas Saturnalia" extends far outside of north Dallas. These lyrics read like the advent liturgy at the Church of Herman Cain. Of the immoral, amoral or just plain gross things going on in jazzy Christmas tunes, these are some of the seediest:

Prostitution: Anyone with a sense of hearing - and decency - already knows what we're talking about when it comes to Madonna's 1987 version of "Santa Baby." Her disturbing, affected Betty Boop is enough to turn Santa gay, if he isn't already. But, the audio aspect isn't even the half of it. Among the material items this woman demands in exchange for sexual favors are a yacht, blank checks and the deed to a platinum mine. "Trim my tree" and "hurry down the chimney tonight" mean exactly what you think they do, but these privileges come at a price: forget Frankincense and myrrh and just bring on the gold. I'm told that Eartha Kitt's 1953 rendition is "sexier," but I still prefer it the way Kanye sings it.

Date Rape: I won't say too much about "Baby It's Cold Outside," because plenty of other people already have. But, in case you hadn't heard, this song actually contains the lines, "say, what's in this drink," and "baby, don't hold out." The whole time I keep expecting the rest of the football team to hop out of the closet and join in as a chorus. All I can say is, if a dude tries to "Baby it's cold" me, he's getting two things: a punch to the dick and a chance to meet Kitty:

Coveting Your Neighbor's Ass: "Last Christmas" by Wham! is catchy as hell. But, Dude. It was a one night stand. And, it's been a year. Move on.

Adultery: We're all in on the joke, right, when it comes to "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," except - I submit to you - for the fact that there is little hard evidence to suspect that the man "under the white beard" is, in fact, the narrator's father. Unlike "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," which is more explicit in its patrilineal suggestion, "I Saw Mommy" outwardly claims that it would be a real "laugh" if Daddy happened to espy the shenanigans, suggesting that implicitly condoned cuckoldry is something to which this kid and his father are already accustomed. What's worse is that, while it was originally recorded by 13 year old Jimmy Boyd in 1952, this song has been around the block about as many times as mommy and has been recorded by quite a few adults, including John Mellencamp. Sorry, Cougar. The only time a grown man should say "mommy" is when he's met a nice lady at Leather Masters.

Uncategorizable Perversion: Yes, in "Mary Did You Know" I understand the metaphorical implications of the line "the child that you delivered will soon deliver you," but the wording tends to evoke an image that only a Japanese businessman could appreciate. In the song's defense, it does reinforce the most important Christmas lesson: female empowerment. "The Greatest Story Ever Told" all started with a young woman who didn't need a husband to make a baby.

So, there you have it - the soundtrack to "Baptist Vegas Saturnalia" - played relentlessly and ceaselessly in every public building in the city when, all along, there's only one Christmas song you'll ever need:

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Brentney Hamilton