Of Tookie, Paul Frank and the Real War on Christmas
It's all so retarded, I'm positively itching with it.
I think the War on Christmas gave me the crabs.
There's Bill O'Reilly and the Catholic League's loopy William Donohue, of course. There's also Worldview Week, the tender website with the world's best Bible Quiz, which says the most biblical way to assess taxes is through Steve Forbes' flat tax—which I'm pretty sure would be news to Jesus—but I swear I just read it for the articles by onetime teen-TV-heartthrob Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains and, apparently, the Left Behind movies. We got each other! Sharing the laughter and love! Until our one and only lord and savior comes down and shoots unbelievers with machine gun bullets from the wounds in his palms. Hey, remember that Very Special Episode when Kirk Cameron lost his virginity? Yeah, me either. But Christopher Cross did the theme song for that episode, and then I saw him play it at Garden Grove's community concert, and he introduced it all (and he was totally pompous), "I did this song for a Very Special Episode of Growing Pains when Kirk Cameron lost his virginity." It was a stupid song, and after the show, I asked him why he hadn't played the theme from Greatest American Hero, and it turned out it was because that wasn't his song. Didn't you think it was? Me too! Christopher Cross seemed kind of miffed.
Anyway, they're all bitching and crying their big fat victim tears about how oppressed they are every time someone says "Happy Holidays" as a way to maybe include season's greetings of peace and joy (unto you!) to those in our big, wonderful melting pot who maybe don't believe in Jesus. At least, they don't believe in Jesus , but that'll all get cleared up as soon as Tom DeLay's Dominionists have their way, at which time America shall have forced conversions and live by "biblical principles."
You know what I miss? Stoning.
I wished my aunt a Merry Christmas last week; she's one of those militant Jews who goes to temple and writes checks to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Even though she and my dad celebrated Christmas as kids (read Philip Roth's The Plot Against America: Newark Jews, as OC's own much-missed Congressman John Schmitz used to say, were just like everyone else, only more so), she totally doesn't now! It's all Hanukkah this, and Passover that, when Christmas and Easter are perfectly good seasonal substitutes for holidays that are pretty much seasonal substitutes themselves for winter and spring solstice celebrations by the hell-bound idolists, and they'll have much less chance of Torquemada finding out. I don't think she thought it was funny, but then the only time I've seen her laugh really hard was at Jackie Mason's one-man Broadway show when he was talking about how Jews can't program their VCRs. Jews can really be sensitive, but apparently anything Jackie Mason said was gold.
But all that mockery of the War on Christmas—and of O'Reilly, who said he was going to "bring horror" to the perpetrators, a phrase I think I last heard come out of Osama's mouth—was before I agreed to be a judge in South Coast Plaza's window-display contest in exchange for a sweet $25 gift certificate and all the champagne my little system could carry. Plus, it got me out of the office on a Tuesday night, the night of the week when my small buttercup of a son has to sit with me in the office till sometimes 9:30 p.m. while I proof the final layout of the paper just so I can prove to everybody what a goddamn team player I am. And it was in the shining lights of SCP, basking in the tones of the pure, sweet soprano quartet The Sleigh Belles and surrounded by the lovely scent of seared ahi and money, that I discovered: there really is a War on Christmas. Of course, it's nothing like the one our Founding Fathers waged; they'd fine your ass in Puritan Massachusetts for celebrating it. But I'm sure you knew that. . . .
Of the 10 windows I was assigned to judge, maybe four had no Christmas decorations at all. Maybe four more decorated for the season in festive shades of iron gray. One store had a window done up in sheaths of wheat, which looked cool for an autumn equinox window-judging competition, if you're a freaking pagan! And Versace wasn't specifically Christmasy in the slightest, but the mannequins looked like they were at a really fun party. I would like to to that party! You win, Versace, damn you! You win.
So there was this one super-Jesusy-looking guy in a fabulous white suit, busting fabulous disco moves like you know Jesus would do, and I'd seen him a few minutes earlier trying unsuccessfully to snowboard on his toboggan down the hill of real snow. "Hey!" I said to him, "I saw you snowboarding before . . ." at which point he pretty much started to turn away, but then he changed his mind. "TOOOKIEEE!" he bellowed. "Yell it with me!"
Okay! "TOOOKIEEE!" we yelled together. "TOOOKIEEE!" And then we danced, but separately. I wasn't quite cool enough for the dude in the Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; I understand this and have no problem with it at all. (Props to Ray Bradbury! Word!) The occasion, naturally, was the Paul Frank Christmas party Monday at Hidden Valley in Irvine,10 perfect-time-warp acres of thatched huts and a big fabulous round dance room, and real elephant rides, and cotton candy, and some icky spinny upside-down rides, and Death Cab for Cutie, whom you really can't tell apart from the Psychedelic Furs if the lights are off. There were at least a thousand people there (and a 58-minute S-Z check-in line to prove it), including Verizon's man about town Conley Smith, Quiksilver's Bollweevil, Page from Kitsch, DJ Danny Love and a host of famous people I'm not cool enough to recognize, drinking free drinks and eating free In-N-Out and wandering roughly 40 feet at a time before taking shelter under another heat lamp with yet another batch of friendly young men. Fucking party, man!
We at the are surprisingly moral—hell, Lowery actually teaches whatever they're calling CCD these days. So we were talking about Tookie—actually, mostly Lowery was; man talks a lot—and I brought up Timothy McVeigh, and how unsatisfying it was at the time, seeing the protests, to have a fiend as your poster boy against capital punishment. It's so much easier to protest when the accused is mentally retarded, for instance, and Bill Clintonis leaving the campaign trail to go home to Arkansas and make damn sure a man who colors all day and literally doesn't understand that after his execution, he won't be coming back to his cell, gets the juice. I don't care if Tookie's redeemed himself with good works, or if Karla Faye Tucker had found God; last I heard, being born again didn't absolve you of your crimes in this world, only in the next—maybe.
Oh, I joke! Of course it does! Absolve you in this world, that is. I'm still up in the air about the Christianists' chances in heaven.
But what I care about isn't whether the innocent are being executed (most of the people on death row, as Lowery pointed out sadly, really are monsters), or whether they're sorry; it's that we don't sink to the level where we think death is deserved for anyone. That's for mullahs and Dominionists, who would love to toboggan down that capital punishment slippery slope and start stoning homosexuals too. (Seriously, they're not kidding.) It's all about the Culture of Life, motherfuckers! Meanwhile, over at the Register, Gordon Dillow wonders why the condemned get a last meal. "If a man is so loathsome and evil that we've sent him to San Quentin's Death Row," he asks, "does he really deserve a special feast before we kill him?"
Tookie declined a last meal, by the way, drinking only milk.
And at the party, the white girls danced the best I've ever seen white girls dance.
Merry Christmas, darlings! Buy your loved ones a kick-ass (and sweatshop-free!) Commie Girl T-shirt because, damn it, I need the money!Commie Girl Collective.Presents, as always, can be sent care of OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., STE. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
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