Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer

How Gay Is Christmas? (Really Gay)

Filed By Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer | December 23, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Judy Garland, Kermit the Frog, Leonard Cohen, The Awl

There's an interesting essay on my new favorite blog, The Awl, about the gutting of Leonard Cohen's transcendent "Hallelujah," in order to make it vague and Christiany enough for Christmas.

Which follows in the long, noble tradition -- well, there's only one other that I can think of off the top of my head, but there must be others, right? -- of eviscerating songs to make them palatable for bland holiday records by the likes of Kermit the Frog (for real).

My favorite Christmas song, in fact my favorite Christmas thing period, is this song, which isn't really about Christmas as much as it is about despair. But replace, "until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow," with, "hang a shining star upon the highest bow," and it's still a bit sad, but not sad enough to do anything drastic like put you off shopping.

I guess, like most, I get sentimental this time of year. I am not Christian, but I love the story of a gift of hope and redemption in dark times. I like to mark this time of year by acknowledging in my heart the miracle of another year, another orbit, another chance.

One thing, among many, that has brought me a lot of joy this year is becoming a part of this family of bloggers and activists, thinkers and complainers. It's good work, and I'm proud to be included in it.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Merry Christmas to you too =)

Merry Christmas.

Hallelujah is one of my favorite songs. Leonard Cohen wrote over 80 versus to it and called it the song he couldn't finish. The url below has a good recap of the song's history as well as Cohen's return to the stage after getting ripped off by his manager.

Ah, but John Cale's rendition takes it far, far away from any saccharine renderings, with its sexual undertones - a desperate, pleading, s&m-ish version.

I heard this on the end credits of Basquiat, years ago. I've since become a huge fan of Cale. Here you go:

omg thank you for that referral to The Awl. I laughed my head off about the "Shroud of Turin that eats latkes" reference. As a Jew who grew up very religious but is now an atheist who talks back to God a la Abraham, I enjoy telling people "Merry Christmas" without a hint of irony. I really have no choice but to appreciate a god so audacious that he created a species so blandly clueless that it would thank him for a world so needlessly cruel. We deserve each other. And let it be known that Hallelujah means "Thanks a bunch, Jehovah." Thank you indeed. Merry Christmas.

kd lang's version for the Winter Olympics is the one that my iPhone seems to love. Every time it creates a genius playlist, it adds that song!