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December 20th, 2011

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

I hear a lot of people talking about the “War on Christmas.”   There’s a wonderful discussion going on right now about all this in Leesburg, Va, where some folks have put up a creche, and some other folks have put up a dedication to the mythos of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Me, I say that if you want to call something a war, you ought to look around you at the vets returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and look for the ones who didn’t make it home, before you start opening your mouth and using words like “war.” 

The difference between saying Happy Holidays and saying Merry Christmas isn’t war.  It’s being inclusive.  As my old buddy Spiro T. Agnew might have said, America right now seems to have more than its share of Nattering Nabobs of Nativity. 

In doublechecking that quote, I ran across this one:  “A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some.”  Justice Harry Blackman, concurring opinion, Lee v. Weisman, 1992.  I think I like it.

So, is my advent countdown of crappy holiday songs part of the wider war on Christmas?  No.  Some songs just suck.  Some of them were fine, once, back in the day, and have simply outlived their relevance, like the theory that the earth is round, or the band Nine Inch Nails.  (There were about 2 weeks, back in 1993, when NIN was an important band, and the round earth theory made sense for nearly twice that long.)  These songs can now be safely relegated to history’s dustbins, the Smithsonian, and Uncle Ziggy’s old 8-Track tape collection, since the tape player broke 3 years ago and the last company making the repair parts went under in 2003.

At number 6 in the list is a boring little number that was written in 1946 and wisely shut up in a box for more than twenty years, until it clawed its way out on its pogrom of boredom in 1970.  I speak, of course, of the eldritch creeping soporific horror that is Karen Carpenter’s ”Merry Christmas Darling.”

The logs on the fire / Fill me with desire

Yeah, because pyromaniacs are hot, baby! 

We’re apart, that’s true
But I can dream, and in my dreams
I’m Christmasing with you

All I want for Christmas is a gerundial clause.  You see, using existential non-verb clauses with gerunds allows for underspecification of inner participants, affecting topic-focus articulation.  As the gerundial form in this case has objects introduced by prepositional verbs that nominally take normative direct objects and manner adverbials are expressed by adjectives (and not with adverbs), we can regard it as a deverbal noun, which implies that it is lemmatized as noun and the missing inner participant (you, because we’re apart, that’s true) of the corresponding verb is not inserted. It gets, though, the whole range of “verbal” functors according to the meaning of the given modifications.

Or as my good friend Calvin said, “Verbing weirds language.”

Go ahead.  Click!  Get your verb on with Karen.  Or better yet, wait until tonight - because this song will put your ass to sleep faster than washing that Lunesta down with a shot of Nyquil.


Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!