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Omnivore - The annual destruction of aural ambiance

I'm at Starbucks and I'm in agony. It's not because I just spilled half a cup of espresso on my shirt. It's not even the view. I can tolerate the gold-foil bags of coffee stenciled with Christmas trees.

What I can't handle is the constantly playing Christmas music. I've been ranting about the crime of broadcasting holiday music in stores and restaurants for as long as I can remember. And no matter how much I complain, people just keep playing the stuff. What's wrong with them?

Over the years, I've asked many people if they liked Christmas music and I don't recall anyone enthusiastically  saying "yes." I've asked myself what it is about the music that makes my skin crawl. Among the things I've come up with:

1. It's repetitious. The genre is limited, so you hear the same songs over and over. This results in many misguided "artists" attempting cuter or more emotionally dramatic interpretations. Everyone seems to think its his obligation to make an Xmas album.

2. It's an insidious form of cultural conditioning. You grow up hearing this stuff everywhere and by the time you are a teenager, your lips move automatically when a speaker blares Frank Sinatra singing "Oh by gosh by golly, it's time for mistletoe and holly." It turns you into a holiday pod person.

3. It evokes mandatory nostalgia. It's so sickly sentimental for the most part that people are often thrown into the past and a yearning for the most wonderful time of the year, even though there may have been nothing wonderful about it. In other words, it contributes to seasonal depression. It makes you wish you were a sunbeam for Jesus and feel like an outsider because you are not or don't want to be one.

4. It's a tool of fundamentalists to try to compel the rest of us to fear for our souls, even though it actually performs as Christian aversion therapy. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is holding the gun of salvation at  your head. OK, maybe that's overstating it.

If nothing else, it just ruins ambiance. It can be a restaurant where someone paid the Johnson Studio a  gazlllion billion dollars to — I don't know — recreate Versailles. But if you fill it with "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," it instantly becomes a trailer park.

Do your part and tell restaurant owners to turn the stuff off.

(Top image courtesy of neuralgourmet.com, second image courtesy of Big Sinister.)





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