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US: Christian kitsch hits a new low

November 30, 2013

And that’s low

I love you all dearly,
Now don’t shed a tear,
I’m spending my Christmas
With Jesus this year.

– Merry Christmas From Heaven –.

I thought I’d be dining
With Grandma as well,
But Jesus just told me
She’s burning in Hell.

And Uncle DuPree,
Who ran off with a bimbo?
No Christmas for him,
‘Cos he’s still in Limbo.

Don’t let Auntie Em’s
Christmas pudding defeat you.
If you choke on a sixpence,
I’ll be here to meet you.

H/T to Mark for drawing this to my attention.

  1. Christopher Simpson permalink

    I get that technically you’ve done everything aboveboard. In fact, I would say you were rather Pharisaical about it. You’ve provided a link to the original and you’ve set the actual quote in italics. But the link takes the reader to a site selling presentations of Moodey’s poem, which doesn’t show the whole poem at all, thereby making comparison virtually impossible. And while the quote is italicised, italicisation is a very subtle semiotic. Only a small percent of readers know that italics (at least in this instance) should indicate a direct quote, and that reversion to the regular font denotes the post author’s own words. Furthermore, those who know this are also those who know that when it comes to adhering to such standards, websites are notoriously inconsistent.

    So while you’re in the clear as far as AP or CP style goes, the fact is that to the casual reader it looks like the bitter and blasphemous parody you wrote is part of the poem to which it refers.

    I consider that unfair.

    I also consider it pretty damned funny. (When I got to “But Jesus just told me/She’s burning in hell” I broke out laughing.) But still, leading the reader on to believe that it’s part of the poem isn’t fair.

    Another thing that strikes me as unfair is that the thing being parodied — which is the judgmental nature of religion — isn’t actually present in the poem. The overarching sentiment is not only one of expected salvation, but includes the belief that God is willing to forgive trespasses:

    You don’t have to be
    perfect all of the time
    He forgives you the slip
    If you continue the climb

    The problem, of course, is that sickly-sweet poems don’t easily lend themselves to good parody. At (the respected academic source for facts behind urban myths and other cultural misinformation) they call this kind of thing “glurge.” The term glurge refers to sickly and sweet poems or stories that cross the line into creepy and sinister. (And this poem is hardly the worst of the lot. If your stomach can handle it I refer you to the story of the String of Pearls and the snope discussion concerning it.) NOTE: I’m including the link at the end of this line, but don’t know if your comment engine will delete it. If so, just Google “string of pearls” and click on the hit called “ String of Pearls”. (It will probably be the second one down.)

    Sting of Pearls:

    Anyhow, somewhere in all these words is my point if you can find it. And if you find my point to be a gentle rebuke rather than a scathing condemnation I think you’ve got the general tone for which I was aiming.

  2. Jon permalink

    I only cited one verse of the original poem. That’s why the attribution line is underneath and it’s in quote format. But I think my variations are an improvement.

  3. Christopher Simpson permalink

    Oh for — there are lots of kitschy Christian things, and the actual poem is certainly one of them. This, however, is obviously a parody.

    The real poem, by John Mooney Jr., is as treacly as you get, but sickenly-sweet glurge seems to be appreciated by any number of people. It’s from the point of view of someone who has died, probably during the preceding year, and is telling relatives not to mourn.

    Here’s the actual poem:

    I love you all dearly,
    Now don’t shed a tear,
    I’m spending my Christmas
    With Jesus this year.

    I still hear the songs
    I still see the lights
    I still feel your love
    on cold wintry nights

    I still share your hopes
    and all of your cares
    I’ll even remind you
    to please say your prayers

    I just want to tell you
    you still make me proud
    You stand head and shoulders
    above all the crowd

    Keep trying each moment
    to stay in His grace
    I came here before you
    to help set your place

    You don’t have to be
    perfect all of the time
    He forgives you the slip
    If you continue the climb

    To my family and friends
    please be thankful today
    I’m still close beside you
    In a new special way

    I love you all dearly
    now don’t shed a tear
    Cause I’m spending my
    Christmas with Jesus this year

    Please try to make sure that the stuff you’re making fun of is real — there’s plenty of it out there.

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