Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Warm Wishes for a Very Merry Armageddon!

This came in the mail at work. Surely I will not be dooced for scanning it (at work) and then posting it on my blog, because I have cleverly removed the name of the company that sent it to us. I don’t think we work with them anyway, which is much to my relief because all I could think of when I saw this was Harold Pinter and his “comedies of menace.”

Harold Pinter, whom I had never heard of until my class on British playwrights, is, surprisingly enough, a British playwright. He writes what critics have called “comedies of menace” which are, surprisingly enough, plays that are both comedic and menacing. When the Nobel Committee chose to award Pinter the Literature Prize in October, they specified that he “uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms” and that is precisely what he does, usually much to the theater-goer's discomfort.

If this postcard isn’t the very picture of oppression’s closed room, I don’t know what is. It could easily be an illustration from one of Pinter’s later, little-known forays into children’s literature. It is never too early for the little bastards to learn that a socio-political Armageddon is on its way, and that they had better prepare themselves for the ugly truth that Jolly Old Saint Nick is a fascist who claims to know everything about everyone and dispenses justice quite freely without so much as a glance of recognition at the Hague--and all this while posing as a kindly father figure whose great beneficence it would be unthinkable to dispute.

Meanwhile, little Rudolph, easily recruited on account of his unpopularity with the other reindeer, finds himself under the thumb of a ruthless tyrant. Below, the text of Pinter’s timeless children’s classic, “Christmas Eve.”

Santa: Ho, ho, ho.


Santa: Ho, Rudolph, pleasant evening, wouldn’t you say?
Rudolph: Yes, sir.
Santa: Nice and cold.


Santa: Wouldn’t you say?
Rudolph: Yes, sir.
Santa: Then say it!
Rudolph: Very cold, sir. Very nice.
Santa: Yes, I think so, too.


Santa: What does my watch say, Rudolph?
Rudolph: It is approximately half past five, sir.
Santa: Is it? Oh yes. I must have looked at it upside-down. I thought it was nearly midnight.


Santa: If it were nearly midnight, you’d be in bad shape with those Christmas cards, wouldn’t you? You’d be five minutes from the deadline.
Rudolph: Yes, sir.
Santa: You know why the call it the deadline, don’t you?
Rudolph: Yes, sir.
Santa: You say you do?
Rudolph: I do, sir.
Santa: Brave of you to keep up the leisurely place, then, isn't it?


Rudolph: Yes, sir.
Santa: Very brave indeed. Well, good luck, Rudolph.


Rudolph: Thank you, sir.
Santa: And Merry Christmas.

Slight pause.

Santa: Ho ho ho.


The moral of this post is: Do not send Christmas cards to your friends that make them want to phone Amnesty International and turn in Santa Clause.

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