Wall to wall, this day, and tomorrow promises the same; I have to go to St. Paul to do another radio interview on an NPR-syndicated show, as well as turn in about sixteen different pieces hither and yon. The Time of Enslackening has affected only the Bleat, I’m afraid to say. The last Stagland update will come tomorrow, and the Diner – the very special heartwarming Christmas Eve show – will air next week, complete with a special guest. I do know that Friday night I will relax as hard as I possibly can, because that will be the start of a great long 10-day lacuna. Heads up: I will be moving Bleat Yuletide Theater to buzz.mn over the weekend, since the shows are public domain and I don’t have to worry about copyright.
I caught Jinglepixie under the tree tonight with a Zippo. Like he wasn’t really going to set the tree on fire. Bastard.
Usually I get (G)Nat to the bus by 8:22, but she had a rough loose cough this morning, and felt poorly. So she stayed home from school at sat on the couch by the fireplace under a blanket, playing Pokemon. While she battled I did the WDAY radio interview until 9, then got to buzz.mn for the daily work. She rallied after a while and wanted to go back to school, so off we went. But first I had to watch the closing sequence of a Pokemon game she’d found on YouTube, because it was exciting and also sad at the end and made her sorta want to cry a bit.
Took ten minutes, and if there’s a definition of something about which I could care less in the abstract sense, it’s that. Here’s some sample dialogue from the end, when the Pikachu (named Sonix for the player) reveals he has to return to the human world, and starts to disappear:
You think I’m kidding? Here. SPOILERS! THIS MAY RUIN THE END OF POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON ENDING!
This has been viewed 193,508 times, which means it has an audience about 150,000 times larger than Brian DePalma’s last movie. I pity the foo who didn't sit thorugh the credits, because you learn the happy ending. Later interrogation revealed that this was a galaxy where Pokemon speak in complete sentences and have their own economy; they are not enslaved to battle against their will, but - here's the life lesson - have figured out their own justification for wailing the krep out of each other.
There's a reason this was viewed 200,000 times, and why it hit the sweet spot: it's the dream of every kid in simple chunky graphic form. They have assumed the form of their stand-in; they have entered a world in which they are accepted in their fantasy form; they are required to return to the real world (implied constraints: siblings, homework, boring rules) but turn back at the last minute to live in a world composed entirely of peers.
The depth and breadth of this subculture would amaze someone who has no kids and no idea. It speaks to them in ways most adults have forgotten about. Oh, but not me! I am special! Well, no; I just remember what comics meant to me, and how I used comics as a test for the rest of the world. Parents? Hopeless, but as long as they didn't demean the comics or take them away, that was okay. Peers? Some got it. Some faked it. Some were contemptuous. You always had one close friend who really got them, and one close friend who really didn't. He may have tried but he really didn't.
I sat through that whole YouTube piece because it was important to her that I paid attention. Also. I wrote the alternative dialogue in my head and kept it to myself. Also, I did want to know what happened. It’s when they don’t want to show you these things that you miss sitting through stuff that drove you nuts. I don't blame my dad for not sitting down and reading Spider-Man with me; that wasn't what dads did. My generation has no excuse.
Anyway. Off to school and back to work. I did nip out three hours later to attend (G)Nat’s last day of After-School Spanish; they always put on a little show, and you cannot miss that. But I made sure I put up a fresh post at buzz.mn first. Back home; more work, a 5 PM nap, then up to make a wretched, wretched supper. I bought some Tyson pre-cooked oven-roasted chicken breasts, and thought I’d add some butter-chicken sauce for an ersatz Indian treat. Little did we know that Tyson had injected the breasts with brown sugar, because GOD FOR-FARGIN-BID that a single morsel should pass American lips without sugar altering its essence. It made for a rather unfortunate meal, but the dog liked it. I also had a bag of lettuce for salads, and discovered it was mostly Spines. A total failure, all around. One of those meals where you apologize to your family with red-faced shame, then retire to a corner, light a candle, apologize to your ancestors, tie a sash around your forehead, and open your belly with a knife.
Or, use a butter knife to no effect. That’ll do. It was butter chicken, after all. After dinner I walked the dog and did an early Hugh Hewitt show, where we talked about "Darkness at Noon" and the new political ads and the "Man of the Year" award for Putin. As I said: gosh, convincing the Russian general population to accept illiberal strong-man autocracy; that's hard work. What do you do with your afternoon?
Bleat Radio Yuletide Theater brings you the Highly Exaggerated Story of Silent Night! It’s interesting for several reasons:
* This sort of pre-fab mass-market piety is utterly out of fashion in entertainment today.
* It’s introduced and narrated by the man who wrote “Lost Horizon”
* Your BS meter will ping many, many times, especially the bit with the songbird
* It contains a generous portion of that old radio staple we've explored this week, Unconvincing Children
* There’s something so incredibly Forties about the sound of the choir; it would be replaced in a few years by new varieties of voices and harmonies
* The part where the voices start chanting the lyrics as the pastor walks back in the night sounds right out of a movie about devil worship.
From 1948's Hallmark Theater - yes, the card company - we bring you the Story of Silent Night. Enjoy! And see you at buzz.mn.