The day after Thanksgiving the barrage begins. Not the barrage of ads, begging us to shop like there was no 9/11. The barrage of Christmas music.

The correctors of political correctness will shake their heads and tell you, “Tsk, tsk, pretty soon those damn do-gooders are going to outlaw the use of the word Christmas altogether.” Of course they have to raise their voices to be heard over the din of the non-stop soundtrack wreathing our heads in every public place, where every other word from the lyrics is “Christmas,” “Santa,” or “Jesus.”

There seems to be a disconnect here.

Someone should study what it does to the average person’s consciousness being inundated by Christmas songs, non-stop, for more than a month. Does it make a person more compliant, suggestible, willing to do their part as good, freedom-loving capitalists?

If that’s true, why not use the technique at our “detention center” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? Maybe we’d get better results than with waterboarding – you know, sell it as a “more humane form of torture.” Sorry, we don’t torture. I forgot. Remember that, everyone. We don’t torture. And don’t forget, we also respect civil liberties. We love freedom. Don’t ever say we don’t respect civil liberties, especially on the phone since it’s probably tapped–but legally, of course, because we don’t torture and we always uphold and defend our civil liberties. As the Christmas song running constantly through my brain says, we believe only in “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”

It’s only our enemies who don’t. They hate freedom. Or maybe they just hate the way we love freedom. I forget.

You see? I think the Christmas music is working already.

The pressure’s on this holiday season (sorry, Christmas season, Christmas is good, political correctness is bad, bad, bad). We need to buy, buy, buy – because if we don’t, all the doomsayers will insist Iraq war spending and the subprime mortgage crisis are having a deleterious effect on “consumer confidence,” and once consumer confidence is affected, hoo boy, watch out (especially after they turn off the Christmas music).

If sales are down this year, the experts may even be forced to give the economy the dreaded “vote of confidence,” insisting they “don’t see the downturn as reflecting a decrease in consumer confidence.” At that point, we’re really in deep doo-doo, to quote one of our greatest presidents – the man who gave us our current president (I can’t say his name, it depresses people).

The solution is to keep playing Christmas music until the fourth quarter economic indicators are released. In the meantime, let us snow, let us snow, let us snow.

Shopping’s been interesting so far. A friend came out of Penzey’s Spices the other day and said they had run out of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, all at the same time. That must be an economic indicator of something – at the very least, a Simon & Garfunkel revival.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani made an appearance in Oak Park last week, just as the new Marion Street Unmall was being unveiled. That’s either a sign of the free market riding to our rescue, or the apocalypse, depending on your point of view. Maybe it’s a free-market apocalypse.

I remember when the free market could do anything. Omnipotent, omnipresent, kind of like Christmas music, or like God–all good, no evil, just occasional “market corrections.” Economic correctness! Political righteousness!

So why can’t the free market solve the immigration issue? Sorry, didn’t mean to raise a touchy topic. The music died down there for just a second between stores.

Maybe if we play Christmas music all along the Mexican border, people will stay put. The Great Wall of Christmas!

What’s on your wish list this season?

No, besides Christmas music.

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