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And so this is Christmas and what have you done . . .

December 25, 2009

“Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon

So this is Christmas and what have you done; another year over and a new one just begun. And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun; the near and the dear one; the old and the young.
A very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I hope it’s a good one without any fear. And so this is Christmas for weak and for strong; for rich and the poor ones, the world is so wrong.
And so happy Christmas for black and for white; for yellow and red ones; let’s stop all the fight.
A very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.
And so this is Christmas and what have we done. Another year over and a new one just begun.
And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun; the near and the dear one; the old and the young.
A very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.
War is over, if you want it.
War is over. Now.

I’ve always liked this song. It’s a very simple melody and a bit ethereal; it feels like it’s lilting away. And the children’s vocals give it the flavor of a traditional carol. But then, irreverent, radical, bad Beatle John thrusts his social consciousness, teeming with racial injustice and “war is over”, right in there and ruins the mood for some listeners by trying to yank the song back down to the ground, into the primordial mud of human insecurities from which reflexive violence spawns.

I think it’s a wonderful, joyous thing that he does and it’s beautiful to behold.

Here are three visual montages produced by three You-Tubians, each with a different emphasis and interpretation of the exact same song. I really love the cybersphere.

This version reminds me of The Carousel, something Don Draper, at the end of an eggnog bender, would brilliantly put together at the last second to help Midge sell billions and billions of Christmas cards.

The following rendition (what a diverse word, huh?) is a complete subversion of the prior’s scrubbed sentiment. This video tries to bury the song in the mud I alluded to above. The juxtaposition is a true work of art. It gets a flood of emotions out of LOM every time and he is one cool, cynically detached observer most days. You are warned that graphic images of collateral damage are set to holiday music forthwith.
But the effect is truly worth your bravery to watch.

And lastly, to ground this tune differently; to firmly anchor it to the individual artist as his personal expression of the diversity of his humanity; we are presented with some fun pictures that should trigger fun memories of a bunch of guys playing their way through life; hopefully they were enjoying their soundtrack. I certainly did. Merry Christmas people!

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