The History of Christmas. by Tim. link
Christmas to me means writing a column about Christmas. The only time I ever get asked to write columns is at this time of year. An editor of a music magazine somewhere says, Who are we going to get to write a column about Christmas? We need someone moderately well-known, musical and preferably comic. And some spotty intern says, How about moderately-well-known musical comedian Tim Minchin? And the editor says… well the editor says, Yes.
I do understand my task here. I understand that I am expected to produce some amusing whimsy about turkey with in-laws and drunken blowjobs at office parties and why no one ever gives Myrrh and more. What ever happened to Myrrh?, I might write, and you might think, Good point, C-grade celebrity Tim Minchin, good point. What did ever happen to Myrrh? And that would be nice. Because we would have achieved empathy.
But instead I am going to write a short History of Christmas. Note: everything I write is true.
Christmas was originally a Roman pagan festival of lawlessness called Saturnalia. For a week, no one could get arrested for wrecking shit or going nuts. There was lots of singing in the nude (a practice recommended by Tim), plenty of shagging (also recommended by Tim), some rape (not recommended by Tim, but you can watch heaps of it on CSI SVU – I heart modern morality), and some eating of human-shaped biscuits (Tim impartial). It was fun for everyone. Well… nearly everyone. See, at the beginning of the week they’d find a dude who they didn’t like (could be a chick, whatever, lay off) and they’d feed him loads of food and make him shag and party and stuff and then at the end of Saturnalia they’d kill him. Totally kill him dead. Kill the living fuck out of him. Ostensibly in order to ward off evil forces and enemies of Rome.
Saturnalia was – understandably – pretty popular. Completely amoral behaviour (not immoral – who am I to judge?) and a wee bit of human sacrifice. If they’d had cameras, it would have made perfect reality TV. (But they didn’t have cameras, not for many many years yet. In fact not until Joseph Nicéphore Niépce squeezed out his first image over an 8 hour period in 1827. Eight hours! Bet he didn’t delete that fucker, even if it made him look fat or whatever.) So when the homies who were running the increasingly pop cult of Christianity wanted to get more members, they decided they’d just tell everyone that Jesus (or whatever his name was) was born on the final day of the festival, which was… wait for it… December 25th. (Actually, the most likely date of the big J’s b’day is thought to be September 11th. How fucking weird is that? Someone make a documentary.) In this way, the Christian leaders back then were very similar to the leaders of the Pentecostal churches of today: to increase membership, you just change the frickin rules dude. Reinterpret the story. Like reinterpreting the Lord of the Rings to make it about lanky people with hairless feet on a journey to get rid of a necklace. Don’t fucking start me.
So Jesus was introduced and the hitherto pagan Romans just shrugged their shoulders and went with it. They didn’t really care about the justification for getting nude and singing and rooting and eating person-biscuits, as long as they still got the week off. Of course, even back then the Christian church was pretty into their moral directives and all, and they weren’t really sure how the traditions of Saturnalia fitted in with said directives, but they really wanted to get their numbers up, so they just started calling it Christmas and let the Romie Homie’s get on with the raping and the eating of the gingerbread men (or women, whatever, lay off).
To reiterate: the church put Jesus’s name to a festival of sexual abuse and human sacrifice in order to increase income. Oh, and here’s a cool thing: you know how Jews are always banging on about how their people have been so mistreated through the ages? Blah blah blah. Well in 1460ish, Pope Paul the Twoth revived some of the old Saturnalia ways for the amusement of the Roman people by force-feeding a whole lot of Jews food and booze and then making them race naked through the streets while all the good Catholics laughed at them. I think it’s a hilarious idea, and I don’t know why Jews are so sensitive. Maybe ol’ Pope Benedict should revive the tradition, but use gays instead of Jews. It’d be just as funny I reckon.
I know what you’re thinking: “But where does Tim Allen come into this?”. I’m getting there, alright?
Nicking bits of other cults was the bit of business development strategy that made Christianity what it is today. Another example: the church encouraged decorating Christmas trees when they were trying (successfully) to pinch the members of the pagan hippy mob, the Asheira cult. Oh and I assume you know about Santa? He was a Turkish bishop called Nicholas who was the dude who first called Jewish people the “children of the devil”. Bless him. He was idolised by these sailor dudes who took his bones to Italy where he usurped the stocking-filling attributes of a local lady-deity known as The Grandmother. The cult spread to the Germans and the Celts where Nick got mixed up with Woden (big white beard, rode a flying horse), then the Christians took him on board to try to… wait for it… increase membership. Time passes, Coca Cola hires a Swedish artist to make a Santa who drinks coke, and now here we are, 5 years old in Myer Perth city, sitting on the knee of a fat man in a red suit who is touching our thigh and asking us what we want for Christmas and the answer is: to get away from you, you obese, sweaty, antisemitic paedo fuck.
Hold on, hold on, I’ve skipped a bit. Roughly one thousand nine hundred and fifty three years after the birth of Joshua (or whatever his name was) and twenty-two years after the birth of Santa Cola, a boychild was born in Denver, Colorado to Gerald and Martha Dick. His name was Timothy Dick. Timothy Allen Dick.
Tim Dick’s dad died in a car accident when he was eleven, and his mum married an Episcopalian deacon two years later. When Tim was twenty-five he was arrested on drug (dunno which type) charges and spent two years in gaol, after which he changed his name to Tim Allen and made the hit ABC comedy series Home Improvement before bringing us the cinematic joy of The Santa Clause 1, The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.
A clause can be defined as an article, stipulation or proviso in a treaty, bill or contract. In the case of Allen’s seminal trilogy, it is a pun.
In the case of the above sentence, the word seminal is a pun.
Have a spoofy Christmas.
— Tim Minchin
Not written this year, because he has the flu. He says "My daughter has the flu too. I'd better go stick some drugs in her face." Awww. I hope they get better soon.