Stranded Gypsy Girl

Original. Quirky. Spreading Love Like Dandelions

We Wish you a Merry Christmas: A Lesson in Manipulation Techniques December 16, 2008

Filed under: Culture and Society,Music — bessabariangirl @ 11:22 pm
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Have you ever noticed how manipulative this Christmas Favourite is? Let us go through the lyrics and learn a lesson in MANIPULATION TECHNIQUES!

Do not be fooled by the cheery expressions...

Do not be fooled by the cheery expressions...

First verse:

“We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

LESSON #1: BUTTER UP

We can see that this first verse is very innocent and cheery. It lulls the listener into a false sense of security as they hum along and absorb all that Christmas merriment. The caroler hence is thought of as a nice, well meaning person and the listener is more likely to let them into their house and home. There is a proverb that states, “You can catch a bee better with honey than you can vinegar” which basically means SUCK UP and the sucker will come to you.

We can see that this particular caroler has taken that a step further and included the relatives; this is a gesture that can go one of two ways. If the caroler is lucky, the listener likes his relatives, the listener will be even more taken by the fact you remember his relatives. If the caroler is unlucky and the listener has terrible rellies, the listener will immediately become suspicious at this attempt and the former steps towards gaining their goodwill will be met with suspicion.

Second Verse:

“Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer”

LESSON 2: LET YOUR DEMANDS BE KNOWN IN PLAIN LANGUAGE

We can see that this caroler has used the direct approach. Their desired object suddenly has been put out in the open for all to see: the figgy pudding. They have subtly let the listener know their real intentions: they are singing for their supper. Now, such a direct statement may take aback some listeners or may produce sympathy. If the caroler is lucky, the listener is of a sympathetic kind and along with carolers is the type to let in stray cats and give them a good meal. This kind of caroler will assume that such a direct demand is proportionate to the amount of hunger the caroler is feeling and so will serve up figgy pudding quicker than you can blink. Most listeners however will be taken aback, hostilities will rise, and so this is when the caroler quickly launches into the next verse…



Third Verse:

“We won’t go until we get some;
We won’t go until we get some;
We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here”

LESSON #3: LEARN THE ART OF A WELL PLACED THREAT

If the listener was feeling hesitant about giving in to the caroler’s demands, this really settles the case….an effective threat. This threat is effective because it

a) Uses a threat that the listener will find very irritating. (Obviously by now the caroler is getting on their nerves so any extension of their presence is going to be a suitable punishment)

b) Used a threat they can easily carry out without discomfort or harm to themselves (unless the listener starts throwing things)

c) Used a threat that only they have the power of providing…or not providing. The listener knows that this is a situation that is all in the hands of the caroler

Verse Four:

“We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

LESSON #4: LEAVE ON A GOOD NOTE

We see here in the fourth verse a reiteration of the first verse, something that will bring back pleasant memories with the listener, of times before things got nasty between them and the caroler. This makes them more likely to forget all that former hostility and open their doors to the caroler the next year…and make the mistake again….

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Carols By (Fake) Candlelight December 15, 2008

Filed under: Culture and Society — bessabariangirl @ 12:28 pm
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Carols By (Fake) Candlelight.

How Carols By Candlelight SHOULD be

How Carols By Candlelight SHOULD be

This was once a tradition I looked forward to with all my might, especially as a child – where I could sing in public (and not get told to shuddup!) and sop up all the Christmassy spirit I desired.

This year I was the only one from my family to go along with Dad (who, as the local chaplain got asked to do the short God bit of the proceedings) and represent for Christmas. We took along my Grandma (because of one cousin’s early speech impediment has been nicknamed by our family ‘Grandy’), who at 79 is one of the most sprightly people I know! Sprightly yet demure.

So I settled in the pew – it had been brought inside because of weather concerns…

*Note to self: Outside settings gives more room for the youngsters to muck up, teens to make out surreptitiously and more overall ambience. Everyone is more self conscious in an inside setting.

…Between my demure grandmother and my overly enthusiastic Dad. It was going to be a fun-filled night.

Firstly there was this choir of *older* ladies garbed in high waist black skirts and white “blouses”. They warbled out the favorites starting with ‘Waltzing Matilda’ with the lyrics changed to suit Christmas.

*Note to self: If ever writing a Christmas Carol and I’m going to put time and effort into it, I will at least write some original music to it. And won’t put koalas in it. KOALAS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS!!!

…In a key beyond most people’s ranges…

*Note to Self: Put carols in keys that don’t include having to reach to a high ‘F’. We’re not all trained opera singers.

I thought I would spend the time constructively i.e. trying to get the glow sticks we were handed to work. I’m not quite sure what the point of glow sticks were when we were inside with the lights turned on (so that people could read their carol books) but we had ‘em and I at least wanted mine to work. I was yet to be so lucky…apparently you’re meant to bend the things and shake them, but unfortunately mine sprung a leak and down… down… captain…the “glow juice” was sprinkled all over my carol booklet.

*Note to self: Moderation in all things. Especially snapping glow sticks

So I busted my glow stick, but at least I still had my FAKE CANDLE to inspire a bit of Christmas spirit. I am serious, health and safety regulations are even starting to seep into our Christmas Celebrations. Be warned, birthdays will be next. The rate of houses that burn down because of candles on birthday cakes is on the rise therefore we will be replacing REAL candles with FAKE candles that have special sensors on them to turn off when blown on.

*Not to Self: Surely Red Tape MUST have a line on which they do not cross

Next we had the cute kiddies of the Primary School doing their item. The teacher swishes her long skirts (FACT: all Primary School Music Teachers wear long skirts) to turn on the cd player and we hear the opening strains on “Jingle Bell Rock”. I wonder to myself, how many primary schools out there are doing this very song this very minute?! And worse, the kids are up there reading off LYRIC SHEETS.

*Note to Self: Lyric sheets are dodgey. Very, very dodgey. And unprofessional. I don’t care if you’re 10, the lyrics to Jingle Bell Rock aren’t that hard to remember. Just rhyme stuff with “jingle bell” and “rock”.

Next we have one of the local musicians from the local high school doing some items. I’m thinking, this will be alright, I’ve gigged with her before and she’s pretty decent. Well she gets up there and starts singing all these angsty emo songs! From Jingle Bell Rock to “Tool Boy”. I felt like covering my grandma’s ears. Where’s the Christmas spirit in this?!

*Note to Self. NUMBER ONE RULE OF PERFORMANCE ALWAYS THINK OF YOUR AUDIENCE!! This girls audience was old grannies and the young grandchildren they had dragged along. DO NOT SING EMO SONGS TO GRANDMAS

So…at the end of the night where did this lead me? Miserbale with a leaky glow stick, devoid of Christmas cheer. But then I looked around me. My grandmother was singing her hardest, practically belting out, “Joy to the World” – who knows how many more things like this I will be able to do with her? I saw a mother to my left who had massive black roots and faded tracksuit pants, but she was proudly taking photos of her daughter onstage, (even if her daughter was reading off a lyric sheet). I saw a guy with down syndrome up the back grooving around to hit own beat to the music, with a big fat happy smile on his face. And a little girl to my right suddenly exclaimed to her grandma as she pointed to the Christmas tree, “I just LOVE Christmas!!!”

Hmph. Maybe deep down inside, I do too.

Even with a fake candle.

Merry Christmas Everyone