So, now two of my 5 radio presets in my car are playing xmas music 24/7. One has been since early november, and I'm already pretty sick of it.
But I still scan through them on my way to work, and usually stop if one is playing
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid.
The song was released at the end of 1984, right before I turned 16, and is perfectly dramatic and bleeding-heart-ish for where I was then in my life. I still love it, in a weird nostalgic way.
The lyrics, however, are just ludicrous. I'm embarassed by them. I mean, the name for one thing. "Do they know it's Christmas?" - Well, some of "them" are christian, and certainly know. Some of them aren't, and for them it's NOT. A more appropriate question might be do WE know it's not Christmas for everyone? And should people have enough to eat even if it's NOT Christmas?
And then the "there won't be snow in Africa" - well, actually, there most likely was, some places in Africa. There are some dang high mountains over there, from what I hear. I bet there's snow on at least some of them. But more to the point, who the hell cares about snow? Yeah, that's what starving people are missing out on, snow. Poor things.
I know, poetic license and all that. It sounds good, and was very moving. Sold a lot of records, made a lot of money, which I heard didn't actually help the situation all that much. (as famine is almost always political, rather than due to actual lack of resources anyway)
So I guess it just got me back into thinking about charity and how we see our relationship to the world. The song is so much about guilt because we have and others don't, but also, in this weird way, about how we're better than them (we, after all, know it's christmas, and we have snow to boot)
I'm all for a sense of justice - a sense that something is wrong when we have a huge excess and others are suffering from want, but guilt is different, somehow, I don't like it. And the idea that people are starving because they're missing something that "we" "get" is just offensive.
But the song still moves me. Nostalgia? Poetry? Still caught up in my western world white guilt? Yeah....
*edit* link to youtube video, courtesy of Martin, Thanks!