Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm With Kim Jong Il

The holidays arrive at Chateau de Montaigne like a slow bruise. The feverish post-Thanksgiving cheesiness that prevails across the landscape is easily ignored for a spell, until at last the inexorable choral hosannas of herald angels and assorted celestial castrati obtrude on the ambient air, my mind frayed like a worn sock, barely covering the blistered heel of my heathen sensibilities. Christmas again, I grouse silently.

By the time my neighbor Zeno's basement disgorges its trove of lawn decorations and Zeno strings lights all over his house, I am undone, irritable, my denial obvious even to myself. Zeno gives full scope to a crow-like penchant for gaudy holiday accessorizing. I long to be under the bedclothes until it's over.

Chateau Zeno

Zeno is a puzzle to me - he goes through all this trouble each holiday even though in most things he seems to be agnostic. He showers anathemas on both parties in Washington without favor or partisanship; he is suspicious alike of evangelical, Unitarian, Baptist, Bahai and Buddhist; he neither believes in life insurance, the Chinese economy nor the universal sororo-fraternity of humankind. He is, in a word, a hard sell on almost every topic - excepting the sole matter of Christmas. It beggars my understanding, but I'm told there are a good many people just like Zeno in that single regard.

For my part, the only solution I can see to this annual assault on good taste, modesty and general decorum is to become the fully invested potentate of my own nation, another Prince Leonard I of Hutt, and on about the same scale as that august and benevolent ruler. I wouldn't need a lot of space, and I wouldn't exactly outlaw the observance so much as I would mute it considerably in my immediate vicinity. (And having my own nation is more Christmasy than Texas secessionist trash-talk.)

Prince Leonard I, Santa Claus to his grateful people

 Having envisioned this state of blissful political equilibrium, it occurred to me that the exemplar, paradigm, type, foreshadowing, cynosure and perfect instantiation of the Glorious Leader is indeed the Glorious Leader himself, Kim Jong Il. Christmas in North Korea - heaven on earth for the Christmas agnostic.

"Get your filthy reindeer off my DMZ!"

The notorious 38th Parallel has become the locus of tensions so typical of family holidays everywhere.  "Tensions," I read, "arose between North Korea and South Korea following a proposal by a South Korean church group to place Christmas lights on a watchtower along the DMZ. “The enemy warmongers,” stated the North Korean government’s Uriminzokkiri website, “should be aware that they should be held responsible entirely for any unexpected consequences that may be caused by their scheme.” 

 The Enemy Warmonger

I'm with Kim Jong Il and frankly I couldn't have put the case for nonintervention more succinctly myself. Especially that part about "unexpected consequences," which, considering this is North Korea, could open up a world of inventive possibilities - everything from a nuclear winter to swarms of mutant frogs. 

As for the neighbors to the south, it's a darn shame that there are just some people who can't say "Merry Christmas, y'all!" without making it sound like fightin' words.

Update (Dec. 19): A scant four days or so after this post appeared, Kim Jong Il died secretly. Or (to succumb to an awful pun), Kim Jong Il is now plain Kim Jong, no longer ill so much as downright dead. Coincidence, I suppose. Still, his loss is mourned in much the same way that Herman Cain's withdrawal from the ranks of GOP presidential contenders was mourned - in both instances, the comedic possibilities in the world are thereby diminished.

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