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The Christmas Shoes and the theology of narcissism
You folks ever heard that song "The Christmas Shoes"? Contemporary Christian light rock song from 2000, by some group called "NewSong", that I only know about from an episode of the Nostalgia Chick. And while I like the Nostalgia Chick, I almost think I was happier not knowing about this song.

In case you haven't heard this song, or heard of it... It's an "inspirational" contemporary Christian song about a man who is doing his Christmas shopping, not feeling the spirit of the season, when he spies a little boy ahead of him in line, trying to buy some pretty women's shoes. The boy doesn't have quite enough, and he starts crying and says he wants to buy the shoes for his dying mother, so she can feel pretty before she dies. And the singer buys the shoes for the boy, who then runs home, while the guy sings that "God must have sent that little boy to remind me what Christmas is all about."

Sounds like regular Christmasy glurge, but if you look deeper, you get into some really dark and awful ideas. Truth be told, I have nothing but contemptuous rage for the sort of theology that this song espouses. Without the last bit, it'd just be a bit of "I did what I could to help someone in pain, and it reminded me that I was losing sight of the true meaning blah blah blah," and that'd be fine. Saccharine, but fine.

But the last verse is where I go from "oh, come on already" to "GRAAAAAAH RAGEFLIP A TABLE!" Seriously, what it's saying is, "God sent this little boy with his horrible, traumatic parental death and his sad, pathetic attempt at a materialistic token of affection, to remind ME, yes, ME, what Christmas is all about. God put suffering in this child's life to teach ME a lesson!"

Seriously, dude thinks that God, the purported CREATOR of the FUCKING UNIVERSE, who apparently is all good and all loving and all knowing, chose to deliberately send horror into the life of this innocent child just so he, the beardy guy warbling this song, could learn a valuable lesson?! Never mind that any god which did so would be an EVIL god, unworthy of human worship, but who the FUCK are you, Mr NewSong Lead Singer Guy? What about YOU warrants the personal attention of the Creator of All Things, especially to teach you the sort of lesson you could get off any Hallmark card, and ESPECIALLY especially when the means of teaching you is killing an innocent woman, leaving this boy without his mother?!


*ahem* So, yeah. Doesn't please me very much.

Nostalgia Chick's review is funny, though:


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they didn't even create it originally. It was an old email xmas glurge story that went around in the mid-90s. Thought the email was stupid and hated the song even more.

Of course, part of me is also thinking what an awesome scam to buy shoes. "Please, mister, will you help me buy these shoes so my mommy can look beautiful for jesus tonight?" And then take them and sell them on ebay.

O to the M to the F to the G.

Yes well, this post made me laugh so hard that I watched your link, which made me laugh so hard my whole morning's better.

Hahahahahahaaaa, people suck! Wait, I shouldn't find that funny... EXCEPT I DO. Oh good I'd hate to think I wasn't a bitter cynic. Phew.


THANK YOU. That song will never make me cry, ever again.(I hate that song and hate that it makes me cry even more)

THIS. I HATEhatehate that i get teary-eyed at manipulative Xmas glurge.

That song always made me suspect that the kid was just scamming people for loot with his sob story so he didn't have to pay for holiday gifts out of his allowance.

**applause** Hate that song.

For me, the "sob" part of that sob story is that supposedly there's some woman out there dying of some terrible illness or whatever and apparently the thing that's gotten to her most in her final days is worrying that she's not goddamn pretty enough. That is SAD.

That certainly doesn't make me smile either. But it took a backseat to the overweening presumption on the part of the song's narrator.

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...And the thing that makes women happy, that makes us smile, that makes us feel like we're at our best, is when we're pretty. Not smart or articulate or brave or good or kind or skilled or talented or funny or bearing a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, just pretty. And this is drilled into kids' heads by the time they are five or six or however the heck old this kid is supposed to be, and that is considered positively heartwarming.


Thank you. That exact sort of thing is precisely what enrages me beyond the comprehension of sane people about the sort of people who consider handicapped people (ie. like me) to be "inspirational" and "great lessons" and "teaching us patience and tolerance" et cetera. I don't give two flying fucks at a rolling doughnut whether you ascribe that to the Great Sky Daddy or to the Random Vast and Uncaring Universe's Happenstance Lottery, it's still bloody offensive. We don't exist to make you feel good or into better people, we're just trying to get by.

Now, if you were to say that such-and-such an action somebody took was really brave, inspirational, et cetera, that would be one thing, but just bloody existing doesn't make the cut here. It's offensive and dehumanising, stop it.

I've never heard the song, so while reading your narration, I was really hoping the boy was buying the pretty pretty shoes for himself....

Edited at 2011-12-14 03:32 am (UTC)

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Yeah, except, no. See, it's a philosopical point that I've run into a number of other places, in contemporary Christian thought. There is a large undercurrent in parts of modern American Christianity which pushes just this "God is personally intervening on MY behalf, and not necessarily yours" attitude. So I didn't come to this conclusion about the song in isolation.

Also, I don't appreciate you calling my thoughts on something "deliberate misinterpretation".

This sort of thing is why I have explictly declined relationships with gods that wanted "worship".

I hate this song, because it feels like emotional manipulation, and I ran out of patience for emotional manipulators LONG ago.

This post, it is excellent.

I remain in the mood to rageflip tables for other reasons.

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