>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson
December 16, 2006

Essential New Word of the Week: Facebulations (definition hint: Happy Birthday, stranger!)

In a landmark decision handed down from the government, Santa Clauses in Sydney have been instructed not to use the traditional “Ho Ho Ho” greeting because it may be offensive to women. “Ha Ha Ha” was recommended instead, because it bears less resemblance to modern pimp jargon. In related news, the eponymous garden implement has been renamed a “soil relocation device,” and Vietnam’s largest metropolis will now be called “Gumdrop Chi Minh City.”

I can only assume that the loose collection of deported convicts and shepherds that comprise Australia’s government is experimenting with a new fuel source made from children’s tears. I’m all for preserving the feelings of Australian prostitutes, but this seems like overkill. Whores know that they’re whores, and not even the magic of Santa is likely to change that. Why don’t Australian politicians just give them extra large tips this holiday season?

This whole ridiculous story got me thinking about how flexible traditions can be, particularly when a few crackpots might be offended. If you cater to them, everyone else has to suffer. Now that I think about it, Christmas itself could be considered offensive to non-Christians. All the decorations, the music, the shopping blitzkrieg; it’s all useless to two-thirds of the world. And if “Ho Ho Ho” can be replaced, why not other aspects of the holiday season? It’s unlikely to happen, but there is one part of Christmas I would like to see changed: the goddamn movies.

“In this version, the mean (and anti-Semitic) Grinch lives on a mountain overlooking Jewville.”

I’m sorry, but Christmas movies just suck ass. I’ve met guys who claim to like them, but I’m pretty sure they were just projecting an image of sensitive, childlike whimsy so as to get laid by the nearest gullible slut. These movies have awful stories, poor production values, and inflict a saccharine morality onto a retching audience. Be honest, were you really lining up to catch Jingle All the Way, The Santa Clause 3, or Christmas With The Kranks? If so, you should know that Santa’s elves left you some magic eggnog under the kitchen sink, in the bottle marked “Drano.” Drink up!

Even the so-called classics are turkeys, so I’ve taken the liberty of punching a few of them up and broadening their scope. Now, everyone can feel included in the holiday season! And the best part is, the same technology that allowed George Lucas to ruin the original Star Wars trilogy can be applied to make these updates a reality. So, you should also expect to see reindeer replaced with digital banthas, and Jesus shooting at Han Solo first, infuriating both Christians and nerds everywhere.

Rudolph the Red-Dot Reindeer

In this cute, stop-motion animation Hindu film, the title character is ostracized from his peers because he comes from a lower caste. The other reindeer laugh and call him names like “filthy son of an untouchable whore mother.” Instead of games, though, they never let poor Rudolph study any Reindeer Upanishads.

Rudolph’s luck improves when Santa turns up, wanting to make a pilgrimage to a distant mountain temple on a foggy day. Only Rudolph, with his bright red forehead-dot is brave enough to lead the way. After the successful pilgrimage, all of the other reindeer love Rudolph, and let him lead the yoga sessions. Also, I forgot to mention: Santa has 8 arms for some reason.

A Kwanzaa Carol

This re-interpretation of Dickens’ novel features Ebony-zer Scrooge, a miser who hoards his vast wealth, never demonstrating an ounce of charity to his brothers (or his bruthaz). On Kwanzaa eve, Scrooge is visited by three spirits.

The Ghost of Kwanzaa Past (an 1830’s plantation slave) shows him how people should have compassion for one another. The Ghost of Kwanzaa Present (a platinum record rap artist/millionaire running back) explains that it’s better to give back to the community. And the Ghost of Kwanzaa Future (a racist cop from Alabama) shows Scrooge what will happen if word of his hoarding reaches the wrong ears.

Newly inspired, Scrooge decides to change his ways. He starts spending his money freely. He buys a set of gold teeth, an armful of bling, and platinum rims for his new hoopty. He gets cartons of menthol cigarettes and malt liquor for all his homeys. And he vows to keep Kwanzaa in his heart 365 days a year.

A Scientology Story

Ralphie, a young boy growing up in the 40's, dreams of owning a Red Rider BB gun, probably so he can shoot Xenu and other officers of the Galactic Confederacy and earn his place on the interplanetary starship that will take true believers to the planet Helatrobus. But every time he asks an adult for the desired firearm, he is told, “No, you'll shoot your eye out.”

Ralphie tries to earn the money for the BB gun by offering Dianetics tests to his school chums, but even 9-year-olds aren’t stupid enough to fall for that racket. Finally, Ralph seeks out the one adult who would never disappoint him: John Travolta. But his tongue is stuck to a frozen flagpole, making him marginally less intelligible.

At this point, the movie skips ahead about 3000 years. Humanity is enslaved by a hostile race of aliens. There’s something about radiation, and cavemen learning to fly Harriers, but to be honest, the whole thing becomes kind of unwatchable. If I were you, I’d just skip it and read a book. Scientologists shouldn’t be allowed near a movie camera.

How the Grinch Stole Chanukah

In this updated version of the Dr. Seuss classic, the mean (and anti-Semitic) Grinch lives on a mountain overlooking Jewville, and is perturbed by the noisy holiday celebrations below. Envious of the Jews’ happiness, he makes plans to descend on the town and, by means of burglary, deprive them of their presents and thus prevent Chanukah from coming at all.

However, in one house, he is discovered by little Cindy-Lou Jew. Without a specific holiday icon to impersonate, he is forced to confess, which is bad because most of the town’s inhabitants are lawyers. In the end, they release him, and the Grinch learns that Chanukah is not about presents (most of which were sucky chocolates and dreidels anyway.)

The Grinch is warmly welcomed into the community, even carving the traditional brisket at dinner. And about that heart that’s two sizes too small? Well, it turns out that the Mayor of Jewville has a brother who’s a famous, world-class cardiologist….

A Charlie Brown Ramadan

At the risk of causing problems, this version will be relatively straightforward. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang have a solemn, dignified Ramadan. They fast by day. Linus studies the Qu’ran diligently. Lucy, Sally, and Peppermint Patty all wear the hijab so as not to inflame the passions of those around them. It may not be a compelling storyline, but at least my house won’t be firebombed. Also, the prophet Muhammad is not depicted in any way.

Atheist Miracle on 34th Street

A no-nonsense Macy’s executive searches for a new store Santa. She hires a man calling himself Kris Kringle, and insisting that he’s the real thing. People assume he’s just a harmless old man, but they soon notice there is something special about Kris and his determination to advance the Christmas Spirit amidst the rampant commercialism. But a conflict with the store psychologist lands poor Kringle in the Bellevue insane asylum.

To secure his release, his friends arrange a hearing in which they argue that Kringle is sane because he is, in fact, Santa Claus. Everyone’s beliefs will be put to the test, but even so, it will take a miracle for Kris to win. Can he do it?

Answer: No, of course not. There’s no such thing as Santa Claus. Kringle is ruled insane. Moreover, several kids come forward alleging that Kringle asked them to hold his special candy cane. He goes to jail, and everyone who testified that he might actually be Santa is soundly ridiculed for being an idiot.

It's a Wonderful Buddhist Life

The main character, George, is broken and suicidal, when he encounters a monk who uses his powers to show George what life would be like for loved ones if he had never been born. That doesn’t faze him, so, the monk stresses that happiness itself is but a false construct, and that to live is to suffer.

The monk teaches George that the only way to Nirvana is The Noble Eightfold Path, and adherence to the Five Precepts of Ethical Behavior. They meditate for several hours, and George decides to go ahead with his suicide, confident that in his next life he will be reincarnated as a better person. By educating George, the monk earns his wings, which doesn’t really make sense in a religious context, but allows for some pretty cool special effects.

Essential New Word of the Week:

Facebulations n [fes’bjuleš? nz]

This week’s word is courtesy of PIC all-star utility infielder Xavier Holland, who graced my Facebook page with this choice cut on my birthday:

Essential New Word: Facebulations
Hint: It's happening right now.

Definition: Any tiding of good will on the wall of an acquaintance whom you've never actually talked to in real life, esp. if it's also your first post on their wall.

With this, X demonstrated that he clearly understands the complex principles involved in finding and assessing essential new words. I was particularly impressed, since these principles have only existed in my own head up until now. Nevertheless, good job X! That word is definitely going to catch on.