My feelings about the holiday season are ambiguous. The joy of meeting up with friends and family, some of whom one hasn’t maybe seen in a while, is immeasurable, as is the certainty of good food and great activity all around. Presents are great–the giving and receiving of gifts is a custom that we in the United States have raised to unseen levels of mastery. But one thing I do not like is the emphasis on materialism. America has wasted kaboodles of cash on consumer goods that were typically not worth what was paid for them, and our ability to procure such goods is too often the measure of success or failure come these winter m0nths.
Personally, I always feel extremely self-conscious at Christmas time because there’s never enough money to make the season quite as festive as I’d like it to be. Christmas is an annual reminder of exactly what the real-world price of doing business the right way is, and it provides a useful occasion to think about logistics and generally reaffirm one’s interest in the work.
But, like I said, gifts are great. This “holiday wishlist” is not really meant as a prompt for anyone to get me anything. Let’s face it–I deserve nothing. By not making my points understood more clearly to a wider swath of the populace, I failed to rally Floridians to react proactively to these challenges in time, we were unable to prevent the large-scale breakdowns in our globalized economy, tears in the social fabric, and a precipitous decline in the nation’s overall strategic situation. All of this was predicted years in advance, the stakes reiterated countless times in countless forums, yet still it happened. Millions of lives have been destroyed in this country in this year; all the shattered families could fill one of the larger states.
A lot of good family men who never did anything but what they were asked to do by their country are heading into the final holiday season of their lives. What Santa has for them is a bullet, an overdose of pills, or a crudely rigged noose in the houses they can’t afford anymore. When one thinks of this, it’s hard to get too jolly, even at the jolliest points. But the American people are still in the early stages of a multi-generational conflict that will likely define the rest of all of our lives. President Obama has show that even the smartest and most well-intentioned of us must go to the mat against forces beyond our control, so let’s make the most of the holidays and be always ready.
With that, the wishlist:
Anthony Braxton–The Complete Arista Recordings of Anthony Braxton (Mosaic Records #242)
Richard Twardzik Trio–Complete Recordings (Lonehill Jazz)