So it's that time of year when we all find ourselves deep in the trenches of the War on Christmas and I just thought I'd take a moment to point out a few of the war's unacknowledged heroes. The covert agents serving deep behind enemy lines. The ones living each day in danger of exposure and punishment. But they soldiered on and since many of them have passed on, I think it's high time to give them the recognition they so deserve.
Of course, I'm talking about Jewish songwriters. As I'm sure you're aware, many of the perennially favorite Christmas songs were written by Jews. Irving Berlin, Jerry Herman, Johnny Marks ... the list goes on and on. And the explanation has always been that they were just writing songs for a large demographic and that the songs, if successful, would have a really long shelf-life and continue paying royalties for years to come. And while there's certainly some truth to that, I can now point out that those reasons were just providing cover.
I haven't been made privy to all of their (Ha, I fixed it.) heroic actions in the War on Christmas, but I can now let you in on a little secret; All of those Christmas songs contain subliminal subversive messages. Let's start with the Godfather of covert caroling, the 19th Century French composer Adolphe Adam who wrote "O Holy Night". His rebellion was somewhat arcane and difficult to decipher, but courageous nonetheless. If you follow a complex code, utilizing every third note from every other line of the score (and leaving out the bassoon's part), there's a message that says, "Watch out fellow Jews. Serving in the French military will get your ass tossed in jail." If Alfred Dreyfus hadn't been such a music snob, he might have avoided a great deal of unpleasantness.
Silver Bells, if played backwards contains the message "Shop at Kresge's, Shop at Kresge's" repeated ad infinitum.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer includes coded references to the locations of discount Chinese delivery and discount movie tickets.
The Christmas Waltz is a bit more bizarre but no less seditious in its intent. The song includes an hidden recipe for potato knishes and knaidlach.
Obviously, discovering these folks' heroism has been difficult; they were double agents serving under the most trying of conditions and their secrets have been well kept. If you're aware of any of them I've missed, please let me know. I, for one, think it's time their heroism was celebrated.