Sunday, December 16, 2012

wish you were here

"That was so fun! Cool! Amazing!" said the kids.
"It was everything I hate about religion!" thought J.Lo.
"It was completely...racist," muttered Penelope.

And in fact it was all of those things. We went to "see some Christmas lights" Saturday night, caravan-ing with a group from church, to be followed by hot chocolate and soup at a friend's house. I didn't really know what to expect, imagined that maybe this one street in particular put up a lot of lights, in the manner of our old neighborhood. But after a winding, NASCAR-esque drive out to the Middle of Nowhere, Rural North Carolina, we arrived at what was unmistakably THE Christmas lights.

You pay a nominal fee to park and walk through the place. It really is a scene. Magical in many ways. Like who is inspired to create this lit-up world of lights and fountains and soap snow and display houses of Christmas kitsch. It's completely tacky but endearing in that way that all Christmas lights are, taken to an epic level.

Tacky, yes, but did it delight all the children? of course. Inflatable cartoon figures, bathing plastic Santas, random vampiric wisemen lurking in corners. Why not. And of course miniature trains are always awesome.

And of course it had its own particular flavor. Very, as almost anon so aptly noted via text, Redneck Christian.

Erm. Some might even say Scary Christian.

Not that they weren't direct in their signage. They say what they mean, they mean what they say.

And clearly a lot of effort and care goes into the storage and display of these items; a lot of this stuff has been around for a long time. Within the kitsch there were cool glimpses of history. 

Except when it wasn't cool, at all. There was a bunch of, um, artifacts mixed in that I can't even post. One is under the "Godweiser" display above, but the others were worse. Slave figurines, blackface art and the like. I mean, off the charts appalling, to the point where I laughed, but in that speechless, jaw on the floor way. Like wow, I know this existed and still exists. but wow. How - why - would you ever put it up for display? Here we are in 2012. The kids pass over this stuff for the most part, attracted to the shiny and flashy and friendly over the - what do you even call it? - propaganda? Everything that made me feel vaguely like this: 

Disgruntled. Extremely perturbed. 

Well anyway. Some Christmas in the future I imagine there will be questions about these matters and at that point mommy will give them an earful. Like there is a time and a place to talk about whether "murdering babies" is okay, but emblazoning the message atop a toy train is probably not one of them. Among other important matters of discretion. 

For now, it was what it was. Magical for the children. On the edge of insanity for the adults. I think these alien-eyed reindeer some it up best. 

And if you'd like to sponsor a tree to keep this show going, here's how!


erin j said...

um. wow. just wow.sigh.

almost anonymous said...

Do they realize they're sucking the magical joy out of the lights with the other load of b.s.?

Crazy alien zombie reindeer does seem the fitting mascot for such a place.