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Protest Song of the Week: ‘Christmas Spirit’ by The Wailers

The consumerism of Christmas is often insufferable. It starts well before December, especially with “Black Friday” in November, which now includes Black Thursday or Black Thanksgiving because one day of door-busting sales is not enough for corporate executives.

Shadowproof’s “Protest Song of the Week” is “Christmas Spirit” by The Wailers, which was a garage rock band popular in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s. They were from Tacoma, Washington, and are widely considered one of the first garage rock bands to form in the United States.

John “Buck” Ormsby, who played bass in the band, sings the song in the style of Bob Dylan while the band stomps through lyrics showing seething contempt for everything the holiday has become as a result of capitalism.

The Santa that parents take their children to see in the mall is a “fat clown” and a “dime store commercialized manufactured product directly descended from a saint.” He will bleed you of all your last year’s worth of savings.

The mania induced by consumerism is marvelously summed up by this verse about everyone running all over town and shopping around:

Get yourself in line
Buy a big ball of twine
Anything you can get your hands on
Don’t care what you give
Just got to get a gift
Don’t know what you’re giving it for
Only thing that counts is the brand and amount
That it comes from an expensive store

“It’s everywhere, that Christmas spirit,” Ormsby sings. And every word is dripping with mockery for all of humanity and what people come around this time of the year.

Listen to “Christmas Spirit” by The Wailers:

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."