Friday, December 3, 2010

WhoThe Heck Is Parson Brown?

Is what you've likely asked at some point if you've had Winter Wonderland drilled in your ear. Which by now you surely have.

'Parson' was just the term they used when the song was written (1934) to refer to a priest. "He'll say 'Are you married?'; we'll say 'No man/ But you can do the job when you're in town'" refers to Parson Brown marrying off whoever's doing the singing.

Man, is that song out of date, isn't it? First off, nobody uses that term anymore. Secondly, priests used to travel from town to town like that, but not anymore. Third, later on the song talks about going off to "frolic and play the Eskimo way" when we don't call the Inuit that anymore either, and you know sooner or later kids are going to start asking what's an Eskimo. And then there's "later on we'll conspire" and these days it doesn't really matter what the next line is because by the time you get it out you're eating pavement with your hands in cuffs.

And while we're at it, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Why are we singing to kids "He sees you when you're sleeping/ He knows when you're awake/ He knows if you've been bad or good/ So be good for goodness sake"? Yes, kiddies. The old man is watching you sleep.

And if you're good, the old man who watches you sleep will come into your house through the chimney. To give you a present.

This is not something you could get away with telling children in 2010 if it were not already established tradition.

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