November 29th, 2003

O Come and Be Faithful

I've finally gotten used to Kim's post-Thanksgiving Christmas music carpet bombing. She hadn't even started this year, showing enormous restraint. But when Skylar and I woke up this morning at Thing One's behest -- Kim was already blogging away in my office -- I asked her, "Do you know what we can do now?" She answered, "Go on vacation!," which is true enough. But I explained about the music and put on Nat King Cole.

Like me, Skylar has a soft spot for "O Come All Ye Faithful," which she still insists is actually "O Come and Be Faithful." Come to think of it, the injunction to be faithful might be preferable to being hailed as already faithful. While the latter, "correct" formulation has a a structure analogous to other kinds of performative naming -- Judith Butler's "girling of the girl" -- the former has the flavor of free will. "Come on, man, don't be an asshole. Be faithful. It's the holiday season. Save your dalliances for the spring."

Ever since our early October trip to L.A., I've had some variant of the "Zeus story" in heavy rotation during bedtime. I hadn't meant for it to become a ritual, but Skylar insisted. I'm always a little anxious about it, because it verges on the risqué:
• Step 1: Zeus gets bored staying in his Mt. Olympus home
• Step 2: Zeus sneaks out when Hera is asleep or not looking
• Step 3: Zeus drives his 1967 Pontiac GTO down the twisty road to the flatlands
• Step 4: Zeus ends up at Bob's Supper Club, where he orders a burger and a glass of red wine
• Step 5; Zeus checks out the floor show
• Step 6; Zeus sends a message to the chanteuse afterwards enjoining her to meet him at the Gazebo by the lake
• Step 7: Chanteuse -- Leda is the preferred name -- arrives at Gazebo and meets whatever ordinary mortal Zeus is pretending to be that day
• Step 8: The ordinary mortal disappears and the chanteuse wonders what's up
• Step 9: A swan or golden shower of light or some other manifestation of Zeus materializes
• Step 10: It's unclear what happens here
• Step 11: Chanteuse comes out of trance and can't figure out what happened in Step 10
• Step 12: Zeus heads home to a very angry Hera, who chews him out and takes away his ESPN privileges until he has paid penance for consorting with earth women
Now Zeus is someone who is more likely to profit from the injunction than the declaration. But fidelity has limited narrative interest. The trickster figure is de rigeur, whether he be Roger Rabbit or a boorish, Pontiac-driving god.
  • Current Music
    Nat King Cole's X-Mas album in the living room