I’ve tried very, very hard to resist commenting again on the garish Christmas lights display which again this holiday season pollutes the streets of my neighbourhood. But I can no longer do so.

I’ve reconciled myself to the notion that the “creating a garish lights display will prevent people from shopping in Moncton” meme cannot be extinguished — it’s simply too powerful, in some crazy viral way that I can’t understand.

What makes me depressed, however, is this: after thousands of years of modern culture, of developments in architecture, design, art, craft, after the Renaissance, the Bauhaus, Impressionism, in a world of Frank Gehry and Jasper Johns and Georgia Okeeffe and the Group of Seven, why is it that the expensive centrepiece of our primary secular and religous holiday consists of a illuminated duck drinking from an illuminated champagne fountain?

Is this the best that we can do? Is this really who we are?


Lana's picture
Lana on December 15, 2002 - 18:20 Permalink

In the spirit of ranting about Christmas lights, the state of Christmas lights on Parliament Hill this year reeks again of the “dads throwing lights on the bushes”. Let’s not even get started on the orange! lights by the Chateau Laurier… oof.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on December 15, 2002 - 22:25 Permalink

In my humble opinion, it would seem to be more to the heart of the matter (our editor might agree…?) that “political correctness” and the fact that we have been led down the path to believe that the mention of “Christmas” during the Christmas season will be offensive to other faiths has done more harm to the Christian celebration of the Lord’s birth then any (substantial) damage by commercialism.And with the old double standard, Jewish, Muslim and other religious festivals are exclusive of this rule.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 16, 2002 - 01:58 Permalink

I don’t know what to make of the fact I am in total agreement with 4 of your last 5 posts (I am with Willson on the world leader thing except that it requires identification of a world on “the other side”.) On this thread, beyond the violation of any sense of taste, how in God’s name this wacky lights thing could be taken to attract folks to Charlottetown from off PEI is just beyond me. Folks coming to Charlottetown from within PEI would be coming anyway. Smacks of creativity by sub-committee in action. No doubt obtuse but faintly related stats from unnamed sources are available to be trotted out to justify the expenditure. I also wonder is whether the lights funding organizations spend a comparable amount on food, shoes, roofs for the needy (one of the more tricky implications of the whole Christmas thing) or (I wonder too) are they among the folks lobbying in the backroom for the relocation of moms and kids shelters to be farther from shopping districts and schools. Heck, all Christ got was some hay in an out-building!

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on December 16, 2002 - 14:13 Permalink

When I was in grade school we had a boy in our class who was Jehovah’s witness (sp?). That year our class was not allowed to be decorated for Christmas, we did not stand for o-Canada and several other thing… It was not fair at all. 30 kids to celebrate Christmas but one doesn’t, so we all missed out of Christmas school activities!

Oh, to make it all the worse, in music class we didn’t do christmas songs!

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on December 16, 2002 - 15:07 Permalink

Ed., It is because we have ducks drinking from champagne glasses that we have Jasper and Georgia et al. One cannot have good without evil, love without hate, art without tack. It is the yin and yan of it, the modern dialectic.
In the spirit of the season it behooves the cranks to well remember that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and, for some but maybe not all, Christmas lights create Christmas magic.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 16, 2002 - 16:25 Permalink

Fair enough, Ritchie in general… but please find that rare sect of Christians who trace their faith through the champagne duck. It’s not on either side of the dialectic, its not Dickensian, its not Gospel, its not Island, its not commercial, its not evangelical fundamentalist, not Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Unitarian, cargo cult or Branch Davidian. It is a duck drinking champagne and some committee somewhere voted “yes, looks good.”

Ritchie Simpson's picture
Ritchie Simpson on December 16, 2002 - 16:41 Permalink

aaaaaaa………..ok al…….

Christopher's picture
Christopher on December 16, 2002 - 16:45 Permalink

Maybe it’s a goose? In Alsace we would always drink champagne and then eat a goose (or the fattened liver thereof) as part of Christmas festivities. Perhaps there was an unremarked infiltration of Alsatians at some point in the Island’s history, which this display is commemorating?

Alan's picture
Alan on December 16, 2002 - 17:11 Permalink

So…the aquatic fowl sharing the champagne is some sort of giving back to those birds that gave their livers for quality yuletide treats?? That actually makes more sense…

Libertia's picture
Libertia on December 16, 2002 - 19:46 Permalink

They aren’t drinking, they’re a-swimming…as the swans do in the 12 days of Christmas.
Don’t you guys sing Christmas carols? Maybe if there were seven of them…

Wayne's picture
Wayne on December 17, 2002 - 00:22 Permalink

I find fao gra, or however you spell it (duck liver), real gross!!

Christopher's picture
Christopher on December 17, 2002 - 16:01 Permalink

Foie Gras, unpalatable as the origins may seem, is absolutely sublime. The best probably comes from the Bas Rhin, around Strasbourg. It is goose liver, not duck, although passable imitations are made using duck.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 17, 2002 - 16:29 Permalink

Hence, the justification of its celebration in ElectriCo’s gluttony of illuminations.