The Gift That Keeps On Sucking

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Memo to America: STOP BUYING STUPID SHIT. AGAIN.

Looks like the Official YAD Holiday Antigift Guide will end up being a recurring feature. And why not? Someone's got to point out to all of you the things you may, in a moment of weakness, think are a good idea. You know, like a TV that claims to be the first one for both men and women. I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm glad Sony's finally cracked the technological hurdle linking chromosomes to the ability to receive visual input, but you'd think, for the sake of humanity, they'd incorporate it into ALL their models, not just expensive plasma sets.

I guess we'll all have to keep living with our own gender-segregated sets until prices come down. And speaking of gender and television, it's come to my attention that Rachael Ray must be stopped.

I know it seems like I'm late to this particular backlash, but that's because I don't really -want- to hate her. It's just that she keeps making me. With the mute button on, and a bit of cardboard covering the entire screen from her forearms up, 30 Minute Meals isn't a bad little cooking show.

If they ever put season sets of it on DVD, though, we can strap creationists to chairs, prop their eyeballs open, and force them to watch this woman evolve from a slightly ridiculous cooking show host into a crank-addicted, Joker-gas-sniffing, multimedia prisoner of her own schtick. The personification of nails on a blackboard. And a one-woman post-Martha empire.

The moment I realized she'd become a menace to society was when I caught two minutes and eighteen seconds of her new syndicated talk show. That was months ago. I didn't write about it, because doing so would have required watching more than two minutes and eighteen seconds of her syndicated talk show, and that wasn't gonna fucking happen. The moment I decided I needed to tell you all she'd become a menace to society was when I saw a commercial for her Christmas album.

Put down the rope and step off the chair. She's not singing. At least not this year. No, instead, the eyeball-scrapingly-titled "How Cool Is Christmas" contains exactly one dozen Christmas songs, personally selected by some record company executive and shown briefly to Ray for five seconds to get a signature. And oh, what a dozen songs it is.

It's the reality show cast of Christmas albums. There's your requisite standards (Sinatra, Aretha, Doris Day, and of course the Bowie/Crosby Little Drummer Boy). There are the demographically-balanced covers of classics (Willie Nelson doing Blue Christmas, and Hall and Oates doing Jingle Bell Rock*), a couple of wacky tracks so that those approaching middle age can feel hip (Elvis, Buster Poindexter), and the requisite smattering of world music and jazz.

I don't understand why even people who can stand Ray are supposed to give a shit what Christmas music we're supposed to believe she likes. Or buy an album, even if there are a couple of recipes in the liner notes. I mean, if I want to hear that fucking Bowie/Crosby song, all I have to do is take my head out of its soundproof sack anytime after Thanksgiving and wait ten minutes. She should have called it "Songs As Inescapable As My Grinning Death Mask".

There is absolutely no reason you should buy this stupid piece of shit. Well, OK. One reason. If a crazed maniac kidnaps you, forces you on Amazon at gunpoint, and tells you to choose between Ray's Christmas album and her "mixtape for kids" or he'll shoot you in the head. The Christmas album is, incrementally, better than eating a bullet.

*A combination roughly equivalent to bleach and ammonia.

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