I have Do They Know It's Christmas? stuck in my head, and you're welcome. (You should watch it if only to admire Hottt 1984 Era Sting, who is looking pretty cute in that video especially compared to the boys who were under the influence not only of Earnest Face but also of certain unfortunate hair trends.)
I remember hearing this song in...let's see, how old was I? It came out when I was in middle school, but I don't remember hearing it until high school: I went to a religious middle school where even Christian rock was frowned upon, and when I say "frowned upon" I mean "actively campaigned against by the teachers, with guest lectures about how we could tell the devil was directly involved by listening to the particular type of beat." (I listed to my Michael W. Smith album anyway, which, now that I've thought of this, finally gives me a good answer to the question about why I ended up Leaving the Flock. "It was the beat, the beat, the crazy devil-worshiping BEAT of 'Old Enough to Know'!!)
So anyway, I heard "Do They Know It's Christmas?" when I was at the public high school, probably while walking to school listening to my WALKMAN, which played CASSETTES I made by recording songs off the radio. And I remember hearing "And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime..." and thinking, "Yeah, but....I mean, snow isn't really the issue, is it? There are areas of the United States that don't get snow at Christmastime either. And actually, for people who don't even have enough clothes and food, that's probably GOOD to not have snow and cold and ice." I also remember trying to understand why the singers seemed to want to know the answer to the question of the title. Do they..."know" it's Christmas? Why? Would that make a difference? Should we...tell them? Like, just in case? (None of this stopped me from listening to it 40 billion times.)
As an adult I get what they were trying to do (i.e., "Get in on the '80s Group Empathy Rock trend"), but "the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom" seems comically over-the-top (why would impoverished people spend money on clanging chimes of doom?), and I'm not sure the songwriter's suggestion to the listener (i.e., thanking God it's them instead of you) will solve the problem as it's been presented. The second solution, "Feed the world," is somewhat better, but lacks instructions for practical application: okay, I have some food, I'm standing in the world....now what?
Such a perplexing song. To hear it you'd think the main issues in Africa (which, incidentally, is kind of a big place, and my geography knowledge has always been a little shaky but I'll bet it isn't COMPLETELY without rain or rivers ANYWHERE) were (1) They don't get snow at Christmastime, (2) They don't know it's Christmas, and (3) Bells of doom keep clanging.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...