A Different Drummer

Trigger warnings: news, politics.

There’s a cute game people play around the holidays. Basically, the game is trying to avoid hearing any version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ whether it be on the radio, TV, Internet or even office carolers. If you can make it to Christmas Day without hearing the song, you win.

What you win, I have no idea. It’s almost impossible to get to Christmas Day without hearing the song. Personally, I prefer the Harry Simeone Chorale version, which reminds me of Christmases of the past, especially when I was a kid. My parents had the album; now I have their album.


This album

There are other versions, of course – LOTS of versions. Many people like the tender Bing Crosby-David Bowie version. Side note: indicative of my memory issues, it took a full two minutes to remember David Bowie’s name.

There’s also Johnny Cash (the first cover, in 1959), Josh Groban, the Jackson 5, Faith Hill, Bob Dylan and so many others. But I hear a different version this year.

People my age and older will remember when Simon and Garfunkel did a version of ‘Silent Night’ retitled Silent Night/7 O’clock News (click link to listen) in 1966. The duo starts out doing a beautiful rendition of the carol but about 20 seconds into the song, something’s not quite right: a broadcaster is heard, softly at first and then progressively louder, reading a typical newscast of the day.

“Dr. Martin Luther King says he does not intend to cancel plans for an open
housing march Sunday into the Chicago suburb of Cicero.
Cook County Sheriff Richard Ogleby asked King to call off the march and the
police in Cicero said they would ask the National Guard to be called out if it is held.”

Gradually, the duo’s tender Silent Night fades out as the newscaster’s reading becomes louder, eventually overwhelming the singing:

“Former Vice-President Richard Nixon says that unless there is a substantial
increase in the present war effort in Vietnam, the U.S. should look forward
to five more years of war.

In a speech before the Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in New York,
Nixon also said opposition to the war in this country is the greatest single
weapon working against the U.S

That’s the 7 o’clock edition of the news, good night.”

Every time I hear it (and it’s rarely played nowadays) I get something in my eye, if you catch my drift.

The sixties were not all Beatles, peace, love and hippies. It was a tumultuous time in America. The country was literally ripped apart by opposition to the Vietnam War. The protests often turned violent, leading to the deaths of five Kent State University students on May 4, 1970. The discord tore apart families and nearly destroyed the Democratic Party. Two Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated. America’s simmering racial issues exploded, resulting in riots in Watts (Los Angeles) and Hough (Cleveland) among many others.

I only remember the tail end of the decade.

Now there is no shooting war to divide the American people. Oh, there’s war all right but it’s ignored: other people’s sons and daughters fight it. Oh wait, did I say there was no ‘shooting war?’ I’m wrong — there most certainly is: in the streets, homes, schools and other public places of America there is most certainly a shooting war. Almost every day we see the dead pile up from one mass shooting or another.

And our politics have become a war of all Americans against all Americans. What side are you on: Libtard? Deplorable? This war, like the one in the sixties, is also tearing American families and society apart. This time, however, there may be no reconciliation but more bloody retributions.

And so, it is


Nowadays. . .

Christmas. And the same songs are being played everywhere including my beloved ‘Little Drummer Boy.’

But I hear a different tune marked with a different drummer. This drum is not so much from a young child with a skin covered instrument that goes ‘rum-pum-pum-pum.’ I hear a more menacing, louder, martial drumbeat, like a machine gun: ‘rat-a-tat-tat.’ Like Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Silent Night,’ as the song continues, the softness fades and the drumbeat gets louder until it drowns out the singing as if marching off to war.

And a different newscast plays:


Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum

A new born king to see
Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the king
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum

The jury in the first degree murder trial of twenty-one-year-old James A. Fields Jr. retired for deliberations yesterday in Charlottesville. The jury must agree on Field’s state of mind when he drove his car into a crowd of people, killing thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer who joined hundreds in the streets protesting an ‘United the Right’ rally to defend Confederate statues in this Virginia city last year.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina-Alice Antony told jurors that before leaving his Ohio home for Virginia, Field’s mother told her son to be careful. He replied to her with a meme of Hitler, and a message saying, quote, “We’re not the ones who need to be careful.”

So to honor him
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come

Pum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum

The New York Times reported Thursday that CBS paid more than $5 million in hush money to an employee who accused late 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt of repeated sexual assault and destroying her career. The new of the settlement comes on the heels of the firing of network CEO Les Moonves, who was forced out in September after being accused of receiving oral sex from multiple employees, including one woman who was ‘on-call’ to perform whenever he demanded. He has denied the claims.

Little baby
Pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too
Pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give our king

The search continued Friday for the gunman who shot another man in the pedestrian tunnel between two busy Loop subway stations during afternoon rush hour, according to Chicago police. The victim, 27 years old, was hit twice Thursday evening and was stabilized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

One subway rider told the Tribune he had witnessed another shooting at the same station on the red line last year. He said, quote, “I was thinking what are the chances, the same stop, same time last year?” He went to say, quote, “It’s surprising in the middle of the work week in the loop… That’s crazy.”

Shall I play for you
Pa rum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum

Mary nodded
Pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time
Pa rum pum pum pum

The New York Times reported today that a 40-week pregnant woman was forced by the NYPD to deliver her baby in handcuffs last February at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Although doctors at the hospital warned police that restraints were illegal in New York and posed serious risks for a woman in labor, officers said their procedures required them to restrain her, superseding state law, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

The un-named woman then 27, struggled for nearly an hour in excruciating labor before the officers yielded, removing some of the restraints. She delivered the baby with her right hand still cuffed to the hospital bed.

I played my drum for him
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for him
Pa rum pum pum pum,

Last night in another Twitter tirade, President Trump again labeled the press ‘the enemy of the people.’ A few hours later, a bomb threat was called in to the New York offices of CNN, forcing an evacuation and interrupting a live broadcast. Although the caller said five devices had been planted, police found no explosive devices and staff were able to re-enter the building shortly before midnight.

CNN news reporter Don Lemon called the evacuation, quote, “the new normal,” and drew an explicit link to last October’s pipe bomb threat at the network, quote, “These are the times that we are living in.”

Then he smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum
Me and my drum
Rum pum pum pum

(all of these news stories were taken from this morning’s editions of The NY Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune)

Merry Christmas.

This entry was posted in black lives matter, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Christianity, Christmas, donald trump, holidays, mental health, New York City, radio, society and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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