Thursday, January 26, 2012

Parson Brown Infuriates Me

So let's get this straight, Parson Brown didn't do anything wrong in "Winter Wonderland." He didn't do anything wrong because he didn't exist. He was a snowman the stupid couple built, called Parson Brown and then proceeded to have an inane conversation with an inanimate object.

I've been thinking way too much about this lately because I have had this demon spawn barrymore of a song stuck in my head, seemingly for weeks. I find myself whistling it in the shower. Everytime I step outside my voice drops to its rich baritone (more likely a painfully off key and crackly girly alto) and out it comes, "walkin' in a winter wonderland."

It's awful. I've read articles potentially heard about people who have perpetual hiccups. A lot of them end up going a little crazy or killing themselves because they can't handle constantly and uncontrollably hiccuping. My situation is literally, exactly like, if not worse than, that.

So let's do something you should never ever do: Think too much about the lyrics and meaning of a holiday song.

Starts out strong. Listening and glistening is an excellent rhyme and I have to admit "walking in a winter wonderland" is some solid alliteration and a catchy chorus.

But that's our only respite... the very first verse.

They jump right into it. Coming out strong replacing the very specific blue bird with the completely non-defined generic "new bird." What exactly did they mean when they said new bird? We know it's a song bird, but apparently there aren't any song birds with a one syllable name? I did some research and according to Google, if you ask "what is a new bird", four of the first ten search results are about the addition of a brand new bird to the Angry Birds franchise.

What else did they predict?
Walking in a Nuclear Winter Wonderland?
I'm choosing not to go down the path of explaining how Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist) predicted the world domination of Angry Birds and may, in fact, have been the original inventors of the smart phone. Geniuses stuck in the wrong time. The technology of their era failed them, so they chose the next best thing to get their message out... to ensure future generations would be excited for the new birds of Angry Birds... they chose to predict the future through holiday themed music! (Or they were idiot hacks.)

So I'm not going down that road, instead I'll move forward to the worst verse of the Christ forsaken calamity of a song. 

First they build a snowman. Fine. Great times. We've all done it. 

Then they name the snowman Parson Brown. Hmmm... excessive maybe? I've never named a snowman to impress a girl, but I'll let it slide.

"He'll say are you married?" - So when they build him they said they are going to pretend the snowman is Parson Brown. That's pretty specific. Almost like snowman Parson Brown is the persnowification of a real person whom they know. Wouldn't he know if they were married? What a shitty Parson, doesn't even know his flock.

Then their response is "We'll say no, man." 

Have some respect you little pieces of shit. This is 1934 (thank you Wikipedia). First of all, you're both probably considered tramps and trollops for romping around in meadows together when you're alone and not married. Then you have the audacity to talk to the Pastor, even if he is a terrible person (probably an abusive drunk) who doesn't care about the people he represents, with no respect. 

(Or maybe Bernard and Smith were foreshadowing again to the hippy movement of the late 60's and early 70's, knowing a young Steve Jobs would be engrossed with the culture and go on to develop ground breaking technology that would eventually allow Angry Birds to be invented).

Pictured: Parson Brown
Follow up to their ignorance... "But you can do the job when you're in town." 

How non-commital is that? First of all, do they know this guy or not? Is he just some rambling gypsy who jumps from town to town? 

Maybe he's really busy and they should sit down and make a real plan with him. Weddings take preparation and can be a time consuming portion of a Pastor's duties. Whenever you're in town swing in and hitch us up is not an adequate wedding plan. 

Are they orphan trollops and tramps? They don't want to include any friends and family? Are they gypsies too, just in a different gypsy troupe? These F'n kids are ridiculous.

That's as far as I could remember when singing the song to myself. I'm not proud of my terrible memory, but before you read further, give it a try. I knew half the next verse, but not the whole thing. Can you remember the whole thing hot shot? Bet you can't!

Either way, the next verse is about laying around a fire conspiring about the haphazard plans they made with the snow built man of the Lord. They are dedicated to pursuing these plans unafraid. Maybe they should be afraid? Maybe they're not thinking very logically about this whole thing and they should take a step back and sober up. 

This is where the song really goes off the rails. 
The next day these kids build another snowman, but today it's a circus clown.
If you're really ready for Gypsy Brown to drive his wagon scattered with bells and jingly trinkets into town to marry you, why are you playing with circus clowns?

Circus is over I guess... wedding still on?
They have a grand old time with Snow Clown Brown until the other kids in town, who inevitably spend most if not all their time picking on these idiots, come around and murder Reverend Bozo. 

Our main characters don't even care. The physical representation of their love, their religion, their marital bliss, their joy and love of clowns, and their merriment was just snuffed and without a blink they finish the song with a completely irreverant thought and some pretty racist stereotypes about the Inuit peoples.

"When it snows / Aint it thrilling /
Though your nose gets a chilling / We'll frolic and play

The eskimo way / Walking in a winter wonderland"

Snowman's dead.                                 Let's frolic.                               My nose is cold.  

Hey, did you know that the northern natives who have a very rich culture of traditions and amazing, practically unparallelled, perseverance when compared to any other modern peoples is made up of a bunch of chumps who just play in the snow all day, live in igloos and have chilly noses. How are they even still around?

Worth it.
The moral of this blog: The 30's were filled with psychics, warlocks, and divinely touched demi-gods amongst man. Instead of preventing the second world war or preventing the AIDS epidemic... they wrote songs for Irving Berlin (pictures right).

Thank you for wasting however long this just took you to read with me. That song has been haunting me. Feel free to suggest new songs I should obsess about and break down line by line for the sake of entertainment/wasting minutes of the day.


  1. This is a priceless, Parsonic, and protagonistic (some forced alliteration for you) breakdown of a classic holiday song filled with wacky but arguably rational tangents depicting how so very ominous, racist and ultimately unholiday like it really is. It will never be played again in my household for fear of vicious societal scorn and maybe worse...hellfire. As always, well done sir!

  2. ROFLMAO Tom, this had me cracking up but I agree with you!