It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I feel as though I’ve spent enough time complaining about “Last Christmas” to people, so it’s time to tackle serious cultural issues. And by “tackle”, I mean “throw into a trash bag, throw the bag in the river, and light the river on fire.”
On the Oversimplified YouTube channel, there’s a comical history of the Russian Revolution, which characterizes Vladimir Lenin as an uptight belligerent jackass who excommunicates people for having the wrong answer to the question of “is cereal a soup?” This was my introduction to this question, which I assumed was a joke.
Because cereal is not a soup. The only think cereal has in common with soup is that they’re both served in bowls. Duh.
But apparently, the question isn’t a joke, because teenagers are arguing about it. They’re doing so “jokingly”, “ironically”, but they’re doing it. And normally, I don’t fuss myself about what teenagers do, because I haven’t been one for a long time, but this is annoying for reasons that have nothing to do with teenagers
The Internet has bred a habit of confusing words with things, of conflating sophistry into revelation. All you have to do to argue that cereal is a soup is expand the definition of “soup” until cereal fits. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made the word “soup” completely meaningless in the process, you get to give yourself Smart Boy points for a rhetorical trick that Cicero would have had you thrown off the Tarpeian Rock for, if the Romans had ever been silly enough to make Cicero a Tribune.
We did the same thing for sandwiches a few years ago:
Everyone who was involved with making this deserves an atomic wedgie. This is a waste of human intellect. This is Elite Overproduction sitting on us and dangling loogies in our face. We now have nine definitions of the word “sandwich”. Are the angels dancing on pinheads yet?
Oh, but it’s a “joke”. You’re a joke. This sort of silliness is funny once, maybe twice. Language is slippery and imprecise, got it. The Internet means it doesn’t ever go away. The cereal/soup debate is just the 2.0 version of Radical Sandwich Anarchy, the ongoing erasure of meaning in this our Hellenistic Culture. Everything is nothing; nothing is everything, blah blah blah. Go ahead and dismiss me as Old Man Yells At Clouds; I’m not wrong.
Which brings me to every thumbsucker on Social Media warming up the “Is DiE hArD a ChRiStMaS MoViE?” debate like a Yule Log that never burns. There are a host of questions and thoughts to be had about Die Hard, all of which are more interesting than whether it fits into the arbitrary category of “Christmas Movie”. Watch the stupid movie and stop trying to be smart about it. Everyone who made it is smarter than you.
Die Hard can be a Christmas movie, if we want Christmas movies about shooting terrorists and stealing bearer bonds. Great, now we have that. Is this better? Are you happy now? Is the void in your soul filled with “Now I have a Machine Gun Ho Ho Ho”? Pop Culture You Guys! So Important!
In conclusion: Bah. Humbug.