“I heard there is no Christmas in the silly Middle East. No trees, no snow, no Santa Claus, they have different religious beliefs.
They believe in Muhammad, and not in our holiday. And so every December I go to the Middle East and say…Hey there Mr. Muslim, Merry #$^&*! Christmas. Put down that book the Koran and hear some holiday wishes.”
– Mr. Garrison
from South Park
Originally I had intended to dedicate this post to the last night of Hannukah. But as I started thinking about the beer I chose and dreaming up the post in my head that would accompany it, I realized it’s really just more about Lenny Bruce, Christmas and South Park. As you read on you’ll see exactly where my “Polar Express” of thought derailed.
The beer that I chose for tonight’s post is “Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A,” once again from the “He-Brew” guys at Schmaltz brewing. It’s a rye based double IPA dedicated to the to the 40th anniversary of the death of Lenny Bruce, pioneer of satrical and comedic filth. The guys at Schmaltz call it the first beer in their tribute to Jewish stars. The malt and hop bill is a brewer’s (can I say this on our blog? Oh what the hell, I’m in a Lenny Bruce kinda mood) wet dream: 2-row, Rye Ale Malt, Torrified Rye, Crystal Rye 75, Crystal Malt 65, Wheat, Kiln Amber, Caramel 70. Hops:Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo, Centennial. Dry Hopped with Amarillo and Crystal. The result: an in your face yet artfully crafted and deliciously sinful double IPA. I tried to write up a good description of this beer but anything that I could think of paled in comparison with the review the Alstrom Brothers at Beer Advocate wrote. Check it out. It’s wonderfully written and nailed all of the things I was tasting in this beer and so much more.
So how did I get to Christmas and South Park from here? Well, in all honesty I think Kevin and I had been wanting to somehow insert good South Park Christmas quote into one of our “Advent beer series” posts but they always just seemed so inapropriate and irreverant. But then when I knew I was featuring a beer dedicated to the memory of Lenny Bruce, I thought: what better time? And that got me thinking about how, really, the guys who create South Park are to the cartoon world what Lenny Bruce was to the comedy world. Shocking, irreverant, inappropriate and filthy at times. But they utilize the medium so well that they can pull off poignantly satricial messages. It wasn’t until I read the quote about Lenny Bruce from the Schmaltz write up on this beer, that I realized how true this was:
“Bruce died… simply for challenging America’s moral hypocrisies with words. His memorial playbill read: ‘Yes, we killed him. Because he picked on the wrong god.’ “
So how, exactly did that lead me to Christmas? It got me thinking about all the wondeful yet hokey Christmas specials that I still cherish to this day and am enjoying sharing with my daughter right now even though she’s still too young to appreciate them: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” …And then there is the South Park Christmas Special. One that Kevin and I can still quote just as easily but that we won’t be sharing with our daughter (and may even have to keep under lock and key) for a very long time. Yes, because of South Park, gone are the days when you could just plop your kid in front of any animated Christmas special just so you could get some presents wrapped or some cookies baked.
But some day we may share “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo” with her. But more than likely she’ll come across some other random South Park episode on Comedy Central late at night while sleeping over at a friends house. Hopefully by then she’ll be able to appreciate that it’s more than just potty humor and that sometimes you can achieve biting social criticism just by being rude enough to get the mainstream to dismiss you as being obscene. Until then, we’ll listen to our South Park Christmas soundtrack after she’s gone to bed.
And to all of you who thought this was going to be a nice Hannukah post, you can go…okay I won’t go there. Instead I’ll finish off with a few quotes from Lenny Bruce himself that will leave everyone, both Jew and Christian equally offended.
“A lot of people say to me, ‘Why did you kill Christ?’ I dunno, it was one of those parties, got out of hand, you know.”
“If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.”
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!