Friday, December 23, 2011
Merry Christmas Office Party
As it turns out, I’ve written several pieces about Christmas, the most recent of which is part of my long poem The End of America. I don’t quite have a whole Christmas collection yet, but who knows? Maybe at some point I will.
Here’s one of the earlier ones, which appeared in my book Haze from Edge Books. Otherwise, I’ll just wish you the best for the Holiday Season. I hope that Christmas brings you everything it’s designed to bring you, and that the new year of 2012 turns out to be a new year.
Perhaps nothing produces more exactly the subtle horror of current social relations than the office Christmas party. There are far worse nightmares, undoubtedly. Yet the never quite located, permeating sickness of the office party is the perfect expression of developed alienation for three reasons. One, everyone there appears as though they are there to see each other, when really they are there to protect their tenuous economic circumstances. Two, it's a party and supposed to be fun, while fun is precisely what it is not about, indeed while anyone seeking fun could more likely find it anywhere else, literally. Three, in its apparently voluntary, benevolent largesse, it appears to make people welcome and to feel like they belong, while it displays exactly that to which no one is welcome, namely, a voluntary gathering of like-minded others who work together simply because they prefer to do so.
Thus it displays its alienation through the fact that no one can state openly why they are there. And this is true even for those who believe they are, who in fact are, having fun.
For all these reasons, people who avoid office Christmas parties are only avoiding their feelings. They don't wish to know, to experience directly, and deludedly believe that avoiding the truth will make it not so. I myself go to every office Christmas party to which I am invited, arriving early and staying late, chatting, eating, and drinking, until the sickness congratulates my entire body, until each toast I have made can be faithfully dedicated to its exact opposite.