It's Christmas time again and I'll cry if I want to. The question is, do you hate Christmas as much as me? Santa, presents, Christmas number ones and feeding the five thousand, formally known as Christmas dinner, are just a couple of aspects that I truly loath.
Santa "the big man", everything about him is sinister. From his creepy black P.V.C boots to his insanely giant belly. He wears the colour red which is traditionally associated with the devil, not to mention that Santa is an anagram of Satan, and as for his large white beard well, that could conceal anything. Then there's his mannerisms, with phrases like "Ho ho ho, come and sit on my knee little boy/girl" and "I know where all the bad boys/girls live" how could you not be offended? The fact that he tries to hide his identity with that beard can only make me come to the conclusion that he is a pervert or at the very least an exceedingly seedy man. If any man broke into my house to leave a "little present" underneath any tree that I owned, I'd call the police but because it's Santa it's perfectly acceptable. The man knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been good or bad. I rest my case. The man is quite clearly a stalker.
You may be shocked at my views and the scale of their negativity. But I am not alone. After careful research, I have found sites dedicated to Santa and how we should simply abolish him in a cruel but effective way. blog.Keivenmeltzer.com/ archives has a whole page entitled "Santa hate mail." along with the "Greenroom" who have a site dedicated to Santa haters around the world as well. "Santa hating does not just stop at the internet. It is deeply routed in our society and after more careful research I found a song called "hate Santa" which was written by I.C.P or the Insane Clown Posses. Lastly anyone who laughs as if, what can only be described as a jolly madman and expects my approval, is going to be disappointed.
Moving on swiftly, the presents he leaves you aren't much better. Propaganda tricks everyone into believing that we must buy something for every Tom, Dick or Harry. So we find ourselves, un-be-knowing to ourselves, being dragged off to the shops, to spend thousands of pounds of which we don't own on people we barley even know, or worse, do know and don't especially like. I'm like the next person; I just don't like being robbed alive, and at Christmas time that's the only goal of every shop in the United Kingdom. The next Christmas conundrum we face is what to buy. Ever year my dad receives a pair of socks and every year he has the same facial expression of, "No, really? Why did I bother getting out of bed this morning?
It must be simply unbearable if you're a parent at Christmas time. Back in my day, children were happy even delighted with a tangerine in their stocking. Well no, but at least those children were grateful. Letters to Santa have become more like the average demand list from a terrorist organisation. It's all about how expensive the toy is and if it's the latest. After careful consideration, the true meaning of Christmas should be printed on the toys, at least that way the little "darlings" could be educated while playing, therefore achieving some good even if its only minimal. The phrase, "size really doesn't matter to me darling" is definitely out at Christmas time when it comes to presents. If that diamond ring hasn't been super sized, then apparently no-ones interested.
One sure way of destroying what's left of your Christmas sprits, is to remind you of Christmas number ones, and Christmas television. The flaw in all human's nature. According to some "big cheeses" in the music business, Christmas 'tis the season to sing, and due to our "flaw" installed in every human, we all feel compelled to watch them on fabulous soul destroying television programs like "Fame Academy", "X Factor" and "Pop Idol". These programs feature any idiot who thinks they have a scrap of talent. Whats even more heartbreaking is the people who can actually sing but for some bizarre reason decides that they should release a vast number of cheesy Christmas singles, and then offer them up to the unsuspecting public. Even worse are the "Christmas" singles, that claim to be Christmassy yet have no link to Christmas apart from a tedious link to the latest toy or to the latest "superstar" created by the classic programs mentioned before for example 2005's number one, which featured Shayne Ward, with "That's My Goal." The sad thing was that most of us (admit it) felt compelled out go out and buy it.
Whilst "enjoying" the retail experience at Christmas time, most of us are faced with a barrage of carols, that can only be described as tuneless, repetitive and frankly an attack on our delicate eardrums. The people at Christmas time that get it worst are undoubtedly the shop assistance, as the "festive season" draws to a close most will be word perfect not to mention pretty much brain dead, due to the taste of "music" this does actually happen, as I spent a short spell of time working in a shop. If, for some "odd" reason your not into taped carols at Christmas, a live alternative performance will be provided by carol singers. The Salvation Army, the school choir or the two kids from up the road, who stand in front of you on your doorstep, squealing out of tune, until you give them a mince pie each, or donate a small fortune to whichever charity they are supposedly singing for. I have a solution for this Christmas conundrum; simply throw some perfectly shaped snow balls at them, which you have made previously, in a Blue Peter style "here's one I made earlier." If that doesn't work, simply call the police.
Anticipation levels are running high and before you know it, or are really ready for it, the magical day arrives, and for some truly bizarre reason, everyone on the planet seems to be excited about it, well except you. Relatives arrive and presents are opened and then comes the main event Christmas repast. An enormous plate of food is placed before you, normally that you have spent hours slaving over. The order "to start" is given and everyone commences eating. Actually on the plate is a wide variety of food that no one really likes, especially you. Sprouts which everyone detests, turkey that you left in the oven a little bit to long because you had one hundred other things to do, boiled parsnips, when you'd much rather have parsnips but grandpa cant manage them to hard due to his dentures, and to complete the meal, lumpy gravy because Little Johnny was demanding that you play with him and his new toy car. Then there's the company that most innocent people are subjected to at Christmas, Grandma and grandpa whose teeth rattle as they chew on the turkey and comment under their breath that they could have done a better job. Thought-out this performance, we create a merry picture, sitting in silly hats and telling chronic jokes, which everyone has heard before countless times. We must all be crackers to do this, sorry I just couldn't resist. Then comes the pudding. The exciting part, which health and safety no longer allows to contain a six pence piece or be on fire. So the United Kingdom is left with just a plain plum pudding, before the Queens speech. Words of true wisdom, addressed to the Common Wealth. A common Wealth of over fed and sleepy people who are still recovering form repetitive strain injury due to an over load of Christmas card writing.
Christmas day draws to a close and your faced with a predicable menu of Christmas turkey for every meal possible (when you're eating turkey for breakfast you know you've reached an overload) if you're lucky you can pack the relatives off with a bag of turkey and bid them a farewell for another year. If this fails, then there's always the option of packing the relatives away with the Christmas decorations.
Christmas has twelve days, but after the first one it seems like everybody is itching to get the Christmas decorations down, and for life to return to normal. Boxing day can be spent seeing all the Christmas presents that you were ripped off for at a more reasonable price, or a mile long queue at a customer services, like in Primark, for all those presents that don't fit you, you don't like, or are just plain hideous and no one could possibly ever want, and need returning A.S.A.P. While queuing you might as well be composing a letter of thanks for that wonderful, eccentric aunt whose item you are merrily returning, you might as well, the queues will be so long, you might be stuck there to next Christmas.
New Year brings a further night of over indulgence and while the last few days of Christmas progress the Christmas decorations rapidly disappear from our Christmassy high streets. Bear Christmas trees lie discarded, littering our streets awaiting collection for recycling. Decorations are to be packed away, along with any loose relatives, in boxes to be recycled for next year. Twelfth night over, life returns back to normal but with just a few reminders of the festive season left like the large credit card bill that falls, so heavily on your front doormat. Breath a sigh of relief, Christmas is over, for another year.
This is the commentary:-
My article was written to be published either in one of the "Grump Old Men" books or as an article to feature in a newspaper such as "The Times," in the style of Jeremy Clarkson, making it a mix of genres . These would be the idea medium for the article, as it would be mostly read by the intended audience: Middle aged people, of either gender, who have survived a few Christmases and posses a reasonable level of intelligence.
Although this piece is an article, graphlogically, I have chosen not to write it in the format of columns, as I feel this would make the piece more formal and would point the piece more in the direction of being situated in a newspaper. I have based my article more on the case studies from "The Grumpy Old Men," series, and books.
The functional tenor of the piece primarily, is to entertain. The tone is a satirical article, thus I have tried to give it a sarcastic voice. Although the case studies are not directly linked to the article in their semantic fields of discourse, I've tried to reproduce the same register and humour to add to, and help construct the personal tenor. The informal tone and use of speech-like lexis, is all aimed at trying to help the reader to feel more comfortable, giving the piece a friendly kind of "on your side" feel to the piece. The semantics of the article are designed to make the reader feel intelligent, yet at the same time not annoyed with someone purely ranting at them. Lexis like "mannerisms" achieves this and also help the piece relate to the readers astuteness, yet some lexis is included that keep the piece at an acceptable reading level for example "giant" and "belly."
The lexis used is deliberately not jargon, using words from semantic fields that everyone would recognise like "Christmas", "carols" and "crackers," this is so that the lexis fits in with the semantic field of Christmas and could be understood by a wide audience with reasonable intelligence, and wasn't specific to a certain type of person/people in the same way that a business letter would be specific to business people, due to the jargon.
The register of the piece, as a whole, is informal as parts are written in the style and tone of speech, in a chatty manner, going as far to say" you ,may be shocked to discover" and "I hear you cry," I have tried to use speech like lexis to try and give the appearance of the reader and writer turn taking. This is to create the sense and format, of a conversation. I have used adverbs, such as "traditionally" and "slowly" to make the piece seem more spontaneous like speech, as well as interrogatives which emulate speech. I have used a high level of cohesion to make sure that the use of pronouns is reasonably limited to keep the topic of the article clear such as "he" and "you" as well as everyday lexis throughout the piece . The article however, remains an article and not a piece of speech because I haven't used fillers or any hesitations. The piece is not disjointed and doesn't use taboo language of indeed any regional dialect, which is typically of speech. This is in order to maintain some formality in the article.
Grammatically the article is Standard English to try and make it readable to a large audience. Ellipses is also included in the piece "he knows when you'reâ€¦." to try and keep the friendly, informal personal tenor going. I have used idiomatic phrases, such as comparing Santa to Satan and diches, to try and make the semantic understanding less translucent to appeal to an audience that has a reasonable level of intelligence. The syntaxes of the piece follow everyday language subject, predicate, compliment) for example "â€¦we find ourselves being dragged off to the shops." Also the use of present tense verbs "being" gives a sense of immediacy. Most of the nouns are concrete as the article is on something physical., for example This is to keep the article's syntax understanding simple and informal; however most of the sentences contain a alpha and beta clause to let the article retain some formality.
Miss Kathryn Willey
11 Grange Road
St. Annes on sea
Mob: 0702 925 0918
Fax 0191 2810611
Mr. Tony Blair PM
10 Downing Street
By Fax: 0207 925 0918
Dear Mr Blair,
I am writing to you to inform you of the advantages of chocolate and why I believe that you should provided it free on the National Health Service.
Chocolate contains multiple biological agents and this explains its effects upon human organisms. Serotonin is one of those agents. It is known as the "Happiness Hormone" because it has been proven to raise spirits, and thus, could be used in treating depressions and other related illnesses.
Bitter or dark chocolate has been proven to be good for blood vessels. Researchers state that a small quantity of dark chocolate everyday improves activity of blood vessels.
Cocoa elements are also excellent for the cardiovascular system, as they widen the heart valves, and brain vessels as well as bronchi. Chocolate with a high cocoa content, over seventy percent or over is good for brain activity.
Other benefits of chocolate include; large quantities of natural antioxidants, called flavonoids. Antioxidants are believed to reduce the number of free radicals in the body that contribute to medical problems, such as heart disease and cancer. Chocolate could also be used as pain-relievers as it releases endorphins in the brain, and it has been proven that eating a moderate amount of chocolate makes one live almost a year longer.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no allergy to chocolate. If a potential patient had an allergic reaction after receiving treatment including chocolate, it would be a result of a chemical in the flavouring added to some chocolate bars, not the actual chocolate itself. Other possible allergic reactions could occur when nuts, fruit, fruit flavourings or certain types of milk are added to chocolate.
Full bodied people should be aware and have to remember that chocolate is high in calories, and obviously if a patient was on a diet, chocolate could not be used as a treatment or during treatment. Other people, who should consider some of the side effects of using chocolate as a treatment, are diabetics. People suffering from diabetes can find it difficult to eat chocolate as the sugar contained within chocolate can increase their blood sugar levels which, if maintained for long periods of time can cause blindness and loss of feeling in limbs such as feet. There has been "special" chocolate developed for diabetics which instead of containing sugar, contain xylite fructose or sorbitol. These "special" chocolates contain all the "good elements" of chocolate and yet none of the sugar, and can be found in most high street shops including Thornton's and Tesco.
After years of work, researchers have found that the damage that chocolate does to your teeth is nothing but a myth. It has been said that cocoa butter actually provides teeth with a protective layer or film, which in turn, protects teeth and enamel. It is the sugar that chocolate actually contains that creates the decay of teeth. This problem could be avoided by only issuing patients with the "special" diabetic chocolate mentioned earlier. Many people ask if it chocolate causes some many difficulties and is so cheap already, why bother burdening the National Health Service with it? The answer is that Chocolate keeps very well, and takes months to go off, even after opening, unlike some medicines including blood, used in transfusions. That combined with it's high energy content and mild stimulant effect, is the perfect answer, and has resulted in it being used for centuries as special rations for by trekkers, travelers, adventurers and militaries.
After all the careful research that has been done over the years, it is clear that chocolate could and should be used as treatment by the NHS. It has been proven that chocolate has countless benefits, and due to today;s market, it is relatively cheap. If a patient feels unwell or apathetic, trying them on chocolate could prove to be an effective remedy, however only real chocolate is made of cocoa beans and cocoa butter, if one of these is not included then the products become a "sweet bar" and loose its effectiveness as a treatment. Care should be taken when prescribing chocolate, as it is not suitable for everyone. Chocolate that contains E-16 and E-17 are prohibited in Russia and the European Union, these must be avoided. For these reasons I feel that chocolate should be made available on the National Health Service for all.
This is the commentary :-
The letter was written to be published to be sent straight to Tony Blair himself. This would be the idea medium for my letter, as it would to create some publicity for my cause or at least alert Tony Blair to my conclusion about chocolate.
Due to my piece being a letter, graphlogically, I have chosen to write it in the format of a letter. This includes the correct address and layout, as I feel this makes the letter more formal and official. I have based my letter on the case studies found on the internet and in some newspapers. I have only used basic punctuation and sentence structure using the traditional SPC sentence structure for example "Serotonin is one of those agents", and have not included any exclamation marks, as these would make the letter seen more personal, and less formal.
The functional tenor of the piece primarily, is very formal. The tone is impersonal, thus I have tried to give it a formal voice by distancing myself from the reader and writing the letter in third person. Although the case studies are not directly linked to the letter in their semantic discourse, I've tried to reproduce the same register and lexical style to help construct a serious personal tenor.
Grammatically the letter is written in Standard English, to give formality. The lexis and grammar is subject specific and linked directly to the medical semantic field. The modifiers used are factual. The lexis used is deliberately medical jargon to keep the lexis specific to the topic as well as good coherence, using words from semantic fields that not everyone would recognise like "serotonin." This is to demonstrate to the reader that the argument is well organised and researched. As a result of most of the lexis pending from the medical world, most of the lexis has derived from Latin. The semantics of the article are designed to make the reader feel intelligent and flatter him/her, this is another persuasive technique. This is established by lexis like "apathetic" achieves this and also helps the piece relate to the readers astuteness.
The letter also features cohesion, in order link the piece. I have tried to use substitution cohesion for example "one" the use of pronouns and substitution is to formalise. Most of the nouns are concrete as the article is on something physical ("chocolate"), and most of the verbs are present tense, ("criticises").Sentences contain an alpha and beta clause to let the letter retain more formality, but there are some simple sentences that only contain alpha clauses. I have used this technique, short sentences, in the piece as it is a persuasive technique.
I have also used emotive language and phrases in the article such as "can cause blindness" as another persuasive technique. I have used facts and statistics in my letter to shock my audience into believing the same thing as me. The point of the letter is to demonstrate that I have seriously thought about my claim. To avoid being misleading, I have included some weaknesses in my argument. This is in order, to make the letter more persuasive and less like a complaint.