Captain Karl Killjoy gives a toast at the first annual Killjoy Christmas Convention:

“Christmas Carol” by Robert W. Wright, 1904

I thank you all kindly for coming to the first annual Killjoy Christmas Convention. Now, you may ask me why we are meeting today, for we do not celebrate Christmas. Nor do we celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Krampus or Bodhi Day or Eid al-Adha or Winter Solstice or Festivus or, for that matter, anything. However, paradoxically, we do this day gather around and celebrate a life of non-celebration. In short, you are here today to praise a life devoted to nothing. Now, there are few of us gathered here today, and this puts us in the minority. We must counteract the overwhelmingly pious individuals around us who are so filled with joy during the Yuletide by deconstructing their joy, and what better piece of literature to do this to than the famous carol “Joy to the World”?

I will now proceed through this piece verse by verse and explain what it truly means in a fashion only capable by the Killjoy Critic. To preface this interpretation, as it is now, the song functions primarily as a satirical work on colonization.

“Joy to the World”

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

It is completely fair for us to read this first verse as a satire on colonization and empires. The speaker sarcastically compares a tyrant to a celestial being, something he does not truly believe in. That the “heart” has to prepare room for him is the obvious struggle between class warfare as the poor peasants must “make way for the king.” Thus, “heaven” (clearly not a real place) represents the mindless followers that the tyrant brings in with him as he conquers his new country, and “nature” obviously resembles the natives who are forced to sing his praises of conquest against their will. Repeating this three times is symbolic of the gradual transition the natives go through during the conquest. At first they are resistant, but they eventually give in as the the final line represents, for there is now more “heaven” than “nature” as “heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.”

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

This verse laments the tyrant’s impact on nature. Sarcastically depicted as a “Savior,” the speaker fully gathers all men, natives included, on his side and their songs are employed to further tyranize and oppress the natural world around them. The diction used here is that of land, conquered land: “fields,” “rocks”, hills,” “plains.” “Floods” is the beautiful imagery of what has happened to the lands. The floods come in and disrupt the rest of the land, bringing them along in their conquest, “repeating the sounding joy” as they further tyranize nature. This verse depicts how the conquest spreads to every nook and cranny of the conquered land.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Now this verse beautifully renders the satirical mode of the song, for ironically the tyrant brings nothing but sins and sorrows to the land he has conquered and everything he touches sprouts thorns, an indication that now nature itself has fully assimilated into his kingdom. In fact, his entire reign is a curse on everybody he comes into contact with, for while the speaker says “no more,” he actually means “forevermore.” Furthermore, the use of “flow” is also used wittily as “his blessings” naturally flow into curses, as everything he blesses turns into a curse. And the curse of his blessing is found everywhere.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Here we get the epic conclusion. While the tyrant does rule the world, he does so only with propaganda and judgment. In making the nations “prove,” he is necessarily imposing his own moral standard on them (“his righteousness”) for his own glory. The “wonders of his love” are the last satirical move in the song. The conquered people are so utterly confused at the tyrant’s persuasive speech and caring tone when he addresses the masses, that they truly “wonder” at this “love” that only leaves them burdened and broken.

Now that we have properly interpreted this song, we can appreciate that it is not actually bringing joy to the world but gloom to the inhabitants of conquered lands. Nothing is more depressing than knowing that your freedoms will be taken away, and this song catches that spirit.

I now give my rendition of this song.

“Gloom to the Lands.” A Killjoy Carol

Gloom to the Lands, tyrants are come!
Let earth despair and sigh
Let every heart prepare for gloom
And mothers and children cry
and mothers and children cry
and mothers, and mothers, and children cry

Gloom to the lands, the tyrants do reign.
As men the trees suppress
While limbs and trunks, leaves, fruits and veins
Repeat that men oppress
Repeat that men oppress
Repeat, repeat, that men oppress

Forever let sins and sorrows grow
And thorns infest the ground
He comes to cage and maim the crow
Far as the plants are bound
Far as the plants are  bound
Far as, far as, the plants are bound

He rules the world with ruth and fear
And makes the masses sad
With his moral standard’s dear
And judgment of what’s bad,
And judgment of what’s bad,
And judgment, and judgment, of what’s bad.

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