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[REPOST] A Christmas Poem

Every Jew down in Jewville liked Christmas a lot
But King Herod, who ruled over Jewville, did not.

The King had a thousand and one reasons why
He hated the stars that appeared in the sky!
He hated the wise men! He hated the myrrh
And the frankincense also, whatever they were!

He hated the shepherds! He hated the manger!
He hated the way that his throne was in danger!
He hated the prophecies bearing the news
He would soon be replaced as the King of the Jews
Yes, the number one reason the King felt so down
Was the tales of Messiahs usurping his crown.

So he thought and reflected, he planned and he schemed
He wondered and pondered and plotted and dreamed
He came up with a plan! Such a terrible plan!
To stop the Messiah before he began.
He would steal all the innocent babies away
And with Christ gone for good, he would end Christmas Day

So he searched through his palace, the front and the back
Till he found a warm coat and a Very Big Sack
And when night fell in Jewville, his men searched the houses
As fast as the birds and as quiet as mouses
And they gathered the children, and brought them all back
And the king placed them all in his Very Big Sack.

The King hooted and laughed as they finished their mission
“Mwa ha ha!” he exclaimed, as his plans reached fruition
“Now all of the children are here in my sack
And I don’t plan on giving a single one back!
I’ve stolen their toddlers, I’ve stolen their babies!
I’ve got their Messiah, no ifs, buts, or maybes!
They can stop all their songs and their feasts and their fun
Because Christmas is OVER and FINISHED and DONE!”

But the King heard a sound coming over the sand
And he jumped in surprise, and could not understand
It was singing, and laughing, and feasting, and fun
It was families dancing in joy, every one

King Herod turned red at their festive behavior:
“How can Christmas still come, when I’ve stolen the Savior?
It came without Bibles! It came without churches!
It came without Wise Men embarking on searches!
It came without sermons and prayers, and moreover
It came without Heaven and Hell and Jehovah!”

Then a very strange thought made his heart rise and fall
What if Christmas was not about Jesus at all?

What if Christmas, he thought, didn’t come from a priest?
What if Christmas was not about that in the least?

And what happened then? Well, in Jewville they say
That King Herod’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight
He returned all the children he’d taken that night
And he ordered his cooks to bring food for the feast
And King Herod himself carved the course of roast beast!

[I recently locked my old blog and am gradually reposting some of the stuff that deserves to survive from there onto here. This seemed like an appropriate start.]

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35 Responses to [REPOST] A Christmas Poem

  1. Jai says:

    If you’re reposting, the Internet deserves the return of the History Channel post. That dead link is an ongoing tragedy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is as good a time as any for me to write the plea Iv’e been meaning to write for a while.

    There was a lot of great stuff on the old blog. A lot. Even if thre where some things there that you don’t want public anymore, losing all of that content was still was a great tragedy in my eyes.

    So much stuff: The story of Emily and Control, the eulogy for Aaron Schwartz that was a literary piece about Le Miserable, even your witty description of climbing Mt. Fuji: It all was great stuff. While there were some things that I understand you don’t want to be public anymore, most of it was truly great stuff, especially for the LW community.

    That is why I beg of you the following: That you let in your community, the people you trust, those very few who are with you in this, the type of people you praised last week who were at the solstice; in short Less Wrongers.

    What would you say to giving access to those Less Wrongers past a certain karma level? It is the perfect solution: You keep out the riff-raff, you keep your anonymity from the wider internet (anyone who is deep in the LW community already knows your real name anyway), and you let those of us who truly value your work have access to those posts of real value you made.

    Please honestly think about it. In my eyes, this is an ideal solution. I acknowledge that you are under no obligation to do anything of the kind; but it would be a great personal pain to have most of that gone forever. You yourself have said how you love our little community, and I think that this is the perfect way to implement it. Set an entry barrier at, say, 1000 karma, and you I think you have the best of both worlds.

    • blacktrance says:

      I don’t know how difficult it would be to control access by LW karma, but the loss of those writings is a significant one.

    • Alexander Stanislaw says:

      I doubt that most Less Wrongers with a karma of over 1000 need help in accessing said content.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I will give access to anyone trustworthy (for values of trustworthy equivalent to saying “Hey! I am a trustworthy person!” who wants it). Just register an LJ account and let me know what it is and I’ll add you to the access list.

      • Daniel says:

        Awesome! Scott you really are the best!

        Hey! I am a trustworthy person!

        I registered an account as Arthendain. Would you please add me to the access list?

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Are you the person who inspired the Arthendain Fall From Heaven hero, or are you named after him, or is that a coincidence?

      • Andrei says:

        I made an account under the name gvaerg and sent you a friend request for you to properly identify my account.

        I don’t know how to prove myself trustworthy. I have only 65 LW karma points. Nevertheless, I thank you very much for your offer and I hope it gets fulfilled in my case.

      • phil says:

        Hey you! Trust me! (I have an old LW acc /u/printing-spoon and I’ve commented here a few times before.) I registered on LJ as “visutensil.” It’d be great if you could add me.

        Trustworthily yours,

      • Benquo says:

        I’m tremensdelirium on LJ.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you, sincerely.

        I overreacted, I guess. On the page you left up, you stated two very stringent criteria to be trusted and allowed in. I thought that was unfairly harsh, and that’s why I posted this.

        But you already knew that, and your actual conditions aren’t actually that harsh.

        In any case, I registered mr_this on livejournal. Thank you so very much for the offer to add us to the access list.

      • houseboatonstyx says:


        I think I’ve already read most of them, but anyway.

      • Typhon says:


        My LJ account is baal-ammon.

        Thank you for this, and for all these awesome texts you wrote over the years.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m bakkot on LJ. I’m bakkot everywhere. I am a trustworthy person!

      • Roxolan says:

        roxolan0 on LJ now. Roxolan on LW and the rest of the internet. I am grateful, also trustworthy.

      • Tyrrell McAllister says:

        Access please :). I’m tbmcallister on LiveJournal (Tyrrell McAllister on LW).

      • Avantika says:

        I’ve read most of the writing, but I’m sure I’d want to read them again.

    • Yeah. I’ve been considering writing very short summaries of a few of the things you had.

  3. Alan says:

    While reposts are nice, I doubt that five(?) years of awesome insightful posts can be fully reposted. (except the objectionable/deanonymizing parts obviously)

    I actually think that Anon’s above idea could be a good compromise. And those trusted lesswrong folk can help bring to your attention things that they think the wider world needs to have reposted.

  4. Andrei says:

    Bravo for this wonderful poem!

    I’ve only recently (one month ago?) stumbled upon the excellent content of your old LiveJournal blog (such as your experiences in Japan) and I planned to download it all someday (like I did with other blogs that I thought deserved reading in their entirety, like The Sequences or This Week’s Finds), but unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough. I discovered a few days ago that I couldn’t access anything. I’m sorry for what made you close it.

    • Daniel says:

      Hear hear. I too am in the same boat. Scott, would you reconsider, at least partially? It would mean a whole lot to some of us. You could have just locked the few posts you didn’t want people to see, the ones labeled ‘things I will regret writing’ and suchlike.
      I understand that you locked it in response to some people poking fun at a particular post you made. I understand your anger, but you shouldn’t have let it get to you. I for one think it was an awesome post, but haters are going to hate and that shouldn’t make you angry to the point of deleting your livejournal.
      I also understand your anonymity issues, but there are ways around that. Do a global edit s//Alexander (where _______ is your real last name, which I will not post here for evident reasons) That should solve the issue, right?
      If not, then at least do something like the prior suggestion to restrict access to those who have proved their repute. The exact threshold is up for debate, but a less wrong karma threshold could be a great idea…. Personally, I just hope that it is at some level where I pass…

      • Daniel says:

        Whoops, formatting issue. The idea was s/yourname/Alexander, but it dropped the underscores there for some reason. Anyway I realize that that simple replacement might not be enough, but still, there are ways around that. Please, for our sake, explore them.

  5. ckp says:

    Wait how come they started the parties without their kids?

    • Benquo says:

      Yeah, that seemed unrealistic to me too.

    • Benquo says:

      Maybe these were the families who didn’t have babies to start with?

      There are a couple of other problems, though, like the idea that churches and (Christian) priests would exist at the time of Jesus’ birth.

  6. Benquo says:

    Fun poem! I’m glad you posted it.

    It could use a little work on the content side, but very clever.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I, for one, am glad that I wrote a Ruby script to download all of your blog posts back when you first closed it, fearing that a day like this might come.

    The world is a bit sadder without Emily and Control, soul cancer, that one about why we shouldn’t like that cartoon about the priest and Mohammed molesting the child, the drone warfare article, etc.

    Great poem.

  8. a person says:

    I don’t get it, why did you feel the need to lock the old blog? Serious question, you don’t have to answer if you’re not comfortable. I get that the soviet spy post and maybe other stuff in that series of essays deals with a weird, touchy subject, and I can see why you might not want that to be associated with your name, but surely the great majority of the content is non-embarrassing and deserves to survive. Even if its quality is lower than that of Slatestarcodex, it’s still higher than that of 99.9% of blogs out there. My favorite was the post that explained Time Cube.

    Anyway, I just made a livejournal as truckdriver2595, I would love to get access. I’m gothgirl420666 on lesswrong.

  9. Scott Alexander says:

    Yeah, okay, fine, I’ll unlock my old blog when I have time to sort through it and make sure the few posts that should stay locked do (probably later this week)

    • Sniffnoy says:


    • Daniel says:

      Awesome. I will offer though the observation that, for instance, the post that incited the locking in the first place actually included a not unimportant part of what you had to say about conceptual superweapons. The concept of conceptual superweapons is awesome and should be preserved. To help with that while still maintaining you privacy on the matter, I think that a summary of the (nonpersonal) points in that post would be extremely awesome.
      If you want, I’ll write up such a summary, as well as summaries of vital information in any other objectionable posts. (I’d run them by you before publishing, of course, and in any case I think a factual paragraph or two can convey the necessary points with intruding to much into things you don’t want publicised.)
      You can contact me as Arthendain on livejournal.

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks. There’s some really interesting and novel concepts explored in that blog, and having it lost to the wider internet that doesn’t already know about it would be unfortunate.

      That said, it’s unfortunate that the internet is such a place where locking it in the first place was necessary.

    • Thank you for re-unlocking (most of) your blog. I actually remembered during the holidays something that you had written about the book The Giver, and I wanted to read it again. But I knew that I couldn’t, and I mourned the loss of your great writings. Now I’m very glad to have access to them back.

  10. BenSix says:

    Merry Christmas, Scott. Thanks for an interesting year.

  11. Joe says:

    Merry Christmas, Scott. Clever poem but I think you should have let this one die. It smacks of Sour Grapes.