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Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com. 


Dear Advice King,

I need to buy a Christmas gift for someone who already seems to have everything she needs or wants. Do you have any great gift ideas for such a person?

—Oliver in Ventura, Calif.

This year? THIS Christmas?! Who gives a shit? We are all so crazy from bad news that you could give everyone you know an old shoe and say it’s a top-of-the-line dishwasher — they won’t know the difference. 

[Holding shoe] “CAN THIS DISHWASHER TELL ME BAD NEWS?!”

They’ll just throw it in the corner and go back to doing what we all really wanna do — look for bad news! They’ll go back to getting nasty little hits of adrenaline from MSNBC’s Ari Melber, or Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, or QAnon’s Michael Flynn. BAD NEWS — that’s what we all want for Christmas. We’re addicted to it, and we’ll never get enough. 

Give your friend horse blinders and an IV. That way she can really focus on the bad news. Plus, I have found that even the people who seem like they have everything often don’t have horse blinders. The blinders will help your friend jack directly into the uncut, bad-bad-baddest of bad news — and the IV will make it so she’ll need fewer meal breaks. 

This question made me think of a heartwarming Christmas story from my own life:

It was the night before Christmas. My family was in the living room decorating the Christmas tree — my mom, my brothers, my sister and me, that is. My dad wasn’t participating. He was in the kitchen, on his computer, like he always is. I went in to check on him. He was watching World War II firing-squad executions on YouTube. At the time, I didn’t understand it. I thought he was just a maniac, or perhaps an ingenious anti-joy performance artist.

Years later, after a lot of thought and therapy, I realized my father’s childhood was so chaotic and painful, that in order to survive it he had had to dissociate. He developed the ability to be completely desensitized to his surroundings — as a means of self-preservation. After years of blocking his feelings out of necessity, he found that it was almost impossible to turn them back on. Christmas does nothing for him. He watches executions on YouTube because they’re the only thing left that will move his emotional needle. Those and Fox News. 

In 2021 America, we are all my dad.

Whether it’s Fox News, or MSNBC, or QAnon, or Hoarders, it’s all bad news designed to titillate a traumatized, dissociated nation: After WWII they told us to shop; after Vietnam they told us to shop; after 9/11 they told us to shop; after Iraq they told us to shop; after COVID killed 800,000 people they told us to shop. 

To the tune of God Bless America:

🎶  DESENSITIZE YOURSELF TO SAVE THE ECONOMY! DESENSITIZE FOR MAXIMUM GAS MILEAGE! PRETEND YOU DON’T SEE THE HOMELESS PEOPLE! Errr, LAND THAT I LOVE! 🎶

You better be careful, Americans. In a desensitized world, pornography replaces good will toward men, true crime replaces peace, violence replaces elections, and Christmas feels like nothing.

Look outside! The world looks essentially the same as it always has! We are the problem! The “American Carnage” is inside us! The phone call is coming from inside the house! Love each other! We are still here! Help the homeless! Merry Christmas! 

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