Almost every single year since we started Overthinking It in January 22, 2008, we have published a Gift Guide. These were opportunities for us to reflect on the pop culture we enjoyed, or the merchandise which supported the Overthinking It lifestyle. (Our coffee recommendations hold up.)
In 2020, as That Championship Season was really heating up, we did something different: We wanted to support the Actors Who Work™—the very ones who make the popular culture worth subjecting to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve—whom the pandemic had robbed of their work. That year, we pooled contributions form our members, matched them dollar for dollar, and made a donation to The Actors Fund (which has renamed itself The Entertainment Community Fund, reflecting its mission of meeting the extraordinary needs of everyone in entertainment). We also did a fun thing where we watched Christmas movies and wrote about them.
It felt good, and it did good—so let’s do it again! This year, in conjunction with the Paradecast episode of the Overthinking It Podcast, we are taking on the theme of music. The Overthinkers met playing music together, and against a background of declining participation by students in all arts, we want to support people providing music education, and the students who need instruments to play, across the country. (We are partial to marching bands but, hey, even the violinists deserve our support!)
We are doing a little research to identify a deserving and effective organization, so the specific charity we will support is not determined. Our finalists include the Save the Music Foundation, Hungry for Music, and the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. We’ll update this space when we have settled on one.
Playing music, especially in ensemble, is good for kids and good for society. And these budding musicians will give us all the fodder for Overthinking long after we have traded the popular culture for the paradisical culture. In a season that has its own genre of music, it’s a perfect way for us to give back.
Here’s what you do
Join your smart, funny friends from the Internet and make a contribution to support music education here. Give generously.
Overthinking It will cover credit card processing fees and pool individual contributions into one (hopefully) large donation.
And that’s not all. Overthinking It will match the combined gifts 1:1 (up to $1000) to double the effect of our community’s support.
And here’s what Santa will bring you
For every $25 the Overthinking It community contributes, we will listen to one (1) cheesy Christmas album and write or podcast about it. And then, closer to the holiday, we will invite all of our contributors to a magical Holiday videoconference where we’ll actually make the donation online, roast some chestnuts, and sing some Yuletide carols.
And we’re not going to make it easy on ourselves — it’s not going to be all classics like Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing “The Little Drummer Boy.” We’ll spin the Mannheim Steamroller. We’ll spin the William Shatner. We’ll venture out into the most experimental of noise collectives and come back to tell you the tale. You can read and hear all about it on Overthinking It, and you can support the next generation of musicians who will make holiday music just as good—or, let’s all hope, better!
Give now to support music education, and force us to live a tinsel-bedecked frozen audio landscape of our own design. It’s a Christmas Miracle.