Vinay Menon: Mariah Carey trying to trademark ‘Queen of Christmas’ is a Scrooge move

Mariah Carey performs during the BET Awards in June.
Mariah Carey performs during the BET Awards in June.

No matter the season, Mariah Carey’s head is full of jingle bells.

I bet if you broke into her palace tonight, you’d find a decorated balsam fir twinkling in the living room and stockings on the mantle. Then you’d get tased by burly security in elf hats and black out in the stench of peppermint bark.

This woman loves Santa more than Tom Cruise loves L. Ron Hubbard. She’s obsessed with Christmas. Did you know that at night, when she enters REM sleep, her dreams are always narrated by Santa? Or that she nicknamed her nipples “Yuletide” and “Mistletoe”? People, this is what I heard!

For Ms. Carey, Christmas is a commercial evergreen. Her smash hit, 1994’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” goes into heavy rotation every December. It is a seasonal fixture on the Billboard charts and a screechy breaker of Guinness World Records. It has earned Carey millions in royalties.

That horrendous song is a kingdom of riches.

And now Carey wants to officially be “Queen of Christmas.”

As reported this week, the singer has applied to trademark the royal moniker. This move has angered other musicians in the holiday genre. And for good reason. If I sweated it out at Mr. Lube, I wouldn’t want a colleague to have the exclusive naming and branding rights to “Mr. Mechanic.”

Hey! I am also changing oil and filters under this hoist!

Variety noted the “fierce resistance” to Mariah’s trademark gambit, including from Darlene Love and Elizabeth Chan. Love, now 81, pointed out how David Letterman bestowed the title “Queen of Christmas” on her in 1993, a year before Mariah’s hit. Meanwhile, Chan is a singer-songwriter who “devotes herself to releasing exclusively Christmas music every year; she even released an album called ‘Queen of Christmas.’”

She has gone to court this month to stop Mariah’s Scrooge move.

As Chan explained to Variety: “I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolize it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity. That’s just not the right thing to do. Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared — it’s not meant to be owned.

“And it’s not just about the music business. She’s trying to trademark this in every imaginable way — clothing, liquor products, masks, dog collars — it’s all over the map.”

Queen of Christmas Dog Collar?

Here’s the problem. Well, there are a few problems, including the fact celebrities and their business reps are greedy psychos constantly playing angles on merch. Donald Trump, the biggest psycho alive, once tried to trademark his reality show catchphrase “You’re fired!” Had he succeeded, this could have put every HR manager in legal jeopardy during heated termination meetings.

Look, I wouldn’t mind being called the Brown Scribbler. But that would not be fair to all the other brown scribblers out there. Mariah Carey should not have the exclusive rights to “Queen of Christmas.” “Queen of Cringe,” fine. “Queen of Décolletage,” fair enough. “Queen of Bubblegum Pop So Grating You Want to Jam Festive Icicles Into Your Eardrums,” have at it.

But no celebrity should be allowed to own and control common words and phrases and numbers and dates, which is what these maniacs are trying to do. Didn’t Taylor Swift try to trademark “1989,” the year of her birth? I think she also trademarked the names of her cats. This always seemed odd since those feline names — Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, Benjamin Button — are fictional characters. If I get a hamster, call him “Eddie Munson” and trademark this name before selling T-shirts emblazoned with a rodent in a mullet wig thrashing a metal guitar, I suspect the good people at “Stranger Things” might object.

Didn’t 50 Cent once sue Taco Bell over 99-cent burritos?

I’m not grasping the logic or the math. But this is what happens when trademarks are handed out willy-nilly. We are up to our eyes in climate change. And I’m scared to say, “That’s hot,” in case Paris Hilton takes me to court.

Kim Kardashian tried to trademark “Kimono.”

Gene Simmons tried to trademark the “metal horns” hand gesture.

Mariah Carey, I hate to break this to you, but you are not “Queen of Christmas.” If you were, I’d do everything in my power to cancel my favourite holiday. All I want for Christmas is you? That’s all you want, Mariah? All I want for Christmas is for you to shut your trap so I don’t have to hear this abomination over the mall PA system as I frantically last-minute shop on Christmas Eve.

You lucked out in 1994, Mariah. You really did. I will go to my grave in the North Pole never understanding why so many people love this song. But they do and you’ve earned a fortune. Kudos. So just settle down and, I don’t know, maybe expand into Easter or Thanksgiving? Maybe write a song for Ramadan?

Christmas is about giving.

And now you just seem greedy.

Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon


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