Lottery commercial redefines joy in spirit of Chicago Way

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

No reference to carpets, beef or cash kickbacks. The responsibility of turning the hymn into a lottery commercial belongs to state government, because bureaucrats approved it and took your money and paid the ad agency.

Using a well-known song about Christ to sell lottery tickets on the backs of happy cats and beef was so amazing that we called Brian Hamer, director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, certain that he'd want to take all the credit. His secretary said he'd call back. He didn't. Later Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for Hamer, said he wouldn't comment.

After a day or two of calls, the Illinois political bureaucrats decided in their wisdom that lottery superintendent Jodie Winnett should take full credit, and they said she approved the ad, according to lottery spokesman Tracy Owens. But Winnett wasn't available for comment, either.

"We have gotten a lot of positive feedback," Owens said, mentioning that article in the Sun-Times business section.

But isn't the song about Christ?

"That is not the connection we were going for," Owens said. "This is a song that is in the public domain. It's about bringing joy into people's lives. That's the theme we were going for. Buying a lottery ticket is a way to thank someone for the little things they did throughout the year. It (the commercial) talks about bringing joy to people, and that's what the lottery was about.

"The words were changed up because," Owens said, "we did not want people to be offended."

That must be why the lottery used a deeply religious song and made a joke out of it to sell tickets. So they wouldn't offend. What joy.

I'll bet you can't wait for the commercials for those new state video poker machines. They'll need a new song to bring joy. What song will they use?

How about "Silent Night" or "Ave Maria"?