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Friday, December 22, 2006

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas


It's possible for a Christmas wish to be something besides an X-box.

Most people have an intense longing for an intense longing. When the landscape doesn't present an opportunity to desperately want something, we have a tendency to manufacture it. Anyone that has seen sacks of rice tumble off an aid truck in a place where famine rules recognizes the behavior of a crowd at a mall the day after Thanksgiving, in a frenzy trying to buy a Playstation 3. Recognize it, but not understand it, exactly.

I don't want any "thing" for Christmas. I'm too old for that sort of thing. But Christmas gets me to thinking.

Judy Garland's singing is lovely in the video. The song is worthy of a compelling performance. People who really knew what they were doing used to write, produce, and perform mass entertainment. And the themes were very adult. Christina Aguilera and her ilk, writhing about on the stage drooling melismas and flashing her naughty bits is really sort of infantile, when considered dispassionately. And while the opening up of all sorts of mass media to the forces of the democratic selection of entertainment is wonderful in many ways, the rise of the amateur has its problems. Shakespeare would not have blogged. Judy Garland wouldn't have sung karaoke.

It is useful to reflect upon the wistful nature of the song and the images that accompany it. That tableau is being played out in many places in the United States right now, and Judy Garland, Ralph Blane, and Hugh Martin probably ain't showing up to tell those home alone --some alone forever -- that their intense longing is shared by many, if not all of their fellow men.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, now.

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