As a Jew growing up on an overwhelmingly Catholic town–there were 4 Jews in my high school class of 400–I experienced considerable antisemitism. Although I played a shepherd in my grade school’s Christmas play and Scrooge in my junior high school’s production of A Christmas Carol, as I got older, I came to find the assumption around Christmas time that everyone was Christian to be a little offensive and alienating. But, in recent years, the PC War on Christmas in the public square has made me think we have overshot the mark. So now I am much more sympathetic with expressions of the Christmas spirit and want to take this opportunity to wish our Christian readers a very Merry Christmas!
For a related blog post by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline see here:
I have long felt bad about the injury Jews have inflicted on Christmas by leading the charge to limit public celebration of this great religious holiday. Here we are, living in a country whose Christians have treated us with unprecedented kindness, tolerance, and fellowship, and we show our thanks by forcing them to remove the most meaningful aspects of their most important holiday from the public square.
This year, however, I was able to find solace in Garrison Keillor’s rant about how Jews have injured Christmas by writing “trashy” Christmas songs. I had not focused, until I read Keillor’s bizarre column and Scott’s response, on the fact that Jews have contributed songs like “White Christmas”,” Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and other staples of this “most wonderful time of the year.” These songs may annoy Keillor, but they have pleased millions of American Christians of all ages. Thus, we Jews have contributed more to Christmas than ugly litigation.
Since this is the time of year when we should make a special effort to be charitable, I will speculate that Keillor’s rant against “Jew” Christmas songs represents displaced anger over the successful efforts to drive the holiday’s religious content out of the public square. If so, I feel his pain.
While on the subject of Christmas, I watched all of It’s A Wonderful Life last night for the first time in several years. Justly rated the #1 Christmas movie by John Nolte, it is truly a wonderful film–yes, I cried–and Jimmy Stewart’s performance really sells the story. For an interesting link explaining how so-called intellectual “property” is preventing us from enjoying the film more than 2 times a year see It’s a Wonderful Copyright Mess (HT Glenn)
Finally, since this is a law blog, here is a nice post about another wonderful Christmas movie that culminates in a marvelous courtroom sequence: the original Miracle on 34th Street. John Nolte rates it the #10 all time Christmas film, but for my money it rates much higher.
Nominated for Best Best Picture of 1947, everything about Miracle On 34th Street works, but what makes it uniquely special is the on-location shooting, most especially for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which opens the film. It was rare for a production from this era to lug cast, crew, and equipment across the country when it was so much cheaper and convenient to reproduce wherever and whatever was needed on a Southern California backlot where everything from litter to weather could be controlled. Thankfully, some studio exec was thinking outside the box and so there it is, forever encapsulated on celluloid – a big, beautiful New York City all decked out for Christmas in glorious black and white. And if that doesn’t spark your holiday spirit, well, you’re hopeless.
None of that location shooting would’ve meant much, though, without a warmhearted, simple, but meticulously crafted Oscar-winning script that rolls its grounded but still magical story out effortlessly over a briskly paced 96-minutes full of plot-twists, romance, political intrigue, business rivalries, and smashing good courtroom scenes where the stakes are about as high as they can get: Santa Claus might be declared a menace to society and sent to prison.
As a former prosecutor, most courtroom scenes annoy me, but not these. I encourage law students who may not have seen it since they were kids, to run out and rent it this weekend.
And Merry Christmas to All!