As I’m sure most of you are well aware, an abusive phone sex enthusiast with his own show on FOX has been huffing and puffing about how the greeting “Happy Holidays” is a plot to destroy the politically correct “Merry Christmas.”
With thousands slaughtered in Iraq, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis devastating the earth thanks to global warming, and a whole list of other assorted horrors to contend with, we’re all supposed to put them aside and get upset over the proper form of a seasonal greeting.
If Falafel Man were truly on point, he’d be pushing for “Happy Saturnalia” as this well-established pagan holiday is what should by all rights be celebrating.
As many historians have pointed out the reality-based personage known as Jesus Christ — if he (or as his acolytes are wont to say He ) existed at all — was born sometime in late summer or early fall. But once a pushy bullying religion was founded on the life and death of this vaguely interesting itinerant rabbi, the only “Birthday” that would do was one designed to subsume his pagan predecessors — and hopefully expunge them from the history books.
For as my compadre Bill Reed observes, you can’t keep a good pagan down in that (drumroll please) Xmas Done Got Funky
Over and above such R&B delights you’ll find Christmas Holiday, a truly amazing Robert Siodmak film from 1944 (a banner year for him that also saw Phantom Lady and Cobra Woman) The screenplay is by Herman J. Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane) adapted from a novel by W.Somerset Maugham and the stars are Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly.
Sound intriguing? You bet.
It starts in a “road house” (ie. whorehouse) where the lovely Deanna is discovered singing (or rather intoning through tremulous lips) “Spring Will be a Little Late This Year”– written expressly for this movie by the great Frank Loesser. As we learn though flashbacks, our heroine has come to this pretty pass thanks to a bad marriage to Kelly — a “mother-fixated” (read queer) homicidal maniac. Now thought to be out of her life, this exceedingly bad penny turns up again at the film’s climax to get shot down by the cops in a hail of bullets and die in her arms.
Ever-plucky Deanna promptly brushes away the tears and trundles off to Midnight Mass to sing “Ave Maria.”
No film I have ever seen expresses the full depressive gloom of the “Holiday Season” like this one. Indeed this brand of seasonal gloom was the reason Saturnalia was created. And it’s undoubtedly the reason that when Christmas Holiday turns up on TV at all, it’s NEVER at Christmas.
Such a shame, as Deanna Durbin would undoubtedly do Bill O’Loufa a world of good.