Culture Wars - The "Grinch"
Since it is the Christmas season, it is time to explore a cultural icon and examine its significance - its "real message."
I am talking now about a modern tale that is broadcast over and over to our children and has come to define the meaning of Christmas for most of America.
It is the famous story entitled "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). But more important than the storybook is the animated movie produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. in 1966. It is narrated by Boris Karloff.
A full generation of Americans has grown up on it.
So the question is; what is the real message of this short animated feature.
The movie opens on the small village of "Whoville" and shows in fulsome detail the lavish material trappings of their christmas celebration.
While one must stretch to believe that a small peasant village could indulge such opulent gift giving, feasting and celebration, the oddity of such impulsive economic behavior is overshadowed by the villainous Grinch.
After our introduction to the material goodies of the village, the "pantookas" and "roast beast," the narrator explains that the Grinch wants to stop christmas from coming and so steals all the gifts, ornaments and food.
With all of the material trappings stolen and moved up the mountain, The Grinch learns a lesson that all of us should ponder. He learns that despite the crass materialism of the village, they are happy even without the goodies. So - no point in taking them away. These folks have tons of spirituality! So much spirituality that hardship holds no lessons for them. Might as well just give all of the material goodies back!
And the Grinch does just that!
The real message of the movie is that anyone who might try to enhance the spirituality of the holiday by taking away the lavish spending and gift giving doesn't understand its true spiritual meaning!
Take that, you fundamentalist preachers!
How dare you try to convince your flocks to boycott Halloween and stay away from the stores at Christmas! Anyone who does that is just a mean spirited Grinch who doesn't understand the true spiritual meaning of these holidays!
The animated video is a classic of 20th Century U.S. propaganda, and speaks to the very core of the economic interests of our liberal elites.
It is a classic of Leninist, east European logic, were words come to mean their opposite. Those who argue against the materialism of the holidays are mean spirited Grinches, while those who encourage impulse spending and fight to free humanity from its material restraints with unlimited plastic understand spirituality.
It is the ultimate triumph of secularized halachic logic, in which the meaning of Christian culture gets redefined into something more comfortable and comforting to the diamond cutters of Brooklyn and the hordes of retail merchants dependent upon the materialism of Christian holidays for their sustenance. To them, any attempt to strip materialism from Christmas looks like a mean-spirited anti-semitic attack.
Good christians that we are, we yield, because we wouldn't want to appear rude or divisive. So we obediently show this little animated vignette to our children each year and fail utterly to banish it to the Museum of Tolerance, or some other musty shrine to propaganda pieces that fail the test of commercial acceptance.
And, of course, the big name brand advertisers love it! They sign up in droves to sponsor its rebroadcast each year.
Our clergy cower before the seasonal gods of plastic indulgence, too timid to defend the words of a man hounded unto his death by Pharisees of old against the continued attacks of their modern descendants seeking to kill him yet again by obliterating his meaning:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.
"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
May the true spirit of Christmas be with you!
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