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Christmas songs

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Former Vanity Fair editrix Tina Brown has started a website modeled on the Huffington Post, which she calls The Daily Beast, after Lord Copper’s newspaper in Evelyn Waugh’s great Scoop. (I guess that makes the Huffington Post the equivalent of The Daily Brute and Ariana would be Lady Zinc.) Personally, I think it would be droll if instead of being on the Internet, The Daily Brute was on paper and distributed via messengers carrying cleft sticks, but Lady Copper doesn’t seem to get the joke.

In today’s Daily Beast, Max Blumenthal, the son of former Clinton White House consigliere Sidney Blumenthal, gets upset about a column I wrote in December 2005 praising the large Jewish contribution to the great American Christmas songbook. I pointed out:

Pop songwise, most of the 20th century Christmas hits we hear this time of year were written between 1934 and 1958. They keep alive the higher standards of songwriting that prevailed before rock music made youth, self-expression, and authenticity more important than craftsmanship. Tin Pan Alley was the commercial heir to the great Continental musical tradition, with its incomparable mastery of technique….
And, strange as it may seem during today’s War Against Christmas, a very large fraction of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews.
For example, looking at a fairly recent ASCAP list of the most played Christmas pop tunes, it appears to me that of the top ten songs, Jews wrote five and co-wrote two more. … But this long, amiable tradition of Jews helping to enliven a Christian feast day seems, sadly, to be drawing to an end.

One paragraph in Blumenthal’s carefully researched piece caught my eye:

VDare’s 2005 War on Christmas winner, Steve Sailer [I won? Where's my prize?], a Eugenics enthusiast [my consistent lack of enthusiasm for eugenics notwithstanding] and author of the new biography of Barack Obama, America’s Half-Blood Prince [which, by the way, makes the perfect Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice gift], picked up where Piatak left off. “American Jews,” Sailer wrote, “those exemplars of successful assimilation now seem to be de-assimilating emotionally, becoming increasingly resentful, at this late date, of their fellow Americans for celebrating Christmas.” Sailer went on to quote at length from a column by the purportedly Jewish writer, Bert Prelutsky, called “The Jewish Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”

I love Max Blumenthal’s description of veteran TV writer Burt Prelutsky as “purportedly Jewish.” I guess that makes Max “Sidney Blumenthal’s purported son.”

• Tags: Christmas songs 
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I’m looking out my window and two airplanes are flying by, towing advertising banners. The first one says, “Alvin!!!!!!!!!!” and the second one says, “Get Munk’d, Dec. 14.”

I presume they are referring to some sort of upcoming movie about Alvin and the Chipmunks, a 1958 novelty song project by Ross Bagdasarian, in which he sped up his voice to sound like rodents singing a Christmas song.

It’s rather pleasing to me that the pop cultural ephemera of my childhood continues to be recycled and inflicted upon new generations. Of course, we Baby Boomers didn’t create most of the stuff we loved as pre-teens. Indeed, one reason for the enduring hegemony of our childish tastes is the failure of my teeming Baby Boom generation to come up with replacements for things like the great Christmas songs of 1934-1958.

• Tags: Christmas songs, Movies, Music 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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