Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What has become of this holiday?

I hope y’all had a good Christmas. Me, I decided to go to the flicks and see Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters.” Figured I wouldn’t have to battle any crowds.

I was wrong.

In mid-afternoon, at a big Burbank shopping mall, there wasn’t a single free space in the parking structure. Boy, that pissed me off. I was like, “Why aren’t you motherfuckers at home? It’s Christmas!

I don’t get it. The world used to take a break on Christmas Day. Instead, you got long lines at the Starbucks.

I guess the fact that Hollywood would open major motion pictures on Christmas Day means that I’m out of touch... that Christmas has been a big moviegoing day for a while. It’s a damn shame.

Anyways, “The Great Debaters” was effective, in a manipulative, almost hokey kind of way. The theater was packed, and people applauded at the end. So it will make money.

I was personally delighted to see one of the main characters sing a couple of verses of “Run, Nigger, Run,” a folk song I blogged about in detail back in September.

Tangentially, I also think I spotted a factual error in one of the main characters’ debate points. Jurnee Smollett said, if I heard right, that the New York Times decided to capitalize the “N” in Negro in 1920.

Actually, it was 1930. And the Times was one of the last New York newspapers to do so.

I began gathering string on that story back in the summer, while researching the “Giant Negro” phenomenon. I’ll write more about the capitalization of “Negro” in coming days.


DeAngelo Starnes said...

Dave, I thought about the irony of the so-called Christmas Spirit the last couple of days.

Long lines, mad traffic, rude and pushy people for the four to five days preceding Christmas.

And then the shit's over after the presents are opened in the morning and you get cross-eyed after eating all that goddamned food you stayed all night cooking.

At some point during Christmas Eve, I youtubed Charlie Brown's Christmas Special. I was struck at how the characters railed against the commercialism of Christmas as symbolized by Lucy and others exhorting Charlie Brown to get a good aluminum tree.

And he ended up purchasing the only real Xmas tree, which was a pitiful looking thing. But at least it was real.

That shit flew over my head when I watched it as a kid.

But hit home as an adult.

Because in trying to appease everyone in an effort to create the holiday spirit, we suffer a lot of discomfort

And so is it worth going through spending money you don't have and enduring long lines of pushy people?

As much as I hated it, it reminded me of all the machinations you go through to date someone hoping it will end up with an orgasm. That orgasm was the shit and you forgot all that money you spent and the fact that your date ordered everything on the menu.

It was worth it even if the encounter didn't end up in a meaningful relationship.

Giving can be getting when it's all said and done. Even though you'd wish you could skip the process and get straight to the nut.

bklyn6 said...

I was struck at how the characters railed against the commercialism of Christmas as symbolized by Lucy and others exhorting Charlie Brown to get a good aluminum tree.

Now it's Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping railing against consumerism in general.

Actually, it was 1930. And the Times was one of the last New York newspapers to do so...

Well, they're still misidentifying black folk so....


Matty said...

David, My family has gone to a late afternoon Christmas movie for as long as I can remember. After celebrating the holiday with Mom's side, immediate family, and then Dad's side, that's how we always end Christmas. It's usually the most universal movie, so as to satisfy all 19 people. The Great Debaters was an excellent fit. Happy Holidays.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks for commenting, Matty.

And the poor schmucks who have to work on Christmas Day, shoveling popcorn? Or making lattes? Who weeps for them?

Solace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Solace said...

Interesting and funny post you have here friend. I was stuck in an airport Christmas eve until the morning so thus is how my Christmas

Funny...I work with inner city kids on my own time and I took the children to see the Great Debaters.
In a day an age where kids want all things material when they dont have much..I have the blessing of working with children who wanted to go to the book store after we viewed the movie. That was my christmas gift from them...that movie inspired them.(smiles)

I know that the school they originally debated was USC I think ...not Harvard. I know Denzel wanted to alter that fact for symbolism purposes.

By the way just happened to click on your blog....GREAT READING! I will be back!

Anonymous said...

My family used to go to the movies on Christmas for several years (until my grandparents became too ill to attend). I would have liked to have seen a movie on Christmas this year, but I was too busy visiting with friends and the only "event" movie that was released on Christmas was Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, and I just wasn't in the mood to be so hip and ironic.

Anonymous said...

^Oops, forgot to mention that was me up there.

*Tanyetta* said...

My husband and I saw this movie tonight!!!!!!!


I have a question: Do you remember the letters that were written on the front of the Harvard Debate Podium?

I want to look them up. Thank you.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Tanyetta, I hope the theater was packed.

You know what? I didn't even notice the letters on the Harvard debate podium.