The Carl Online


Have a Christopher Hitchens Christmas! by Greg Hunter
December 24, 2008, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Misc., Music, Politics | Tags: , , ,

gritchens

I’ve expressed my fondness for Christopher Hitchens before on this blog.  In a time when political commentators are judged largely by who among them can shout the loudest, it’s hard not to like someone who’s such an unabashed stylist.  Hitchens is maybe our greatest living polemic writer, and it’s as much because of the control he exerts over his prose as anything else.  His favorite target is probably organized religion, and in this recent Slate article -http://www.slate.com/id/2206713/ – he vows to write a fiercer anti-Christmas column every year.  Now while I think Hitchens makes a great Grinch – calling the holiday a “moral and aesthetic nightmare” is an example of the elevated purple prose no one does quite so well – I don’t really buy his argument this year, that the U.S. “turns itself into the cultural and commercial equivalent of a one-party state” at Christmastime.

I’m a lapsed Catholic who plans to celebrate Christmas for the rest of my life.  Part of why I’m at ease with this is because the holiday as it is today seems like a bright, shining triumph of the secular.  At it’s core, Christmas is indisputably Christian, but do we really see Christianity casting a shadow over all American institutions each December?  Or do we see market capitalism using the holiday for all it’s worth, with Christians and non-Christians alike buying and selling lots of junk they don’t need?  (Less cynically: when Christmas gives Americans a pretense for family gatherings and gift-giving, I’d imagine those acts of gathering and giving are more important than the pretense itself for many people.)  Organized religions aren’t going anywhere, Christianity included, but seeing one of the two most popular Christian holidays fixed in such a secularized form should be, for someone like Hitchens, a source of holiday cheer.  And speaking of cheer, I’ve had this on repeat lately:

– Greg Hunter



Carl Christmas Present #1 by Greg Hunter

A few nights ago, I sat down to watch Santa’s Slay, a pirated DVD of my younger brother’s. The film, from 2005, stars former pro-wrestler Bill Goldberg as a murderous Santa Claus. Santa’s Slay belongs to the vast body of the direct-to-DVD horror-comedies that are neither scary nor funny, which manage to suggest self-awareness while basically lacking it. What distinguishes Slay from the rest is its baffling opening scene. There are few familiar faces throughout the movie (an unfortunate exception is SCTV alum Dave Thomas, who’s too talented to be in it). For the most part, they’re concentrated in the first three minutes, where Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan and James Caan are seated together at Christmas dinner, the most bizarre collection of cameos I’ve ever seen. Now Caan’s track record isn’t perfect, granted – for every Godfather, there are 88 episodes of Las Vegas – but hearing Sonny Corleone call Mango a “half-a-fag” is still something kind of incredible.

– Greg Hunter