Best Of The Web
“It’s December again, which means it’s time to put away childish things and once again heed our era’s highest moral calling and resume our arguments about Love, Actually.
For some, the star-studded comedy is a comforting Yuletide tradition, up there with sipping on eggnog or buying things you can’t really afford for people who don’t really need them anyway. For others, it’s a catalog of iniquities, a monument to sexism, a towering inferno of a film burning bright with hot white privilege. I’m firmly in the first camp—I’m a simple man who doesn’t need much more than five or six scenes starring Bill Nighy to enjoy a movie—and I want nothing more than to throw on my Snuggie, grab the popcorn, and cheer for Colin as he goes looking for love, truth, and beauty, in the one place where all three can be found in abundance: Wisconsin. But at the risk of prolonging an already tedious scuffle, one more point, I think, must be made: Love, Actually is, maybe, the most Jewish Christmas movie ever made.
Think, for a moment, of all the rest. It’s a Wonderful Life, say, or Miracle on 34th Street, or Meet Me in St. Louis—all are as bleak as the winter solstice, the longest night of the year and a pagan holiday that inspired elements of our modern Christmas celebration. To watch a tearful Margaret O’Brien listen to Judy Garland belt out “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and then rush outside in her nightgown and smash the snowmen her family had so lovingly built, or to watch George Bailey fade from existence, is to plumb the depths of human misery. Sure, these movies all have happy endings, but they are not in the least happy movies. They are, instead, elegiac explorations of the Christian idea of grace, reminders to the faithful that God loves them not because they deserve it but because he is infinitely merciful and kind. Joy, in Christian theology and in Christmas movies alike, only comes from above, a precious gift to be discovered one morning—Christianity, after all, is a religion predicated on an epiphany—and cherished forever. And if you need to explore this idea at greater length, just ask little Zuzu Bailey about angels and their wings.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"India’s water crisis offers a striking reminder of how climate change is rapidly morphing into a climate emergency. Piped water has run dry in Chennai, the southern state of Tamil Nadu’s capital, and 21 other Indian cities are also facing the..."
"Such a blackout is coming. It is only a matter of time. Again, leaving aside the growing threats of cyber and terrorist attacks upon our power grid, the fact of the matter is that much of our grid is antiquated junk desperately in need of billion."
"In Israel’s early years—even earlier, in fact, during the decades leading up to independence—the kibbutz played an integral role in creating the country’s economic and political infrastructure. Based on a shared economy and hard work..."
"Scarlett Johansson became something of a conservative hero on Friday for speaking out against identity politics. She told As If magazine, in quotes excerpted by the Daily Mail, “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or..."
"During the 2012 presidential election, there occurred one of those remarkably rare moments when campaign rhetoric actually clarified a large issue. It happened when Barack Obama, speaking without a written text, spoke from his heart and..."
"IN FEBRUARY, LEAKED software code predicted the demise of the back button on the latest version of Google's Android smartphone. Apple did away with the iPhone's home button in 2017. LG’s latest handset allows users to control their devices..."
"I am in the mosh pit of West Hollywood’s El Rey Theatre, jangly from two cups of Zoe Ministries’ excellent self-branded coffee. Twenty 20-somethings in mom jeans, sneakers, and colorful baggy shirts are singing Disney-radio-inflected anthems..."
"Before the advent of scientific evidence and philosophical guidance on the subject, literary odes to the creative and health benefits of walking flourished. No one has been more tireless in reviving the history of exhortations to join the “Order..."
"Facebook and Twitter feeds were buzzing with discussion after the late-May New York Times article declaring that millennials are no longer interested in marriage. The article’s popularity can be attributed, in part, to the uncomfortable truth it..."
"The run happened — or didn’t — maybe five days into the raw-diet experiment. I had formed a sort of fitness pact with a friend to forgo cooked food, and after days of nothing but salads, almonds, sashimi and black coffee, my body felt taut and..."
"Humans have long sought the elixir of youth, so it is not surprising that even non-scientists closely follow the latest research into aging. But is what most people consider simply a fact of life actually a “disease” that can be cured? Or is..."
"It’s no secret that many Jews are struggling to keep up. More and more, middle and even upper-middle class Jews are finding religion to be an increasingly expensive component of their lives. My husband has a good job and I have a burgeoning..."