It's been quiet over the holidays, yet not. If anything, one of the problems with finding things to write about the last few weeks was the overabundance of current-events cruft, and yet the same kind of cruft over and over again, so nothing truly new.
Nevertheless, it was a good week or two with family.
So, a few odds and ends that I found or came up.
First - an article on how many of the supposed pagan origins of Christmas are not.
In the meantime, Aurini over at Stares at the World passes along a couple stories of Saint Nicholas of Myra, the source of our stories of Santa Claus.
Unfortunately, I took a recommendation from Roger Devlin, posted at the Unz report, and watched Joyeaux Noel. It's a fictionalized account of a segment of the front lines which participated in the Christmas Truce of 2014. The middle half of the movie plays it fairly straight, displaying the largely live-and-let-live attitude that had enabled the truce, and similar, shorter, less widespread ones before that. Clueless senior officers, never a new problem in peacetime and perpetual-war militaries, were in more than abundant supply in that war as well. Unfortunately, it's all ruined by framing, and pointless SJW crap, as an intensely anti-nationalist movie well above and beyond the needs of the story that actually happened.
The first warning is that it's a Sundance darling. The second is the opening moments, mentioned in the Unz review, of the boys reciting doggerel encouraging hatred of their enemies. That could have simply been to counterpoint to the enemies across the trenches finding a shared humanity in their Christian faith, but remember, it is beloved by the Sundance/Oscar crowd.
By the end of the movie, we get treated to an artist initiating the truce through music ( we couldn't have a commoner singing silent night, could we?) - and explicitly countering the "uselessness of artists." We get gospel abused to promote the war and condemn the church as a preacher, observing this, loses his faith. We see said artist abandon his earlier expressed honor to cross the lines and stay across. We see a French orderly killed by an overzealous Scotsman nursing his hate for the Prussians due to his brother's death. Finally, it turns out that the Prussian officer is Jewish. This is only brought up for two reasons. One, to introduce that he is, and can appreciate the midnight mass in no man's land, and then later, so that the Prussian crown prince can make a comment about how they'll let anyone wear an officer's uniform. Because Nazis, of course, and nationalism bad.
I know, never mind that the Nazis didn't believe in nationalism for anyone else, that everyone else was equally nationalistic in WW2, or that without nationalism, there's not even a reason to defend yourself from another nation - because nations don't exist. Or that the song "Imagine" with the lines about no nations, is a pipe dream, as people are tribal.
Actually, in the end, it does just that. It takes the very real and poignant story, and, by implication, turns it into some anti war version of "Imagine." If we didn't have an other, if we truly shared culture and didn't have nations to hate, if we didn't have religion to egg us on to wars, we'd all get along.
Of course our cultural "betters" thought it deserved accolades.
For that matter, how do you communicate with someone who doesn't even believe in objective truth as a matter of core philosophy?
Fortunately, I had a chance to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special. That has definitely stood the test of time, and Linus' speech was unforgettable.
In other news, Tenet was worth a watch, and I'll write up a separate review. It's not on par with Interstellar, but few movies are.