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Old 24th December 2011   #1
HSG
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default Merry Christmas


The Judgment of Paris would like to wish one and all a very Merry Christmas and Frohe Weihnachten. We warmly encourage visitors to read our 2009 interview with gorgeous plus-size model Kelsey Olson, which constitutes our all-time favourite Christmas experience.

We would also like to take this opportunity to share, as we do every alternate year, the most gorgeous Yuletide image that the plus-size industry has ever created (a breathtaking Addition-Elle ad featuring Shannon Marie, who was and remains the most beautiful plus-size model there has ever been), and to offer some sundry Yuletide reflections.

Click to enlarge

* * *

There is an old adage that the each generation looks back upon its own past as a better time than the present. Unvarying and predictable as this phenomenon may be, it doesn't change the fact that such a belief may be grounded in reality.

At this site, we often point out that prior to the advent of modernism, prior to the two-part apocalypse of the 20th century's world wars, which destroyed Western culture and left it in the hands of hostile, alien forces, (a veritable occupation army in the aesthetic sphere,) the Old World celebrated an ideal of beauty that gave its civilization form and purpose throughout the millennia, an ideal that dawned in ancient Greece and survived until the early 1900s. In a very real sense, then--in every sense but that of technology, which would have advanced regardless of the cultural conditions--the distant past genuinely was better than the present. Better in every way that mattered.

However, one finds evidence of the coarsening of our civilization even from decade to decade, in recent times. While North American pop culture as a whole has ever been symptomatic of social decline, even popular culture has markedly deteriorated over the past generation.

This degradation becomes particularly evident during the Yuletide season, not merely in the ignoble efforts to eradicate the very word "Christmas" from official parlance, but even in the commercial entertainment that has been devised to celebrate this holiday.

It is a sobering fact that the all of the finest Christmas children's programs were created at least a generation ago, often two. Frosty the Snowman, which retains its emotional pull, debuted in 1969. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, with its distinctly Germanic elements ("Burgermeister Meisterburger"), was released the following year. Even The Year Without a Santa Claus (featuring the pagan opposition of the Heat Miser and Snow Miser) premiered as far back as 1974. And A Charlie Brown Christmas, the greatest of them all, and a legitimate gem of network programming, dates from . . . 1965.


Very little that has been produced on television in the intervening years has had any lasting appeal, due primarily to the toxic mixture of cynicism and irony that has infected popular storytelling.

* * *

Although A Charlie Brown Christmas merits its renown as the greatest Yuletide special, we would like to draw attention to what was once a pillar of the Christmas viewing experience but has since been largely suppressed. Even when it does make it to air, its central song--which delivers the program's core theme--is now cut from every network broadcast: the 1974 Rankin-Bass adaptation of the Clement Moore poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The reasons for the dire straits into which this special has fallen are easy to divulge. While it is one of the sweetest, funniest, and most entertaining of all television Christmas specials, it also carries a rich subtext, and dares to ask a question that is more pertinent today than any other moral and ethical consideration: Just because one can ruin a grand belief system, a cultural construct that has taken centuries to develop and which gives an entire people a sense of both identity and mission, does it mean that one should? Is destruction for its own sake not, in fact, the most contemptible and harmful of all intellectual pursuits?

This question goes to the very heart of modernism and the whole hyper-democratic project of contemporary society, which seeks to uproot every world population from its heritage and make it part of a vast, soulless, deracinated, indistinguishable mass concerned with nothing but material conditions.

This deceptively humble program, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, posits that if one willfully topples the divine order of creation, if one deliberately severs the Great Chain of Being, then one must have something noble to put in its place, (as Nietzsche did, but as today's resentment-driven ideologies do not). Otherwise, one leaves the world a barren waste.

And yet this program, amazingly, asks so profound a question in the most charming, accessible manner imaginable--literally in a way that a child could understand. The central song, "There's More To the World"--the one that is now commonly suppressed--launches just after 7:47 in the video, below, but is best understood in context of the whole half-hour program. It is a testament to the importance of the immaterial in human existence, and a tribute to the central role that the Imagination plays in any life worth living.

On the night before Christmas, then, we are pleased to share 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, as discovered on YouTube--an upload of the complete program, with its main song, "There's More To the World," intact.



Merry Christmas to all . . .

- 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on Blu-Ray

- 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on DVD

Last edited by HSG : 25th December 2011 at 22:45.
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Old 25th December 2011   #2
renata
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 175
Default Re: Merry Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
We warmly encourage visitors to read our 2009 interview with gorgeous plus-size model Kelsey Olson, which constitutes our all-time favourite Christmas experience.

We would also like to draw attention to what was once a pillar of the Christmas viewing experience, but has since been largely suppressed. Even when it does make it to air, its central song--which delivers the program's core theme--is now cut from every network broadcast: the 1974 Rankin-Bass adaptation of the Clement Moore poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Actually, the pairing of the Kelsey interview and this television program is not inappropriate. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas may have been the work of Rankin-Bass, not Disney, but the films of both studios emphasized the importance of keeping alive a sense of wonder and magic in the world.

In fact, a happy coincidence links the Kelsey profile with this Christmas special. Kelsey was interviewed at Disneyland, in the shadow of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and the topic of Sleeping Beauty comes up repeatedly in the discussion between the interviewer and the model. Well, in the "There's More to the World" song in 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, one of the most memorable visuals has Albert, the intellectual agnostic son, experiencing a fantasy vision in which, among other things, he is transformed into a prince and kisses a Sleeping Beauty, awakening her.



Here are the lyrics of "There's More to the World."

Quote:
How about fairies and leprechauns
On St Patrick's Day?
How about just about everything
That make a holiday fey?

There's more to the world than meets the eye.
When doubt's in your mind, give your heart a try.
Let up a little on the wonder-why
And give your heart a try.

If you can't believe what you can't see,
Well, here's what to do to become like me:
Let up a little on the wonder-why
And give your heart a try.

What is spring, without the Easter Bunny?
Like a rainbow that doesn't end in money.
And a valentine would certainly look stupid
Without Cupid,
So let his arrow in your heart.
(That would be a start.)

There's more to the world than meets the eye.
When doubt's in your mind, give your heart a try.
Let up a little on the wonder-why
And give your heart a try.

It's really quite a charming song, in a TV special that is both touching and meaningful, while still a lot of fun.
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Old 25th December 2011   #3
Emily
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Re: Merry Christmas

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
While it is one of the sweetest, funniest, and most entertaining of all television Christmas specials, it also carries a rich subtext, and dares to ask a question that is more pertinent today than any other moral and ethical consideration: Just because one can ruin a grand belief system, a cultural construct that has taken centuries to develop and which gives an entire people a sense of both identity and mission, does it mean that one should? Is destruction for its own sake not, in fact, the most contemptible and harmful of all intellectual pursuits?

This deceptively humble program, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, posits that if one willfully topples the divine order of creation, if one deliberately severs the Great Chain of Being, then one must have something noble to put in its place, (as Nietzsche did, but as today's resentment-driven ideologies do not). Otherwise, one leaves the world a barren waste.

And yet this program, amazingly, asks so profound a question in the most charming, accessible manner imaginable--literally in a way that a child could understand.

The clue to the deeper meaning of the program comes in the repeated references to the Prussian astronomer Copernicus. "Ever since Copernicus..." Albert begins to say at one point. And when Albert states his intention to fix the clock that he broke, his father says, "But you don't know how to fix a clock!" to which Albert replies, "That's all right father. Copernicus knew!"

There references aren't random. Copernicus, of course, devised the heliocentric theory of the universe which eradicated the geocentric belief system that had underpinned Western thought since ancient times, and which the Church took as divinely ordained. But Copernicus was no cultural anarchist. He was a believer, and it must have troubled him to have discovered that the clockwork model of the universe was flawed. He may have felt that in making such a discovery, he himself had broken it. But he didn't leave it in a fractured state. His own elegant, harmonious, heliocentric system still posited a metaphysical origin.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas also cautions against the kind of cultural destruction that only leads to nihilism -- or worse -- when it shows "the best artist in school" throwing away his drawing and letting it fall into the ocean. This is a clear metaphor for the great artists of Western history, like Rubens and Michelangelo, all of whose works are founded on a belief system. Would they have created anything had they lacked their governing ideal?

One can include poets and musicians in this context as well. Take Anton Bruckner: a simple, humble man, yet one of the greatest composers of all time, whose symphonies are mighty cathedrals of sound, powerful expressions of the Sublime in music. He devoted all of his towering, apocalyptic masterpieces to "the glory of God." If he hadn't had this external ideal into which to direct his creative energy, would he have had the temerity to produce such works of towering grandeur? I doubt it.

Mere political abstractions -- which is all we have today -- or artistic egocentrism are poor substitutes for the traditional ideals and values of European civilization. It's telling that once the clock was broken (to use 'Twas the Night Before Christmas's metaphor), once the noble belief system of old was shattered, the creation of great art of any kind practically came to an end.

It remains to be seen whether a new visionary (a new cultural "clock-maker") will ever emerge who can restore and renew Western idealism.
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