Morning Ed: Arts & Entertainment {2016.12.26.M}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

20 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    As Atlas Obscura noted, Tolkien intended the dwarves to be like Jews with their exiled for their homeland/wondering mythos, beards, and by stereotypes of this time greed. The people who adopted his works to audio and visual media either didn’t have any idea that Tolkien compared dwarves to Jews or if they did a good model on what a Jew should sound like so they selected Scottish instead. This was probably a better choice. Dwarves would sound weird and not that intimidating if they spoke with Jewish accented English.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Although a middle Eastern accent could be, if it was played seriously. The accents of mossad agents on tv & in movies work well enough.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The decision to make the dwarves sounds Scottish was made during the 1960s. This was long before Middle Eastern accents registered to most people in the West for anything really.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Vox tackles on why Hollywood hasn’t produced much in the way of Hanukkah movies. Besides demographics, the main answer is that the actual theme of Hanukkah or really any other Jewish holiday are rather severe and austere. They are good for serious drama and sardonic black comedic but not light and frothy holiday fare.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Maybe so, and Jews are the luckier for it.

      As a Christian, I notice that the theme of an ascetic prophet who urged his followers to shun wealth and confront injustice and was ultimately executed, hasn’t been as much of an obstacle to light and frothy fare as one would think.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Die Hard is a Hanukkah movie. You have a siege, a miracle, lighting stuff on fire, and fighting off an overbearing imperial government.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

      They did have a Home for Purim, but it didn’t do so well at the Oscars.

      More seriously, and while I didn’t read the Vox article, Hanukkah doesn’t strike me as that important of a holiday (not that I would really know). I could see, however, a good movie centered around themes from the high holy days (from what little I know of them), although as you said, those movies wouldn’t be comedies.Report

      • You’re quite right. Hanukah is a minor holiday that’s been elevated in importance because it’s at the same time of year as Christmas.

        How’s this for a High Holidays comedy: a flu epidemic affects almost all of a small-town police department [1], so a Jewish cop has to pull a double shift on Yom Kippur. He investigates a series of thefts at high-end food shops: a fancy grocery (think Whole Foods) [2], a frou-frou bakery, a gourmet butcher shop (non-kosher, obviously), etc. Everywhere he goes, the owners offer him and his partner-for-the-day samples. He says no, of course, which forces the other cop to say no as well, but as the day goes on (and it’s a strenuous day full of high-exertion action), it’s harder and harder for him to turn food down, while his partner, who knows nothing about Judaism, thinks he’s just a painfully honest jerk, and then has a revelation: he’s Internal Affairs, and this is all a setup! Hilarity ensues.

        “Gentlemen, we in the gourmet community thank you so much for your efforts!. Please, try the Linzer torte.”

        “Oh, none for me, thanks.”

        (dirty look)”Yeah, man, none for me too. We’re not that kind of cop.”

        “We have doughnuts too.”

        “Really, I can’t but you go ahead.”

        “Man, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Judas.”

        (Having misheard that last as “Jewish”) “Exactly. So you understand why I have to say no.”

        “Man, you say that like you’re proud of it.”

        Their radio beeps, so before the misunderstanding can be resolved [3], they answer another call, resulting in a humorously destructive car chase.

        1. Running joke 1: Sudden diarrhea attacks. Hey, it worked in Veep.

        2. Running joke 2: how pretentious and overpriced the Whole Foods clone is.

        3. Which would end the plot prematurely. It isn’t resolved until the end, after the Jewish cop has saved the other cop’s life.

        “Man, I owe you everything. You are one great cop, even if you are IA.”

        “IA? No way. I hate those momzers. The reason I turned down all that amazing food is that it’s Yom Kippur, Any other day, I’d have made a pig of myself. Well, not a pig …”

        Both laugh heartily. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Even so, you’d think that a movie about a nice Jewish kid, fresh out of college, goes home and visits his old-fashioned family would do well.

      There can be an argument between the old-fashioned Jewish parents (maybe Conservative or even Orthodox Jews?) and the more Reformed college kid and the differences can culminate in the college kid explaining the world to his parents in a way that makes them more understanding and loving to all of the changes going on around them instead of stuck in the past.

      It’s not about the whole running out of oil thing but just a movie that uses Hanukah as a backdrop for the real, human, drama.Report

  3. Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

    I had never heard of Siegel’s blog before. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Did we talk about the UN/Israel thing?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Someone should write a post on that. (I would, except that I’m just terrifically lazy…)

      I while ago I wrote something to the effect that … the Israeli settlement policy, voted on internally to the Israeli gummint acourse, constituted evidence of how Trump’s victory was gonna manifest in global geopolitics. They were basically signaling (or at least betting) that the new boss ain’t the same as the old, calcified, bone-density-challenged, boss. And I think they are right.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The particular “settlement” in question is the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City of Jerusalem is about one-third of a square mile in size. It is divided into four quarters, the Jewish, the Christian, the Muslim, and Armenian. After the Israeli War of Independence, the Old City of Jerusalem was under Jordanian administration. The entire Jewish Quarter was in rubble and Jews could not have access to the Western Wall contrary to the Armistice agreement that ended the Israeli War for Independence.

        Israel regained control of the Old City after the Six Day War and subsequently rebuilt and repopulated the Jewish Quarter and restored Jewish access to the Wailing Wall. Israeli policy since 1967 is that Israel is going to retain control of the entire city of Jerusalem in any final peace deal or at least the Old City. International politics declares this to be a non-starter and basically believes that all of East Jerusalem including the Old City with the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall should be returned in any peace deal.

        This resolution was a typical resolution against Israeli settlements in all respects but one. The United States did not veto it. This was the first time the US somewhat officially stated that it considers any Jewish residential area in East Jerusalem including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to be a settlement.Report

        • The text is here. It mentions all settlements, though emphasizing East Jerusalem. Its comment on borders in general is:

          Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

          Which is, as they say, a nothingburger. Did anyone expect the UN to say “The Israelis have made unilateral claims? Yeah, that’s fine.”

          It also calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric

          In other words, it’s an anodyne defense of the two-state solution, and controversial only because no one is allowed to voice any criticism of Israel, ever, these days including Jews and Israelis.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Meh, my take towards the repeated UN resolutions against Israel is more cynical. The UN passes resolutions against Israel frequently because members want to deflect from their own faults and the UN wants to show to their world that it is not an irrelevant and powerless body for the most part. Since Israel is a safe and low cost target to attack, they attack Israel.Report

            • I’m not disagreeing with that. I’m saying that the text of this resolution is something many of us can agree with. A US veto would either have to be based on the meta-issue you just brought up, or on support for the policy of preventing any possible peace by constantly building new settlements, which the US should steadfastly oppose.Report

            • Avatar Francis says:

              I believe all of the following to be true:

              A. A lot of governments that have seats at the UN are pretty horrible, and they whack away at Israel to give their citizens someone to hate other than themselves.

              B. Israel will not, in the next XX years (20?) formally annex the West Bank to Israel and give all the occupants thereof citizenship.

              C. Israel will not, over the same time frame, recognize a State of Palestine that has meaningful control over the West Bank.

              D. Israel will not, over the same time frame, stop West Bank settlements.

              Or, put simply, everyone’s acting disgracefully but Israel gets held to a higher standard. Whether that’s fair is way beyond my meager analytical skills.

              My personal best guess is that the West Bank (and the non-Jewish residents thereof) remains in an undefined political state until there is some massive external kick to the system. War? An effective sanctions regime?Report