Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Hate Christmas

We are in the strange void between Hanukkah and Christmas, a time where Jews are already sick of being proud and silver-and-blue glitter and singing Maoz Tzur, while the rest of the western world is just about to kick their holiday into high gear.

I know it's not fair to pit our minor (though fun) holiday against the birth of the central dude of the Christian religion. But I can't really help it. Kyle Broslovsky was right: it is hard to be a Jew on Christmas.

Which doesn't at all explain the song that Josh Lamar and I put together called "I Hate Christmas." It's actually about, uh, why I like Christmas.

<a href="http://chibivision.bandcamp.com/track/i-hate-christmas-matthue-roth-joshua-lamar">I Hate Christmas by Matthue Roth & Joshua Lamar</a>

You can listen to it free right there, or you can download the whole mini-EP for just $1. It's so worth it...both because it's good music, and because you can crank it loud enough to drown out all that Christmas music on the radio.

What's interesting is the way this came about. Joshua Lamar, the non-Jewish drummer for the Jewish punk band Can!!Can, asked me if he could have some of my spoken-word tracks to play with. I sent him a volley of a bunch of them -- a while Christmas sack full of presents, you could say -- and the one he picked to work on first is the Christmas one.

So take a listen! And, by the way, there's some raw language on it, just as a warning. I'm still kind of nervous about posting this -- much more nervous than posting the Hanukkah songs that we commissioned a few weeks ago -- but, then again, it's a whole different ball game. After all, "Mi Yimalel" and "Maoz Tzur" were written by great people thousands of years ago. This is just me ranting about Bob Dylan and Bette Midler. What do you think?

4 comments:

Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948 said...

this post is made of so much win, i can't even. i don't even. !!!.

matthue said...

If I had your lungs, Ms. Death Metal Band Singer, I'd be able to do this one so loud that Bob Dylan and Santa Claus would both hear it up in the North Pole.

Morris E. Levin said...

It's not that I don't appreciate non-Jews wishing me Happy Hanukah - I dig that they recognize a good holiday for me - but it's that they don't do it at Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur which is our Christmas-high-level-equivalent holiday season. Which means that non-Jews mean "Happy Hanukah" as an expression of their vision of Hanukah to be the Jewish word for Christmas. Which is to think we are the same. It is not "Happy Hanukah" of the wish that we shine our light of "distinct-from'ness" into the darkness of their Hellenism (read: "contemporary secular culture"). But this speaks to an anxiety of being a halachic Jew in post-modernity which is the exploration of the adoption of Western culture lived through the boundaries of halachic Judaism which presents the real and fearful possibility of assimilation (death), or the expression of halachic Judaism through the language of contemporary culture, thereby bringing Shabbos into hol - into the secular world - than we can sanctify the Holy Name of G-d and raise light into darkness (Unification/DiVikut).

matthue said...

But, Morris, don't you think it's dangerous to equate Hellenism and contemporary secular culture? After all,

Aside from that, I totally agree. Although I do severely wonder why Chanukah contains the mitzvah of publicizing the miracle, and no other holiday does -- not even Passover, when there's the mitzvah to retell the story, but it doesn't say to whom. Your daughter? Jews? Non-Jews? All of Cecil DeMille's potential holiday audience?

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