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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Irony

Rockettes' Live Christmas

Warning! This post will be a little "heavier" than my usual, but the feeling of irony was so strong tonight that I just have to share this story.

The Rockettes' Christmas Special was on PBS tonight. I guess they've been doing pretty much this same program for 77 years, but somehow I've never seen it before. Pretty impressive! Before I get to the ironic part, let me just say that the "March of the Wooden Soldiers" was even more interesting to me than their dances. It is precision marching. We used to do that for a week of each year in gym class when I was in high school. Most everyone hated it, but I liked it a lot, especially when I got the chances to call the steps. Anyway, that was fun to watch.

Whenever I see the Rockettes, I am always reminded of things from high school because there was a girl from my school who became one of the famous dancers. Now, this might not sound so remarkable, but I grew up in a very small farm town, where people just didn't escape and become famous. Shirley did. She was a senior when I was a freshman.

I also need to explain that I also grew up in a very conservative, strict church. Even though the girl who went to dance in New York City didn't go to our church, that sure didn't stop people from expressing their opinions. I suppose I should clarify here, that I am a Christian, probably even a conservative one. But the bent for criticism of others mixed with small-town gossip, that I was raised with, just makes me want to disown the whole bunch.

OK, back to Shirley. Of course, she was totally condemned by the people I spent most of my time with. She was going to enter a profession where she worked on STAGE (practically a synonym of HELL), wearing skimpy costumes, and kicking her legs high! Oh my! Now, I never really bought into that analysis. In fact, my undergraduate degree is in Speech & Drama. So, my point is that in the 1960s groups like the Rockettes were considered the epitome of everything non-Christian.

Rockettes' Live Christmas

So, here we are almost 50 years later. It is now politically incorrect to refer to anything Christian at Christmas... the source of the Christmas Story, after all. Everything is "Holiday Season." I have no problem with "Season's Greetings." But I plan to have a "Merry Christmas."

And look what highly acclaimed performing group is still doing an annual tribute to the source of the Christmas story? That group, so condemned by my church, the Rockettes.

See The Fragrance After the Rain
I snapped the pictures right off the TV screen


RNSANE said...

Wonderful post, Shark! Part of the reason this Georgia girl left home after finishing nursing school in New Orleans and headed to the San Francisco area! I just couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life with the bigotry in my home town!

RNSANE said...

Merry Christmas, a bit early, by the way.

Rick (Ratty) said...

I really like this post. This one has a lot of feeling. I was not raised a religious person, and I'm not. But I do respect others' beliefs, and I find religion an interesting thing. I don't like when people negatively judge others too strongly, but I understand why it sometimes happens. That girl did the right thing by following her dream, and should not have been judged so harshly. I also think that Christmas should be called Christmas. I don't like the way some people want to condemn or hide Christian beliefs because they think it might offend others. Christmas is supposed to be a happy time. We can all share happiness. I hope I said all of that right. :)

Unknown said...

I was raised in the same kind of church, and my high school had to hold their proms off of school property until well into 80's because the town fathers considered dancing to be as much a sin as drinking was. Alas, is it not no wonder that I became a drunk who considered himself to be a fairly good two-stepper (while I was drunk, of course) after I rebelled? Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you voice your opinion, because these last few years this has bug me too. In my son's school, we are not allow to say Merry Christmas, or having a party celebration anymore because some other kids have different religion.

Secondary Roads said...

That's a picture of the church I grew up in as well. Shackled in the bonds of legalism by a retributive god. Today, I worship our loving creator in a community that understands that God seeks relationship with us. It is so freeing and spurs one on to right actions in a way that legalism can't.

Ann said...

Love your post. That is truly ironic. I truly love everything that Christmas is really about, however, the last few years I have grown to dislike the commercial part of it. It started one year when I was out shopping and a clerk wished me a happy holiday and explained that they were not allowed to say Merry Christmas.

betchai said...

thakns for your post sharkbytes. what an irony indeed. I did not know dancing was considered to be as bad as hell then, and i thought i came from a conservative country. i too prefer "merry Christmas" than "happy holidays", and i call my winter break still "christmas break" :)

hope you will have a wonderful Christmas season.

The Kano said...

Really enjoyed this post,I myself attended a extemely conserative church some years back that would have equated the stage with hell,also,but align myself with what Secondary Roads expressed so well. I live in the Philippines now and thank goodness everyone here calls it Christmas,no Happy Holidays,no Season Greetings.
(tried to drop my ec card which should be working but it just tells me to "get one". I'm signed in,but just got restored yesterday,I will be back,thanks)

Random WAHM Thoughts said...

well there's an irony indeed.

btw, i dropped by to say i reviewed your site. just a brief one ;)


Lin said...

I've heard that this is an incredible show to see in person. I love that they aren't afraid to show the Holy Family because that IS what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. When is this anti-Christmas gonna end??? I wish everyone I see a Merry Christmas without excuse.

Julia said...

This politically correct, don't offend anyone, no religious connotation, etc, etc, etc, has gone way too far. Strange how things swing from one side to the other.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Carmen- well, we are certainly all guilty of being inconsistent some of the time, but I'd like to reduce it in my life.

Ratty- thank you, my friend. You said it exactly right!

Hi FishHawk- I'm no good at a two-step sober or drunk! But I'm glad you are ok now.

Icy- yes, the schools seem eager enough to even teach the tenets of other religions in the name of diversity, but can't even use the word Christmas!

Chuck- when you are so right, there is nothing more to be said.

wenn- just lucky- I pointed the camera at the TV and took enough that I had some where I didn't get the interference patterns.

Ann- can you imagine the hue and cry if someone proposed that we not be allowed to say Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa Greetings?

Hi betchai- You made me laugh! Yes, dancing was Really REALLY BAD!!!!

Hi Dave- thanks, and thanks for stopping by. I'll check out your blog too.- Oh you are the Rooster Crows at 4 am! Very Cute.

K- Oh, that is very kind of you!

Lin- I happened to realize what it was when I was flipping channels because there have been ads running that it will be live in Grand Rapids this year. So I recognized that it would be a quality show to watch. I'm getting so that I just want to barf at most of the holiday specials (and no I don't dislike all modern music... they just don't grab me, that's all)

Julia- Well, it's ok to offend Christians, just not anybody else.