What's Not To Like About Hanukkah? Lots
Christmas is approaching, which means it's time for gentiles the country over to condescendingly recognize the existence of one of the least significant Jewish holidays - the frustratingly spelled Hanukkah.
While it's certainly nice to wish others well during their respective holidays, Hair Balls believes Hanukkah needs to be kept in perspective - and by perspective, we mean, people need to come to terms with how lame it is compared to Christmas. Lest you think that's a harsh statement, one must only look at the reason behind the two holidays: For Christians, Navidad marks the miraculous birth of their lord's son; Hanukkah marks the miracle of long-burning olive oil.
Christmas is undoubtedly the most sacred Christian holiday. In Judaism, Hanukkah belongs on the bench between Tu Bishvat (the Hebrew equivalent of Arbor Day) and Purim, where Jewish kids watch puppet shows and eat tri-cornered cookies.
To better understand the disparity between these two holidays, and to better understand the fact that most Jews really don't care about Hanukkah, Hair Balls felt it was necessary to compare the artistic fruits borne from each of these (not-so-) special days.
Christmas: Although they would rather self-detonate than admit it, even terrorists living in caves in Tora Bora get a lump in their throat when Zuzu Bailey announces "Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings." It's absolutely impossible not to be moved by It's a Wonderful Life. Try to imagine the yuletide season without it. That would be a cold, dark world, and probably robots would be in charge. But even if Life never existed, you've still got Flick freezing his tongue to the flagpole; the Grinch stealing Christmas; Virginia learning there really is a Santa Claus; and a disgruntled Clark Griswold telling his co-workers "Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah."
Hanukkah: Eight Crazy Nights, an animated musical featuring the voices of Adam Sandler and the insufferable Rob Schneider. In the 60-odd years since It's a Wonderful Life, this is the best Hanukkah movie anyone has been able to do. Oy.
Christmas: Sure, you've got your requisite carols - they're beautiful, but they can also get annoying. But you know what never gets annoying? "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto" by James Brown. The Ramones recorded a Christmas classic; so did Run-DMC.. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a more ass-kicking song - holiday or not -- than the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping." We could go on forever in this vein.
Hanukkah: Unfortunately, Adam Sandler rears his head again, but this time it's actually for one of those rare moments he's funny. "The Hanukkah Song" is an ingenious ditty, and definitely a step up from the only other musical choice Jewish kids had up until that point: Dreidel /dreidel /dreidel / I made you out of clay / and when you're dry and ready / then dreidel I will play. That's it. Those are the two Hanukkah songs. Right there.
Christmas: Somehow, advertising executives made the image of a morbidly obese senior citizen with a weird red uniform the stuff of kids' dreams. That's the power of Christmas right there. OK, OK - get this: he lives in the North Pole, right? With elves. Yes, elves. And you know how he gets around? Flying effing reindeer. Including one with a nose that somehow conducts electricity. And sometimes he hangs out with his friend, a singing snowman who is immune to melting.
Hanukkah: Not a goddamned one.
Christmas: Here's why we get fat this time of year: baked ham,
gingerbread, goose, candy canes, egg nog, pumpkin pie, yule logs,
Hanukkah: Get a potato.Grate it. Fry it. Put applesauce on it. Eat it. Repeat. Or don't.
So there you have it. But don't feel too bad about how lame Hanukkah is - in a few months, Jews will get to celebrate heavenly Passover, which dictates you stuff your face, get plowed, sit on pillows, and set a place at the table for a ghost. Makes Christmas seem downright silly.
-- Craig Malisow
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.