A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors
Happy Xmas (War is Over)This lovely version of John Lennon's classic is by Sarah McLachlan and the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir.
Lisa Fullam is professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).
Sadly, war is not over, and the beautiful children in this video singing it won't make it so. It'll be waved away as bleeding heart impractical leftist pablum.My son, 17, loved it. He is not an aged cynic, bless him.(I had a Peter, Paul and Mary version of "Stewball.")
Beautiful, Lisa. Truly beautiful. Thank you.
It struck me while listening to this performance that the tune is identical to that of Stewball (Was a Racehorse).
You are one of the very few people who I know who have heard of "Stewball."
Makes me feel very old that this can be considered a "classic". Although a priest once told me that a couple choosing music for their wedding had spoken about having "something classic," like "On Eagle's Wings", they said.
A nice song and Sarah McLachlan is a wonderful singer, but John Lennon's apparently conscious decision to "X" "Christ" out of the title of the song diminishes its impact IMO.
^I felt the same way when Christina Aguilera started calling herself "Xtina." It's like they totally forgot the reason for the season, bro.
Add another person, Jim. My mom had that PP&M album. One of the first songs I learned to play on guitar in college
Not kidding in my earlier post; the Lennon song, as I remember and interpreted it at the time, was a bitter commentary on the fact that children were dying right and left in some conflagration all the time. The "X"ing of Christmas was merely another sign that Christ--or at least his Christians--were oblivious to this scenario. Most of Lennon's work, left to his own devices without the tempering effect of McCartney or the performance art cool of Ono, was very funny but deeply angry.I would suggest that my friend William Collier enjoy the McLachlan version, which uses the word "Christmas" throughout, not "Xmas," and take it as the song of hope she construes from it.Seen "The Hobbit" yet? Of course you have! Thought about you when my son went last weekend. I declined. I'm old and have faced up to the fact that no wizards, white or gray, are gonna come and help me in my adventures in Middle Earth. I'm working my way through three seasons of "Deadwood" on DVD. I find it astringent.
Haven't seen it, Jean, and not sure if I will. Reviews have been so-so, and, in any event, I wasn't enthusiastic about Jackson's cinematic rendering of the trilogy. Too many unnecessary deviations from the books, about which I'm sola scriptura, so to speak. ;)As to the song, I'm doing penance by repeating it throughout the day on my ipod. :)
In this and every other instance, the "X" in "Xmas" is a shorthand derived from the Greek word for Christ. And for what it's worth, the original version of the song uses the word "Christmas" many times throughout. It's a protest song, but the "X" ain't part of the protest.BTW, the song grew out of a billboard campaign, and the poster version actually spells out "Christmas." (You can hear the song AND download your own poster -- in many languages -- here. OORLOG IS VOORBU, anybody?)
William, I thought the movies were a huge improvement on LOTR. There was a certain amount of humor and it took a lot less time to get through the story. Mollie, at the risk of falling into the intentional fallacy, I'm not sure you are right that there was no significance to the "X" in "Xmas" in the original version. It's been many years, but as I recall, there was a lot of talk in those dear dim days about people becoming so sloppy about Christmas and its meaning that they couldn't be bothered to write out the whole thing. Anyone looking for an English take on Christmas, Beatles dead or alive excluded, can still get the Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College Chapel on the BBC for a limited duration: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0127m4jFinally got around to listening today. Now that Xmas is over, one can focus on Christmas. If you get my drift ...
There's a lot of talk in these dim days about how "Xmas" is an insult to the true meaning of Christmas (QED). It was baloney then and it's baloney now. When John Lennon wanted to insult Christians he was pretty direct about it.
Well, I may be full of baloney according to the Commonweal editors, but I don't have to be told twice that I'm a pain in the ass on this thread.Merry Xmas.
I think you mean "Woman." Double Fantasy, right?
"Havent seen it, Jean, and not sure if I will. Reviews have been so-so, and, in any event, I wasnt enthusiastic about Jacksons cinematic rendering of the trilogy. Too many unnecessary deviations from the books, about which Im sola scriptura, so to speak. ;)"Ditto on each and every point.
Tweets by @commonwealmag