Book Trailer For Madam President

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Would Barack watch Holiday Inn?


Holiday Inn. A staple for Christmas movies. I watched Holiday Inn along with White Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street , A Christmas Carol, Elf, Charlie Brown Christmas--all the standard feel good movies of the last fifty years. But Holiday Inn is different. I was watching the blackface routine/minstrel show of Lincolns birthday where Bing and his Marjorie Reynolds put on blackface and do a number. Then I was watching the big black mammy who takes care of the Inn with her two kids dressed like pickaninnies. Suddenly, I thought, wow, I don't think our future President will be watching this movie...or would he? Half white and half African American--to which side does he go? Let's take Holiday Inn as a period piece. This is a feel good movie made during the war years where Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire battle it out over the girl. It has absolutely no meaning beyond a little patriotism and a lot of yucking it up while Bing and Fred pull jokes on each other. Straight Christmas candy. But in that candy is the stereotype of African Americans at that time. They were bit players on the white scene. Holiday Inn is a white mans feel good story made for white people at a time when movies pretty much recognized only one culture. So would Barack and Michelle reach for this yuletide classic, cuddling up in front of the fire with their daughters as Bing and Marjorie Reynolds do minstrel pantomimes. No. Probably not. That little ditty would keep this old white culture from being something they would choose. Christmas is a time of looking back fondly at days gone by and going into another world of certainties--small towns, parents, people, church. Barack Obama staffers, aides, secretaries, his Secretary of State, his Vice President, will probably catch this candy cane favorite. But I don't think they'll do it when the Presidents around. White culture during Christmas is an old secret club about people having a great time in the old ways. And in Holiday Inn, people do have a great time. But it is a world gone bye, I mean we are bigger than that now...right? Or do we want to have our cake and eat it too? I guess Bing and the boys never had to worry about that one.
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Books by William Hazelgrove