Expecting Rain

Go to main page
It is currently Wed November 22nd, 2017, 09:17 GMT

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 164 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: CITH: the Jewish angle
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 17:52 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Tue February 8th, 2005, 04:13 GMT
Posts: 1116
Location: Stuck insida Mobile
Someone needs to write the Jewish angle on "CITH". Here's my outline:

Most Jews in the US today have an experience something like mine: growing up, Christmas and everything associated with it became uncomfortable. It is the one time of the year when American Jews experience directly what European Jews a generation or more ago confronted every day: that they are the "outsider," the "alien" looking in on a culture that they live in but are not truly part of. Christmas makes many American Jews feel more Jewish than Yom Kippur.

I grew up in the 50's in a suburban public school that was about 75% Jewish kids. Yet every year, our whole month of December was devoted to learning Christmas songs to perform at the annual school Christmas assembly. Occasionally an empathic music teacher would try to add a Hebrew Khanuka song or two that no one understood, but that only underscored the weirdness of our singing praise for the birth of a messiah we rejected.

As a result, I've never like Christmas music. I feel assaulted by it every day, every year, every time I enter a store or public building, used to be from Thanksgiving onward but now it has been stretched back to Halloween. I know, some Jews love Christmas music. I have Jewish music teacher friends who love it. I don't. I like Christmas light displays; only the music drives me bananas.

I've been a Bob fan since Freewheelin' was new. I've always felt a special connection to Bob as we shared Jewish origins. Bob's Gospel period has always been troubling to me, but he's grown long beyond it, so WTF. (He likes Chabad; I have no use for it).

Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond and dozens of other Jewish singers have done Christmas albums, and I know lot of people love those albums, but I don't.

Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas." Discuss.

So whatever you say about CITH, however you explain how Bob is an American ethno-musicologist participating in the very genre he studies, adding subtle twists and nuances to rejuvenate tired war horses, I still don't like it at all. I hope someone does. I don't want to hear it in stores each December for the rest of my life.

Too bad Bob didn't do a Festivus album instead.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 18:44 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri June 27th, 2008, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 17309
Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
Berlin's two most famous songs, "White Christmas" and "Good Bless America" both come out a desire to address that "outsider" and "alien" feeling. Echoes of those times ring out clearly every time I hear somebody talking about someone trying to "Jew me down" on the price, or you overhear someone ask "humorously" in a restaurant "I didn't know you were Jewish" when someone orders an inexpensive meal.

Not that stereotypes can't be dealt with humorously; Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and lots of other Jewish comedians have done so forever. John C. Riley in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" has orthodox Jews representing the "guys who really control the entertainment business."

But all of it recognizes the history of those times.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 19:01 GMT 

Joined: Wed December 20th, 2006, 16:04 GMT
Posts: 39
sorry. :(

Dylan has been pretty respectful toward the message of Jesus for sometime now. Celebrating his birth doesn't seem that odd to me. It doesn’t seem that Dylan takes a two team view of the whole thing.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 19:12 GMT 
Titanium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri October 24th, 2008, 17:46 GMT
Posts: 5700
Location: On the road less traveled
Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else. Songs like "Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain" or "I Saw the Light"—that's my religion. I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I've learned more from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.

- Bob Dylan, 1997


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 20:11 GMT 

Joined: Fri February 16th, 2007, 07:31 GMT
Posts: 3396
Shakespeare_in_the_alley wrote:
Someone needs to write the Jewish angle on "CITH". Here's my outline:

Most Jews in the US today have an experience something like mine: growing up, Christmas and everything associated with it became uncomfortable. It is the one time of the year when American Jews experience directly what European Jews a generation or more ago confronted every day: that they are the "outsider," the "alien" looking in on a culture that they live in but are not truly part of. Christmas makes many American Jews feel more Jewish than Yom Kippur.

I grew up in the 50's in a suburban public school that was about 75% Jewish kids. Yet every year, our whole month of December was devoted to learning Christmas songs to perform at the annual school Christmas assembly. Occasionally an empathic music teacher would try to add a Hebrew Khanuka song or two that no one understood, but that only underscored the weirdness of our singing praise for the birth of a messiah we rejected.

As a result, I've never like Christmas music. I feel assaulted by it every day, every year, every time I enter a store or public building, used to be from Thanksgiving onward but now it has been stretched back to Halloween. I know, some Jews love Christmas music. I have Jewish music teacher friends who love it. I don't. I like Christmas light displays; only the music drives me bananas.

I've been a Bob fan since Freewheelin' was new. I've always felt a special connection to Bob as we shared Jewish origins. Bob's Gospel period has always been troubling to me, but he's grown long beyond it, so WTF. (He likes Chabad; I have no use for it).

Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond and dozens of other Jewish singers have done Christmas albums, and I know lot of people love those albums, but I don't.

Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas." Discuss.

So whatever you say about CITH, however you explain how Bob is an American ethno-musicologist participating in the very genre he studies, adding subtle twists and nuances to rejuvenate tired war horses, I still don't like it at all. I hope someone does. I don't want to hear it in stores each December for the rest of my life.

Too bad Bob didn't do a Festivus album instead.


Being the nice Jewish girl that I am, I've posted my unhappiness on Bob's doing the album. That wasn't well received. I think so far the religious objections have been lumped in with all the other reasons people have been posting. It really is a different thing.

Even in SoCal, the presumption that everyone is Christian and therefore celebrates Christmas and wants to hear Christmas music is pretty overwhelming. I'm not thrilled about the album and of course, its existence doesn't mean anything in regards to Bob's beliefs. Lots of Jewish artists have recorded Christmas albums. Ok, so I don't love that either because too many people don't get that it's music and they tend to minimize Judaism because of it. On this board, Bob's ongoing relationship with Chabad has been seriously minimized by a number of people. Apparently some people just can't accept he's seeking out and going to a very Orthodox place for High Holy Days for religious reasons.

The Jews I've talked to about this have mixed reactions. The insider who had heard the album was Jewish. She said she liked Christmas music. Told me the "throwback" album "was a hoot" and that I wouldn't hate it. welllllllllllllll... A Cantor I spoke to admires Bob and initially said he didn't mind him doing the album. OTOH, now he's hesitant to go to any shows in October because he's afraid Bob is going to do some of the Christmas songs and he doesn't want to hear that. I agree and will be very unhappy if he does any of the songs in Hollywood. Would I have objected less if he had made it more of a holiday album and thrown in a couple of Hanukkah songs? Yup.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 21:10 GMT 

Joined: Wed December 20th, 2006, 16:04 GMT
Posts: 39
Surely Christmas is not that offensive of a holiday.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu October 8th, 2009, 23:21 GMT 
Titanium Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed October 1st, 2008, 17:15 GMT
Posts: 8343
Location: This Town Ain't Big Enough...
Shakespeare_in_the_alley wrote:
Someone needs to write the Jewish angle on "CITH". Here's my outline:

Most Jews in the US today have an experience something like mine: growing up, Christmas and everything associated with it became uncomfortable. It is the one time of the year when American Jews experience directly what European Jews a generation or more ago confronted every day: that they are the "outsider," the "alien" looking in on a culture that they live in but are not truly part of. Christmas makes many American Jews feel more Jewish than Yom Kippur.

I grew up in the 50's in a suburban public school that was about 75% Jewish kids. Yet every year, our whole month of December was devoted to learning Christmas songs to perform at the annual school Christmas assembly. Occasionally an empathic music teacher would try to add a Hebrew Khanuka song or two that no one understood, but that only underscored the weirdness of our singing praise for the birth of a messiah we rejected.

As a result, I've never like Christmas music. I feel assaulted by it every day, every year, every time I enter a store or public building, used to be from Thanksgiving onward but now it has been stretched back to Halloween. I know, some Jews love Christmas music. I have Jewish music teacher friends who love it. I don't. I like Christmas light displays; only the music drives me bananas.

I've been a Bob fan since Freewheelin' was new. I've always felt a special connection to Bob as we shared Jewish origins. Bob's Gospel period has always been troubling to me, but he's grown long beyond it, so WTF. (He likes Chabad; I have no use for it).

Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond and dozens of other Jewish singers have done Christmas albums, and I know lot of people love those albums, but I don't.

Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas." Discuss.

So whatever you say about CITH, however you explain how Bob is an American ethno-musicologist participating in the very genre he studies, adding subtle twists and nuances to rejuvenate tired war horses, I still don't like it at all. I hope someone does. I don't want to hear it in stores each December for the rest of my life.

Too bad Bob didn't do a Festivus album instead.


Hey man, I'll do ya one better: I'm an atheist! At least the religiousity of this society kind of embraces you. A recent poll revealed that atheists are the least trusted group in the America. A good chunk of this country thinks that I want to make their kids have Islamo-fascist homosexual abortions. There's much about American religion that scares the Hell out of me (pun!) but Bob Dylan's Christmas Album isn't part of it. Do I agree when he sings about the coming of The Lord? No, but I recognize that the sentiment comes from a good place (unlike his albums circa 1970). I sympathize with what you're saying but it's mostly your problem. When so much of American religion is ugly and hateful, ol' Bob's Santa record shouldn't be a target.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 00:05 GMT 

Joined: Tue September 2nd, 2008, 10:35 GMT
Posts: 69
Warren Peace wrote:
American religion

now theres a phrase that scares the shit outta me. fellow atheist looking forward to the xmas album - i also enjoy the 'gospel' thrillogy. dont need to believe it to enjoy it - dont believe in aliens but Close Encounter is a great movie. rock on, people.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 00:23 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Sun October 21st, 2007, 03:14 GMT
Posts: 1907
Location: US Midwest
As a protestant Christian, the thing that really stands out about Christmas these days, to me, is that it really doesn't have a whole lot to do with Christianity. A lot of the symbols of Christmas have to do with Pagan celebrations, the Christmas Tree, the Winter Solstice Celebrations, Mistle ToeSanta Claus, are really just pagan images that have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Even the season when he was born is off.. I do feel bad for other faiths who have felt disincluded or minimized as a result of how things were celebrated in the schools.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 00:29 GMT 
Mercury Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed January 28th, 2009, 09:47 GMT
Posts: 10101
Location: A high place of darkness and light
F*ck this sh*t


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 00:49 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Sat March 12th, 2005, 13:29 GMT
Posts: 3008
Location: East Coast liberal enclave
I'm kind of hopeful about CITH, and as a Christian, I gotta say I love Christmas...pretty much everything about it...from the spiritual aspects to the kitschy/corny/shmaltzy stuff (eh, pardon the Yiddish...).

Although one can always convert, I think in general would you agree that Jewish people are for the most part born not made?
Not trying to be offensive here, just trying to point out that being a Christian, we do want others to see the light, and hopefully (and always willingly) choose our faith.

I don't think there's that same need on the part of Jewish people. As a Christian, I do feel that I want others to share the faith. I've never proselytized nor badgered anyone on it, and when I bring it up, I can tell when people don't want to hear it, so I put it aside.

So, if you don't want to hear CITH, put it aside. Let It Be. It's not for you, maybe not now,


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 00:52 GMT 
Mercury Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed January 28th, 2009, 09:47 GMT
Posts: 10101
Location: A high place of darkness and light
F*ck this sh*t.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 03:56 GMT 

Joined: Sat June 7th, 2008, 14:14 GMT
Posts: 30
Location: Boston, MA. USA
"Christmas makes many American Jews feel more Jewish than Yom Kippur."
You're welcome.
Sorry, kidding.

In spite of my username, I was brought up in a working class, Catholic, mostly Irish neighborhood (and still I was one shocked 5 yr old when my mother told me we were not Jewish). Yet, I have never liked Christmas music either. Not the melodies, not the words, except for one that says something about slaves being free. I was 'shocked and saddened' when I heard Bob was doing this album. When I realised it was not a joke, I hoped it would be old blues and rock Christmas tunes. Then I saw the track list.

So this is my take on this - He's raising money for charity. Dylan fans will buy it. People who buy Christmas music might buy it. The morbidly curious will go for it. And if I still bought Christmas presents, this is what I'd be buying for everyone.

g


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 04:22 GMT 

Joined: Sat March 17th, 2007, 22:03 GMT
Posts: 127
Shakespeare_in_the_alley wrote:
I still don't like it at all. I hope someone does.


Considering that millions of these "left-behind" reading christians believe you are blind at this moment (this moment has been stretching on for almost 2000 years now but soon you will all convert according to revelation, just be on the look-out for gog and magog) because you do not recognize baby jesus as the messiah, considering the defacto and dejure discrimination that jews have faced as result (thanks a lot martin luther among many), I think you have an excellent reason not to like it.

I was raised christian but am now non-religious. I will buy the album for either the laughs or the honest pleasure I get reliving childhood memories through some of the songs.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 05:05 GMT 
Mercury Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat February 26th, 2005, 02:31 GMT
Posts: 10327
People still relate Christmas songs to Christianity? I think it's more traditional rather than religious nowadays. I'm atheist and every atheist I know celebrates Christmas. Maybe it's generational.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 07:06 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Sat January 10th, 2009, 11:18 GMT
Posts: 1911
Location: Montségur
Being a Jew or Christian or Atheist shouldn't be any obstacle for loving CITH music.

If you can't relate to Jesus birth because of being "outsider", you can't like this music, even lyrics? So have can you like "Visions of Johana" while not being able to relate to any image drawn by this song? How can you like "Hurricane" having mixed feelings towards Rubin Carter? Or "To Ramona" not even knowing who she is, and what she's been through?

I love "Saved" album. In songs like "In The Garden" you can find something more than just plain gospel. You have questions of loyalty, revenge and gospel is just a landscape. The meaning is above the pictures.

If we like it or not Christianity is deep root of Europe & US, these are ideas, symbols univerally understood, like Napoleon in rags, and Ezra Pound fighting with TS Eliot.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 07:13 GMT 
Shakespeare_in_the_alley wrote:
I grew up in the 50's in a suburban public school that was about 75% Jewish kids.
....
As a result, I've never like Christmas music. I feel assaulted by it every day, every year, every time I enter a store or public building, used to be from Thanksgiving onward but now it has been stretched back to Halloween.

I found this funny, because I also went to a public school in a suburb of Los Angeles that was about 75% Jewish. Our entire neighborhood was the same. My youngest brother actually managed to graduate High School believing that most people were Jewish. Well, he doesn't read much.

The only reason I don't like Christmas music is that assult you talk about. A solid month plus of Christmas music everywhere you go. Drives me crazy. Especially the last week.


Top
  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 14:37 GMT 

Joined: Sat September 22nd, 2007, 15:19 GMT
Posts: 1292
Dylan's a magpie - he takes whatever gleams. Jews are wrong to be offended - Bob hasn't been overtly Jewish in a long time. He wrote "Jesus is coming..." not so long ago. Ring Them Bells was written in 1989 - a Catholic psalm if I ever heard one.

He's Jewish with a faith in Jesus and an absolute love of songs and their hidden power. He takes where he will, although he never dabbles in esotericism, it seems, since he gave up the old tarot card imagery in the 70's. He doesn't take it from Islam.

I'm Catholic - I don't consider Bob anything other than a songwriter who writes effective songs and he draws his material from several sources. Is he Christian? I doubt he'd call himself that, but I doubt he'd call himself anything, really, unless he wanted to provoke...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 14:53 GMT 

Joined: Sun May 10th, 2009, 09:40 GMT
Posts: 732
"And that land that I live in
Has God on its side."

Somehow you US-citzens look everything through God-lenses.
In many languages this feast day's name don't even contain any "Christ"-reference.
And the origin is purely pagan, not Disney.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 15:05 GMT 
Titanium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri October 24th, 2008, 17:46 GMT
Posts: 5700
Location: On the road less traveled
Futile Horn wrote:
Somehow you US-citzens look everything through God-lenses.
In many languages this feast day's name don't even contain any "Christ"-reference.
And the origin is purely pagan, not Disney.

And yet Christ's name adorns the cover of the latest Dylan album. And has Bob singing about Christ being the Lord. And ends with an Amen.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 16:31 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Fri February 15th, 2008, 06:00 GMT
Posts: 850
Location: Albuquerque
devy wrote:
Being a Jew or Christian or Atheist shouldn't be any obstacle for loving CITH music.

Yeah, but a deep-rooted hatred of Christmas music is a pretty substantial obstacle to enjoying the album.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 16:47 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
So are the performances, ba-dum-ching!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 16:56 GMT 

Joined: Wed November 19th, 2008, 03:29 GMT
Posts: 694
Location: along the watchtower
Dave W wrote:
Warren Peace wrote:
American religion

now theres a phrase that scares the shit outta me. fellow atheist looking forward to the xmas album - i also enjoy the 'gospel' thrillogy. dont need to believe it to enjoy it - dont believe in aliens but Close Encounter is a great movie. rock on, people.


Another atheist checking in here. I also admire Bob's gospel music - in fact just bought the DVD of The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan, sung by others - as a gift for my Christian sister.
I like Christmas music in general; maybe because I grew up in a Christian household it often reminds me of my youth. :wink:
Agree that "being a Jew or Christian or Atheist shouldn't be any obstacle for loving CITH music."

I'm not so sure I "love" it yet, but not because of any religious connection or lack therof.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 17:07 GMT 

Joined: Sun May 10th, 2009, 09:40 GMT
Posts: 732
Woody wrote:
And yet Christ's name adorns the cover of the latest Dylan album. And has Bob singing about Christ being the Lord. And ends with an Amen.


It's only the name of the feast and words are written by another persons.
And what comes to Amen I pray to God that Dylan is not going out of his mind this time.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri October 9th, 2009, 19:54 GMT 

Joined: Fri February 16th, 2007, 07:31 GMT
Posts: 3396
I'm Stark Naked wrote:
Dylan's a magpie - he takes whatever gleams. Jews are wrong to be offended - Bob hasn't been overtly Jewish in a long time. He wrote "Jesus is coming..." not so long ago. Ring Them Bells was written in 1989 - a Catholic psalm if I ever heard one.

He's Jewish with a faith in Jesus


and this would be denial on your part. He sought out and attended Yom Kippur services at Chabad the last time he was on the road at the High Holy Days. That's a pretty darn Jewish thing to do. It's well documented. There are no reports of Bob attending any Christian services in what? decades? It's real life, not speculation on lyrics. If you take all of Bob's, or any songwriter's, lyrics literally, you don't understand the creative process or music at all. As for Ring Them Bells, many people find a direct reference to Judaism's central prayer, the Shema, in it. " Ring them bells so the world will know That God is one." No Holy Trinity in that line. It's just silly to assume Bob has a "faith in Jesus". We can't know what he believes; we can observe somewhat what he actually does publicly. In the past decade, the only houses of worship he's been spotted in were all Jewish.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 164 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group