Random Thoughts

On Happiness and White Christmas

Every year I buy one Christmas CD and one Christmas movie. So I just made my selections on Tuesday and they were The Best of Burl Ives for the CD (the man who looks just like my father), and White Christmas for the movie, which I immediately watched. I happen to love this movie, as my family would always watch it on Christmas Eve every year, so I’ve grown to know almost every single line in the movie, and can’t help but sing along and hear my mother singing as well.

But one thing that always occurs to me when either listening to 30s and 40s Jazz or watching movies such as White Christmas is how happy everyone seems. Whenever I listen to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, or any other jazz/swing musician from that era, I always wonder “How were you so happy?” For those of you who have read my screenplay TAR 520, this might sound familiar. However, I know that there was World War II going on, a healthy dose of racism and sexism, and even a depression just a few years before, so why on Earth does this art feel so care free? I often find myself longing to have been born in that era, so that I could go dance at a nightclub with a crooner and a big band rather than a bar with a rock band and a bunch of people pretending not to care, while caring all too much how everyone else is looking at them. My counterparts of the 30s and 40s may have had a World War to deal with, but by God, they had jazz. Wonderful care free jazz.

However, when looking at the cast bios in IMDB, I read the one for Vera-Ellen, who was an amazing and beatiful dancer with the smallest waist imaginable, and who played the role of Judy Haynes.  I had heard that she suffered from Anorexia, and in reading her biography, she actually suffered from much more than that.  She lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, lived through two bad marriages, and turned into a recluse towards the end of her life, eventually dying of cancer.  In a way that makes me sad, and in another way it reminds me that we are all vulnerable to the same pain, regardless of the art we make.  Everytime is the worst and best time to be alive, because it’s all we have.
And thus is the illusion of art, I suppose.  Often to create a better world than the one we live in, as we all hope that the love stories of the movies, and the care free joy of jazz can somehow be achieved in reality.  Being the optimist, I will forever believe it can.

1 thought on “On Happiness and White Christmas”

  1. Just now catchin’ up with your December posts, and this one brought tears to my eyes, not because of its wishing for another time and its pleasures, but because it’s so damn well-written! You capture a lot in a few words, and anyone my age or older can certainly identify with it. Your info about Vera Ellen was also new to me, and I felt her pain through your words. Good job.

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