God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Let's Start the New Year Right



Text Box:                    Holiday Inn (1942)One of my favorite movies is Holiday Inn with Bing Cosby and Fred Astaire. In this movie Bing Cosby moves to Connecticut giving up his career as a singer to become a farmer. After trying the farming thing, he decides to turn his farm into an inn that does shows only on the Holidays. This has one of my favorite Astaire dances where he uses firecrackers. So as I sat down to watch the movie and see what song they used for New Year’s Day hoping to be inspired.

But this year I was especially troubled by the racism of the film. I used to easily be able to suspend my feelings of angst about the use of black face and the stereotyped role of the black cook/mammy character. While I used to have a twinge when these scene came on this time the feeling was stronger. The black face number about Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves, while the words makes me twinge because there are things we know that are offensive and don’t say anymore, but at the time in 1942 this song did speak about slavery changing. This movie reflects its times and racial intolerance and prejudice that creep into Irving Berlin’s lyrics. Holiday Inn was intended to be a holiday treat for its audience, but when I view this film now the unequal treatment between the races during the 1940’s stands out in between the dancing and love story.

This year I couldn’t get over the racism, even though the sexism of these movies I usually let slide. When they rubbed the black face on and sang a song about freeing the slaves for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday I heard, saw and just felt sad at the racism. I wanted to enjoy this movie I have always loved and yet I couldn’t. I could see the face of Tamir Rice and thought about how we are even letting our police kill children. I could only think about the shooting in Chicago that just happened. The police shot and killed the neighbor who was letting them in to get to the mentally troubled young adult who they shot multiple times. So the benevolent racism of the movie was rubbing up against the overt and deadly racism of our world. I used to be able to say it was the age and time, but now I am not so tolerant. We have let the systemic racism of our political system and our criminal justice system threaten the lives of people who are mostly doing nothing wrong or even if they are doing something wrong we shoot first and then find out the story or cover the story up. So benign racism I can no longer let slide. I need to speak out and say it is not okay. It is never ok to look at fellow human beings and treat them less than the beloved of God that they are.

So as I hear this song about New Years from Irvin Berlin, this song about romantic love think about it as a song about agape love, the love Jesus told us to live, the love Paul spoke of poetically. Don’t let our love go wrong this year. Let our love stand up, speak out, and challenge racism where we see it. As Bing sings: Let's start the New Year Right. Let's actively engage in the racism of our country.
Holiday Inn 1942


One minute to midnight,
one minute to go
One minute to say goodbye before we say hello
Let's start the new year right, 12'clock tonight
When they dim the light, let's begin

Kissing the old year out
Kissing the new year in

Let's watch the old year die with a fond goodbye
And our hopes as high as a kite

How can our love go wrong if
We start the new year right?

Let's watch the old year die with a fond goodbye
And our hopes as high as a kite
How can our love go wrong if
We start the new year right?

Let's Start the New Year Right

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