Thursday, December 11, 2008
Christmas always creeps up on me, and I end up feeling like I didn't experience the season when it's over. So I try to watch Christmas specials and shows leading up to the big day. I love Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, one of flaming lefty Jim Henson's creations. It's great. I particularly love Ma Otter's song, sadly not on Youtube. It's one of those cheesy odes to how the world might be, if people would let go of fear and anger, and stop insisting that idealism is incompatible with the real world. There are often efforts within liberalism to try and downplay or marginalize artistic statements like that, the "Imagine" sentiment within liberalism, because it's not argumentatively helpful; those deriding liberalism leap at hints of idealism or "mushiness". It's easy to caricature those statements, and it's true that they rarely belong in specific policy debate. Yet I find the sentiment contained within those kinds of artistitc statements of idealism essential to the soul of the liberal mission, and I never want it written out of our movement, whatever the tactical costs.
Here's the thing about Emmet Otter: when Emmet's band and Ma (uh, spoilers) lose the talent show to Riverbottom Nightmare Band, there's no suggestion that it was because of cheating or impropriety. That's certainly what you'd expect in a holiday special of the type. But, no-- Ma and Emmet just get beat. It's a pretty remarkable choice, plot wise.