I try to save the non-political stuff for the weekends, but the categories have done busted wide open this season.Holiday specials:
Which ones are "safe" for Jewish kids? That question is the foundation of this
Slate piece by Dahlia Lithwick. She claims that Jewish households tend to restrict Christmas cartoon viewing to How the Grinch Stole Christmas
and A Charlie Brown Christmas
. The latter choice surprised me, since it is one of the very few religious
The appeal of Grinch
is easy to explain: It's funny. Contrary to Lithwick's odd reading, I think that Jews identify not with the Grinch, but with the Whos. Seuss modeled the Grinch on the dictators of his time, and he modeled the Whos -- both here and (more explicitly) in the Horton
book -- after the oppressed peoples of Europe.
My stepfather was a (very unreligious) Jew and my mother a (very lapsed) Italian Catholic. Perhaps my observations will be of some interest. This angle may seem strange, but I would ask Jewish parents to consider the attitude of my mom and her parents -- toward alcohol.
(Bear with me. The personal info will prove relevant.)
When I was growing up, my friends were always astonished to learn that my brother and I were served wine at all large family gatherings. From the age of five onwards, the glass was there. We hated the stuff. Alcohol had no allure, no mystery, because it was not forbidden.
Result: I drink rarely; my brother, never.
For children, the forbidden always has an attraction.
I think I need say no more.
(Except this: I wouldn't let a child under ten watch Family Guy
. Am I being hypocritical?)