William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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WHAT IT'S COME TO – OVERNIGHT:  As the great, sane majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, the less stable among us continue their brave work of chasing phantoms and gremlins.  Try to understand them.  From Legal Insurrection: 

This is just ridiculous. This apparently started years ago.  But can we get through Christmas without the left trashing some classic element of it?

The Rochester Beacon reports:

Jingle all the way? Maybe not.

“Jingle Bells” is one of the most performed and well-known secular holiday songs ever written, not only in the United States, but around the world. It’s the first song to have been broadcast from space—by Gemini 6 astronauts nine days before Christmas in 1965. It’s regularly been sung at the White House—most recently by President Barack Obama and his family upon lighting the National Christmas Tree in 2016.

But “Jingle Bells” isn’t being sung anymore at Brighton’s Council Rock Primary School.
“Jingle Bells,” explained Council Rock principal Matt Tappon in an email, has been replaced with other songs that don’t have “the potential to be controversial or offensive.”

“Jingle Bells” offensive? How so?

Tappon and other staff confirmed by email that the decision to remove the song was based in part on information in a 2017 article written by professor Kyna Hamill, director of Boston University’s Core Curriculum. Hamill’s article is a deep dive (nearly 12,000 words including appendices and footnotes) into the origin of “Jingle Bells,” the life of its composer, James L. Pierpont, and the popularity of sleigh songs in the mid-1800s. She found documents showing that the song’s first public performance may have occurred in 1857 at a Boston minstrel show. Minstrelsy was a then-popular form of entertainment in which white actors performed in blackface.

But when told that Council Rock has removed ‘Jingle Bells” based partly on her research, Hamill responded in an email: “I am actually quite shocked the school would remove the song from the repertoire. … I, in no way, recommended that it stopped being sung by children.”

She continued:

"My article tried to tell the story of the first performance of the song, I do not connect this to the popular Christmas tradition of singing the song now.

"The very fact of (“Jingle Bells’”) popularity has to do (with) the very catchy melody of the song, and not to be only understood in terms of its origins in the minstrel tradition. … I would say it should very much be sung and enjoyed, and perhaps discussed."

COMMENT:  Let's have the singing.  The discussion can wait.

December 24, 2021