At least Scrooge found redemption

Many, many years ago, before what most people think of as the internet, I was active in several forums on Fidonet. One December someone started a thread about Christmas movies, and someone else posted into that thread a brief explanation of why The Bing Crosby, Danny Kay, and Rosemary Clooney White Christmas was their favorite movie.

And one of the first replies to that post was a cranky rant about how that movie was not the film which had introduced the song of the same name, that the song had been originally written for the Fred Astaire film, Holiday Inn, and no one should like White Christmas because it wasn’t the movie that introduced the song.

Nothing in the original message had even mentioned the song, “White Christmas.” The person had even said that the movie was full of corny and silly bits, with a highly improbable plot.

I shrugged my shoulders at the cranky, crazy person, and went on to read other people’s recommendations of their favorite Christmas movies.

A year or so later, I think it was on a Usenet forum, a similar thread was in progress, and again, not long after someone mentioned White Christmas, there was another angry rant about how that movie wasn’t the one that introduced the song, and how much the person wished people would stop saying it had. Except, of course, that once again, no one had.

I’ve seen it again, and again. Mention the movie, White Christmas, and some troll will post a rant about it not being the movie that introduced the song. Now, sometimes, before the troll got there, someone would mention in a more friendly way the fact that the song was originally written for another movie, but had become so popular that a studio decided to base an entire film on the song. But eventually, there would be the angry post conveying the same fact.

When I posted on an old blog a list of my favorite Christmas movies, I got an anonymous message from someone, ignoring all the other movies in the list, to angrily tell me he’s tired of people mistakenly believing that White Christmas, the movie, introduced “White Christmas,” the song. Which, of course, I hadn’t said.

It’s perfectly legitimate to dislike a movie that someone else likes. It is also socially acceptable to join a virtual conversation about a movie by sharing some trivia about the film, one of the people in it, and so on. The part that I don’t get is why this movie, of all the innocuous, corny, trivial films that have ever been made, seems to always attract this one particular rant.

I have wondered if it’s just the same troll. Does he have alerts set up searching for mentions of this film, so he can log into whereever someone mentions it and post his rant?

If it isn’t the same troll, what makes several people feel a need to react with righteous outrage about a movie named after a song which it didn’t introduce? How can such a trivial detail provoke such outrage?

People get angry about things that other people enjoy all the time. No matter how wrong headed (and factually wrong) it is, I underatand why people get worked up about the so-called war on Christmas, for instance. Something that represents their faith and their personal history appears to be under attack. I think they are deluded to think it’s under attack, but I understand why traditions and beliefs and treasured memories are important to them.

But which movie introduced a sentimental holiday song? Really?

And of all the things about that song to get exercised about, again, it’s which movie introduced it? Not the fact that it’s a secular song about a sacred holiday? Not that a song for a Christian holiday was written by a Jewish man? (Actually, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that—because now the war on Christmas folks will decide that Irving Berlin started their whole war, or something.)

Maybe these folks just need to be visited by some ghosts, perhaps the spirits of Musicals Past, Present, and Yet To Come.

Haven’t you always wanted to see those ghosts doing jazz hands?

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. For more than 20 years I edited and published an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

6 responses to “At least Scrooge found redemption”

  1. fenchurch says :

    LOL! My first thought was to wonder if it was the same person (something that was actually somewhat likely for the FidoNet and the Usenet ones). Sort of the Kibo of “White Christmas” rage.

    BTW, now I’m also wondering if we ever bumped into each other on FidoNet (back in the day, my BBS was a network hub). As I recall, I posted quite a bit on the SCIFI and FILK echoes.

    • fontfolly says :

      I posted to FidoNet through a gay BBS that was a hub here in Seattle. There were a couple of gay-related/political echoes and a scifi one I posted on.

      I’m drawing a blank, now, on what handle I used to post, though.

      • fenchurch says :

        I went by Podkayne of Mars.

        • fontfolly says :

          Oh my goodness! We may very well have exchanged messages!

          I think… I seem to recall that we had to use the same handle that we used on the local BBS? Because of the way they were implementing the echos. If that is the case, my handle on that board was either Brightclaw or MattW… maybe…

  2. Mint Rainbow says :

    Nobody ever tries to argue that you shouldn’t like the Wizard of Oz movie, because it’s not original (based on the book and isn’t even the first attempt at a Wizard of Oz movie). And fans of the book have a right to complain — the movie is so much better known that it’s spawned remakes and sequels — of the movie, not the book. Any “Wizard of Oz” trivial contest will almost invariably be about the movie and not the book. People just get weird about things sometimes.

    Nothing’s original and it’s hardly uncommon for songs from one movie to be reused in another. I’m reminded of the song “The End is the Beginning is the End” written by the Smashing Pumpkins for Batman & Robin — a fast-paced song that I liked at first but later seemed kind of a meaningless, shallow pop song — pretty much what you’d write for a movie like that. But then they did a much slower version called “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” which was used for the Watchmen trailer,s and just by slowing the song down it became much darker and more mysterious and meaningful (somehow). I don’t recall a lot of people angry that it had been used before….

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