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It’s going to take me all day to write this because I’m so full of cheese and sugar, but, as I said on Twitter, I’ve been watching a lot of Walmart Walmark Hallmark movies with my girls, such that we’ve basically evolved into connoisseurs of the genre. I should qualify that claim. We’re not watching the actual Hallmark channel or anything, we’re watching Netflix and YouTube—whatever happens to come up. Is this the knockoff version? Does it matter? I feel like is doesn’t matter. It’s the deeper spiritual themes that are so fascinating. I’ll just number my thoughts and feelings because it’s easier. Oh! And I wrote about this subject a long time ago if you want the definitive Christian thoughtful answer on whether or not I’m a bad person.

  1. Watching these movies is about as satisfying as buying new bath towels at Walmart. It’s not the worst thing, and kind of amazing that any ordinary person can just walk up and afford a towel for under ten bucks and take it home and it holds up a lot longer than one expected, but also, one kind of wishes one lived in a totally different place and time where one didn’t ever have to go in a store like that, which is literally the point of the Hallmark movie—longing to live in a completely different kind of world where life has meaning and relationships aren’t so shallow and elusive.
  2. Whenever you hear the phrase, “the Universe or God or whoever” when you’re pursuing the content of people like Gabrielle Bernstein or Oprah or Rachel Hollis you should replace the “whoever” with “Santa” and in this way you will have plumbed the depths of American Religion TM.
  3. American women want two things that don’t hold together very well. They want the kind of “love” that produces social cohesion, but they also want to be important sassy girl-boss bloggers who get to call all the shots. I mean, I get it. It’s like how most of us mistake cheap, sweatshop/child slavery manufactured goods from China, overpriced drive-thru coffee, and unhindered global supply chains with Manifesting what we want through our thought power.
  4. American women (assuming that men don’t watch these movies much) want to acknowledge the reality of death but they are afraid—rightly so—of its real existence. I think this is why there is always a dead parent referred to somewhere, but no one feels bad about it, least of all the parentless little girl who is easily mollified by her mother finding love again. This is peculiarly important at Christmas time when we are forced by the circumstance of time and the fading remnants of “family” to feel all our awful feelings of loneliness and disappointment. The movie dulls the pain by referring to the truth, but then mercifully obscuring it with a lot of terrible acting.
  5. Americans must be mourning the loss of place and people. They didn’t really want them, witness how easily they were willing to jettison those strange gifts for material wealth and self-fulfillment. But now they are gone, they are genuinely missed. The fictional Hallmark existence of so many little snow-covered towns with tree-lighting festivals full of friendly, perfectly diverse people who actually live there and keep up the buildings and repair the roads where disaffected and disappointed women can go and meet non-obese men who take responsibility and work hard but will make no undo emotional demands on them is extremely telling. The frictionless sublime community into which one might enter with no pain or trouble indicates some hope for an eschatological age, but not at the price of facing the truth about what it might take to get there.
  6. Americans are touchingly believing people. They believe in themselves. They believe in the magic of human goodness. They believe in inclusivity, tolerance, and diversity. They believe they can have nice things. They believe that the best is yet to come and that by keeping Christmas in their hearts, as a reasonable and apparently more entrancing option than Jesus, they will finally be happy. Underneath they know this is probably not true, but it might just be because they haven’t yet believed enough. If they try harder, they will find the love they deserve.
  7. Americans are hungry for liturgy and symbolism. They long for permanence and transcendence.
  8. It is in no way futile to make piles of cookies and cups of cocoa that you never eat. The act of making them is all the satisfaction you will ever require.
  9. Americans want Christmas to throw up in their houses. Deep down, it’s what they really want.
  10. Why can’t Princess…I mean Queen Amber keep her blogging “career?” I mean, Come On. It’s the least they can do after all she’s done for them!

Well, I’m sure I have more thoughts, but this cheese isn’t going to eat itself. See you later!

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

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