This week’s holiday-season blogs include more kudos for Bonnie and Clyde, a discussion of women, fear, and Oscar movies, and a stunning visual history of vintage tree decorations.

  • “I purchased my first Christmas balls in 1987 just after I got married,” reads the hypnotic opening of a post at Acanthus and Acorn.  “My husband and I bought 4 boxes of glass balls for our first Christmas tree. […] There has not been a single Christmas since that I have not used them in some combination. They have an iridescent quality to them that is just magic under the tree lights. ” Of course, being the photoblog in question, the post also includes many more images worthy of any holiday season.
  • Most of us at WVFC rely on Diane Vacca for incisive reporting and sharp commentary on current political issues. But who knew she’d also found the perfect way to deal with those endless cycles of voicemail prompts that has even made its way into commercials? Check out the latest report from Vacca Bureau of Investigation: “I’ve found a better way. When the automaton answers, ‘I didn’t understand that,’ I respond with a running stream of abusive language. ‘Of course you didn’t understand! You’re a machine, for God’s sake! You can’t think or talk, you can’t tell me what I want to know! I want to speak to a living, breathing agent. Do you understand?! … ”’ Click over to see the result of such tactics.
  • No matter what your take on the Occupy protests, everyone has noticed the simplicity and near-addictiveness of its motto “We are the 99 Percent!” But author and TV commentator  Farai Chideya isn’t quite convinced:  “OK, so we can look at income — raw income and income relative to local expenses — as one way of dividing up the 99 percent. But the thornier issues actually come from the identity divides that shape our politics and policy,” Chideya writes. “Why do so many people fight so hard to preserve breaks for people in tax brackets they will never attain? Part of it is an aspirational outlook, a belief that everyone can become wealthy one day. The fact that that’s completely illogical is beside the point. Political behavior is driven by self-identity and emotion, and to tell many of the 99 percent that they will likely never be rich… maybe never be middle class… is like throwing ground glass into their coffee.” She also cites economist Joseph Steiglitz’s seminal article “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%,” noting that “there’s [just as] often a stunning lack of empathy among people far less than rich.” Chideya goes on to explore the need to explore race, identity, and the “powerful array of factors” dividing the 99 percent, and the potential for such explorations in moving the dialogue forward.
  •  Do you, like many others, adore a good vampire flick? How about one of those historical dramas making the rounds of this year’s 10-best lists? Both have serious gender issues, writes Lynn Parramore at Alternet.  “Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, and Bill Condon’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, each explore the labyrinthine connections between women, sex, and death,” she writes, beginning a thoughtful psychological study. “The death drive is perennial, but when a society seems to hover on the eve of destruction, the “Eves” of destruction we see in these films — monstrous mothers, suicidal brides, young women pondering pain and death — emerge to speak our well-founded anxieties.”




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