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All I Want for Christmas

Posted: December 16, 2002

By Kevin Forest Moreau, Elf-in-Chief

Happy Non-Denominational Winter Solstice Celebration to you all!

Yep, the capital-H Holidays are upon us once again, that time of year between Thanksgiving and January 1st when the non-atheists among us pause to reflect on the teachings of their respective figureheads by stressing over shopping lists, getting caught in traffic snarls, pushing and shoving each other in tightly-packed malls, stores and airports. A time to ruminate on the timeless message of giving -- to our credit card companies. Hey, it's a commercial holiday (aren't they all?) -- what are you gonna do?

Try as we might, we here at Shaking Through fall under the thrall of the Holidays just as much as the next guy (or website, as the case may be). Stockings have already been hung in the break room here at Shaking Through World Headquarters, and office conversation inevitably turns to our Christmas wish lists. Laurence Station plans to ask Santa for a little more free time in the coming year, the better to devote his attention to the epic number of albums that pile on his desk and the rigorous demands of a film reviewer. The Gentleman is crossing his fingers for new husbands for each of his ex-wives, so that he might free up some alimony cash to buy more CDs and comics. The beautiful Ashley Pensive wishes they'd put Ally McBeal back on the air. Our new B-movie columnist Clemenza has his hopes pinned on the DVD release of a definitive Shannon Tweed filmography.

In the spirit of the season, then, I thought I'd share with you some of our less private wishes, things we'd like to see in the entertainment world in 2003.

Herewith, then, our letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

We feel we've been good boys and girls this year here at Shaking Through, and therefore we humbly beg your consideration for the following items under our tree.

Please ask Jennifer Lopez to stop appearing in film roles for which her larger-than-life persona makes suspension of disbelief a laughable impossibility. You can't bombard our senses as jet-setting "J.Lo" and then expect us to buy you as an abused wife in Enough or as a peasant hotel maid in Maid in Manhattan. She's long since reached the point where her public persona overshadows any attempts at street-level legitimacy (Jenny from the block, indeed), and these attempts at populist fare are embarrassing. Let her embrace her inner superstar, on screen as in life, if only so we can enjoy watching her further twist the knife in the side of a jealous, talent-deficient and increasingly less-relevant Madonna.

Please deliver us from the lowest-common-denominator culture of the ever-oxymoronic "reality television" septic tank. What is it about otherwise sane people that they have to slow down for a peek at the psychodramatic train wrecks of The Bachelor, American Idol (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is right -- that British guy really is an asshole), The not-so Amazing Race, and of course the wretched Fear Factor and the unstoppable cockroach that is Survivor.

Please give Eminem some perspective, so that the critical acclaim for his music and for the film 8 Mile will quiet his inner demons. Not enough to rob him of his talent, but at least enough so he doesn't feel the need to squander it on misogyny (from which he backpedaled a bit this year) and pointless "feuds" with the likes of poor, innocent Moby or a freakin' puppet. Talk about paper tigers! Barring that, at least give him the balls to "feud" with stars his own size -- i.e., hip-hop impresarios like P. Diddy, Jay-Z and Suge Knight. Let's get down to business, indeed.

Please give me a better grip on deadlines, and the Shaking Through Production Desk more patience to deal with my lack of same.

Please do what you can to save Leonardo DiCaprio. He used to be a pretty decent character actor, but then Titanic went and turned him into a star whose wattage exceeds, and is inappropriate to, his talents. He's just not cut out for the kind of leading man status that got him cast in Gangs of New York -- and boy, does that just look horrible or what? -- and Catch Me If You Can. It's not too late for him to turn away from the self-parody of a Brando or (alas, it's coming) DeNiro.

Speaking of which, please dispatch some of your "lethal force" elves to nip Billy Crystal in the bud. No one wants another Analyze This sequel. Heck, no one wanted the one we've already got.

Speaking of mob stories, please sprinkle a little fairy dust on David Chase, the guiding force behind The Sopranos. Better yet, buy him a couple of books on storytelling, so next season won't follow the same frustrating qualitative ups and downs as the last two. Lay the groundwork for a compelling story, and keep building toward it with imagination and suspense. Don't turn everything into an insufferable anti-climax. (Good job on that season finale, though -- that separation from Carmella was easily more powerful than the death of Ralphie).

Please sprinkle some of that same fairy dust on some of the entertainers, creators and properties whom we feel to have stumbled this past year: Frank Miller, James Bond, Michael Moore, Steven Soderbergh, Dave Pirner, Peter Gabriel, Pearl Jam, U2, Johnny Cash, Kurt Busiek, Brian Michael Bendis -- and did we already mention Frank Miller?

Lastly, but not least, please grant our little entertainment-themed enterprise continued success, and maybe some new readers and contributors as well. Give our readers, friends, loved ones -- heck, even people we don't like -- a little bit of happiness in the coming year. Give our leaders the strength to spare us from war. And please, as much as is humanly possible, deliver peace on Earth and good will toward men.

That's it, Santa. Just do what you can, of course. I'll leave a Pizza Hut Pepperoni Lovers' pizza and a fifth of black label Jim Beam for you under the non-working fireplace, as always. Have a safe trip this year, and mad props to Prancer and Blitzen -- y'all my boys, ya' heah?

Kevin

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Archived Editorials
December 03, 2006: Happy Feet
November 22, 2006: Half Decade Anniversary
October 07, 2006: Jessica Simpson
September 30, 2006: New Orleans and SNL
June 2, 2006: Dixie Chicks
May 7, 2006: Are Yahu Serious?
February 16, 2006: Bill O'Reilly & Brokeback Mountain
February 12, 2006: Totally '80s (Grammys)
January 31, 2006: Freyed Oprah
November 27, 2005: To Be Continued... (Bringing back movie serials)
November 21, 2005: Fourth Birthday
November 05, 2005: TV Remakes
August 13, 2005: Ten Commandments of Rock
July 05, 2005: Live 8
May 05, 2005: Term Limits (for Rock Stars)
April 29, 2005: Pearl Jam Redux
January 26, 2005: Oscar Grouching
October 31, 2004: Three More Years!
September 27, 2004: Cleaning Out My Closet
August 25, 2004: Shaking Through Mailbag
June 23, 2004: Summer Reading List
June 11, 2004: World Without Heroes (Bill Murray and Garfield)
April 23, 2004: Sold Out (Bob Dylan, Victoria's Secret, & Iraq)
April 08, 2004: The Day the Music Died (Kurt Cobain)
Mar. 17, 2004: Copping Out
Feb. 27, 2004: The Passion of Howard Stern
Jan. 30, 2004: Sex and the City
Nov. 17, 2003: California Über Alles
Nov. 7, 2003: Not-So-Terrible Twos
Sept. 19, 2003: Magic & Loss (Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon)
Aug. 17, 2003: Those '70s Shows
May 27, 2003: Patriot Games (Darryl Worley)
May 24, 2003: American Idol
Mar. 23, 2003: Non-cents-ical (Dixie Chicks-50 Cent)
Feb. 8, 2003: Where's the Love? (Pearl Jam)
Jan. 1, 2003: High Resolutions
Dec. 16, 2002: All I Want for Christmas
Nov. 27, 2002: Things to be Thankful For
Nov. 8, 2002: Near Wild Heaven (Nirvana)
Oct. 21, 2002: Happy Birthday to Us
Sept. 11, 2002: The Little Things
Aug. 20, 2002: King for a Day
July 9, 2002: Bill of Rights
Apr. 18, 2002: Celebrity Skim
Apr. 15, 2002: We Will Never Lie To You
Jan. 6, 2002: Something to Believe In
Nov. 3, 2001: Who We Are