I had another "I Am Old" moment this year while watching the newer CGI Alvin & the Chipmunks. I won't go too far into it (it's embarrassing) but suffice it to say, I had a hard time with these new guys, much like I had ten years ago with the Jim Carrey How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I love the idea of carrying on and updating our collective mythology, but all this just seems so...commercial. But if I'm going down this rabbit hole, it's probably worth admitting that almost all of our 20th-Century American mythology is commercial at root, especially our Christmas mythology. Christmas isn't the season of giving, it's the season of spending.
Take the Chipmunks, and their most famous commodity - a song about opening presents, most notably a relic of the late 50s (the hula hoop) that culturally appropriated a sacred object of indigenous mythology, mass produced it out of plastic, and marketed it every thirty years so heavily that it became a symbol of the two most flippantly consumptive decades of the last century, the Fifties and the Eighties. It's no coincidence that Alvin and the Chipmunks' peak popularity was in those decades as well, so I guess that they're now being exhumed for their next every-thirty-years cycle right about now.
Did I mention I was a kid in the Eighties? When "The Chipmunk Song" was most ubiquitous as the song Rocky's trainers played in the cabin between workouts in the Siberian wilderness in one of the most obvious pieces of late-Cold War propaganda films of the period? God, we feared and loathed the Russians then, with their brutal dictator Putin, I mean Gorbachev, while Donald Trump amassed his wealth while getting a good laugh with Reagan over the great trickle-down economics sham.
Fuck, this was supposed to be happy.