Movie Monday: Eye some beef at ‘The Eagle’

Homoeroticism fuels the beefcake battles of ‘Eagle’

The first great gay love story of 2011 is here, though you have to read between the lines to see it. The Eagle is part of the historical beefcake genre (formerly known as the sword and sandal flick), re-popularized by Gladiator and 300. Fans of the latter will be disappointed to see these Romans wearing more than those Greeks, though they do occasionally shed their tops and sleep in loincloths.

You might rather see Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell in a dance-off than playing a master and slave who exchange roles — or maybe you wouldn’t. At least they have choreographed battle scenes, and a fight that gives them an excuse to roll around on the ground together.

Read the entire review here.

—  Rich Lopez

On the fourth day of Channukah … more reasons to hate the holiday

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After reposting my first (C)han(n)uk(k)a(h) article on Facebook and elsewhere, I got (mostly) positive reactions from my Jewish and Christian friends who know when not to take me too seriously and negative, horrified reactions from non-Jewish readers who called me everything from a self-hating Jew (because religiously, I prefer Yom Kippur and Passover to Hannukah) to simply a jerk. So with a reaction like that, you know I HAD to come up with MORE reasons I HATE HANUKKAH and would like to see it removed from the Jewish calendar.

1. Apparently the early rabbis hated this holiday too

According to Congregation Beth El Binah’s Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor, in the early rabbinic period of Judaism, the rabbis tried to eliminate this holiday too. (Early rabbinic Judaism dates from the expulsion from Jerusalem in 68 until about 600). They eliminated two other holidays — the New Year of Kings (secular New Year) and the New Year for Animal Tithes (tax day).

The New Year for Kings took place on the first day of the year. So now we celebrate the New Year on Rosh Hashanah (the religious new year), which takes place on the first day of the seventh month. You gotta love a calendar that does that. It would be as if New Years was still on January 1, but we didn’t change the year number until July 1. This is going to the top of my list of why I love Rosh Hashanah. But I digress.

Apparently, the rabbis tried to get rid of Hannukah also, because of its glorification of war. But it was so popular at the time, their efforts failed. That was when they came up with the myth of the oil to de-emphasize the military component.

2. The Hasmoneans took the throne

I know! I’m usually a very tolerant person, but I can’t stand Hasmoneans either. As a result of the guerrilla war that defeated the Greeks, the Jews established a Jewish state (Judea, which was located in what is now the West Bank) that lasted for 90 years — the last independent Jewish state until Israel in 1948.

Judea was a good thing. But run by the Hasmoneans? Please. They weren’t even from the Davidic line and within a generation they were inept and corrupt and unpopular. And who would vote for a non-Davidic king? (What? They didn’t vote…?)

—  David Taffet