Labor Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on work, our jobs, present and past. Good jobs, bad jobs, we’ve all had our share of both.
Work should set you free. Honest labor puts money in your pocket which allows you to spend that money as you see fit. Ideally, work infuses the individual with a sense of self-worth and dignity.
In Judaism, work is viewed as a vital adjunct to the observance and study of Torah:
Im ayn kemach, ayn Torah.
If there is no bread [work], there is no study of Torah.
—Ethics of the Fathers, (Avos 3:21)
Thus, the Torah invests labor with a deep spiritual value.
But let’s be honest, in any work environment there is gossip. And office gossip can be terribly destructive.
Hollywood has always been a hothouse for nasty personal attacks. But in the past, these vendettas were usually reserved for post-career memoirs and late night interviews—Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, David Frost, etc—that today, appear sweetly disagreeable.
But in postmodern America, where traditional values of respect and restraint are not even a dim memory, Hollywood gossip has become an industry unto itself. Unsavory gossip is now mainstream, brought to you in the form of entertainment and reality shows—which are neither entertaining nor real.
America has even elected a president who regularly slings gossip disguised as social-political wisdom. Obama’s remarks about the “stupid” Boston police, about being Trayvon Martin’s father, even his off-the-cuff remark about a Syrian red line—these are instances of politics as gossip; an indication of the deep moral and intellectual corruption of Obama & Co., and of the liberal political class who are unmoored from the basics of a civil society.
Here are a few of Seraphic Secret’s favorite, and not-so-secret snipes—touchingly tame by today’s appalling standards—brought to you some of Hollywood’s best-loved stars about other best-loved stars.
Last week, Seraphic Secret picked the Ten Greatest Movies of all time. Our ruthlessly reductive list eliminated dozens of great movies that we love. Ultimately, we decided on movies that we return to over and over again because there is always something new to see and because they never fail to entertain and astonish.
This week, we’ve decided to concentrate on war movies, a genre particularly suited to the kinetic energy of motion pictures. Readers will immediately notice the absence of silent films and movies from Hollywood’s golden age. Yes, in spite of our love of classic cinema, we are the first to admit that sound and modern special effects have rendered most older war movies tame and stylized.
We have also excluded war movies that treat war as “senseless killing” or set forth a pacifist narrative. As far as Seraphic Secret is concerned, a just war is the only method by which moral states can triumph over evil nations. In short, war is too serious to be intellectually castrated by fuzzy minds who traffic in moral equivalence.
We concentrate on movies that feature intense warfare, yet whose narrative line does not neglect the more intimate, personal stories. We have eliminated home-front movies, fantasies of good Nazi soldiers ( Auf Wiedersehen, Das Boot), movies about Holocaust victims, tales of spies, and POW movies, sub-genres that—except good Nazi movies, historically suspect and morally loathsome—deserve and will receive ten best lists all their own.
As always, we invite our readers to list their own ten best war movies.