The Bright Lights of Hanukkah: The ‘South Park’ Dreidel Song



It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love, every song you hear, seems to say: Merry Chri—hey get out of here with that Christmas nonsense! Today is not your day! You get ALL of the fun good holiday shenanigans, so why not leave this post alone, greedy, huh?

Hanukkah is the festival of lights! And how bright and shining are their pop culture brethren. On today, the 8th and final day of Hanukkah (or Chanukkah, for you purists out there), we bring you arguably the most…polarizing token of Jewish magic: South Park‘s own ode to the festival of lights, The Dreidel Song.

Now, it’s easy to brush off South Park as one of those simply-crude-and-unintelligent when really we all know how wildly intelligent and biting the humor is of misters Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Yes, a song about Dreidels that includes lines about Jews being lame and loving Courtney Cox on Friends—all brought to you by a magical poop named Mr. Hanky—can actually be witty social commentary. You see, what’s going on here outside of the incredible lyrics like “‘Cos when you learn, to make the dreidel spin / You’ll know, our people always win!” and “Courtney Cox, I love you. ‘ You’re so hot, on that show” and “Jews, play stupid games / Jews, that’s why they’re lame” is actually a story in three parts, all ending up at the same conclusion. The holidays are cluttered, jumbled together into one part of the year, all trying to take attention away from each other by being the loudest, most-loved holiday of all (even when maybe they know they’re not). But even in that aspiration, the holidays lose what they’re really all about—washed out by the inevitable jockeying that comes with trying to take the top position on the totem pole.

But it’s not just that, either. Stone and Parker’s simple melody is a stylized decision that also represents the childish, storybook nature with which people obsess over the holidays, when it’s really just become another chance for commercial entities to make an extra dollar. Drowned out, diluted, and seemingly uncool, Kyle is the only one who really understands the original words, themes, and meanings to The Dreidel Song, but his one, singular voice cannot raise above the crowd, and only then blends in amongst the masses.

And to make this sort of statement all through the lens of a comedic, seemingly infantile-to-the-uninitiated cartoon show? Well, now that really is something, huh? No wonder those boys won all those Tony Awards for The Book of Mormon. They really know how to lambast the religious fervor with which Americans view the commercial nature of the holiday season. It is stupid on purpose, but also packed with commentary. Who says comedy can’t be smart?

What are your favorite Hanukkah moments in pop culture history? Let us know in the comments!

[Photo Credit: Comedy Central]

Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes


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