It turns out that it is possible to wax nostalgic for kitsch. Four years ago, I described Yom Haatzmaut in My Little Town, as follows:
... every Yom HaAtzmaut I awaken to the startling realization that I now live in Mayberry. Or, if I might phrase it a bit less delicately, in Israel we are the goyim. Yes, in My Little Town people actually gather in the main drag for a display of schoolkids doing funny waving stuff with flags, the mayor bashfully reads all the right cliches, youthful entrepeneurs sell cotton candy, and it's all topped off with, you guessed it, a dazzling display of fireworks.
That was then. In what I sincerely hope is not a metaphor for some more profound shift in the cosmic order, this year's celebration of Yom Haatzmaut in My Little Town was a quasi-professional "production" involving two loud, obnoxious and unctuous "presenters" of the sort once confined to game-show hosting. Somebody had the bright idea that some tenth-rate hired guns would lend the proceedings a more polished feel. Another innovation was that the usually very affecting brief autobiographical statements read by the lighters of the torches were pre-recorded; the result was less so much affecting as reminiscent of Bob Eubanks' descriptions of the contestants on The Dating Game.
If even My Little Town has to fob Yom Haatzmaut off on a producer, big trouble is brewing. I'm hankering for Andy and Opie.