Friday, December 10, 2010

Bah, The Humbug

I recently shared some email convo with a good friend.  I asked him to come see a theatre showing of It's A Wonderful Life, put on specially for Christmas.  For me, it is a favorite film, loved unconditionally. But I never thought of it from his point of view.  Then he told me how the movie looked to him.    

I now feel sort of embarassed.  This movie is truly about my buddy.  The little guy that keeps working and never took the big dollar or the easier path.  The little guy who makes a difference and gets little recognition.  The little guy who could use an angel to tell him how the shit is.  I watch this every year feeling all goopy inspired and yet I am a shiftless pisspot, while my friend is the hardest working guy I know. 

I'm sure some people might roll their eyes because my bud is vociferous in his complaining about how the world works, but unlike so many other complainers, he actually works in the system and tries to make it better.  So, in my book, he actually has more of a leg to stand on when it comes to being frustrated.

I bawl my eyes every year to It's A Wonderful Life.  I bought my own copy so I wouldn’t have to rely on cable to play it.  I even shed my tears for at least half a dozen other Frank Capra heart grabbers about the enduring little good guy now that dvd makes them available.  Yet, I give little thought to the mythology or other christmas mythologies we get out of our hearth-like light boxes.

I  watched the christmas episode of Warehouse 13, a light actiony sci-fi show.  It was a stand alone Christmas episode independent of it's series run.  It was warm and saccharine and played out a modern myth of the busy wealthy business man who provides for, but isn’t present for his kids.

It’s the opposite of the box-office failure that Wonderful Life was.  This man has a family, but is too busy improving the world(through designing shopping malls) to spend time with them.  In today's mythology, the demands of the evil corporation has robbed the man of his family and values.  He is too busy making money to treasure his family.  Not really a Scrooge, just engulfed in an economic system  Despite his pure motives of earning for his children, they are left behind.  This is the polar opposite of Jimmy Stewart who was focused on making his small town livable, one home at a time, inspired by and shored up by his family. 

Today, I question both myths.  I wonder, thinking of my classic movie and this new tv show, which is suited to reality today?  Are families wealthy beyond reason and lacking their fathers who are slaves to the boardroom?   Are hard working men without recognition out there making the world a better place?  Or are fathers unemployed and sometimes cast out of their homes? Or underpaid humiliated peons to the service industry?  How many dads are still employed in these fantasy jobs envisioned in christmas specials?  How much of the Credit Crisis stems from families stressfully trying to make christmas as bountiful as it looks on tv.

Jimmy Stewart was sweating to bail out poor families back when his company was threatened by a local rich company  The fantasy was that the people actually supported him because of all he had done for them.  Today, big companies reap untold wealth by robbing us of our lives while still we vote for governments that serve them.  They are enriched while our families shatter.  We are left with a sham dream of glitz and wealth and no community to fall back on

I'm always a crank, first to shout foul at the universe.  I've even just curmudgeoned my own holiday favorite.   Ah well, that's me. 

My little Christmas rant goes out warmly to my friend who actually does the work that keeps my world going and always does his best regardless of a mistifyingly indifferent populace.  Hey man, you know who you are, merry tidings!.

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