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Wonderful? Sorry, George, Itís a Pitiful, Dreadful Life
The New York Slimes ^ | December 18, 2008 | WENDELL JAMIESON

Posted on 12/22/2008 4:47:10 AM PST by 7thson

Lots of people love this movie of course. But I’m convinced it’s for the wrong reasons. Because to me “It’s a Wonderful Life” is anything but a cheery holiday tale. Sitting in that dark public high school classroom, I shuddered as the projector whirred and George Bailey’s life unspooled.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Music/Entertainment; Society
KEYWORDS: christmas; culturewar; frankcapra; god; grinchstolechristmas; itsawonderfullife; ivorytower; jimmystewart; liberalelites; liberalloon; postmodernism; society
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I did a quick search and did not see this posted. A very sad commentary on how the elite look upon the small towns of the United States. The writer sees Bedford Falls as dull and oppressing but sees Pottersville as exciting and lively. What the author fails to see in this movie is the power of God. His teacher told him to watch out how Bailey treats his future wife or the blank, lifeless stare of the cabbie in the alternative life. The essence of the film for me is near the end when George is running away and comes back to the bridge. He cries/prays for the angel to help him. Only when he says Please God, bring my family back, does it start snowing again and his lip bleeds again. The NYT writer - as wise as he thinks he is - cannot see that with God, all things are possible.
1 posted on 12/22/2008 4:47:11 AM PST by 7thson
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To: 7thson

This writers version would have been a blank screen for 45 minutes.


2 posted on 12/22/2008 4:56:23 AM PST by Dallas59 (Not My President)
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To: 7thson
A great many people are fighting a war against God. They don't necessarily know that. They don't necessarily intend to do it. But they love the excitement and attraction of a glitzy, glamorous world in which everyone can chase after their own pleasure. They oppose the kind of life that values family, personal responsibility and a relationship with God.

I teach my children that we are a persecuted minority in America. This country will not get better until it experiences a true spiritual revival.

3 posted on 12/22/2008 4:58:25 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: 7thson
Was there any doubt that a NYT columnist would see “Its a Wonderful Life” as anything other than an oppressive representation of that Liberal Great White Whale, the pre-1968, middle-class America? I could have written the rest myself after he talked about the “oppressively perfect wife.” A, yes, a juvenile rant against Middle America wouldn't be complete without the Stepford Wife reference.

I'll tell you what's pitiful, dreadful and stifling: a rigidly-enforced cultural narrative in which everyone is desperate to escape the religion of the small town for the booze and hookers of the big city (Potterville in this column). Grow up, Wendell.

4 posted on 12/22/2008 5:01:02 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard
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To: 7thson
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams,

The writer is making the assumption that "living your dreams" as you think they ought to be is always liberating. It is a paradox. The psychiatrist's offices are filled with celebrities who have lived their dreams, "have it all" and are still miserable, and have no answers because they see indulging their dreams and whims as the road to happiness. At the end of the movie, George Bailey is happy, in part because even these "small-minded" people did appreciate him and what he has done. Unlike the author, Bailey has "grown up" and has embraced the wonderful life he has been given.
5 posted on 12/22/2008 5:02:07 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: 7thson
An excellent commentary on how really blind the liberal elite are. Poor, poor wretches. Really.
6 posted on 12/22/2008 5:09:47 AM PST by fwdude ("...a 'centrist' ... has few principles - and those are negotiable." - Don Feder)
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To: 7thson
living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising...

All he saw in that town were small-minded, bitter people? The pain of compromising to accept responsibilities thrust on you against your will is terrifying? So it might be, but those responsibilities will come, and you will choose to meet them with grace or with bitterness, or you will choose to run away.

Here’s the thing about Pottersville that struck me when I was 15: It looks like much more fun than stultifying Bedford Falls — the women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night. If anything, Pottersville captures just the type of excitement George had long been seeking.

Does he remember how much fun those hot women were having, how happy they looked?

7 posted on 12/22/2008 5:12:40 AM PST by heartwood (Tarheel in exile)
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To: 7thson
From the comments section after the article:

"In addition to wrecking the economy of Bedford Falls, George may be responsible for the housing bubble by introducing subprime mortgages to the town."

What sad & empty souls this paper & its readers must possess. God bless FreeRepublic. I love you guys.

8 posted on 12/22/2008 5:14:11 AM PST by laotzu
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To: 7thson
This article is interesting because it displays how little the writer, Wendell Jamieson, undestands about being a responsible man in America. To Jamieson, every virtue, from thrift to good grooming, is seen as a negative. In his eyes George Bailey wasted his life struggling to provide for his family and town, when he could have been partying down at the Kit-Kat Klub.

I guess it is the difference between people who have known hard times and people who have not. If you have grown up in the last thirty years, you have known nothing but wealth and opportunity at every turn. The notion that anybody would have to struggle to put bread on the table is as foreign as stories of isolated head-hunter tribes of the South Pacific. Jamieson can not understand that most people really did live one step away from destitution not so very long ago, and that to build a stable, solid life, with a nice house, and loving spouse and beautiful, healthy children was quite an achievement. Nowadays people take these things for granted.

And, of course, the greatest insult is when this movie is plucked out of time and used as grist for their ironic hipster mill. The very lowest points in George Bailey's are held up as being typical, and indicators of the oppression and backwardness of the man. I wonder how Mr. Jamieson’s life would appear to an observer if I cherry-picked the four or five episodes that take him at his worst, string them together and say that they represent his entire life.

The movie displays these episodes not because they are typical, but because they are atypical. George Bailey perseveres through the difficulties of his life, making the best of things, helping his neighbors, and providing for his family, and does so with grace and courage. On occasion, he falls into despair. But from those occasions come his greatest triumphs, small though they may seem to Wendell Jamieson’s eyes.

9 posted on 12/22/2008 5:14:37 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: heartwood

Anybody who thinks the Violet Binks of Pottersville looked better than the Violet Binks of Bedford Falls should have his eyes examined.


10 posted on 12/22/2008 5:17:10 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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To: 7thson
In terms of the theft, sure, you take the money and put it back, you still committed the larceny,” he said. “By giving the money back, you have mitigated in large measure what the sentence might be, but you are still technically guilty of the offense.”

This struck me as particularly dumb, and I wonder if this prosecutor is equally dumb or if he's never seen the movie--or, perhaps, New York has an odd larceny law.

But at common law, larceny is the trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the previous possessor thereof. What Bailey did in the movie wasn't larceny; he didn't have any intent to steal the money. The money was lost; it wasn't stolen. There might be some sort of banking laws that he violated, but it's not larceny.

11 posted on 12/22/2008 5:17:12 AM PST by Publius Valerius
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To: heartwood
Does he remember how much fun those hot women were having, how happy they looked?

If you were referring to Violet Biggs viciously fighting the cops, yeah, that was one "fun and exciting" scene. It's implied that crime is through the roof in Pottersville (George's mother in the Bailey Boarding House barely opens the door, as if afraid of a home invasion robbery) but the author conveniently doesn't bring that up.

12 posted on 12/22/2008 5:18:16 AM PST by fwdude ("...a 'centrist' ... has few principles - and those are negotiable." - Don Feder)
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To: fwdude

“An excellent commentary on how really blind the liberal elite are. Poor, poor wretches. Really.”

You’re completely right. After our next revolution, this article should be in all of the text books to record what we were forced to fight. We need to tell future generations that our rulers thought this way and ruled accordingly.


13 posted on 12/22/2008 5:18:23 AM PST by demshateGod (the GOP is dead to me)
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To: 7thson

The movie is an almost perfect example of the ideal of traditional America. Not perfect, but providing a good life for more people than any other in all human history.

The author of this review and his fellow travelers loathe, hate and despise that America and anyone who still believes in it. This article is an almost perfect example of their rejection of what America is, or used to be, or perhaps what it used to want to be.

The director, Frank Capra, was an Italian immigrant who lived the American dream. He would be quite ashamed of Mr. Jamiesen and his ilk.


14 posted on 12/22/2008 5:24:16 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: Publius Valerius

In the movie there was no claim that the money was stolen.

There was a discrepancy in the books. With the money returned, the discrepancy was accounted for and the problem went away.

Maybe George found the money on the Clintons’ dining room table.


15 posted on 12/22/2008 5:27:03 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: gridlock

Anybody who thinks Mary Bailey isn’t the hottest thing around should have his head examined.

It seems this author intentionally misinterprets almost every scene in the movie.


16 posted on 12/22/2008 5:28:54 AM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: Sherman Logan

Indeed!


17 posted on 12/22/2008 5:30:05 AM PST by Tigercap
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To: 7thson

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people

When Wendell Jamieson loses his job, or becomes suddenly confronted with a mortal illness or debiltating injury, or finds himself set adrift in a society broke down by pandemic or internal strife

I pity him for not having a small town full of "bitter small-minded people" to return to. He will surely not find sustenance or human compassion in Pottersville (or Time's Square)
18 posted on 12/22/2008 5:30:35 AM PST by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: gridlock
I admire your take on the film. Ironic it died at the box office when it came out but is now a Christmas classic. The author of the NTY hit-piece either fails or doesn't want to grasp the power of one, good decent man fighting against corruption and greed. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when it really sinks in to George the reality of him not being there. He discovers his brother is dead. When told that his brother died under the ice he claims his brother saved that transport ship. Clarence says everyone on that transport ship died because Harry was not there to save them because George was not there to save Harry. For people not to see and realize how the small, selfless acts that we do every day has emense consequences in the future is mind-boggling. It amazes me that people concentrate on the what they perceive as the darkness and bitterness of the film and not see what the glories of God can bring.

And yes, at times, we all fall into despair. It is interesting to note that prior to George's Uncle misplacing the money, everything finally seemed to be going alright for George. The author also ruminates that George would still be liable for the missing money and misses out that it should be Old Man Potter sent to prison for stealing - yes he stole the money by not giving it back. We need more George Bailey's in our lives and in society.

19 posted on 12/22/2008 5:32:59 AM PST by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: fwdude

Compare this woman to the one who was hauled out of Regina's House of Dolls...


20 posted on 12/22/2008 5:34:44 AM PST by gridlock (QUESTION AUTHORITY)
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