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.
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.
Funny confession, but I am actually closer to my dad now that I am a "veteran" of a half dozen WWII FPS games. It is one thing to hear the light hearted stories of life fifty years ago, but quite another to even fictionally brush shoulders with those events and times. (I don't know how to explain this as respectfully as I feel it.)
In one of the games, in a really weird Twilight-Zone kinda moment, the main character (you) is being driven around Pearl Harbor, your new BOA, and I'm listening to the computer character CEO telling me about Pearl. You have 360 head movement as the Jeep goes past bucolic scenes of guys playing baseball, nurses going to work, and you are saying to yourself "I know that any minute now, Japanese Zeros are coming over the horizon, and the game won't let me tell anybody."
In a funny way, I'd like every cool, smirking high school boy to play these games, but they probably wouldn't get the same thing out of them I did.
I guess it is the difference between people who have known hard times and people who have not.