Skip to comments.NY Times, The Grinch That Trashed a Christmas Classic
Posted on 12/19/2008 1:42:56 PM PST by AIM Freeper
The headline on a critique in todays New York Times says it all: Wonderful? Sorry, George, Its a Pitiful, Dreadful Life. Nothing more clearly illustrates the papers hatred of normalcy than its revisionist perspective on Its A Wonderful Life.
The moral of the 1946 Capra classic life has meaning. Even if we dont achieve our dreams, even if our existence is seemingly hum-drum, those who lead good lives will never know how much good theyve done.
George Bailey does, by glimpsing what his world would look like if hed never been born. He discovers (to paraphrase the film) that every life touches so many other lives and, if its not there, it leaves a terrible void. This hopeful message is why the film has charmed audiences for over 60 years.
Wendell Jamieson, author of The Times diatribe, hates nearly everything about the film. George Bailey is pathetic for sacrificing his dreams for the greater good of his family, friends and the depositors of the Bailey Savings and Loan. Jamieson finds the films nostalgic vision of small town life embodied in Bedford Falls boring and stultifying.
He much prefers Pottersville in the alternate reality. The women are hot, the music swings, and the fun times go on all night.
Yes, and Georges wife is a mousey, spinster librarian; his mother is a bitter, dried-up hag who runs a dilapidated boarding house; brother Harry died as a child because George wasnt there to save him (consequently, all the men on Harrys ship died because he wasnt there to save them); Uncle Billy loses his marbles when the Saving and Loan closes its doors, and so on.
Jamisons piece reflects The Times worldview individuals should live primarily for themselves, self-sacrifice is stupid, fast women, gambling and loud music are fun, and life is ultimately meaningless.
People who are world-wise are attracted to one type of cinema; those who are world-weary are drawn to the opposite. One is tempted to describe The New York Times as the Grinch who trashed a Christmas classic. But it probably likes the Grinch too.
The Pinch who Stole Christmas?...............
Any questions as to why the NYT is going under?
Just another sign of the times, it had to be written eventually. More to come. Maranatha!
What’s the big deal? A film critique is just one guy’s opinion.
There's a new movie out about Pinch Sulzberger. When he gets to see what the world would have been like without him, it is a far happier place! In the end, the angel refuses to let him live again, saying, "It's a mitzvah you were never born!"
Way to go Don. See tag line.
I'm finding it difficult to argue with this part.
“Jamisons piece reflects The Times worldview individuals should live primarily for themselves, self-sacrifice is stupid, fast women, gambling and loud music are fun, and life is ultimately meaningless.”
I enjoy Feder, but I don’t agree. THE TIMES would have us all be part of the collective, doing everything for the good of the world.
Liberalism is a mental disorder.
Diversity. You don’t have to address anything more than that, and you have the real reason why the Times and its ilk hate the holiday classics.
It’s the 1950s white middle class American that these rags are at war with. They claim those classics touch on values that never existed. And I say hogwash.
George Bailey is the quintessential John Doe, the guy who saw a need, recognized a cause, volunteered for the draft and to help out his fellow man out of loyalty to them and the nation.
If the Times and it’s ilk (hate to use the word twice, but what better word to describe their ilk) were only at war with our founding documents and principals, it’s would be bad enough, but it doesn’t stop there.
If you are a moral individual who has even the slightest tinge of respect for our nation, moral values and the golden rule, you’re a world class jackass, chump, and pseudo criminal in their eyes.
I say F M and the horse they rode in on. May these bastards be relegated to a hell in the afterlife that closely resembles the one they would create on this earth, if brighter souls didn’t exist in every nook and cranny of this nation.
liberal Socialists...(spit)...They all go around walking and talking like they are some kind og guild of George Baileys...But if you watch the movie, and see the part when the town exists *without* Geo. Bailey...You see a town where libperv values and the things that the plague rat ACLU, fight, tooth and nail to achieve.
DemoLib Socialists are the ones who want the godless, souless socialist, dog eat dog, loneliness, of a nation of Pottervilles....in the name of “civil” & “individual rights”.
Casey Anthony would heartily concur.
I have fast women always tailgating me on Interstate 77.
It's hard to understand what he's really trying to say.
The story is still one of my favorites.
Poor NYT boys.
It’s simply a group autobiography of the NYT staff... nothing more.
The end needs to be updated. When they are reading the telegram near the end of the movie:
Mr. Gower cabled you need cash. Stop.
My office instructed to advance you up to twenty-five billion dollars. Stop.
Hee-haw and Merry Christmas.
I think we've all gotten that message from la la land, that you really haven't experienced life until you've taken a walk on the wild side.
A friend of mine says, "It's the work of the devil" And you know what? I haven't a better answer.
It’s a Wonderful Life was sorta PC for its time. A friend explained to me it was meant as a lift to everyone, especially men, who didn’t go to war (or leave their town because of the war) but kept things going on the Home Front.
The 2008 Wall Street bailouts decisively validate Mr. Jamison's point of view.
It’s easy to trash works from another time. A piece of cake. This one is schmaltzy, idealistic and unrealistic, enough said. I’d like these critics to apply the same kind of scrutiny to the trash on the screens today.
I have never been able to understand why so many freepers are crazy about Frank Capra films, such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Capra was a Commie sympathizer and almost all his films contain Commie messages, eg, the villains are nearly always capitalists, like Mr. Potter in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’
The society in ‘Lost Horizon’ was Communistic, the villains in ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ and ‘Meet John Doe,’ and most other Capra movies are capitalists.
I guess some viewers can’t get past the sentimentality of Capra films to see the subtle Communist propaganda inserted into the narrative.
“The Pinch who Stole Christmas”
I like it!
I'm finding it difficult to argue with this part.
Oh, those things can be "fun", so to speak. But that is just a part of life, it is not what life is all about. Not in the least. It is, in my mind at least, God, Country, Family. That is life.
There’s something to what you say, especially if you look at Capra’s precodes. There, for the most part, you see films critical of religion and especially Christianity.
However capitalists aren’t all wonderful people either, so I wouldn’t dismiss all of Capra’s films because some villains are capitalists. George Bailey isn’t a communist in A Wonderful Life just because his community helped him out during a bad time. That’s what we all should do, help one another during a bad time, regardless of political affiliation.
Sin is fun for a season but then you have to pay the piper. There are ALWAYS consequences to sin.
That is the film's low point. Since the days of Zenodotus and Eratosthenes, librarianship has been a noble profession.
Hanging around my new grandchildren and their family, I see how “soft” their parents have made their lives. The babies have no worries, they watch only Backyardigans and educational television. They eat nutritious food and go for walks together. They socialize with other families with children. They don’t watch the news or follow politics. It is an insulated world that my children have intentionally created for their kids.
That is what family-oriented societies do. The children will grow up believing in Santa, in romance, idealism and their ability to change the world. That is what traditional societies do. That is what Capra’s movie represented to me -the adult Dad who was an idealist and an opptomist. One worked to create a living environment of goodness, warmth and safety for his young family. An environment that extended into his community.
What we have from the sophisticates is the hard bare bulb realism of adult self-indulgence, pornography, violence, jaded pessimism and a coarsened culture. Not a good world for families or for raising kids.
Actually, and speaking as a banker here, the problem started when Uncle Billy absent mindedly forgot to go to the teller window to make the weeks deposit in Potter's bank. Potter pocketed the money to put Bailey S&L out of business.
Potter would have been a super star at Bear Sterns.
Yes, that’s my sense of it too. How might Ayn Rand have written IAWL?
Funny, I always considered that movie to have leftist bent. George does good business but doesn’t seem to what to ‘dirty’ himself by making a good profit at the same time, plus he pretty much follows the Fannie/Freddie concept of lending money to people who will not be good at paying it back. Also, the rich Potter is the Dem’s poster boy for their idea of what evil rich Republicans are.
Money quote of the day, maybe this week.
This is another reason why the libs hated Palin so much - she is clearly a happy woman.
Capra had a portrait of Mussolini in his office.
Besides do you have to agree with a film’s worldview to recognize it as a great work of Art? A lot of stuff from that period was about the Miserable Rich / Noble Poor dichotomy.
Also, for those who don’t know, ‘Mr. Smith Goes To Washington’ was considered anti-American propaganda many at the time. Hedda Hopper thought it was thought to be tailor made to discredit the American system as inherently corupt overseas. Funny considering that film is trotted out nowadays on Fourth of July.
The drivel here is the obtuse whining by the reviewer.
IAWL indeed does point out the meaningfulness of life. The biggest is how you can affect others in ways you can’t imagine.
I learned that for sure last year.
(Sorry in advance for long story here.)
I met a friend my senior year in high school, but as usual for me, I didn’t keep up with her (she was a year behind).
She is a black woman (”crispy black”, as she would say, LOL) while I am white. She transferred from another HS. When I 1st met her in the art room (but not in class, which was what we would share), I heard her say something about “white” vs black or whatever, and I thought oh boy, here’s another with a chip on the shoulder. She looked like 1 of the tough kinds you stereotype. I was popular-hip-punk in a way.
But we quickly became friends; I don’t remember how. I just remember we laughed and laughed, and she became friends with many of my other (diverse, I might add - oriental, white, black, punk, grit, nerd, normal, Mormon, Mennonite, etc etc etc) friends. She literally threatened a girl who was constantly picking on 1 of our friends and scared her away from the friend.
So last year out of the blue I get a note from this woman I haven’t heard from since HS, through Classmates.com. She quickly wrote that she wanted to say hi, and that she was grateful we had met. I wrote back excitedly and told her she was being too flattering.
She wrote back a long note and said no, that I changed her life. She said she was feeling disgruntled about schooling and that the change to the new school felt worse. She was thinking about quitting and dropping out. But she met me and my friends and suddenly school didn’t seem like such a burden. She stayed on - even when I left - and even became a star on the lacrosse team her senior year.
She continued schooling and works helping cancer patients through their trying times.
I was really touched and dumbfounded 20 years later to find she decided to stay in HS and she thinks it’s all because of me.
Interesting. I can see that being the viewpoint.
However, Mr. Smith also spends alot of time admiring the giants of America’s past, not tearing them down. To me the film seems more to point out “America’s” flaws at the time rather than as a whole. Just as we’d probably do now.
But that movie also shows a corrupt senator “losing it” and admitting to all the corruption. Never happens now! Probably doesn’t usually happen either.
I see it a bit, but don’t see it thoroughly. Perhaps Capra was a genius of couching his true meaning in subtler, less-extreme ways.
I didn’t really see Potter as the “capitalist” vs some communist guy. It was more miserable lonely old man making everyone else miserable vs. likable man who helps people as much as he can.
The latter man I see no problem with; he doesn’t entail anti-capitalism. He does things himself, not as a government agent or pushing government power.
Sort of like John Galt would have behaved?
“Uncle Billy absent mindedly forgot to go to the teller window to make the weeks deposit in Potter’s bank. Potter pocketed the money to put Bailey S&L out of business.”
He didn’t forget to go to the window, he forgot the MONEY. He left the money on the slip table when he did indeed go to the teller line. That letting go of the money is what caused all the hoo-hah.
Didn’t Fountainhead sort of have an anti-capitalist bent to it, too, if you go by the simple definition of “capitalist”?
The difference is those poor people are honest and will try to pay it back.
Yes, they may have difficulty so yes, they may not be GOOD at “paying it back”, but they would try.
Unfortunately, THAT is the idealism in the movie.
In our real world with our big cities, there are tons of people who really don’t care if they pay it back or not. They are dishonest as well as simply “poor”.
Nah. John Galt would have made such a long speech that the whole town would have followed George Bailey off the bridge just to make it stop.
My mother has said that for ages (”hogwash”), living in that era, and even in the big city. She truly thought life then was great and it was “all that” good stuff.
Tidbits about ‘Mr. Smith’ from Wikipedia...Hollywood censor at the time, Joseph I. Breen...warned the studios: [W]e would urge most earnestly that you take serious counsel before embarking on the production of any motion picture based on this story. It looks to us like one that might well be loaded with dynamite, both for the motion picture industry, and for the country at large.
Breen specifically objected to
‘the generally unflattering portrayal of our system of Government, which might well lead to such a picture being considered, both here, and more particularly abroad, as a covert attack on the Democratic form of government.’
Alben W. Barkley, the Senate Majority Leader, called the film “silly and stupid,” and said it “makes the Senate look like a bunch of crooks.” He also remarked that the film was “a grotesque distortion” of the Senate, “as grotesque as anything ever seen! Imagine the Vice President of the United States winking at a pretty girl in the gallery in order to encourage a filibuster!” Barkley thought the film “...showed the Senate as the biggest aggregation of nincompoops on record!”
Joseph P. Kennedy, then American Ambassador to Great Britain, wrote to Capra and Columbia head Harry Cohn to say that he feared the film would damage “America’s prestige in Europe”, and because of this urged that it be withdrawn from European release.
Pete Harrison, a respected journalist, suggested that the Senate pass a bill allowing theatre owners to refuse to show films that “were not in the best interest of our country.”
The film was also banned Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Soviet Russia and Falangist Spain.
Actually, Uncle Billy got distracted boasting about Harry’s CMoH and folded the deposit ticket and cash into the newspaper which he then thrust at Potter in punctuation of his speech.
When Potter opened the newspaper, the $5000 fell into his lap and he made as quick a getaway out of the bank as his wheelchair would allow.
A world without George Bailey is just right for Jamison. I wonder how he would feel about one without a Christ child.