Monday, December 8, 2014


I love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the cold. Hell, I just bought Rudolph stamps from The Post Office today. But over all, I love the movies and TV shows from this time of year. And one of the best is the Jimmy Stewart masterpiece, It's A Wonderful Life. It was a flop when it was released in the summer of 1946, proving that stupidity isn't something new to mankind, just more pronounced. What idiot puts a Christmas movie out in July? To be fair the same could be said for why films like Tammy and Sex Tape were made at all, let alone released mid summer.
For those living under a rock, the movie centers around George Bailey and his life in the small town of Bedford Falls. From his early days he dreamed big of leaving town and seeing the world. But as it happens to many of us, life gets in the way, and no matter what he tries, no matter how carefully he plans, he never leaves the town he was born in. This is a classic movie premise seen in other films like High Noon, Three O'clock High, U-Turn and After Hours. In all of those scenarios, the protagonist is stuck wherever he is at the time, whether it be an Old West town, a high school, or SoHo, that person is stuck until the end.

This is the only Christmas version of this story I can think of and it is masterfully told. George runs a local bank that looks out for it's citizens and provides mortgages for people that other banks wouldn't. Potter is the evil banker hell bent on enslaving the people of Bedford Falls and only George is in his way. When George's Uncle Billy loses 8000 dollars, George faces prison and winds up with an angel who shows him what life would be like if he was never born. He would never have saved his brother, his old boss would become a wino and the town would look like Vegas threw up on it.

The odd thing about watching this movie was discovering how much things have changed. Now, the big banks ARE Mr. Potter. They are the heroes in today's society, while people like George would be sneered at by the right wingers calling him a commie, a pinko, or even "a taker." Banks are enslaving us in every way this movie warned us about. This movie plays every year and no one has ever noticed. We really are dense.
Look at what the right demonizes: poverty, hunger, and charity. They worship money and have no problem throwing people out into the street as the wave of foreclosures demonstrated from 2008 on. They didn't even try to help people but left them in the ditch instead, just like Potter in the movie.

They blame the housing crash on people who dared to get a house they couldn't afford, conveniently forgetting that many of these people were tricked into a mortgage they should never have gotten in the first place, including giving APR loans to people who were qualified for a fixed rate. Then they bundled all these crappy mortgages together and told their investors they were solid as bedrock, when in reality they were quicksand. When things went south, the poor got the blame, and not the douche nozzles that manipulated the whole thing.

Take ACORN as another example as a group that got all the blame and was forced to close, even though subsequent study showed the problems they had were way overblown, mostly by royal cock, James O'Keefe, a right wing fuckwad who edits his videos together to prove "facts" that do not exist. At least four investigations done by major media and the government found the facts accusing ACORN of corruption had been wildly overblown but that was too late, as funding dried up before any of that came up.

We now live the age of Mr. Potter. In one scene, he offers George $20,000 a year to work for him. In 2010 dollars that would be around $310,000. He turns it down as he won't sell out to a big bad corporation. How many people would have that gumption today?
In true fashion (spoiler alert if you are one of the six people on Earth who do not know how this ends), Potter is never arrested for stealing the $8000 dollars from Uncle Billy, a rarity for films of this period which was under the watchful eye of the Hayes Office Code and often demanded that bad guys get their due at the end. Just like today's bankers who never get punished for their crimes anymore.

This movie is a classic but is disheartening to see Potter as the hero of this tale now and Bailey the mooch who should just give into the elite overlords, at least that is how a lot of the country would see this movie released today.

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