Skip

The real hero of "It's A Wonderful Life"
December 21, 2001 11:26 AM   Subscribe

The real hero of "It's A Wonderful Life" as viewed through neo-conservative goggles.
posted by Ty Webb (16 comments total)

 
There is no comparing the moral seriousness of "A Christmas Carol" with the trivial aims of "It's A Wonderful Life." "A Christmas Carol" is about sin and redemption. "It's a Wonderful Life" is about feeling good about your self. Most of us already feel pretty good about ourselves. These are two very different works.
posted by Faze at 11:59 AM on December 21, 2001


I think you're selling "...Wonderful Life" short. It's about more than just feeling good, it's about the real meaning of success, and of wealth.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:06 PM on December 21, 2001


This is probably the first time I have enjoyed anything written by NR. Potterville did look pretty compelling in the movie.
posted by phatboy at 12:06 PM on December 21, 2001


Just one more reason to hate this movie.
posted by briank at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2001


I think It's A Wonderful Life is actually a pretty good example of how a corporation can honestly work within a community. Although Bailey's Savings and Loan is always on the brink of disaster, it works with the poorer members of society turning them into contributing members (like the guy who opens the bar/restaurant, no doubt pumping money and jobs into Bedford Falls' economy). This engenders loyalty in the community, that I certainly don't think you would see were Potter's Saving & Loan to hit hard times.

Obviously, NR would like the media manipulation shenanigans that go on in Mr. Smith

Disclaimer: I love Jimmy Stewart/Capra flicks
posted by owillis at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2001


That's a pretty misleading link to an interesting, but benign article. Andrew Stuttaford never calls Potter a hero; he just thinks that he's underappreciated.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 2:19 PM on December 21, 2001


Obviously the writer never suggests Potter was a hero. I guess any chance to take a dig at conservatives is not to be missed.

The issue of how Potter was dealth with in the movie is something that's always impressed me about it. Capra doesn't insult the audience by insisting that Potter is punished for stealing the money. Moden holywood would have a scene where police catch up to him, or he somehow gets what's coming to him. (Hopefully something a little short of the Saturday Night Live version, if you've seen that.)
posted by mragreeable at 2:37 PM on December 21, 2001


---"Obviously the writer never suggests Potter was a hero."

Aside from referring to him as "a Rumsfeld" in the tag line, which for National Review is pretty close.

---" I guess any chance to take a dig at conservatives is not to be missed."

Ach, how my heart aches for the poor persecuted conservatives.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:57 PM on December 21, 2001


That Saturday Night Live version was a classic.
posted by Potsy at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2001


I knew somebody who considered IAWL to be a horror movie.
posted by retrofut at 3:49 PM on December 21, 2001


Eh, NRO is just being cheeky here (in other words, an elaborate troll). One thing that's not entirely clear to modern audiences is the role that the Bailey S&L plays in the town; before the depression, S&Ls had a very limited and specific role, including being chartered for limited geographic areas -- and they continued to be restricted until deregulation about 20 years ago, which was badly handled, ultimately leading to the collapse or merger of many S&Ls, and eventually the elimination of the S&L altogether. A key idea of the S&L was restricting how much credit they could offer and for how long. In those days, the S&Ls were restricted because the banks were as predatory with easy credit then as they are today.

There really was, in other words, a different purpose to the Bailey Bank and Loan Company (which is probably an incorrect name; S&Ls were not banks), and a clear class difference in the customer base. Capra's been accused of different politics over the years, but the simplest definition is that he's a populist. He wasn't an anti-capitalist; George Bailey, after all, is a banker. He's for the economic evolution of Bedford Falls as determined by the free choices of its residents in purchasing mortgages and building homes. There's no socialist agency protecting Bedford Falls here.

So I think NR gave George a bum rap here, even by their own standards. Though I do think their pegging Potter as a Rumsfeld in a Rockwell town is dead-on ....
posted by dhartung at 4:19 PM on December 21, 2001


dhartung-
i think it was the Bailey Building and Loan, which would go to the limited specific role you referred to.
posted by Ty Webb at 5:08 PM on December 21, 2001


Ach, how my heart aches for the poor persecuted conservatives.

You misrepresented what this man said so that you could portray those with a political view obviously different from your in a negative light. Keep your mock sympathy. You've build some conservative straw men out of a harmless commentary about a Christmas movie.

Aside from referring to him as "a Rumsfeld" in the tag line, which for National Review is pretty close.

He made an interesting connection to how the two men present themselves. It's absurd to make the connection that they've reinterpreted the true hero of the movie.
posted by mragreeable at 10:23 PM on December 21, 2001


hey...its a MOVIE.frickin meme the halls...
posted by clavdivs at 7:34 AM on December 22, 2001


I always thought of the Reagan 1980s and later years as the time when America really embraced Mr. Potter and all his values. The idea that someone on MeFi could find Potterville "compelling," as opposed to a revolting seedy honkytonk BSville, makes my skin crawl.
posted by Allen Varney at 2:16 PM on December 22, 2001


Check out this bit of borderline plagerism in Salon today: All hail Pottersville!. I guess he's hoping that Salon readers don't also read the National Review ...
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:45 PM on December 24, 2001


« Older I think the recording industry has finally gotten...   |   Amazon spamming search engines? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post