Friday, December 19, 2008

Historical Revisionism

The 'suggestion of an underlying theme of repressed homosexuality'

Wendell Jamieson, writing in today's New York Times, makes this startling admission:

"'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. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation."

Never quite looked at it that way. I suspect Mr. Jamieson's version of Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" (my particular favorite) would run something like this: "... the story of a completely dysfunctional family whose eldest child, Ralphie, is materially obsessed at Christmas, whose father is a foul-mouthed, violent, sexual deviant who takes out his anger on the furnace and brings into the house an obscene "major prize" lamp. The mother is a classic enabler and the youngest child, Randy, shows distinct signs of environmentlly-induced retardation. The only truly healthy and socially adjusted character in the film is the misunderstood block bully, Fargis, and his young "toady" friend. Of course, the scene where a boy is stuck to a metal pole with his tongue on a frigid day is the strongest kind of suggestion of an underlying theme of repressed homosexuality."

We won't even get into the obsession with death of Frosty the Snowman, the over-reaction to physical abnormality by the little reindeer with the bulbous red nose, and the sociopathic behavior of something called a grinch.

My lovely wife calls this an "existential meltdown," so I'll quote the Wicked Witch of the West: "I'm meeeeeeeeel-ting."

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