The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Christmas Story

It's a week until Christmas and Americans are inundated with Xmas-related themes across all media. On TV, old (and not so old) Christmas movies air nightly and will continue to do so through the new year. My favorite Christmas movie, hands down, is the slightly irreverent and (by modern standards) politically incorrect, A Christmas Story. It's the kind of movie people watch over and over again.

The movie is based on the writing of Jean Shepard whose short stories are notable in their own right.

Given the lunatic #MeToo outrage over the song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," A.J. Rice provides us with some insight into why the movie, A Christmas Story, just might be a target for SJW 'outrage' in the near future:
... the film is about a healthy, intact family. Ralphie Parker, played by Peter Billingsley, and his suburban midwestern family have a pretty good life in the 1940s Rust Belt, which has since been decimated by international trade deals and unchecked immigration.

The Parkers are average working-class folk living on the Indiana side of the Chicago suburbs in postwar America. Ralphie’s parents are happily married, and neither is an idiot, a cheater, or a crook. Having returned from the war, “Old Man” Parker (the father is never named and played impeccably by the great Darren McGavin) has a job, owns a home in a good neighborhood, raises his family, profanely battles the furnace, and is always in search of a way to make life better. Mom loves him and dotes on their boys. The parents are not human helicopters—the Parker kids are free-range boys who walk themselves to school without being tracked by Mom with a smartphone GPS app.

Ralphie is about 9 years old. His fondest Christmas wish is—brace yourself—a gun. Specifically, a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Can you say raging “toxic masculinity”? Someone call the liberal arts department! We need a class to explain why someone would want a BB gun for Christmas.

Wait, it gets worse. “A Christmas Story” isn’t all sunshine and light. It has a dark side, thanks in part to director Bob Clark. He used his success on a very different film, “Porky’s,” to lift “A Christmas Story” to the big screen.

Ralphie is a victim of a big, mean bully. This isn’t some misunderstood kid or anti-hero, he’s a typical nasty neighborhood bully named Scut Farkus and an ever-present menace. He mocks, threatens, and beats up on everybody, even his own lackey sidekick. One day, Ralphie has had enough and gives the bully a serious bloody-nosed beatdown. It’s epic, and handled perfectly in the film. You want that bully to get his due, and when he does, it’s satisfying.

After the battle, amazing things happen. No police are called. No charges are filed. No one is suspended from school. There’s no hate crime investigation. No two week breathless discussion on CNN. In fact, Ralphie’s mom seems proud of him, and when she tells the old man Ralphie was in a fight, he seems to be aware of it and proud of him, too. But not so proud they make a big deal about it. Everybody doesn’t get a trophy, even after a TKO.

This was America before the anti-bullying campaigns that seem to put bullies in control of today’s schools. Dads used to tell their sons to stand up for themselves. Dads even said they would back their boys up if it came to all that. Punching your bully was a rite of passage. That’s the America the ’60s radicals and today’s SJWs hate—the America of the Greatest Generation. It’s gone now, like so much more in the world of “A Christmas Story.” Bullies of the past got handled by a street code, now they just hang out on Twitter.
The thing you notice about A Christmas Story is that unlike far, far too many modern Hollywood offerings, it doesn't preach; it doesn't promote a specific world view; it doesn't try to be artificially inclusive or ersatz diverse, it simply tells an endearing story. And that's why it has become a classic.