We watched "It's A Wonderful Life," this week, which ends with wheelchair bound Mr. Potter/Dick Cheney again getting the best of the "chumps" trying to give their fellow men a helping hand.
To jump or not to jump, the question that is coldly reprised after a fashion in Cormac McCarthy's SUNSET LIMITED, is again settled here because George Bailey realizes that, even if he loses his material possessions, even if he goes to jail, he still would not lose the capacity to love, that love makes life worth living, even if the greedy, power-hungry psychopaths and war-profiteers--like Mr. Potter--win again and again.
We also watched Ralphie in CHRISTMAS STORY, and THE REF and THE ICE HARVEST. And we caught the George C. Scott version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Like most of the adaptations, they added here and subtracted there. It rather amazes me that they took out two of the best lines in Dickens' original text:
Scrooge refuses to be wished a merry Christmas and says to his nephew, "What right have you to be merry? You're poor enough."
To which his nephew responds, "What right have you to be miserable? You're rich enough."
Christmas is commercialized, perverted so that it even sanctions greed and war. The real lesson is that even in the face of all of this phony horror in tinsel, the attitude of gratitude and love itself redeem each day, including this one.
A toast: Peace on earth and good will toward men, even to the Dick Cheneys and Newt Gingriches and Mr. Potters, and especially to those deluded and manipulated by them.