If Only (Some) Movies Were True by Philip A. Farruggio

by Philip A. Farruggio
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 19, 2010

Please remember, this Christmas season, to sit and watch the following two films: A Christmas Carol & It’s A Wonderful Life . After you watch these films, go implore your friends, neighbors and loved ones to do the same. Why? Well, let’s dissect them.

A Christmas CarolIn this movie, we follow the life of one Ebenezer Scrooge. Yes, he came from a dysfunctional family…. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father never forgave him for it. Scrooge only had the love and tenderness of his sister, but alas, not enough to save him. He grew up thinking that life was a ‘ dog eats dog ‘ existence. There was no room for compassion or charity (here that Ayn Rand followers?). Everyone ‘sank or swam‘ on their own merits and accord. Scrooge became more and more miserly and diabolical in business dealings. Finally, in the twilight of his life, one Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley. Marley warns Scrooge to repent and change his ways, before he too will join Marley for all eternity, carrying the chains of his karma…. Heavy heavy chains indeed. Then Scrooge is visited by three angels who show him what has passed, what is now, and what will come…. IF he cannot redeem his wicked and miserly ways. You know the rest. Question is: Do those out there who have the excess wealth and prestige, do they see the moral of the story? Perhaps if there was an army of Marley’s ghosts, all still in flesh and blood, to let these super rich neighbors of ours know what is wrong in what they do, or fail to do. Maybe we should stop scraping and bowing to them like feudal serfs to lords and ladies of the manor. Maybe they need us to shame them for their hoarding of so much good fortune, instead of sharing it from the heart.

 

It’s A Wonderful Life – George Bailey is what we can describe as an everyman. He is the heart and soul of humanity as it should and could be. George worked hard since adolescence, and never treated anyone less than he treated himself. A truly beloved neighbor and friend…. A truly caring father and husband and son. Old man Potter was the antithesis of George Bailey: cunning, selfish, self centered , manipulating and greedy. Potter wants to ruin George and his Savings and Loan bank…. And by chance he does just that. George is losing everything and begins to hate his life and all it entails. Disgusted with how things have turned out, George contemplates suicide, saying ‘ I wish I was never born ‘ . An angel is sent to his aid , showing George just what life in Bedford Falls ( where George lives ) would be like if indeed he were never born. We see how much one man can affect the lives of so many. We learn from this film that we all are truly connected to one another. Finally, when George begs to be brought back to his life, we see how the power of the many can counteract the wicked ways of the few ( like old man Potter) . When a mass of good souls stands together to say ‘ NO ‘ to the forces of evil and greed, much can be accomplished.

This writer has been on this topic of citizen action and the repentance of the super rich for a long time. Why stop now? My prayer for this new year 2011 is for more and more of the good souls to stop being simply victims and start becoming active…. In speaking out and rattling the cages of the baboons who think they have it all , at our expense.

Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is an activist leader and free lance columnist. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 200 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at www.dandelionsalad.wordpress.com, New Jersey activist Ed Dunphy’s progressivepatriots.net or at his own blog at www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at paf1222@bellsouth.net.

***

[DS added the video link.]

It’s a Wonderful Life -1946

http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/168024/Its_a_Wonderful_Life_1946_Frank_Capra/

see

Scrooge (1935) and Scrooge (1970) + The Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens’ Short Story as told by Vincent Price (1949)

A Christmas Journey to Freedom

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9 thoughts on “If Only (Some) Movies Were True by Philip A. Farruggio

  1. i agree with rocket’s last comment. the ghosts and of course jacob’s ghost did push the ‘ fear ‘ button in scrooge. then, the revisit to his life and those around him allowed the compassion that was ALWAYS there to kick in.
    however, this does NOT mean that we all have that capacity to redeem our lives. free will is there by our Creator to give us choices… if only all of us could have the opportunity that scrooge had.

  2. Pingback: An Army Of Marley’s Ghosts by Philip A. Farruggio + A Christmas Carol (1949) « Dandelion Salad

  3. well, perhaps it took ‘Fear ‘ to awaken the humanity in scrooge. like with the technique that many schools used in the 70s project called ‘ Scared Straight ‘ whereupon they took kids who were getting in lots of trouble to the prison and they met with hardened ‘ lifers ‘ who confronted them on thingss like….. ‘ it’s too late for me for what i did, but you still have time….. ‘
    jacob marley was the convict and scrooge the kid who still had time for redemption. yet, it was the ‘ Fear of punishment ‘ that opened up scrooge for all this….

    • there is no doubt about the fear factor . this i think we can all agree on . i just think that there was also an appeal to compassion for tiny tim , and a lost love and a whole host of other things.

      i think that the Christmas Carol is summed up in the words of St. Paul ”behold the goodness and severity of God ”.

      all 3 spirits were a mirror to Scrooge of a failed life spiritually and one without humanity . and the last spirit pointing to his grave was the last warning .

  4. here is my response to all who were kind enough to respond to the column:
    scrooge was redeemed because of FEAR. he was frightened into seeing what would become of him, by the angels’ visits. since he obviously did NOT believe fully in a ‘ hereafter ‘ up unti that night, the FEAR helped to awaken his soul. i do not philosophize here, merely present he facts.
    george baily lost his ‘ faith ‘ in the ‘ big picture ‘ and asked for help from his creator before he attempted suicide. potter never did ‘ learn his lessons ‘ and would have to deal with his Karma after he left this plain of existence.
    capra really , to me, focused on the ‘ here and now ‘ of how we all are so ‘ Six degrees of separation ‘ to one another. not so much on God as on the spirit of god in mankind, if awakened.

    • no . Capra always focuses on God and how it effects the here and now . because he was a christian –humanist. to understand ”its a wonderful life” , one must take it in view of the climax of the body of Capra’s work . movie like ”you cant take it with you ” and ”Meet john doe ” gives us the clues .

      in regards to The Christmas Carol . to a certain extent Phillip you are right about Scrooge being changed thru sheer fear . but not fear only . we must apply Aristotle’s ”Poetics” here : ”pity comes before fear ”.

      in other words , Scrooge was moved by the loss of his old romantic love , and possible death of Tiny Tim . we pity him, , because he had pity for them . but it was that ”inexorable finger ” of the 3rd spirit of fear that clinched the deal .

  5. Instead of publishing statistics on the worlds ten richest, the top grossing films. It is time the media began to shift the focus of their news reports, to quality instead of price, to compassion expressed instead of net worth.

    I watch a lot of films, most of them foreign. With few exceptions, the American film industry sacrifices quality for the bottom line. I wish it were otherwise.

    Films are a huge influence on us. They encourage us to smoke, to kill and drive fast.

    I loved the two films you mentioned. But I wonder if producers could even get them financed today.

  6. These two classic stories/movies are about redemption: Scrooge seems unredeemable, but his cold heart is touched by the three spirits. George Baily seems to have lost all hope in deep despair, but is shown how much he has meant to so many others. Both memorable characters are ultimately redeemable because they have consciences.

    In our non-movie reality, many in power are sociopaths who have no conscience. It is a romantic illusion to believe that everyone is redeemable. Alas, many are not. Can you imagine Henry Kissinger falling on his knees and begging forgiveness for the carpet bombing of North Vietnam or the overthrow of Salvadore Allende and putting Pinochet in his place? Or George W. Bush and Dick Cheney apologizing for murdering Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. soldiers? Or Obama for drone-bombing Pakistanis?

    Some people are simply irredeemable, and so they must be resisted and opposed until they are driven from positions of power. When an ENTIRE economic-political system is based on conscienceless lust for power, regardless of how many people suffer and how much the earth is destroyed, that system itself must be resisted and opposed. It cannot be redeemed. We are at that moment in our history. We can either face up to its demands on our own consciences, or delude ourselves that “everything will work out”.

    • I disagree 100 per cent Ed ! –everybody can be redeemed . that is the core of the Christmas story . God does not play favorites. only we do.

      now –Phillip , this article seems to be focusing on the symptoms of man’s fallen nature and the by-product of the Christmas story , instead of the Christmas story itself that exists in both movies and how grace was applied to these characters to break the karmic chain and redeem their very natures. for Christmas is divine intervention . the birth of the Savior of the world . for example :

      1.The Christmas Carol : clearly after Scrooges redemption Dickens writes ”he knew how to keep Christmas well , as any man alive possessed its knowledge”.Scrooge possessed the knowledge of what Christmas was really about , namely the grace of God thru Jesus Christ. Almost everybody laughed at Scrooge’s celebration of it . showing the reader that it is not only the rich who need salvation but everyone . as Tiny Tim observed ”God bless us , everyone ”.

      Dickens literary device was to expose the oppressive class system of the industrial revolution and at the same time provide an answer to it –Christ. in other words , we are all little scrooges before the living God until we reach out and receive the forgiveness of Christ as seen in the Christmas story .

      2. It’s a Wonderful Life _ all is true of Baily’s character, but his heart is bitter. he is as full of resentment as Potter is . that needs to be changed. Potter and Baily understand each other. one is trapped in a wheelchair the other is trapped in a small town . One does good , the other evil . But in God’s sight even the one who does good , if his heart is in the wrong place that is not enough to merit salvation . so Baily prays , and an Angel is sent from heaven . SENT FROM HEAVEN . 3 powerful words. Capra , as a christian -humanist employs this in all his movies , especially from the golden age of his work ( 1934 to 1948 ). so Christmas again is only understood by a change of heart.

      Conclusion — The Dalia Lama wrote a great piece for Time magazine in 1994 called ”The Karma of the Gospel ”. it sheds light on this article , because karma cannot be changed by choice alone . it needs grace…and belief in Christ… and that is what the Christmas story is really about .

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