It’s a pathetic life
This article on It’s a Wonderful Life is really good. Here’s a summary, with a representative offhand observation:
“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.
The overarching theme is George’s anger, and as I think of what I would be like if I had stayed in Flint, or stayed in the Nazarene church to try to save it as some do, I would probably be pretty angry too. I wouldn’t have as large a role in the community as George — at most, I’m assuming I would’ve been a high school teacher — so the effects of my staying likely wouldn’t have been as great. If I’m currently living in the “bizarro world,” though, I wonder what the “real” world in which I’d stayed would look like.
Or perhaps I’m actually George’s brother, and my sister is George, dutifully staying in the area while I swoop in increasingly rarely, generously taking time off from my exciting city life. This Thanksgiving I invited her to come to Chicago, but she pulled out — or actually claimed to have been “joking” about accepting the invitation in the first place — because she felt it would be hard on my family to have us both gone. Reportedly, Thanksgiving dinner was very peaceful this year, my absence having apparently removed any pretext for my uncle to start opining about controversial subjects, which he seems to do in order to goad me into an argument.
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