One of my favorite Christmas songs, introduced by one of my favorite singers…the remarkable story of “Do You Hear What I Hear?’, written during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, was last told in a 2018 Ethics Alarms post.
1. Because women and minorities must be the “heroes” of everything…Washington Post “gender” contributor Monica Hesse contributed a truly fatuous (but predictable) column yesterday explaining that Mary (Donna Reed) was the “real hero” of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” which had its 2021 updated ethics companion published here on Christmas Eve. Hesse’s one use to society is to demonstrate repeatedly that if the only tool one has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. All Hesse’s column shows is that she doesn’t understand the movie or its message despite claiming to love it. George is the hero of the story, but he doesn’t realize it—that’s the point. Next on the hero standings has to be Clarence the Angel, who does stop George from killing himself, as well as teach him that that he hasn’t been a failure, the misconception that leads George to the bridge. Mary certainly does her part, but reframing the film as one centering on her is like so many other such distortions during The Great Stupid: it requires woke biases to smother perspective, common sense and facts. Here’s Hesse’s whole case:
When, in one flashback, a market crash threatens to sink the Bailey Building & Loan, whose idea is it to donate George and Mary’s honeymoon funds to keep things afloat? Not George’s. Panicked customers are storming the lobby when Mary shows up with fistfuls of cash. When George wants to throw rocks at an abandoned house, it’s Mary who suggests they restore the house instead. The film’s final, triumphant scene is only made possible because while George’s genius plan to correct his uncle’s error involves jumping off a bridge for the life insurance policy, Mary is racing around town rustling up donations.
Well, A) the honeymoon money was the money George had saved, and Mary offered to give it up without consulting her new spouse: it wasn’t hers to give, as I noted in the IAWL post; B) calling Mary’s determination to renovate a derelict house “heroic” is quite a stretch, and Hesse’s representation of the scene is false. Mary never says she wants to renovate it; she says, “It’s full of romance, that old place. I’d like to live in it,” which sounds more like hyperbole than an expression of dedication to the cause of historic building restoration. Then she picks up a rock and breaks a window. C) Mary’s canvassing for cash would never have led to that grand finale if Clarence hadn’t stopped George from killing himself. Besides, most of Mary’s fundraising was unnecessary: all she needed to do was call up poor Sam Wainwright, whom she and George betrayed and mocked, and exploit his tenderness for Mary and inexplicable affection for George. Sam’s generosity made all the other donations superfluous.
2. And while we’re on the topic of asinine woke columns, MSNBC writer Hal Brown objects to the 60-year-old tradition of NORAD “tracking” Santa’s’ sleigh on Christmas Eve. “It’s about time that we decoupled St. Nick from the world’s most powerful military,” he says, arguing that American culture shouldn’t make the military seem benign. “The messier business of war that goes on in the background doesn’t jibe with the Christmas spirit,” he says. Of course, this is 100% irrelevant to any kids whose sense of Christmas magic is enhanced by the light-hearted routine. Better to have children programmed as anti-American protesters of our imperialistic ways at the earliest opportunity: that’s the MSNBC way. Then this prototypical MSNBC propagandist tries to make a connection between NORAD’s fake reindeer-tracking and “the ongoing sanitization of military operations for public consumption…with the Department of Defense serving as the sole adjudicator of the civilian deaths it has caused and the lone dispenser of accountability…[resulting] in an obscuration of the true toll that airstrikes take on the people living below.”
For good measure, he includes a gratuitous swipe at Donald Trump, who had no more to do with the NORAD Santa tradition than any other President since 1960. But the memo has obviously gone out: It is the duty of every woke journalist to take every opportunity, no matter how attenuated, to smear Donald Trump, because he must not be allowed to run for President again.
3. Hey! Here’s an idea! Someone should start a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting the individual rights of Americans! The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which once had a mission to defend constitutional rights, is collecting signatures for a petition urging the Biden administration to “cancel up to $50,000 in student debt per borrower by the end of 2021.” Reason points out, “The Constitution does not guarantee a right to a debt-free college education [and] continuing to collect payments on student loans violates no one’s civil liberties.” Writing on the libertarian publication’s website, Jacob Sullum observes, “This initiative is yet another sign that the venerable organization has strayed so far from its historic mission that it is becoming indistinguishable from myriad progressive advocacy groups.” He goes on,
The ACLU argues that “student debt is a racial justice issue,” because it is “a crushing burden that falls heaviest on Black communities, and especially onto Black women.” By this logic, any problem that disproportionately affects a particular racial group is likewise a racial justice issue and therefore, by the ACLU’s reckoning, a civil liberties issue….The ACLU’s promotion of a broad progressive agenda is not just a divisive distraction. It is an invitation to expanded government power that undermines individual freedom.
4. Trump Derangement NYT column of the year? Frank Bruni may have delivered it with his “My Gay Retort to All the Grimness,” in which he argues (after an interminable paean to Bruni”s gayness, or something, about which I could not care less) that Joe Biden is a successful President because he’s not Donald Trump, and that’s enough. “With his election in November 2020 and his inauguration in January 2021, our country got better,” Bruni writes, “and it got better because it replaced a president who deliberately and gleefully stirred hate with one who, whatever his shortcomings, has a discernible heart. It got better because it replaced a president whose regard for democracy — for anything, really — is determined by the treasures and pleasures that it confers on him with one who can see his place in a grander, nobler picture.”
This may set a new record for confirmation bias. The rest of the essay is made up of ad hominem attacks and the familiar Big Lies. Trump was a “threat to democracy,” though Bruni never can quite explain how. He was a “would-be autocrat,” though the President who replaced him has shown a far more willingness to abuse Presidential power. Trump was “immoral”—says a loyal supporter of the Clintons. Biden, unlike Trump, Bruni says, has a “discernible heart.” If you say so, Frank! The amazing thing is that Bruni isn’t the most Trump-Deranged columnist in the Times’s stable.