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It’s A Wonderful Life… Comrade.

It is one of the best loved Christmas movies of all time, (it’s certainly one of my top five favourite films) but back in 1947 it was being accused of being Communist propaganda because the Banker character Potter, is portrayed as an evil money grubbing bottom line Capitalist. A bit far fetched for me I’m afraid.

Capitalists have never had a good Press have they? Can anyone name me a film or book where a Banker is the hero?

“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? no it’s Venture Capital Man and he has saved the day again! With his timely injection of cash the Dam was repaired, the Valley saved from flooding and all our children can sleep easy in their beds, well fed and prosperous for evermore. You’re my hero Venture Capital Man!”

It just doesn’t happen, does it?

Now don’t get me wrong, McCarthy was right ( if rather too paranoid and heavy handed), Hollywood was stuffed full of Luvvy Communists who were trying to push a Marxist agenda, but they were not hugely successful in getting the message across, because the essence of most films is the triumph of Good over Evil. The White hats win and the Black hats lose, it’s pretty crude at best, but hey that’s entertainment. What’s important is that the little people like us, the ones who provide the bums on seats, feel that we are on the winning side. However small and insignificant our lives that if we have friends and family who love us, and who we love back and help out when the going gets tough, then we are as important and consequential as Kings and Queens.

PS. You will notice on reading the article that Ayn Rand is mentioned as sitting on a committee that reported to the House Un-American Activities Commission. She gave evidence personally. Now quite what an upfront Libertarian is doing reporting to J Edgar Crossdresser and McCarthy is beyond my understanding of her Libertarianism. I wouldn’t have gone near Big Government witch trials myself. But then I have never read her and very likely never will. In fact the few details of her life and circle that I know of, I know for certain that she would never have been a friend of mine in real life. Do click on the link at the bottom of the Mail article, very illuminating.

So it only leaves me to say… for the day is almost upon us… A very Happy Christmas to all the Kitties that Kount, all our faithful Commenters, and yes to you, as yet unannounced, Lurkers in the Dark. Happy Christmas one and all!

28 Comments

  1. John Galt says:

    “Can anyone name me a film or book where a Banker is the hero?”

    The Shawshank Redemption

  2. peem birrell says:

    But…. James Stewart’s character is a banker too isn’t he?

  3. RAB says:

    Well Ok…But,

    Hanks the Banks is laundering money for the Warden, then he escapes, steals it and grasses the warden up. Teensy bit morally ambiguous don’t you think? It does appeal to all the little boy Robin Hood’s in all of us of course ;-)

  4. RAB says:

    Yes he was peem, but he was a NICE cuddly banker, a Savings and Loan banker, what we used to call Building Societies.

  5. Well, the man does escape from his lawful custodial sentence – anti-hero at best Mr. Galt.

  6. I’m the Aquarians person

  7. RAB says:

    You’re not Floral. Now if you’d like to leave an actual comment? ;-)

  8. Julie near Chicago says:

    First, in modern terminology Ayn Rand was a minarchist, not an anarchist, as a matter of firm rational conviction. (And of course it is we sophisticated moderns, and not Miss R., who’ve decided she was a “libertarian.” She most certainly was not “an upfront Libertarian,” nor even “libertarian”; famously, she excoriated the word, the movement, and the L.P. since they first came to her attention.)

    It is the business of minarchists to try to keep government minimal — not to boycott it altogether.

    You (i.e. “one”) might not approve of co-operation with The Gov, but if you had personally watched, say, Jeffrey Dahmer murder any number of victims, would that stop you from testifying at his trial?

    She was most certainly not in favor of various actions of the Federal Government, but the fact is that our government was (and still is, believe it or not) wildly less terroristic, not to say murderous, than the one the Russian people were stuck with, and had been since 1917.

    At the time Miss Rand testified before HUAC, she was convinced of the necessity of exposing the depth as well as the breadth of the Communist propaganda machine. She had lived under Lenin’s brutal Communist regime in the USSR from 1917 (when she was 12) until she was able to leave nine years later. She also had had many years of experience working in Hollywood and writing screenplays, and given her natural sensitivity to the dangers of Communism, had become highly knowledgeable on the methods by which Communist propaganda was being spread via the movies.

    It might be instructive to read her full testimony before HUAC, which centers around an analysis of the picture Song of Russia as a piece of propaganda, and which then moves to the issue of whether America, or Americans (not the same thing) were justified in pushing such propaganda as part of the war effort. (The transcript is interesting, informative, and neither long nor difficult.)

    . . .

    Second, Senator Joe McCarthy had nothing to do with HUAC, the House Un-American Affairs Committee. And the Hollywood hearings at which Miss Rand testified were held for nine days in 1947 (her testimony was given on October 14, 1947), whereas Sen. McCarthy rose to prominence as a dedicated anti-Communist in 1950.

  9. CountingCats says:

    I point out, the HUAC was set up by Democrats during the war, and used enthusiastically by them for many years.

  10. John Galt says:

    Apologies, it was picked up by the spam detector. Not sure why, but there was little text and three web URL’s one of which was to a page full of the letter “y” (possibly a test posting) and a “blogger content warning”.

    Subsequent posts were detected as dubious due to the domain address you were using “aquariansloveto….” Given all of the above, not surprising it was marked as potential spam.

    The spam detector has neither taste, not feelings. It is just a lifesaving piece of software.

    Feel free to try again, this is not censorship, we’re just trying to keep out thousands and thousands of posted comments for “Canada Goose Jackets” and the like, otherwise we would be inundated with spam.

  11. single acts of tyranny says:

    Give Atlas part 3 time and you may see Midas Mulligan. Not a central character I admit, but a hero of sorts.

  12. The hero is “Its A Wonderful Life” is also a banker.

    And – as Julie said….

    I was not aware that Senators sat on House committees. And Senator McCarthy was not interested in Hollywood anyway (he was interested in direct enemy agents-of-influence in the Federal government itself – and he was corret about this threat).

    It was actually the left who brought the threat of government (and other) violence into Hollywood .

    Walt Disney was forced to rehire Communist union activists he had fired – FORCED by government.

    The Communists also launched a vicious smear campaign against Walt Disney – claiming (amongst other lies) that he had attended meetings of the pro Nazi American German Bund in the 1930s.

    The leader of the Screen Actors Guild (a Democrat by the name of Ronald Reagan) had to carry a pistol in the late 1940s and started each day by checking under his car for bombs (the Communist faction in American union disputes had a habit of removing their rivals with car bombs – but this, like so much else, has been airbrushed out of history).

    As for J. Edgar Hoover – he did not need the violence of the 1930s and 1940s to tell him what the left were capable of.

    Hoover could remember the campaign of 1919 (by the Reds and their Black Flag “anarchist” fellow collectivists) – where many people had their faces blown off by letter bombs.

    Hoover’s first boss (A.G. of the time Palmer – a Democrat and a Progressive one) struck back with the “Palmer Raids” to round up Reds and deport them (at that time most of them were immigrants). The “Palmer Raids” are still condemned in the establishment (i.e. Communist and Fellow Traveller) history books, but the terrorism of the anti private property forces is glossed over.

    Do you want me to go RAB?

    The problem with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (and the Senate Committee) is that they barely scratched the surface of “Social Justice” (or whatever the Communists call themselves this week) infiltration of American life – mainly via the universities (which Pierce Butler, later the famous Supreme Court Justice, had fought as far back as the 1900s).

    After all, even the 1950s, the only academics who lost their jobs were those who supported Senator McCarthy.

    Today (under the name of “Critical Theory”) the Communists and Fellow Travellers dominate most of the universities – and the schools (the children are subjected to direct conditioning – under a very thin disguise).

    They also dominate entertainment (including Hollywood) – ever Fox entertainment contains many socialists in key roles (carefully using “the spike” to keep out conservative scripts from entertainment, as they have been trying to do since the 1930s). Federal regulations (such as the pro union laws for Hollywood – and the FCC regulations for television. preventing ordinary companies just directly having editorial control over shows they sponsor as they did in the 1950s) being their strength.

    It would seem that those moderate people (such as Ike) who thought that the Communists problem was past its peak in the 1950s (so the whole thing could be brushed under the carpet, and Joe McCarthy and his supporters be thrown to the wolves – after all “good families” were being upset by the disclosure of the activities of their darling boys who had gone from Harvard to “Public Service” and whose Communism was just a “youthful folly”) were mistaken.

    “It is not a really a problem anymore – let us forget about it” (and toss the hard drinking Irishman to the media wolves), has led to the present position.

    Including to the Communist sitting in the Oval Office.

    “But they can not actually DO much Paul”.

    Well let us see what they try to do with “Executive Orders” over the next few years.

  13. John Galt says:

    Not in the book he doesn’t, only in the film. The only argument is that he is not a hero in the traditional “essential” sense, but rather an existential one.

  14. wpapke says:

    What an absurd statement. “… I have never read her and very likely never will. In fact the few details of her life and circle that I know of, I know for certain that she would never have been a friend of mine in real life.” You’ve never read her yet you know all about her.

  15. wpapke says:

    Why would you bother with fact and history when opinion is so much more convenient?

  16. John Galt says:

    As someone who HAS read Ayn Rand I find her ideas and philosophy compelling, but her prose turgid. I can quite understand people who say they have never read her or who have given up Atlas Shrugged without finishing.

    Each to his own, you’ve got to admit, the John Galt Radio Address alone is 80 pages and while it includes a lot of potent ideas and things I agree with it is also self-indulgent.

    Ayn Rand was a complex and at times unsympathetic character and I can quite understand when people are put off by her.

  17. John Galt says:

    While I don’t necessarily share Paul’s passion, he’s pretty well read and has taught me much.

    Which particular facts and history do you dispute or is it just that Paul shares his opinion rather than being neutral?

    Counting Cats is not some order of monks you know…

  18. RAB says:

    Do you want me to go RAB?

    Heavens no Paul. You and Julie have chapter and verse on it. I just picked up on a badly fact checked Mail piece and posted in haste, so now I have the pleasure of repenting at leasure. ;-)

    Nothing absurd about it, wpapke. People have been banging on about Rand for years now on various blogs I frequent, so I know all her plotlines and main points and theories. But I am told by those who have read her, that her prose style leaves a lot to be desired, and I like my literature to sing not plod, so I will not plough through her stuff on those grounds alone.

    As to herself, I have read various accounts of what she was like in person, from friends and aquainances of hers, and frankly she doesn’t sound like the kind of person I’d like to hang out with. Ok now?

  19. Julie near Chicago says:

    Um — I took wpapke’s remark as sarcasm. ???

    As to your other remark, JG, if CCiZ were an order of monks then I would have to be a monkette, which I most certainly am not, although at times I’ve been known to make a monkey of myself.

  20. Julie near Chicago says:

    As to Miss R’s prose style: as with just about all authors, opinions differ. Laird and I quite enjoy her prose (see the recent Samizdata discussion), whereas we agree that J.J.’s Ulysses is pretty much unreadable, thus putting itself into the category of “Worthless Trash.”

  21. John Galt says:

    Apologies for the sexism Julie, can’t think of a gender neutral counterpart for monk or nun.

    Ook Ook! as the librarian would say

  22. Julie near Chicago says:

    JG! *Very severe expression* Never, EVER worry that I have been offended or otherwise discombobulated by some imagined “sexism.” I consider that particular “ism” as being among the set of Made-Up Offenses. I do not at all mind being referred to as a “girl.” (Don’t we girls still get together to yack about what “the boys”–our husbands–are doing tonight instead if playing Bingo at the Church Hall, which is where they said they were going, ha-ha-ha?) I find it courteous and gentlemanly when some male holds the door for me. I never felt particularly discriminated against because I lack, um. In fact, to quote Miss Nellie Forbush:

    “I enjoy being a girl!”

    I do, however, take considerable delight in wordplay. Hence monk, monkette, monkey. It was pure stream-of-consciousness. Hm. Maybe I should contemplate a career as the next James Joyce after all.

    :) :) ;)

  23. A film called “La Banquière” starring Romy Schneider. She is persecuted, imprisoned and finally murdered of course.

  24. Do not feed the troll.

    As for Ayn Rand – I read her novels on night shifts when I was younger (a lot younger).

    However, Rand’s essays (on various subjects) are actually much shorter, people who do not like great big (and Russian style) novels, could read the essays.

  25. John Galt says:

    “Do not feed the troll.”

    Is this in reference to yourself Paul? Are we trip-trapping across your bridge?

    :-)

  26. Mr Ed says:

    Not a logical deduction there, you have made an unwarranted extrapolation.

    Nowhere did he say that he knew all about her, yet you assert that he does know all about her, or says that he does. All he needs to know is enough for him to make a judgment. People who think like that are great fun to watch in court as witnesses, they fold like paper, trip themselves over and throw away perfectly good cases. Now back under your bridge, signed. My festive tip, if you are sued, consider settling.

    Billy Goat Gruff.

  27. No John – I was not referring to me, I was referring to the degenerate. The one who kept accusing of us only having opinions rather than facts and reason – an example of “projection”.

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