The benefit of watching the same holiday movies a hundred times is that you can start focusing on other aspects of the movie; you notice things that escape casual entertainment viewing. I’ve noticed, for example, in watching classic Christmas and Thanksgiving movies as I do every season, the differences between society then and society now.
Take, “A Christmas Story,” for example.
There is a scene in the beginning of the movie where Ralphie’s mom is calling him and his brother down for breakfast. I noted how different a boys room looked back then (and not too apart from my room in the 70’s come to think of it) without a computer, or an iPad or a TV or a PS3 or the multitude of electronic gadgetry and toys we would see today.
During a different part of the movie, where Ralphie has a daydream about using his trusty toy rifle with a compass and a stock, I wondered how a Christmas movie would be received today with a scene where a son protects his own life, his families, and all their property by killing some robbers with a gun.
In watching the scene where the family goes to a Christmas tree farm to buy a tree, I thought of the tax on Christmas trees that was just slipped into the Farm Bill and enacted into law. They tried to pass that tax in 2011 but it failed due to excessive public attention and distaste. Like any good politician does however, they let the storm blow over and simply resubmitted what they wanted later when nobody was paying attention and slipped it into a much larger bill. You can read my post on the last time they tried to do this here, but suffice to say, it’s just more Big Government partnering with corporations to rape you. Yes, it’s a small thing, but when you add it to the 1,498 other small things – it’s not small anymore. That is why we have to accept that nothing is a small thing any longer, and we have to fight everything. It clearly wasn’t a small thing for them since they tried repeatedly to pass it, never giving up, even against overwhelming popular dissent.
I also want to do a separate post on this observation, which I have noticed in many older movies like, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” There are many black children and black couples in these old movies and they are always well dressed and act like everyone else. They are simply part of the up and coming middle class of America. There are at least three well dressed, well-behaved black children in Ralphie’s 4th grade class in the movie. You can see them here around 1:52. I watch that scene in the movie and I think of Trayvon and Ferguson and the gangster limp I see black people emulate at the mall and I think…what the hell happened?
In another scene, Flicks friend said that Flick’s tongue would stick to a flag pole in the cold of winter because his dad had told him that he had seen a guy stick his tongue to a train rail once. I could not help but stare at the individual faces of the group that had assembled to see if his tongue would stick to the flag pole and think, “And here we have another group of boys, soon to be men and fathers, that will advise their kids in future decades not to stick their tongues to metal poles in the winter based on their direct experience in such matters, known as wisdom, and the inevitability of man’s predictable stupidity that those very sons, as yet unborn, will summarily ignore those fathers and stick their tongues to a metal pole in the winter in front of yet another group of witnesses – and the cycle will repeat for all time.” Man learns nothing from his past.
In the same scene, I couldn’t help but wonder if that event were to happen today, how many newspapers would carry the report of the inevitable felony arrest of the “bully” who “made” Flick stick his tongue to the pole. I wonder how much it would cost the school to defend itself in a parental class action lawsuit based on their failure to provide proper supervision of the playground. I wonder how many days of “grief counseling” the school would provide to the children who were part of and witnesses to this “tragedy.” I wonder what regulations the Government would pass at the State and Federal levels to add building codes around the proper erection of a flag pole including minimum distances of non-metallic fencing surrounding the pole to ensure this terrible tragedy never happens again. I wonder what minimum standard requirements would be added to the manufacturers of flag poles to ensure that the bottom 7 feet of every pole manufactured is made of nonconducting, frost resistant materials, and what new regulations the Government would require including that all schools install and maintain an FDA and DOE approved “Metal/Biological Trauma Response Kit” and that three instructors from every school are trained on its proper use and re-certified annually.
I noticed in Ralphie’s house how the stack from the stove in the kitchen was not even sealed and could bleed into the house. How the light bulb had no cover on it, just a bare open bulb, and how the sink was separate from the other appliances and against a side wall. I thought of how much their heating bill must be in such a cold part of Indiana with all those single-pane windows in that house.
In the scene where Ralphie’s dad haggles with the Christmas tree lot salesman, I thought of how beautiful the free market is. They haggle back and forth, with Ralphie’s dad threatening to give up and buy one of those new fancy fake trees. The salesman says, “I’ll throw in some rope and tie it to the car for ya.” “Deal,” they both say. Perfect free market. Two individuals voluntarily entering into an agreement that is mutually beneficial. No government intervention needed. No need to regulate the kind of rope holding the tree to the roof to make sure it’s “safe.” No need to issue a permit to carry a tree on your roof to “protect the public good.” Sounds silly, but only because it hasn’t happened yet – but there are plenty of laws already around that are just as silly and we accept them only because they have always been there, like this one.
There is a scene where Ralphie curses and his mother uses a phone to call one of his friends that supposedly taught him that bad word. I noticed she only dialed five numbers on the phone. It wasn’t that long ago, that I even remember from my childhood in a small town dialing only the last four numbers of my friend’s house and that was enough to ring his phone. By my late childhood, we had to dial the whole number.
I’m assuming Ralphie’s family was of Irish origin as there is an upturned horse shoe on the front door for good luck.
There is a scene where Ralphie runs home to get the mail. I thought of how most Americans are not upset enough about the NSA storing all of their emails, text messages and phone metadata. I thought about how the Republicans just voted to continue the NSA’s ability to do so (which is why I hate Republicans as much as Democrats – in our ONE PARTY SYSTEM). Perhaps, if Americans were told that the Government takes every letter that goes in the mail, like the mail Ralphie was pulling from his mailbox, and they photocopied it – every page, both sides, and copied everything that was included in the letter, then resealed the letter and sent it on to its destination – maybe Americans would find that incredibly totalitarian, intrusive and unconstitutional. There is no difference between opening, copying, and resealing snail mail than there is in copying electronic mail and texts, and yet Americans are too busy going to Starbucks to care. How do you think Americans in 1943 would have reacted if they knew every letter they dropped at the post office was being copied and stored by their Government? Why don’t Americans today care just as much about exactly the same thing? Since Republicans just agreed to continue copying every email and text, then they would have agreed to copy every hand-written letter from every American, “for our safety,” of course.
I noticed how nice all those middle class homes were on Ralphie’s street. They look a lot like homes I see in Pittsburgh when I work there. Beautiful craftsmanship and brickwork. Incredible detail on the woodworking all around the house. And yet, blocks and blocks of these homes in Pittsburgh are falling apart, falling down, boarded up or covered in trash as the neighborhoods around Pittsburgh continue their inevitable decline into the abyss of poverty and blight as the steel industry has been destroyed there, mostly by Government regulation and taxation. These once beautiful middle class areas are now war zones of the Government created welfare state.
In the movie, there is a scene where Ralphie’s dad is filling out a crossword puzzle with a possible $50,000 prize. Assuming the movie is taking place in the early 1940’s, that would make that prize worth about $477,000 in today’s money. To look at it another way, it would take $477,000 to buy a fully loaded 2015 Acura MDX (MSRP $49,000).
When we were kids we were taught that inflation like that is normal. We heard our grandparents talk about buying candy bars for a nickel and dime movies at the theater. We were taught that inflation is no more unusual than gravity or steam, as if inflation was much like a law of nature, that it was just something that happens naturally with money.
But it’s not. Inflation is man-made and since man only makes things that benefit man, the real question is, why did man invent inflation, what is the benefit of inflation and who exactly receives that benefit? Well…inflation only existed after men, specifically the men of the banking industry, created The Federal Reserve in 1913 which has since been instrumental in destroying our purchasing power, the value of our incomes, and forming massive asset bubbles and their painful recession results. The Fed is a collective of private bankers, mostly from Goldman Sachs, who are also the heads of most of the other key central banks of the world, and for over 100 years they have been skimming off the top of every dollar every citizen earns, by calling that skim by the word inflation and then telling us inflation is a good thing, and it is…for them, but not for you.
Inflation allows the bankers to create money backed by nothing (like gold) so that politicians of all the major governments can use that money to buy votes, thus retaining their office, by providing goods and services to their voters for “free,” paid for with the printed money from The Federal Reserve. Since the money is not backed by anything, each dollar the bankers print takes a little purchasing power away from every dollar already in circulation (your wallet and your paycheck) which makes everything you buy a little more expensive every day that goes by. Inflation is, in short, a mechanism of wealth redistribution that enriches the bankers of the world and the politicians that protect them by stealing the value of your money from you every day. You can see a helpful video on this fact here.
Governments don’t run this world. Politicians don’t run this world. The People don’t run this world. Bankers run this world. “Let us control the money of a country and we care not who makes its laws.” Without money, politicians have no power. The banks print the money – so, who has the power?
The same law that created The Federal Reserve created the federal income tax, which the bankers required to ensure that the “loans” they provide the politicians to buy the free stuff are paid back by the people that the politicians spent that money on.
In other words, you are a slave on an economic plantation where the bankers loan money to the politicians to be spent on people in exchange for their vote to keep them in office, and is paid back by force every April 15 but never really enough to cover all the debt that was taken out, hence our $17 trillion national debt, and the bankers know as long as we have that national debt, we can’t leave the plantation.You have a house on land you can never own rented annually from the Government, and a car you can’t drive without Government’s permission and a payment of usage fees, but you drive that car to work every day so you can send half your earnings to the Government to pay off the loans your politicians took out under your name that you and your children can never pay off that was spent largely on other people. If you accept this fact, then you have taken the red pill, and I welcome you to the real world.
The average income in 1943 was $2,000 a year. In today’s money that is $26,588. In the movie, only Ralphie’s dad works – his mom stays home and takes care of Ralphie and his brother. I noticed watching the movie that they have at least a two bedroom home that is well furnished with one bath, an oven, a refrigerator, a washing machine, one car and a radio (equivalent to a modern TV) all on a reasonable sized piece of suburban property in a quiet neighborhood. There is a scene where his mother uses a hallway phone, which means they had more than one phone. There were plenty of presents opened on Christmas meaning the family also had a fair amount of disposable income. There is a scene where Ralphie’s kid brother is wasting food at the dinner table by playing with it to which his mom says, “There are starving people in China that would eat that” – so clearly the family is not hurting for food. So…a nice house, in a quiet neighborhood, walking distance to a school, with all of the modern comforts available at that time in America, on the single income of a $26,588 annual salary in today’s dollars. Could YOU have all of that on that salary? On ONE income? Not a chance in hell. NOW do you see what the central banks of the world and their political lapdogs have done to us? They have eviscerated our purchasing power by destroying our incomes to the point that it takes two salaries of more than $26,000 to achieve the same standard of living that Americans had just 70 years ago.
Another way to look at this is to normalize Ralphie’s dad’s income by using the historical value of gold. In 1943 gold was $33.85 an ounce. That means Ralphie’s dad’s annual income was worth 59.08 ounces of gold. The spot price of gold today is $1,195.85 an ounce, which translates into an equivalent annual salary today of $70,650.81. The median per capita income in Indiana today is $24,635 (can’t use household income because most households today have both husband and wife working, unlike Ralphie’s parents). That means the average worker in Indiana has lost 66% of their incomes purchasing power since 1943 due to The Federal Reserve of the United States and the United States Government.
It is from this phenomenal loss of purchasing power that we went from a middle class family living comfortably on one income that had no debt except a mortgage, and could put its children through college and save for retirement, to a middle class family that requires two incomes (twice as much money), has over $15,000 in credit card debt beyond their mortgage (and not including car and student loan debt) and has to either take out more debt or let their kids take out debt to get through college while only 4 out of 10 people have anything saved for retirement and of those that did save, most have less than $25,000. This is the direct result of your Government and The Federal Reserve. This is a fact. We need to own it.
You know, as I get older, Christmas movies just aren’t the same. With age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes reality and with reality comes frustration and hope. Which one will win is unknown.