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Guilt, Finger Pointing and Feigned Outrage – The Stuff of Non-Issues

Ralphie

I’ll just admit it up front, I like the movie A Christmas Story. My adult siblings and their families like it too, as do my two college-aged children, even my husband likes it. When my kids were little, I made their father pull the car over at an isolated intersection between our home and a neighboring community. I hopped out, ran to the center of the crossroads and retrieved an unscathed Red Ryder BB gun. Despite it being a lower model devoid of “a thing that tells time” it was an amazing find, practically heaven-sent. A number of years ago when A Christmas Story – The Musical hit the stage, my brothers, their wives and I were there. Our own tree features a leg lamp in a shipping crate ornament. Ralphie Parker and his vivid imagination have become part of our own family traditions. It wasn’t until this morning when I read a tweet that explained that it was a racist white people movie full of “white privilege” that I took pause. One person’s Twitter rant certainly isn’t enough to sway my thinking, it was the overly apologetic people who removed images of Ralphie from their Facebook profiles and commented with posts indicating their well-tuned propensity to feel guilty and beat themselves up for their lack of sensitivity had even missed the very clear and overt racism. The message was that Ralphie could have that dream because he is white and won’t get shot by police or others for having a BB gun. It left me shaking my head in sadness that people are so easily manipulated and so anxious to impose guilt upon themselves and point fingers at others for not grasping that they are the problem in the world. Really? I’m waiting for her next essay on how Anne Frank was shallow for covering her walls with pictures of movie stars when she could have been doing something more worthwhile.

“Liberal essayist Parker Molloy” has garnered nearly as much attention as a recent photograph of a greased ass, displaying her bare butt. Parker Molloy posting about Ralphie Parker, perhaps her parents loved the movie that came out before she was born and she hates Ralphie because she was named after him. It seems like a stretch to look at a thirty year old fictional movie that intends to depict childhood some seventy years ago and apply issues in terms of today to generate more unproductive guilt. Can we not simply be allowed to enjoy a movie without conjuring up the need to move Ralphie to foster care after the abusive soap in the mouth scene or being urged to find compassion for the bully Scut Farcus and wonder why we didn’t see more of his home life to try to determine what the root of his bullying was caused by?

Clearly Ralphie’s mind wandered, he fantasized, got distracted, daydreamed and likely would be medicated today but I really don’t think that the belching furnace, old car with bad tires and clear concern over monetary issues (hide the broken glasses) show much demonstration of “privilege” at all.  The content of this film is not that which should provoke guilt among the masses. If I’m not going to let North Korea dictate what movies I watch, I am certainly not going to permit Parker Molloy to define me based on my desire to watch a family classic.

I acknowledge her tweet exists but refuse to link it to my rebuttal for fear of encouraging more people to embrace the madness. My hope for 2015 is that people lighten up. That all people can relax more and not look for trouble where none exists. Perhaps everyone can use a little more humor and not feel challenged and offended by people simply because they don’t look-alike, speak differently or choose different occupations. I wish that people would stop thinking that pointing their fingers at others (or at themselves) is somehow beneficial. There are a lot of real issues and situations, things in the world that are upsetting, wrong and truly require attention. Enough of those sorts of things that we don’t need to create issues where they actually do not exist. Sadly I think people address these non-issues because they are too afraid to tackle the real problems that exist. This movie reflected the optimism of youth during tough times and was produced while we were still in the midst of the Cold War. Deep mistrust of others in countries far away. It later seemed somewhat naive. Perhaps the era we are currently experiencing in our own country will seem that way someday. Now that I’ve got that off of my chest I’m contacting a city council in Indiana, those sonsabitches Bumpuses have too many dogs and I thought that one looked like it might have a little pit bull in it. Stay vigilant and Happy Holidays!

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