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Hans Fiene @HansFiene
, 12 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
And let me just grumble about point 1 here, the idea that A Christmas Story is a movie about consumerism:…
This is absolutely false. Let's set the context. In 1940, on the brink of WWII, Ralphie grows up in a work class neighborhood in The Region, that northwest corner of Indiana that we Hoosiers affectionately refer to as the armpit of Chicago.
Childhood is a time of immense joy, yes, but it's also a time of immense frustration. You constantly feel weak, out of place.
This is the whole point behind the Red Rider BB gun. It represents joy and hope. It represents happiness. It represents having control over a world that is often scary and confusing.
Contrast the BB gun with the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring. Ralphie desperately wants that as well. And how does it turn out? In miserable disappointment, which only highlights how much the gun is his last refuge of hope.
The same gun, it should be noted, that everyone dismisses him for wanting. His mother, his teacher, Santa Claus...
So, in the end, the Red Rider BB gun is essentially a McGuffin used to tell the story of Ralphie vs. the world, Ralphie vs. his family, and Ralphie vs. himself.
This is all very clear for people who grew up poor and people who grew up being exposed to the ugliness of life at a young age.
The only way to conclude that A Christmas Story is about commercialism is if you've grown up in a world where you've gotten everything you've ever wanted and never had to deal with a dismissive and callous universe.
In other words, if you think A Christmas Story sends the wrong message about materialism,
Ok, fine, a little more ranting. Finding joy amidst disappointment is the central theme for the movie's three characters:
1. Ralphie and the gun
2. The old man and the lamp
3. The mom and family dinner
Nothing goes the way any of them plan and yet, where do they all end up, together, surrounded by laughter, joy, and each other eating Chinese duck on Christmas Day. Yes, there's no Jesus. But as far as secular Christmas messages go, it's absolutely beautiful.
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