Military-Industrial Christmas

I love the movie White Christmas

In fact, I’m going to pause here and quickly, unsolicited, give you my top five Christmas movies of all time:

  1. Lady in the Lake
  2. Christmas in Connecticut
  3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  4. White Christmas
  5. The Bishop’s Wife

—but there are things about it that drive me crazy. Me being myself, that means that I drive whoever I’m watching the movie with a little bit crazy, too. 😉 For those of you who haven’t seen it, there are two main plots: one involves getting Bing Crosby married off, and the other involves helping a retired general. I have no beef with plot number one, but the second one gets under my skin a bit. Bing sings about how sad it is that there are so many unemployed generals, and it’s a bit uncomfortable if you consider that these retired generals are out of work because the country is at peace. Yes, sometimes when we’re not at war we need fewer generals on active duty—that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. The general in question is clearly old enough to be respectably retired, and he is getting a pension: What’s the problem?

Well, the problem is that he has sunk his savings and pension both into the purchase of a hotel. Rich people’s problems much? The fact that he had enough money to buy a hotel so that he could spend his retirement owning it makes him less than pitiable in my worldview, although of course it is too bad that it’s been a slow season for tourism in the film. But for heaven’s sake! I don’t know why this bothers me more than watching funny-looking Bing Crosby woo and win a lady young enough to be his daughter, but it does. Perhaps the fact that the solution to the general’s self-esteem problem is to have all of the men who used to be under his command leave their families on Christmas Eve so that they can come and tell him that they love him? Every time we watch the movie, I tell the Mister that if he left on Christmas Eve for a reason like that (I think it goes more like “if you pulled a stunt like that”) that I’d be visiting my parents when he got back, and that I’d take a lot of luggage. Seriously, though, how is that the happy ending? I don’t wish General Waverly ill (and of course he is fictional, but it’s not as though that’s ever stopped me holding a grudge), but the seriousness with which his concerns are treated seems both silly and kind of insulting to those with real troubles.

There was one other thing I wanted to say. . . . Oh yeah. Happy Holidays to all of you! and I hope you get to spend time with your families, be they birth, adoptive, or families of choice. God bless you and keep you.