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Episode 15 — Why Christmas Movies Are Political Propaganda


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#1 July Diaz

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 12:09 AM

Jack O'Brien rings in the holiday season with resident Scrooge and Executive Editor Jason Pargin to discuss 7 famous Christmas movies, from 'It's a Wonderful Life' to 'Die Hard.' They chart some of the faulty logic in their cheery resolutions and how the messages of charity and goodwill towards men are poorly conveyed, if at all, through these holiday classics.

#2 Shariq Torres

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:38 AM

It's great that we have the staff of Cracked to stick up for the poor bankers. The reason, the economy collapsed is because bankers were making risky loans and then selling that shit to other people and telling them it was solid gold. The rating agencies marked all of those risky loans as AAA, which enabled this to go on. So, let's not blame working-class people for wanting to own a home, because ultimately, they didn't sell their mortgage to a pension fund as a great investment and certainly didn't contact Moody's to advocate that their mortgage be rated higher.

#3 Shariq Torres

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 08:20 AM

You guys are batting a 1000% today. Just about everything you say about bullies is incorrect.

The schoolyard society is like the prison yard. Bullies pick on you because they perceive that you will not fight back. Fighting takes energy and no one wants to spend more energy than necessary. If you can pick on Person A without a fight or pick on Person B and definitely be in for a fight, you are going to choose Person A. Its too much of a hassle. Especially if Person B has friends that will jump in. Bullies never pick on popular kids that everyone in the class likes. Even if the bully can beat the hell out of the popular kid, its too much of a social backlash.

Also fights are risky. They could lose. If they lose, the mystique goes away. The beast has been slayed and now it is weird for them. The power a bully has is that people perceive him as being indestructible. Once that goes away, then people start to think that maybe "they" could beat the bully. Now everytime the bully wants to get a quick thrill in humiliating someone, it becomes a hassle. People talk back. They have zingers. Now the bully can beat the person who zinged up, but its a Pyrrhic victory; no one is going to become scared of him like before he got his ass beat, and the social power will be with the person he beat up. In fact, that person will rise in stature because they didn't put with the bully's bullshit.

I have never seen a situation where a person being bullied beats up the bully. But I have seen (and been) the person who fights a bully and lost. In both situations, the person who fought back, social status rose...and that is with losing the fight. Also, I think just getting through the fight and not being totally destroyed was key. Kids tend to exaggerate the outcomes of those things ("Don't mess with Mike, man. He'll KILL you"). So with that context, being alive after the fight with nothing but some cuts or bruises, resets their minds to thinking, "hmmm, so fighting Mike won't KILL you, then. I guess its not that bad if that dweeb could do it, then I know I could do better."

#4 Felipe Sobreiro

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:33 AM

There is a movie about the World War I Christmas truce, I saw it on the theaters here in Brazil years ago, it's a 2005 French production starring (among others) Diane Kruger and Daniel Bruhl, it was nominated for Best Foreign Movie at the Oscars that year:

Joyeux Noel

#5 GoofyMaleTwerk

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:24 PM

You're fun.

#6 Johnny Unusual

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:22 PM

Yeah, Joyeux Noel is one of my favourites. Definitely a great Christmas movie.
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#7 Kevin Irmiter

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:51 PM

View PostShariq Torres, on 16 December 2013 - 07:38 AM, said:

It's great that we have the staff of Cracked to stick up for the poor bankers. The reason, the economy collapsed is because bankers were making risky loans and then selling that shit to other people and telling them it was solid gold. The rating agencies marked all of those risky loans as AAA, which enabled this to go on. So, let's not blame working-class people for wanting to own a home, because ultimately, they didn't sell their mortgage to a pension fund as a great investment and certainly didn't contact Moody's to advocate that their mortgage be rated higher.


Were they really defending the bankers? All they're saying is, the financial crisis is based on the banks giving loans to people who couldn't pay the money back. The difference is in real life their motives were much more sinister. In the movies, Jimmy Stuart's character is just giving out risky loans because he's a nice guy and knows these are decent, hardworking folk who will make sure to pay it back. In the real-life situation, banks did this because anti-usury laws had become lenient enough that they could charge exorbitant rates, and while the real estate bubble was going on they could easily resell the homes at higher price. The reason this didn't work, of course, is that real estate couldn't keep skyrocketing forever, and the high interest rates they had gotten didn't even begin to make up for the huge losses they were taking on defaulted loans.

I don't think anyone is saying that working class people were at fault for wanting to own a home, either. The point is that usually banks are making decisions on loans based on whether or not the person can pay it back. It's their job to say no to people trying to buy a home they can't afford. So giving out loans to people who don't qualify may seem like a kind-hearted thing to do at the time, but in the long run it just creates problems for everybody. While the real-life version was much more cold and sinister than the situation in It's a Wonderful Life, in the end it is essentially the same practice.

And this kind of thinking is part of what allowed the banks to take things so far. "Let's make it easier for working-class Americans to own a home (by allowing banks to charge loan shark level rates)! Every American should be able to own their own house (even if they can't afford it)!" Banks were able to frame their terrible business practices as good-hearted acts that were helping the American people. THAT is the problem with movies like It's a Wonderful Life.