Sunday, November 30, 2003

What I’m watching
The Family Man
From a review: 'Carp all you want about this derivative premise, with its marginal stereotypes and biased embrace of domestic bliss and dirty diapers. The simple fact is, The Family Man works like a charm.'

Amen. Like A Christmas Carol*, Brigadoon (which I also recommend) and It's a Wonderful Life, AFAIK it never mentions Christianity but is chock full of it implicitly in its message. One can question Hollywood's sincerity here but IMO this is a Catholic story.

(Even though I live cheek-by-jowl with blue-collar types who are nowhere near as nice.)

Blog correspondent John Boyden writes:

Re: your comments on Family Man I am reminded of a
preface I read in a book from Sheed and Ward. A
collection of short stories called 'Our Father's
House' published in the very early ’40s.

The preface is by a sister who taught literature in a
Catholic university, brilliant essay, she says
something in this regard of stories being Christian or
having Christian or Catholic principles. In effect,
she says, a rosary thrown into the story or a
character going off to Mass does not make the story
Catholic, in fact it's the message. Doesn't even have
to have a particularly religious theme anywhere in it.
(Like Flannery O'Connor, for example.) Remind me to get it
for you when I'm back home again.

The collection is quite interesting. Of the 20 or so
short stories, at least 4 of them have to do with
equality of races. That wouldn't be surprising for
authors in the late (or even early) ’60s; these
stories, however, are from the late ’30s! I found that
quite interesting. I've looked into it a bit more and
I was quite pleased to see the Church in the US (or,
at least, many of those in the Church) were strongly
against segregation and discrimination... thirty years
before the Civil Rights Movement took fire.

In a similar vein, I remember reading Black Like Me
in high school. In the oppressive days of the ’50s,
the only place a black person could cash a cheque was
in a Catholic institution like a bookstore. [End.]

*Which does mention God and church - and see the Albert Finney musical version and note what Bob Cratchit has on his mantelpiece.