Seven decades after it was first released the Christmas classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a holiday year traditional many look forward to including myself.
Without wishing to spoil things for those haven’t yet watched, this much I can say. It tells the story of George Bailey who gives up his dreams of building skyscrapers and exploring the world to do good in his small town of Bedford Falls. The film starts on Christmas Eve. George is ‘discouraged’ and contemplating taking his own life after a $8000 loan is misplaced. His family face ruin. He faces prison. At that moment his guardian angel Clarence falls from the sky to show George what life would have been like for others if he had never been born. In its essence it is a film about love, family and redemption. It reminds us that we all make a difference even if we can’t always see it; that we can make a positive impact on others in all sort of ways big or small and that our lives are important and valuable. Imagine my total surprise therefore at an article in the paper today that a group of clever clog students at the University of Cambridge have launched software to help us detect and avoid films which include scenes of sexual harassment or worse in which ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ comes up as dangerous for its ‘frequent’ over the line scenes. The product ‘Unconsenting Media’ has its uses no doubt but I won’t be buying.
In life as in business I prefer to rely on my judgement to know what is good and what is not, what is being said and what is not. Of course in a fleeting moment I have self doubt. Had I lost all sense of what is appropriate in this day and age? Was I losing the ability to read subliminal messages? Am I just too fixed and very unPC. It doesn’t take me long to decide I will stick with the messages I see, ignore the noise and go with my gut. It’s a Wonderful Life is a wonderful film. See it, savour it and sing out loud. It will make you happy at Christmas. It will make your heart glow and your toes tingle at the sheer goodness of man in a way that no computer can ever feel or truly appreciate.