Tuesday, 25 December 2012

It's a Wodenful Life

I have never understood Downton Abbey, and I don't intend to start now. An enclosed, inward-looking world, where the males are all idiots and a grande dame rules the roost - is exactly what we are, so I decide what the Beaker People can watch in the "Room of Visions".

Mostly this year it's been It's A Wodenful Life - a neo-pagan retelling of the original story where, when George Bailey considers suicide, a Valkyrie called Klara turns up to tell him how much better life could have been without him.

Klara explains that, through his relentless social activism in preventing Mr Potter from taking over Brunanbergh Falls, George has been operating in a Constantinian paradigm - assuming that his own moral actions have a right to make a difference to civil society. Instead, Klara explains that if he had kicked off his shoes, hugged a tree and thought of the wisdom that can come through shamanic experiences, he would have had a much easier life. Sure, Mr Potter would have knocked down Brunanbergh Falls and replaced it with a giant shopping mall while the whole town went to sex and sin, but George could have had a lovely quiet time, in his cottage on the edge of the forest - and what would have been so wrong with the sex and sin, anyway?

George is invigorated by Klara's revelations. He gives up caring about the future of Brunanbergh Falls, lives in a tree, and announces to all who pass by that he is "The Wise Man of the Woods". He enjoys a peaceful, stress-free life until twelve years later, when his tree is flattened by Mr Potter's bulldozer, busy building the new Expressway.

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