Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Secret Politics of Ferris Bueller

One of the things I like about Ferris Bueller’s day off is that I never knew it had a political message. Ever. I always interpreted the story as being really innocent, and don’t get me wrong… it is. However, in interviews with co-star Ben Stein, a Keynesian Republican (yes they exist), revealed that Ferris Bueller did have an underlying message. Now we may not agree with Stein on taxes, and general economic theory, however, the man has been rock solid on social and religious issues, so his commentaries add immense insight into the film’s message.

In a special feature included on the Blu Ray re-release of the 1986 classic, Stein revealed that the message of the film was, “yes there are people better than you, who are better off than you… but they can be a blessing to you.” Stein then points out that Ferris Bueller is a kid who has it all; loving successful parents, a great girlfriend, a bright future and the admiration of his peers. Yet, instead of selfishly living for himself, as he could, Ferris spends the entire movie trying to help his less fortunate friend, Cameron, forget his troubles for a day and just have a good time. In that way, this rich skiver becomes a blessing to the less fortunate around him, showing the world that the rich and successful are not bad, but in fact can do quite a lot of good. 

I had never thought of this film as being expressly political in its nature. In that regard this film succeeds where countless other films fail, because it conveys a conservative message without beating you over the head with it the way an Ayn Rand story would. Most of us would watch Ferris Bueller's day off and identify with either Ferris and Cameron and say, “you, that was me in high school!” None of us ever thought of this film in any other way, it was always just three kids trying to skip school, right? But now that one of the stars of the show has commented on it, I see it. Now that I see it, I can't un-see it, but unlike other films with a hidden agenda, I actually kind of like this one.  

In addition to being just loveable and mischievous, Ferris never actually hurts anyone. He isn't selfish, or cruel, just a fun loving guy who is concerned for his best friend. The Dean, played by Jeffrey Jones, only hurts himself because he becomes obsessed with this one kid who doesn’t take himself seriously, and in the end, Cameron ends up having a major personal awakening because his rich and privileged friend decided to reach out to him and pull him out of the funk he was in. It is in that way that the rich and privileged can bless others around them, by reaching out and pulling people up. In many cases, it is simply by creating jobs, in others it is by taking young talent under their wings and mentoring them toward greatness. Still in other cases, it’s just being there for a friend in need as Ferris was for Cameron.

In the end, now that I know about it, I really appreciate the film’s anti-social warfare undertone. There have been wealthy people in my life who have been a blessing to it, both by jobs, and friendship. I harbor no ill will toward the rich, except those who use their wealth to buy power that ends up in us losing liberty the way George Soros does. I like that this film shows us that being rich does not make you a bad person, in fact, it frees you up to be a blessing to others, and if you take nothing else from this film, we all should be a blessing to others.

This film is funny, fast paced and filled with overwhelming optimism in the face of Cameron's self doubt. It encourages people not to worry, and be happy, and enjoy life while we can. Because if it's overwhelming positivity I highly recommend you pick up this 80s classic, especially if you, like me, are desperate for a movie with a Conservative message, that doesn't beat you over the head with it the way other movies do. Ferris Bueller’s day off is available on Blu Ray at Target for $9.99

I give it a 9.0/10

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