life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, December 19, 2016

Marley was dead, dead as a doornail

Yesterday I watched the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol.

Charles Dickens' message of social justice, of kindness and compassion, has always resonated with me.

But this year especially...

 A man lacking in compassion and human feeling.  Who prides himself on his business acumen.  A miserly skinflint who has made himself wealthy on the backs of the poor. And the miraculous transformation that turns him into the picture of generosity.

It's a story that has been told, and revised and told again. Henry Winkler brought it to Depression-era America.  Bil Murray brought it to a 1980's TV network. How any sitcoms did versions of it?

It's a timeless story.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” 

“It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!” 

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” 

“There are some upon this earth of yours," returned the Spirit, "who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.” 

“Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich. In alms-house, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door, and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his prospects.” 
“the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” 

"This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."

1 comment:

bookworm said...

I'm listening to A Christmas Carol on Audible through the Amazon Echo (a "freebie" through January 3) and really enjoying it in a way that I never enjoyed either reading, or listening, long ago, to one of the film adaptations. Or, maybe it is because I am older, or maybe it's because of who was recently elected due to...well, never mind. Anyway, classics are classics because they are timeless.

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