IN MY OPINION : Sign up here for the Scrooge Fan Club
By Anthony Bazzo
One of my traditions every Christmas is returning from Midnight Mass and turning on the TV to watch Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” starring Alastair Sim.
To my mind, it’s the best interpretation of the classic story, closely followed by the George C. Scott version. The uplifting ending, where the announcer intones, “nobody knew better than Ebeneezer Scrooge how to keep Christmas,” would carry me the rest of the day.
It took a number of years for me to realize it was propaganda.
Evil and successful Scrooge is the villain, and poor Bob Cratchit, overworked and underpaid, is the hero. The reform of Scrooge is not complete until he becomes a socialist and spreads his wealth. Only then does he, too, become a hero. My Lord, was I a sucker.
In revisiting the story, consider that our villain Scrooge makes a success of himself in spite of odds a more generous God would allow. He is born, his mother dies in childbirth, his father blames him, and banishes him to private school, where he is left alone every Christmas.
Does he wallow in victimhood? No! He turns to books to better educate himself. One day, as he reaches his teen years, his sister (the only one who loved him for himself) tells Scrooge he can come home, filling him with hope and promise of a family.
Pity poor Ebenezer
But noooo, it is not to be. His father sells him into servitude. There, Scrooge meets his one true friend, Jacob Marley, and his one true love, the boss’s daughter. Life starts looking good, and Scrooge finds success.
Not so fast! Next, his fiancee dumps him, saying she would rather be poor. Then, his sister dies after giving birth to Scrooge’s nephew. And Marley, his only friend, passes away, leaving nobody left to love him.
When we encounter Scrooge’s clerk Bob Cratchit, he has been toiling at his underpaid job for seven or more years. (Have you ever met anybody who thought he was underworked and overpaid?)
Bobby C. is our hero, but why? In all those years, he could not find a better paying job to support his growing brood? Somehow, we are to believe, this is Scrooge’s fault, as if the well being of someone else’s children is this unrelated man’s responsibility.
Perhaps Cratchit is a lousy clerk and that is the best job he could manage.
To tug even harder at our heartstrings, Dickens brings on crippled youngster Tiny Tim. His future, if he is lucky enough to have one, rests solely in the hands of Scrooge.
Oh, what irony. In the entire town where the Cratchits live, where every person, save one, is blessed by the spirit of charity, only the miser Scrooge can save Tiny Tim?
Yet, as awful a person as Scrooge is portrayed, he has that loyal friend, Jacob Marley, who returns from the dead to save him from a life of misery.
Why is Cratchit a hero, and why is his family Scrooge’s responsibility? Where is the principle of personal responsibility?
Scrooge not only takes responsibility, but overcomes misfortune to succeed, yet is demonized.
Cratchit avoids responsibility, because he does nothing to improve his lot by pursuing a better job, and is lionized.
Am I missing something here? Or is everybody else?
Yes, I continue to watch “A Christmas Carol” each holiday season, but no longer am I fooled by its socialist propaganda.
This is my opinion, you may beg to differ.
P.S. Have a Merry Christmas. That is also my opinion.