Would Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' stand up to the critics in today's cynical age? Our bestselling dystopian novels and movies lack the message of redemption so central to Dickens' novella – and the heart of Christmas. But Tiny Tim's message of blessing cuts through the darkness in any age.
“Bah humbug.” The sentiment of old Ebenezer is rather in vogue these days.
It’s fashionable to deplore the vulgarly overdone Christmas lawn decorations and tacky plastic Santas whilst complaining about how early the seasonal music is being played in the shops. Blasting the shoppers and their busy sidewalks all dressed in holiday style is virtually de rigueur. There may be room for a cultural critique of overdone Christmas commercialism, but that cynicism isn’t reserved just for over-enthusiastic cookie bakers or repetitive Christmas music. It’s blasted at the heart of the holiday, too.
In those temperatures, it sounds almost annoyingly Pollyannaish to say something like, “I just love Christmas and I’m so glad it’s here again!” If you talk like that, you’ll make people angry. But if you talk like Ebenezer, you’ll be just fine. You’ll find a sympathetic ear as you assail the crowds and good cheer alike – and the annoying reindeer with their silly reindeer games.
You would think that nobody ever read Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol,” so prevalent is the old Scrooge mentality. It makes me think that perhaps, unbeknownst to me and my fellow Christmas enthusiasts, that there was an alternative ending in a second manuscript discovered in a dusty old drawer in one of Mr. Dickens’ bureaus. This alternative ending is considerably more bleak and existentialist, and was posthumously published not so long ago, since gaining traction in the popular psyche, thereby reawakening the ghost of Ebenezer’s past – the return of “Bah humbug.” Imagine how this alternative ending might have gone, and how popular it would be now, with our dark, dystopian novels and vampire fiction.
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