Andrea and I saw the latest remake of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol over the weekend with our little brother (through BBBS), and I have to say it was really well done. As we were leaving the theater however, it occurred to me that the Oklahoma public school system's language arts department really stinks.
I say that because if you are like me then you were never required to read anything by Charles Dickens so your only impression of A Christmas Carol has come through the filter of cinema. Walt Disney in particular.
It has been at least 20 years since the first time I saw the film so I can't really remember my thoughts, but I think my main takeaway was "Scrooge McDuck sure was mean to Mickey Mouse" (what can I say I liked Mickey) and unfortunately I haven't really thought much about it since.
Thankfully, Dr. Beck over at Experimental Theology took the time recently to explore the deeper meaning of Dickens' classic. Something that is perhaps best exemplified early in the film when Scrooge is visited by Jacob Marley's ghost:
Scrooge: But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?'
Marley: '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...'
Scrooge: But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
Marley: 'Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. 'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.'
I should also note that this post is meant primarily to be a personal warning since the inspiration came towards the beginning of the film when you see Scrooge hunched over his desk balancing what appears to be a General Ledger. Upon seeing this, Andrea jokingly leaned over and said, "look familiar?"