(Z has obtained a leaked copy of President G.W. Bushâ€™s speech to the first annual Republican book club meeting. As with the famous “Axis of Evil” address, this speech was ghostwritten by a Canadian.)
“The Return of Uncle Scrooge”
My fellow Republicans, tonight we savor our recent electoral gains and gleefully anticipate two full years of legislative triumph. Nevertheless, we must take care not to declare victory too quickly. The holidays are upon us, and I note with dismay that many of my fellow citizens inexplicably continue to care for their needy neighbours. We dare not rest until the spirit of Christmas has been utterly stamped out!
This project is less daunting than it appears. We shall not need to outlaw religion or criminalize the solstice. All that’s required is to apply the simple tenets of Free-Market Literary Criticism to Charles Dickensâ€™ satirical masterpiece, A Christmas Carol.
Letâ€™s review the Carolâ€™s ostensible plot: Socialist critics claim that a miserly old man, Ebenezer Scrooge, is transformed into a genial, openhearted philanthropist by some ghosts who show him the “folly” of his ways. The story ends with the dispensation of turkey and reconciliation all round.
What humbug! This interpretation is the collective fantasy of unionized literature professors throughout our great nation. Real critics know that a dyslexic typesetter mishandled Dickensâ€™ manuscript. To understand this classic the way Dickens meant it to be understood, we must start at the back of the book and work our way doggedly forward.
The Carol thus opens with Scrooge being magnanimously generous to his clerk, Bob Cratchit, even though the scoundrel is late for work. We watch with dismay as Scrooge proceeds to simply give things away. This is clearly not adult behavior. On Christmas morning, Scrooge says “Iâ€™m quite a baby. Never mind. Iâ€™d rather be a baby,” proving that this is a snapshot of schoolboy Scrooge before he apprehends the transcendental abyss that separates whatâ€™s “yours” from whatâ€™s “mine.”
Moving forward in the text, the first ghost that Scrooge meets is The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Most youngsters will suffer through many such Christmases. As our hero gets older, his adolescent lust is revealed in the following perverse passage: “She was very pretty: exceedingly pretty. With a dimpled, surprised-looking, capital face; a ripe little mouth, that seemed made to be kissedâ€”as no doubt it was . . .”
Next, The Ghost of Christmas Present introduces Scrooge to two starving children, Ignorance and Want. When Scrooge feels his heart begin to melt with pity, he cries out “Have they no refuge or resource?” The Ghost answers with his own questions: “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”
The seeds of wisdom have been planted, and Scrooge learns to fence himself off from the world. By the time The Ghost of Christmas Past appears, Scrooge finds the strength to reject his memories of illusory childhood happiness.
As the revised tale winds down, Scrooge uses the weapons of truth to cut off human contact and refrain from interference in the lives of others. When the members of a charitable organization come to beg money for the poor and lazy, Scrooge recalls past lessons: “Are there no prisons?” he asks with dignity.
At the so-called “beginning” of the book, Dickensâ€™ true intent is revealed by the singular majesty of his prose. When his nephew tries to wheedle some money out of him by wishing him a Merry Christmas, Scrooge is ready with his riposte. “If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with â€˜Merry Christmasâ€™ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that Winter was fashioned by Evolution expressly to weed out the frail, the elderly and the disabled. Our task will not be complete until Christmas has become what Dickens always intended it to beâ€”a glorious tribute to individual self-interest. Thank you.
Hank Wrightstorm a.k.a David Colterjohn is a freelance writer who lives in Vancouver. His email address is [email protected]