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 Post subject: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 4:26 am 
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Critiques of the novella:

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G.K. Chesterton remains the greatest reader of Dickens, and most of the time he defends the Victorian author against the Edwardians for whom Dickens had become passé and unfashionable. But Chesterton suggests that A Christmas Carol proves how separated from the deep religious, artistic, and intellectual traditions of Europe were Victorian England in general and Dickens in particular. Taking up the event the world has wrapped in the largest amount of cultural mythology, Dickens had to invent his own Christmas mythology. He didn't use shepherds and Wise Men and managers and donkeys and blazing stars. He didn't use Christian symbols and sacramental references. He used only his own high spirits.

Which isn't enough. As sentimental art, A Christmas Carol may well be the greatest creation the West has ever produced. But the sentiment and spirit of Christmas are only a spume, a delightful iridescent spray, that plays above the theological reality of the claim that, on Christmas, God entered history
https://freebeacon.com/culture/bah-humbug/
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Quote:
foremost, a rattling good story. But it is also a secular story, one that offers skeptics a nonreligious route to spiritual renewal. To be sure, the spooky tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas-eve visitation by a tag team of spirits from the great beyond appears at first blush to be a thoroughly Christian parable of the power of grace to melt the hearts of men. It turns out, though, that the “religion” to which Scrooge is converted is what would later be dubbed the “social gospel,” a strain of liberal Protestantism whose premise was that there would be no Second Coming until the faithful started taking proper care of the poor. In case you hadn’t noticed, no one in “A Christmas Carol,” not even the reformed Scrooge, is actually shown going to church, just as none of the holiday festivities described in the book has any explicitly religious content. To the extent that the birth of Christ figures at all in Dickens’ portrayal of Christmas in London, it is as mere pious window-dressing.

That’s where Hollywood comes in... How, then, to work Christmas into their movies without raising hackles? They split the difference by portraying Christmas in a sincere but secular manner, and their precedent for doing so was “A Christmas Carol,” in which Scrooge is redeemed not through the operation of divine grace but by his embrace of the social gospel...


“A Christmas Carol” served as the template for many future commercial films about Christmas, in which the central character, a dry, unhappy soul, is delivered from his or her misery by a mysterious force known as the Spirit of Christmas. This force, usually conjured up by the performance of a charitable act, is capable of making nasty people nice (“Bachelor Mother,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner”) and causing pretty young things to fall in love (”Christmas in Connecticut,” “The Shop Around the Corner”). On occasion the template was jettisoned, as in “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944), where Christmas is presented not as a font of individual redemption but as part of the yearly calendar of middle-class domestic life....

... Such films taught audiences how to keep Christmas in an anodyne manner that was designed not to give offense. That was the American way. As Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed during his 1952 presidential campaign, “Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” Neither did golden-age Hollywood at Christmastime, and neither do most Americans today. Even now, Hollywood continues to make this kind of Christmas movie.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-mo ... 1545321446


Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:25 am 
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My first thought is that I really don't care, I'm reminded more of then-SSPX Bishop Williamson stating that The Sound of Music is "soul-rotting slush" than anything else.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:18 am 
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Jack3,

I agree that "A Christmas Carol" is sweet, but not very deep at all.

In public elementary school we studied that story.


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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:32 pm 
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Nobody is depicted going to church, if that means that Dickens actually describes anyone inside a church during a service. But that Scrooge goes to church on Christmas morning is explicitly stated. And it is also stated that Bob and Tiny Tim go to church on Christmas, in one of the more touching little scenes in the book:

Quote:
“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity, and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.
“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this, and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty.


I would not hold up Dickens as a great Christian, and I would not claim that A Christmas Carol's main point is to preach the Gospel in any particular way. But the first quotation in the OP is wrong to say that Chesterton says Dickens in particular is separated from the Christian traditions of Europe, insofar as that expression implies that Dickens exemplified the separation more than his Victorian peers. Chesterton said no such thing--the relevant passage is in chapter 2 of The Victorian Age in Literature. It's also wrong to pose all this as some kind of objection to Dickens. Dickens is not fundamentally a religious writer. He is always interested, however, in cultural criticism, and his treatment of Tiny Tim et al fits perfectly with his overall assessment precisely of the kind of false Christianity (CS Lewis, I think it was, called it muscular Christianity) of industrial colonial Britain. Characters like Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House, with her "telescopic philanthropy," are great examples of this. I think we can at least agree--anyway, Chesterton would agree!--that a nation actually trying to live out the Gospel wouldn't be a nation that wishes to send Tiny Tim to the workhouse.

IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:41 pm 
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I agree with... great. Christmas is ruined.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:56 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I agree with... great. Christmas is ruined.

It doesn't have to be, padre. Just chalk it up as a sacrificial gift. :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:55 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
Nobody is depicted going to church, if that means that Dickens actually describes anyone inside a church during a service. But that Scrooge goes to church on Christmas morning is explicitly stated. And it is also stated that Bob and Tiny Tim go to church on Christmas, in one of the more touching little scenes in the book:

Quote:
“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity, and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.
“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this, and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty.


I would not hold up Dickens as a great Christian, and I would not claim that A Christmas Carol's main point is to preach the Gospel in any particular way. But the first quotation in the OP is wrong to say that Chesterton says Dickens in particular is separated from the Christian traditions of Europe, insofar as that expression implies that Dickens exemplified the separation more than his Victorian peers. Chesterton said no such thing--the relevant passage is in chapter 2 of The Victorian Age in Literature. It's also wrong to pose all this as some kind of objection to Dickens. Dickens is not fundamentally a religious writer. He is always interested, however, in cultural criticism, and his treatment of Tiny Tim et al fits perfectly with his overall assessment precisely of the kind of false Christianity (CS Lewis, I think it was, called it muscular Christianity) of industrial colonial Britain. Characters like Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House, with her "telescopic philanthropy," are great examples of this. I think we can at least agree--anyway, Chesterton would agree!--that a nation actually trying to live out the Gospel wouldn't be a nation that wishes to send Tiny Tim to the workhouse.

IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.


I like the way you operate. Something like VAL, chap. II, pp. 80-82 (or somewhere around there), Home University Library of Modern Knowledge (a multi, multi, multi (etc) reprint which is the only copy I own.

Muscular Christianity as a term far predates C.S. Lewis. Who might have used the phrase, but I don't know. I've seen it used to characterize him.

Sinclair Lewis, OTOH, did use the phrase. I know because I looked it up.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:49 pm 
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There are in fact several fairly overt references to Christianity in 'A Christmas Carol', the first comes in the very first scene, where Scrooge's nephew defends Christmas by saying 'apart from the religious observance, assuming it is possible to speak of Christmas apart from that..'

Then later, the Cratchet's come back from church and Tiny Tim says that he wanted to seat in the front pew so that 'those present might be reminded of the one who made the lame walk'

Dickens, in fact, was a Christian, although a fairly unconventional, we might even say heretical one, he even wrote a book about his religious belief called 'The Life of Our Lord'

But let's be clear about exactly what 'A Christmas Carol' is, for centuries. there was in England a tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas day. This book is a part of that custom, which is why Scrooge is visited by ghosts, supernatural stories of this type are not typical of Dicken's work, which normally emphasizes realism. And it isn't the only Christmas ghost story Dickens wrote either, in fact, he wrote 5, which are often collected together into one volume, although A Christmas Carol has always been the most popular

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:56 pm 
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Which is worse: agreeing with gherkin or liking the way gherkin operates?

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:07 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.

I haven't been around long enough to know where agreeing with Gherkin puts me. It must be some kind of inside joke I missed while I was wandering in the desert.

In any case, I'm grateful that he cleared up this idiotic nonsense. And Peregrinator for sealing the deal.

God bless us, everyone!

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:09 pm 
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Norwegianblue wrote:
Which is worse: agreeing with gherkin or liking the way gherkin operates?

Yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:10 pm 
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Riverboat wrote:
gherkin wrote:
IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.

I haven't been around long enough to know where agreeing with Gherkin puts me. It must be some kind of inside joke I missed while I was wandering in the desert.

In any case, I'm grateful that he cleared up this idiotic nonsense. And Peregrinator for sealing the deal.

God bless us, everyone!

Agreeing with gherkin (note the capitalization) has been deemed offensive for years.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:44 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Riverboat wrote:
gherkin wrote:
IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.

I haven't been around long enough to know where agreeing with Gherkin puts me. It must be some kind of inside joke I missed while I was wandering in the desert.

In any case, I'm grateful that he cleared up this idiotic nonsense. And Peregrinator for sealing the deal.

God bless us, everyone!

Agreeing with gherkin (note the capitalization) has been deemed offensive for years.


And yet, I did so in this thread. I think. Partially.

I wasn't expecting much for Christmas, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:21 pm 
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Riverboat wrote:
gherkin wrote:
IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.

I haven't been around long enough to know where agreeing with Gherkin puts me. It must be some kind of inside joke I missed while I was wandering in the desert.

In any case, I'm grateful that he cleared up this idiotic nonsense. And Peregrinator for sealing the deal.

God bless us, everyone!

Some people :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: are just jealous of my invincibility!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:18 am 
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GKC wrote:
...I wasn't expecting much for Christmas, anyway.

::): ::): ::):

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:40 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Riverboat wrote:
gherkin wrote:
IOW, bah humbug to the critics you quote.

I haven't been around long enough to know where agreeing with Gherkin puts me. It must be some kind of inside joke I missed while I was wandering in the desert.

In any case, I'm grateful that he cleared up this idiotic nonsense. And Peregrinator for sealing the deal.

God bless us, everyone!

Agreeing with gherkin (note the capitalization, OR LACK THEREOF) has been deemed offensive for years.

FTFY :wave

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:48 pm 
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<<<< not a fan of Dickens.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:59 pm 
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kage_ar wrote:
<<<< not a fan of Dickens.



I suspect a reply to this may appear.

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:04 pm 
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kage_ar wrote:
<<<< disagrees with gherkin.

:cloud9:

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 Post subject: Re: Is "A Christmas Carol" a humbug?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:14 pm 
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kage_ar wrote:
<<<< not a fan of Dickens.

:swoon

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