…or why we should all be a little more #TeamScrooge!
I love Christmas. I am all for Christmas. I own a Christmas waistcoat. I am very proud of it. My friends are not. I don’t care.
I also love Christmas films. Everyone has their favourite Christmas film. My brother’s is The Grinch. My Dad loves the classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. My Mum really likes Miracle in 34th Street (the original one, not the other one which, I think we can all agree, was a mistake). Mine, however, is a film that will go down in the annals of history as a timeless classic. A Muppet’s Christmas Carol is, by far, the best, Christmas film of all time.
Not only do you get the wonderful story from Charles Dickens, you get it told to you by the ever aware Gonzo and questioning Rizzo. Also, Kermit the Frog puts in a star-turn as Bob Cratchit. Add in some great tunes (including the always-cut-out-of the-Channel-4-showings “The Love is Gone“) and you have a classic.
Being such a great film, I watch it every Christmas Eve to get me in the mood. But this year, I realised something. I’m wanting Scrooge to heed the spirit’s warnings about his impending eternal damnation, because he is a bad man that won’t even give his staff Christmas Day off. But, like so many problems people have, we never really think about the issues behind it. And when I thought more deeply about Scrooge’s Scroogieness, I realised that I’m on his side.
This may seem mad. Anyone who knows me I am the polar opposite of old Ebenezer, but sometimes you realise that people you disagree with have bee wronged and this is one of those cases. I mean, I’m not saying that Scooge’s views on “the surplus population” or workplace rights are justified, but we need to give the guy a break.
Firstly, and most obviously: his name’s Ebenezer! It’s a Hebrew name taken from the Torah. This would suggest that, first of all, Scrooge is Jewish (or at the very least of Jewish decent). Add into that the anti-Semitic tract throughout Dickens’s work, his being a banker all-but-confirms this.
Next, just look at his life. As a kid he was packed of to boarding school under a demanding tutor. While all the other boys went home for Christmas, Scrooge was forgotten about, and probably didn’t have the best time of it.
Given his parents seem to have been absent, it’s only natural that his schoolmaster would be his biggest influence. And what did that School-master talk about the most? What lessons did he try and teach Scrooge…that he was about to enter the world of “business”; and he was about to become a man of “business”. Can we really blame Scrooge for his priority being business and money and profit?
But most strongly, however, we must remember that two major things happened for Scrooge at Christmas. He met his future fiancée at a Christmas Party held by his employer (Fozzywig in the MCC – geddit?) and, a few years later, she broke up with him too. My gran died at Christmas time and my relatives have taken time to properly appreciate Christmas as a happy time again, so in Victorian England, where support networks were not as common, is it any wonder that, for him, Christmas was a time marked with rejection, solitude and bad-temperament
[The relationship with Fan isn’t in the Muppet movie, so I’ll leave that out for now].
And then, to top it all off, while on a spectral adventure, he sees his nephew (Fred) making fun of him in a game of (essentially) 20 questions. What’s often unwanted, but not a rat, a leech or a cockroach?It’s his uncle (who I can only assume had some hand in raising Fred, who may equally be aware of his uncle’s troubled past)! In short, Fred is a douche. He is the guy we should be trying to change. When are his spirits coming!?
So I’m not saying we should excuse Ebenezer’s callous ways and poor treatment of others – I’m just saying that perhaps we should garner a better understanding of his circumstances before we judge him too harshly. After all, isn’t the spirit of Christmas peace and goodwill to all men? #TeamScrooge
This is going up on Christmas Day, but I’m writing it on Christmas Eve, so there’s only One More Sleep ’til Christmas. Merry Christmas and God bless us; Every one.