Mankind Was My Business

In keeping with the dd policy of being able to post any damn thing…and because I’m spending the night snuggled on the sofa with hot chocolate and Dickens…and don’t really care how horribly unsophisticated of me it might be, to post this passage entire…from the original Christmas Carol…

“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding

from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

“Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shriveled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any

grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie

of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

The bell struck twelve.


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    • jessical on December 25, 2007 at 06:53

    …it was the ghost of christmas present, who brings forth ignorance and want.  

    Happy Holidays!

  1. in America today.  

    I recently went to see a stage production of “A Christmas Carol”, a play that a local university stages every year.  It is one of my favorite stories of the season–it renews, at least for a little while the hope in me that even the most selfish and hard-hearted among us can change and have some compassion and empathy for their fellow human beings.

    Yet, looking at what our government and society has become it often seems to be going back to the Dickens times of “more prisons and workhouses” (or in modern times–Homelessness and expectations that people can survive on minimum or below minimum wage jobs).  The republicans seem to continue to strike a chord with people who want “small government”–the believers in the “every man for himself” philosophy.  

    I know that a lot of people in this country are kind hearted and have compassion, but IMHO, when the leaders of the country are Scrooges–leaving victims of a hurricane devastated city fend for themselves; callously sending people to die in a needless war; cutting funding for numerous vital social programs; refusing to fund healthcare for children, all while giving tax cuts to the rich–they foster a climate of selfishness, and callous disregard for those less fortunate.  

    I’m just trying to sort out my thoughts at this time of year that I’ve always tried to look on as a time for renewal of hope and a time for giving and caring about all who live on this planet.  I hope that very soon, somehow most of the modern day Scrooges become enlightened.  I hope they are visited by their very own “Ghosts” who can lead them out of their personal self-centered, selfish, dark-hearted ways.  

    • pfiore8 on December 25, 2007 at 18:52

    warmth and happiness and cheer i wish for you!!!

    • Valtin on December 27, 2007 at 04:37

    for all of us, and sooner rather than later.

    But, with hot chocolate and a treasured Victorian novel, and the passion of righteous indignation cradled within a turned page, still there might be a smidgen of hope, and such a thought spreads out from tip of toes to the warm splendor of a liquor-splashed belly.

    So Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to you, and for remembering Dickens, our only Christmas poet. (Re the latter, probably not true, but it sounds good and right to me tonight, which is not even Christmas night but a night further on.)

    How can we put up with this from generation to generation? How many years ago did Dickens write his story?

    Politics of Hope. Politics of the Possible.

    Bah. Humbug.

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