Me and Mrs G have just finished watching one of the classic Christmas standards, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, and it got me thinking about some of the glaring issues the story raises. Other than the glaring problems with anthropomorphic animals and Michael Caine singing, what becomes of Scrooge?
I should admit that the version we watched was found on my hard drive and had hard coded Swedish subtitles so the opening number was a lot more fun to sing.
My real issue is not with the furry puppets but with the original source material. Thanks to some spirited intervention Ebenezer is a reformed character and turns into Mr Christmas (awesome wrestler name – finisher the Christmas Angel headlock). I know that he no longer has to worry about children chortling with glee at his demise and he has all the turkey he can eat but he built a successful business based on his *ahem* Scrooge-like tendencies and now he has decided to turn his life around.
There is a huge problem with Scrooge deciding that rather than being miserly he was going to shower all around him with garlands and poultry. He was going to live every day like it was Christmas day. He should have at least waited a few holiday seasons before jumping to this new life goal.
It’s like deciding that you’re going to start a life full of exercise tomorrow so throw out the couch and spend a fortune on equipment all in one day. Within a week you’ll have given up and find you have nowhere to sit. This is what Scrooge is planning to do, he is going to give away all his money to the poor and then what? What’s going to happen when he runs out?
Other than ending up in the poor house himself, how are all his tenants going to survive when the bailiffs move in to collect on old Ebenezer’s defaults. So they may be poor from having to pay the rent to Scrooge, but would you rather be poor and warm or slightly richer and cold? Congratulations Ghost of Christmas Past, you have kicked poor Bob Cratchitt out onto the grim Victorian streets. They may be fine, creating a niche for a new moneylender to come in and fill the gap in the market. Yes it could be a more sensitive loan shark, but what if it is someone worse? Someone who cares not one iota for ghastly warnings from beyond the grave?
Scrooge is also a repentant miser and, if ex-smokers or ex-gluttons are anything to go by, about to become a terrible bore. Ex-anythingers tend to become prosletyzers against the vice that held them for so long, as if nobody else had ever suggested giving up cigarettes before they went cold turkey. Should you even mention anything to do with the avarice they succumbed to they shoot you down because who knows better than someone who ‘was there man’. Scrooge has been unleashed on the poor and will act like a top-hatted Dr Phil, unleashing advice on how they can make the most of their pennies. Thank you Ghost of Christmas Present for landing the less fortunate with evangelised miser.
We should also look at the manner in which Scrooge is convinced to become a good guy, this was not a case of repenting because it was the right thing to do. If he didn’t he was going to be punished for all eternity. He changed his mind about being mean because he was scared of the repercussions, not from the goodness of his newly found heart. It’s a spectral spank on the bottom. It seems the Ghost of Christmas Future is a happy promoter of punishment and not rehabilitation.
Live large today with no care for the next, be lectured and be grateful or you’ll be punished. This is a Christmas Carol’s true meaning of Christmas.