for 25 December 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
"Forget Scrooge's play-ending reformation: a three-pronged lifestyle intervention featuring the undead would work wonders for most people. "
Nice! The nightmarish aspects of Christmas yet to come add more weight to Christmas than baby Jesus plus an ass kneeling in his glory.
I agree. In short adaptations of the story, you get that grim shot of the headstone, but it's the other stuff that's really depressing people robbing the body, the banal conversation from people who knew Scrooge's public reputation. After all, even if he buys Tiny Tim bionic limbs, Scrooge is still going to croak. That's not much of a Christmas message, though.
Thanks for reading the piece!
Ho ho ho,
40th Street Black
All excellent points on "The Christmas Carol" as a seemingly inexhaustible franchise for faux guilt (as in the Twilight Zone a century later, the message is that if you're not a REALLY bad shit then you'll come out OK). Good point also that the ever-industrious Dickens would have been impressed with his novella's legs (and remember, he was one of the earliest, loudest boosters of international copyright laws). Any ideas why Charles D. never wrote a "Scrooge The Final Conflict" sequel?
I wouldn't dare guess, although the real money is in a "Phantom Menace" prequel starring Jacob Marley. In fact, I call dibs.
Thanks for taking the time to write a note.
P.S. You're absolutely right about the copyrights. I can imagine a 185-year-old Dickens sitting next to lawyers from Disney and Time Warner before a Senate sub-committee arguing for copyright extension laws.
40th Street Black
I was looking for photos of Michael Richards for an illustration I'm working on and came across this blurb on the Michael Richards bio on nbci.com:
"In 1989, Richards began his association with a little-known situation comedy for NBC called 'Seinfeld.' During 'Seinfeld's' hugely successful nine-year run, Richards starred in a varied list of films, taking on new challenges with each effort. He starred in Diane Keaton's critically acclaimed "'Unstrung Heroes' and the comedy 'Trial and Error.' In December, he will star opposite Sally Field in an all-new cable television adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'David Copperfield.'"
Well, at least the writing was better than The Michael Richards Show. But if this is a new trend that gives us Wayne Knight as Fagan, I'm canceling my cable.
40th Street Black
Fun Fun Fun. There's nothing more entertaining than exploring the hypocrisy circle-jerk. From the exposed to the entranced audience, we are bullied into giving up either any illusory ideals, or fessing up to being a hypocrite. I'd rather be a hypocrite. Neal Stephenson, (probably better known in the web community for Cryptonomicron, a novel glorifying privacy in the now of eroding privacy) has an interesting discussion of this in The Diamond Age. Some stuffy neoVictorians decide its more fun to have some impossible ideals than to be exposed and completely cynical. As for me, I think I'll just take a new ideal out of my deal-a-meal ethics plan every day, and merrily explore the hypocrisy de jour.
Always digging a shot of TV crit,
I think you're taking the easy way, bub! Hypocrisy is a highly overrated vice, and its exposure cheap and self-serving when not done as artistically as on City Confidential. At least the hypocrite has the decency to condemn his own actions by his words. It's not as if we would find him more admirable for boasting of his evil, Marquis de Sade-style. Or maybe we would.
But hypocrites at least keep one foot on the straight and narrow path, and what more can you ask in this vale of tears? I suspect that the hypocrites people really choose to despise are the ones that condemn our own vices; it's not the sharing them part that we hate, but the condemnation. What is so wrong about Lobster Boy speaking of being a good father and husband? If he had only lived up to his own press, we would have him with us today.
I met the Lobster Boy at a carnival in Huber Heights, Ohio in 1990. Several of us paid a buck for the privilege (I know how that sounds, but you had to be there). He was really nice, he told us he'd been in sideshows since he was six years old, that he was married and had four children, two normal and two "like me". He asked if the lines for beer were still long.
You're about to find out, if you don't already know, that Grant Wood's estate is quick to point out that American Gothic is not in the public domain, and they're not shy about asking for a little compensation for the use of the image. I discovered this when I was working for a local newspaper and used the painting in an ad. There was a contractor who used to advertise in those days named Whited and Sons, and it occurred to me that it was a shame that they didn't sell mausoleums. The could have called their business Whited Sepulchre. Nobody thinks that's funny but me.
Let us know how it goes with the Grant Wood people, it would probably make a good Suck.
A dollar to meet Lobster Boy seems like a pretty good bargain to me. You'd think he would have a six-pack stowed away someplace, though.