Dickens Updated

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With the Christmas season films appearing on television, it is interesting to note one major shift occurring in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. This story was first published in 1843, and by the 1951 Alistair Sims film version, the story ran pretty much according to Dickens’s script. In 1964, however, a variant was produced under the title Carol For Another Christmas.  I had not heard of or seen this film until two days ago, when it appeared on Turner Classic Movies. It caught my attention because the “evil” portrayed had less to do with the main character’s personal traits, and focused upon how the institutionally-centered war system was destroying life on the planet. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future visited their Scrooge stand-in to warn him of of the dire future. Interesting theme, I thought, until they got to the final message. In Dickens’s story, the purpose of the ghostly visits was to make the world a better place by helping (i.e., terrorizing) Scrooge into transforming his personal character. The 1964 film, on the other hand, ended with the message that humanity could be saved only by strengthening the United Nations!

There you have the modern mindset: The world will be made more peaceful and free not by what Carl Jung, Krishnamurti, Jesus, and so many others saw as the need for individuals to change their thinking, but by increasing the powers of a world super-state — an agency that functions solely on the basis of organized violence. I’m surprised that CNN doesn’t run this film on a weekly basis!

1:18 pm on December 23, 2012