Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

News :: [none]

Divesting Scrooge & Marley - a seasonal commentary

Every December 25th, or there about, the ghost of Charles Dickens revives the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, and still the wheels of commerce so often roll over our human condition
It’s hard to find much in the way of goodness arising out of our recent tragedy here in the USA, yet there seems to be a few small glimmers of light emanating from all that darkness. On more than a few occasions we have heard Wall Street investment bankers and stockbrokers quoted in the mainstream media to the effect that friends and family are now more important to them than business. Amen. Where have you been?? This, of course, is not a new lesion. It’s been around longer than the wheel. But, with the holiday season upon us, this observer can’t resist revisiting that favorite of 19th century fables about the dark side of business: Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol in Prose”.
You know the script: idealistic, impressionable youth succumbs to the hard end of the business shtick, circa pre- Industrial Revolution England. Before long Ebenezer Scrooge and his partner, Jacob Marley, turn on their nice guy, Old World boss and head down the road to riches, leaving love and happiness in their dust while making a killing in investments. In time, one dies a lonely, miserable death while the other, Ebenezer Scrooge, faces a similar end to his cold, greedy, self-absorbed existence. Enter the spirits of the holiday season. After much revelation, reflection, and a healthy dose of his own mortality: transformation! A new man sees the light of day.
Well hey, what do you think we’ve been going on about all these years? Like the liberal Dickens and other reformers of his era, activists here in the 20th and 21st centuries have been raising these issues in every conceivable manner. During the go-go ‘80s and the “greed-is-good” ‘90s much of that message seemed to fall on deaf ears. Perhaps it was the din of the Opening Bell or all those cash registers that distracted these hyper-capitalists from the real world. All that time they were operating under the mistaken notion that “the street” meant the one that’s named after the “Wall” instead of the one where everyone else in America travels. Down on Main Street most folks are aware that there’s more value in your kid’s track meet than on a spreadsheet. Absentee parents and materialistic proxies don’t, and never did, cut it. In the past few decades a whole lot of people in the U.S. forgot that happiness and love were never intended as tradable commodities. We’re talking priceless here; the genuine article. You can’t buy it. You can’t compartmentalize it. It’s not somewhere on the list, it IS the list. Anything else is just delusion; a sort of psychological junk bond.
So, why does everything have to come crashing down around our heads before we wake up to our own foolishness? It’s not like we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. The lessons have been in our faces since birth. Every December 25th, or there about, the ghost of Charles Dickens revives the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, and still the wheels of commerce so often roll over our human condition. If we, as a people, are going to go on about September 11th giving us strength, rekindling our collective spirit, we’d do well not to squander that new found energy in sprees of patriotic shopping or booking flights for God and Country. The nation would be a whole lot better off placing real value in our human relationships; spending time at home with our neighbors, friends and family, rather than spending money at the mall. We should be taking part in our communities through honest interaction, rather than being taken apart by some perceived community of consumption advertised 24-7 on every blank surface imaginable.
Jacob Marley’s ghost knew the score too late. He warned Scrooge at the outset:
"I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it… My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house -- mark me! ………Business! Mankind was my business!"




Account Login

Media Centers


This site made manifest by dadaIMC software