Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dickens - Antidote for Pop Culture

To the Ghost of Christmas Present, Charles Dickens has Scrooge say, " ... you've shown me only greed, and malice, and apathy! Let me see some TENDERNESS, some... DEPTH OF FEELING!"

The former, one might say about pop culture, so superficial, nonsensical, and driven by greed, malice, and apathy.

But the latter - tenderness and depth of feeling - Charles Dickens specialized in depicting to the world; the grief of mortal, fallen men and the joys that could pierce in equal depth.

G. K. Chesterton said in his book, Charles Dickens, the Last of the Great Men,
He was the voice in England of (an) humane intoxication and expansion, this encouraging of anybody to be anything ... It is useless for us to attempt to imagine Dickens and his life unless we are able at least to imagine this old atmosphere of a democratic optimism - a confidence in commen men.
For any persons who feel forlornly as though a majority of Americans have lost their way and are about to cast their vote for an inexperienced candidate cut from the academical cloth of secular, social pragmatism, I strongly recommend a large dose of Dickens. If you can't find a quiet afternoon in which to sit and read him, then find a copy of the 2002 film version of Nicholas Nickleby, about which Roger Ebert says, "(I)t's jolly and exciting and brimming with life, and wonderfully well-acted."

And, I may add, full of greed, malice, apathy, AND tenderness and depth of feeling. Basically, everything you want but cannot find in today's superficial world of pop culture and cookie cutter news bytes.

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