Quote of the moment, for politics at the end of 2014: Ebenezer Scrooge, “darkness is cheap”


Roberto Innocenti, Scrooge on a dark staircase

Ebenezer Scrooge, up a dark staircase; “Darkness was cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” Illustration by Roberto Innocenti, via Pinterest.

Quote of the moment (an encore post for the season, with a bit of context thrown in later):

Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Stave 1

I think of that line of Dickens’s often when  I read of the celebrations of calumny that pass as discourse in Republican politics these days. Although, with the 2008 renewing of Limbaugh’s contract, it may no longer be true that his particular brand of darkness is cheap.

Cheap or not, darkness remains dark.

John Leach, Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want

Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want, the products of his stinginess (drawing by John Leech, 1809-1870)

 

Drawing by John Leech (1809-1870), to illustrate Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Work in the public domain (available at WikiSource).

Here is the sentence Dickens put before the quote, to add a little context; Scrooge was climbing a very large, very dark staircase.

Half-a-dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn’t have lighted the entry too well, so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge’s dip.

Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for that. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.

Speaking of darkness, a longer excerpt from Dickens’s story:

‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,’ said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, ‘but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?’

‘It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,’ was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. ‘Look here.’

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

‘Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!’ exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

‘Spirit! are they yours?’ Scrooge could say no more.

‘They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!’ cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!’

‘Have they no refuge or resource?’ cried Scrooge.

‘Are there no prisons?’ said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. ‘Are there no workhouses?’ The bell struck twelve.

Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley, and lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him.

A Christmas Carol, Stave 3

Christmas is a festival to celebrate light, what many Christians call “the light of the world?” If so, let us work to stamp out the darkness which the unrepentant Scrooge so dearly loved.

Darkness may be cheap, but it is not good.  Light a candle, and run into the darkness, spreading light. We need more light.

More:

6 Responses to Quote of the moment, for politics at the end of 2014: Ebenezer Scrooge, “darkness is cheap”

  1. […] Quote of the moment, for politics at the end of 2014: Ebenezer Scrooge, “darkness is cheap&#82… […]

    Like

  2. JamesK says:

    You can say “merry christmas” all you want, Era, and yet you and your fellow conservatives don’t know the slightest thing about being actual Christians. You’re pharisees…you’re scrooge as he used to be.

    You and yours sit there and go “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

    You guys love to spout “Well they should just lift themselves up” but you guys don’t want to give them the means to do so and you seek to undercut the safety net that protects them while they do so.

    And you say Scrooge was a liberal? Oh please, you are out of your bloody mind, Era.

    You can lie to yourself that way, Era, but you can’t lie to God and get away with it.

    Like

  3. JamesK says:

    Era..that contention of yours that scrooge was a liberal is utter drek. You conservatives would very much like the poor and the needy to go off and die.

    The proof? WHen was the last time you guys did anything but attack them? When was the last time you guys did anything to help them?

    Seriously..when did you conservatives all fall into this mass delusion of yours?

    Like

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Morgan’s back, with a claim that the Unrepentant Scrooge was a liberal. http://www.peekinthewell.net/blog/scrooge-was-a-liberal-studies-show/

    Modern “conservatives” can’t handle the truth. And so, they work hard to cover it up, bend it, and break it if need be.

    Like

  5. […] course, some people still don’t get it. But whatever. Merry Christmas to […]

    Like

  6. […] Quote of the moment, for politics at the end of 2014: Ebenezer Scrooge, “darkness is cheap&#82… (timpanogos.wordpress.com) […]

    Like

Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: