Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Anybody want to wish Charles Dickens a happy birthday?

Asked by ETpro (34589points) February 7th, 2012

Today, if Charles Dickens were still with us, he would be 200 years old. He did a great deal to change our way of thinking about economics, morality and social order. His name has come to stand for the age of wage slavery and class warfare we now call Dickensian England. His landmark work, A Christmas Carol gave voice to the millions like Bob Crachit kept in perpetual wage slavery by a ruling class of plutocrats and financiers the likes of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Today, when so many among the middle class and even the working poor have been seduced by the clever bumper-sticker slogans that would be oligarchs of today pay PhD filled think tanks to generate for them, isn’t it time to ask if we want to follow the regressives? They may claim to be conservatives, but they do not want to do what true conservatives do; which is maintain existing social order and use tried-and-true solutions wherever possible. That is what the word “conservative” means. See definition 2b in the link immediately above.

Quite the opposite of conservativism, the current conservative movement is really a radical regressive movement. Some wish to turn the clock back to the wage slavery of the Gilded Age from 1865 to 1895 when Robber Barons set up massive trusts and cartels to manipulate markets and enrich themselves at the expense of a populace held down by wage slavery, child labor and brutal suppression of any efforts at worker protection or fairness. They yearn for the days when there was no food safety and food poisoning epidemics were commonplace and deadly. Never mind that this age set the conditions for the Great Depression, and the world-wide suffering of the depression left men so fearful that some adopted fascism, with the net result the deaths of over 60 million people and the destruction of much of the developed world.

Some wish to regress a bit further. Not content with wage slavery, they yearn for real slavery to return. They want to go back before 1865 and re-litigate the Civil War, only with the South winning this time. These are the regressives that all the dog-whistle racial rhetoric are aimed at. They must be plentiful, because the dog whistle appeals to them are certainly prevalent in regressive political discourse.

And finally, we have the regressives who can’t abide in a modern society of any sort, but rather yearn for the days where they think they would be an Ebeneezer Scrooge and could lord it over the “lazy” louts such as Bob Crachit and that worthless mouth to feed, Tiny Tim. Nothing short of workhouses and rigid class structure will satisfy them, and anyone who stands in their way, they hypocritically label as conducting class warfare.

So while we have all this going on, can we remember Charles Dickens? Can we connect yet again with what he taught us about fairness and morality in social structure? Or do we have to go one more time around the wall? Do we have to relearn the lessons of history because we refuse to study history today?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.”

cazzie's avatar

@ETpro I so adore you… for exactly the reason as this.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I will pet my kitten “Dickens” in honor of this beautiful day! ;)

We’re big fans here

john65pennington's avatar

Happy Birthday….....C. D. (not copact disc).

mazingerz88's avatar

Ah yes, Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Gingrich who would have stolen Christmas if newt, I mean, if not for those three great spirits who visited. The Progressive Spirit, The Liberal Spirit and The Democratic Spirit. ( Lol )

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. DICKENS! Many a thanks for writing those great novels, David Flutherfield, A Christmas Fluther and Fluther Twist.

@ETpro Here’s a short article about Dickens which you might find rather interesting.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens.

This article dispels some myths about the man and his writing.

TexasDude's avatar

Glorious birthday, chap!

flutherother's avatar

God bless you Charles Dickens

“Another class of tramp is a man, the most valuable part of whose stock-in-trade is a highly perplexed demeanour. He is got up like a countryman, and you will often come upon the poor fellow, while he is endeavouring to decipher the inscription on a milestone—quite a fruitless endeavour, for he cannot read. He asks your pardon, he truly does (he is very slow of speech, this tramp, and he looks in a bewildered way all round the prospect while he talks to you), but all of us shold do as we wold be done by, and he’ll take it kind, if you’ll put a power man in the right road fur to jine his eldest son as has broke his leg bad in the masoning, and is in this heere Orspit’l as is wrote down by Squire Pouncerby’s own hand as wold not tell a lie fur no man.

He then produces from under his dark frock (being always very slow and perplexed) a neat but worn old leathern purse, from which he takes a scrap of paper. On this scrap of paper is written, by Squire Pouncerby, of The Grove, ‘Please to direct the Bearer, a poor but very worthy man, to the Sussex County Hospital, near Brighton-a matter of some difficulty at the moment, seeing that the request comes suddenly upon you in the depths of Hertfordshire.

The more you endeavour to indicate where Brighton is-when you have with the greatest difficulty remembered, the less the devoted father can be made to comprehend, and the more obtusely he stares at the prospect; whereby, being reduced to extremity, you recommend the faithful parent to begin by going to St. Albans, and present him with half- a-crown. It does him good, no doubt, but scarcely helps him forward, since you find him lying drunk that same evening in the wheelwright’s sawpit under the shed where the felled trees are, opposite the sign of the Three Jolly Hedgers.

From The Uncommercial Traveller

ETpro's avatar

@marinelife Ah for, “the once popular melody of Begone dull care.” said Mr Swiveller.

@cazzie Thank you. I’ll take good strokes whenever I can get them. :-)

@SpatzieLover That’s a Dickens of a name for a cat. How sweet.

Thanks, @john65pennington

@mazingerz88 I am way too tired tonight to even bigin competing in puns, but thanks for the giggles. And also, great thanks for the link. It’s indeed a fascinating article and I find myself looking for an excuse to visit Philadelphia now.

@Hawaii_Jake Thanks for the comment and the link. This and the one from @mazingerz88 above yours show what an incredibly complex man Dickens was. Fabulously talented, yet fatally flawed.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Thanks. I second that—in just those words. :-)

@flutherother That hits too close to home. I finally got cataract surgery on my left eye on the 24th of January. I was legally blind in that eye. With my right eye shut, I could easily walk into a telephone poll or step into a manhole with no warning of my impending doom. My right eye still lets me read items close by, but street signs up at 10 feet are out of range. I can see them. They are just too blurry to read. Same goes for street numbers on buildings, aisle markers in markets and drug stores, etc. So many’s the time I have asked people what a street sign right before my eyes says. They must have thought I was illiterate.

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