(* You can find out prior annual essays here: Thursday, December 24, 2009, A Christmas Eve Story of Alternative Realities: The Fight Not To Go To Pottersville (Or Ratnerville), Friday, December 24, 2010, Revisiting a Classic Seasonal Tale: Ratnerville, Saturday, December 24, 2011, Traditional Christmas Eve Revisit of a Classic Seasonal Tale: Ratnerville, the Real Life Incarnation of the Abhorred Pottersville, Monday, December 24, 2012, While I Tell of Yuletide Treasure, Tuesday, December 24, 2013, A Seasonal Reflection: Assessing Aspirations Toward Alternate Realities- 'Tis A Tale of Two Alternate Cities?)With the arrival of the solstice hope is kindled during these longest nights of the year by noting that we have reached a turning point with light beginning to return. In the darkest of days it is always important to give thanks for all that’s good and all that we have been able to achieve. This 2014 there has been some good news to lift our spirits . . . .
. . . .Governor Cuomo just recently announced that hydro-fracking is being banned in New York State. That is a big win bringing what may be the end to a long fight and it prevents the ravaging of the environment belonging commonly to all of us for the financial benefit of only a few.
. . . There were victories also in the fight to save our public libraries from sale and shrinkage for the sake of creating real estate deals, another struggles where the public commons has been in jeopardy, again for just a few benefit at the expense of the many. The biggest of these successes this year was the defeat this spring of NYPL’s Central Library Plan that would have squandered more than $500 million of the public’s money and resources, the full extent of that loss being announced only belatedly after the plan was officially derailed.
|Above and below from the Moyers report|
But, not all is improving and there is much that remains to be done as some things get even worse.
Is Forest City Ratner, As Victor, Writing Our History?- WNYC's Press Release on Appointing Forest City Ratner's MaryAnne Gilmartin to Its Board of Trustees, and Monday, December 8, 2014, With Big Bucks Out To Hijack Truth and Broadcasting Integrity- The Daily Show and Bill Moyers Set Models for WNYC Radio.
Does WNYC know better?
Oddly, WNYC has its own annual yuletide tradition that ought to teach it better. Every year the station broadcasts a radio play version of “A Christmas Carol” in which the familiar radio personalities of WNYC appear performing roles.
This year, as I listened, I heard the principle declared that, however fortunate or relatively unfortunate any of us are, we are all equals, “one in the same.” I believe that, but is that the message we would glean from the Ms. Gilmartin’s appointment to the WNYC board? Would those who would and could truly represent the interests of the general public in fashioinging the public radio station's mission have as equal a chance of being appointed to its board has as equal a chance of being appointed to the board?
|Basil Rathbone on left playing the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge's deceased partner, essentially a version of Scrooge who doesn't get to reform and on right in another production playing Scrooge who does eventually reform|
Scrooge (To his nephew Fred): You keep Christmas in your own way let me keep it in mine.In the Dickens’ book Cratchit’s approval is actually silent, something hard to convey in a radio play. In fact, in Dickens’ book the concept is not, per se, `equality,’ but “fellow-passengers to the grave” and fellow members of the same race:
Nephew: But you don't keep it!
Scrooge: Let me leave it alone then: Much good it has ever done you!
Nephew: Oh I think there are many things from which I've derived some good, by which I have not profited financially, I dare say. There is more in life than money, Uncle.
Scrooge: Humbug to that! More in life than money! Humbug!
Nephew: And I've always thought of Christmas time is a good time, a kind, forgiving and charitable time when men and women seem to open their shut-up hearts freely, and think of people not as fortunate in life as their equals, for they very well are equals. We're all one in the same. And therefore uncle, although it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket I believe Christmas has done me good, and will do me good but I say God bless it.
Cratchit (Scrooge’s cleark): Well put Fred!
"Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew. "But you don't keep it,"The message, of course, is also that much of the good in the world simply can’t be measured in dollars. That’s bad news for those who relentlessly look to “monetize” all and sundry and consider subjecting everything to the constricted and constricting measures of the Wall Street mentality.
"Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge. "Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!"
"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew. "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"
|Alistair Sim, perhaps the very best ever to play Scrooge. On left, Scrooge the epitome of a miser at the outset of the film. On right, the reformed Scrooge now a model of kindness and generosity.|