Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Retail Values

I’ve just started reading Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with my 8 year-old: she stumbles over the Victorian locutions, but she’s enthralled by Marley, Scrooge, and that wonderful, enveloping atmosphere that Dickens created.

We’ve come a long way since 1843, when Dickens wrote his morality tale and in many ways reestablished what “Christmas values” should be. The grinding poverty that existed in Dickensian London and elsewhere, which Dickens experienced personally during his time in the blacking factory when his father was in debtors prison, has largely vanished. At least, from the western world.

You have to wonder what CD would think about the modern, commercial enterprise that is our Xmas, Dickens’ ‘Christmas Yet To Come’. In an earlier post I talked about how Orwell’s message still resonates when we read about modern-day Burma, and there’s a parallel with Dickens and the retail values we express during a celebration like Christmas.