For the fourth year in a row the local NPR station ran a piece in which that and academic from UCLA claimed that Charles Dickens’ character Ebenezer Scrooge was an anti-Semitic creation with only the evidence that Scrooge is described as being tight-fisted, mean (in the older English sense), and cheap, his first name was an Old Testament name, and that he didn’t like Christmas.
The academic, or professor, has since retired from her position at UCLA, so the person is no young thing looking for a perceived insult upon which to hang her hat. Her nonsense has been taught by the benighted students of the UC system for over thirty years. So the current crop of buttercups may not be the first. They are just the most convinced.
But, to get back to Scrooge. Ebenezer Scrooge was not Jewish. Scrooge was an Englishman from a long line of Englishmen and he was a Christian, at least nominally. Thirty or more years ago it was discussed among the academic crowd that there was a possibility that Scrooge was an old Puritan. The English and American Puritans did not celebrate Christmas because they thought it a pagan or Roman Catholic holiday. Several English kings banned the celebration of Christmas because the celebrations got too rowdy and dangerous and drunken.
The evidence of Scrooge not being a Jew are, at the minimum, two. Scrooge, during his experiences of Christmas Past, show Scrooge celebrating Christmas. The first is when he is alone at school while the other students have left for the holiday. His sister comes to the school to take him home to celebrate Christmas. The second is when he is working for Mr. Fizziwig. Mr. Fizziwig shuts down the firm to have a Christmas Eve party before a day off for Christmas. Scrooge enthusiastically joins in while courting a young woman we eventually loses due to his greed.
If anything Scrooge is a portrait of the self-made man who has forgotten from where he came, as well as a gross materialist of the worst sort. He was the type of man who had worked at a rotten job during his youth and because of his smarts, became an owner of a business who was not loath to treat his employees worse than he had been treated i.e., a man who started in the mines or the mills at fourteen who expect five and ten year old children to do what he once did. Or to put it in more modern terms a business owner who thinks nothing of throwing a hundred or more of his fellow nationals in order to get cheaper labor in China or importing labor from India.
Scrooge represents, before his “conversion”, the worst of us. He his the thing that he all claim to dislike, even hate. But he is the thing that we all too often fall into being.
Let us all keep out an eye for our inner Scrooge. And when we find him, let us convert him.