Friday, December 21st, 2007
I just discovered an old version of A Christmas Carol I had not seen before. This was the 1938 version with Reginald Owen. I had seen a classic black and white version before, but it was the famous one with Alastair Sim. Well, 1938 had some wonderful things to recommend it. I liked the portrayal of Scrooge's nephew with Tiny Tim. The flight over London was also impressive, given when it was done. They put a lot into making that seem believable. I am also a fan of Scrooge from 1970. We have a book that IBM put out when they sponsored the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott in 1984. I've made some of the hot drinks from it. I love reading about other Christmas customs.
One custom that intrigued me was the English custom of telling ghost stories at Christmas. Apparently that custom itself gave rise to A Christmas Carol, which is itself a ghost story. Does anyone know if this is a living custom? If so, what stories lend themselves to doing this well?
We once held a Halloween party for adults where we read ghost stories. I read the poem "The Skeleton in Armor" from a Longfellow book I inherited from my grandfather. A friend read one of the darker fairy tales from Grimm. A roommate and I split up the reading of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." (A little longer than we would have wanted a reading to be. I think it took 45 minutes to read aloud!) A few others read some other stories. A great way to spend an evening, overall. Mulled cider helps.
1:30 pm Pacific Standard Time
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
At Phantasmagorical I found a link to Ann Rice's statement of her political position in the upcoming election. I am thankful for the civil tone of her statement—Would that all political discourse were this pleasant to read!—but I disagree with Rice's conclusions. My deepest disagreement is less with how she plans to vote than with why. In fact, most elections I hear the disagreeable argument made more times by Republicans than by Democrats.
One of the key points she makes is that we live in a two party system. The Constitution has weighted the system strongly so that there will always be two dominant parties. I was not always aware of this like I am now. So I agree with this point.
What I take deepest issue with is where Ann Rice states that "I suspect that not voting is in fact a vote. I suspect that voting for a third party, when such parties develop, is in effect voting for one of the major parties whether one wants to believe this or not." Since the issue of conscience is raised, I think the issue of moral support must be raised, not merely the issue of political victory.
I would write a lengthy response, but a good response to the idea has already been written by Wendy McElroy. Now McElroy not only disagrees with voting for typical candidates in the two parties. She thinks voting is immoral since it props up an immoral system. I do not. I don't think our votes allow of so much moral interpretation. When a third party offers us two unacceptable alternatives, I think we are free to choose one, or not choose one, and the guilt of offering the bad choice is upon the one who forced the decision. (Think of Sophie's Choice.) But I think McElroy's arguments may help to show why voting a particular way is not mandatory in order to escape responsibility for what the winning candidate does. When true evil is upon us, there are also other avenues of action.
12:28 am Pacific Standard Time