Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Best Scrooge Was George C. Scott

From The Archives. Seems even more apt today than it did two years ago.


By now, I’m certain everyone who has stumbled across this blog has seen the Cheney video.

“Go F#$k yourself Mister Cheney.” As people have pointed out, he is genuinely amused by the episode. He smiles and immediately turns it to his advantage by referencing John Kerry.

It reminded me of George C. Scott’s brilliant portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge. Over the years, the Alistair Sim Scrooge has been celebrated as the standard by which all others are judged, but I do not share that opinion. I think Scott’s Scrooge is by far the best, because he is gleefully mean. He is his own audience, and he is greatly amused by his miserliness and his callous indifference to suffering.

The classic scene is when he is approached by businessmen for a contribution to charity. He welcomes this opportunity to express his disdain for the poor. He appears to live for moments such as these. When he first encounters them, they say something like, “Mr. Scrooge, I don’t believe you’ve made our acquaintance” and he mutters with a wry grin, “Nor do I wish to.” They then go on to explain to him about the suffering children, the whole exchange about “Are there no prisons? No work farms?” The defining moment though, is when they tell him that conditions are so bad that some would rather die, and he says, (paraphrased from memory) “Well, if they’d rather die then let them die. It will reduce the surplus (laughing!) population.” There is the difference. Alistair Sim delivers those lines in anger, but Scott delivers them with glee, reveling in the fact that he is so clever in his meanness. He is proud of being such a scoundrel. He loves being a miser.

That is precisely the way I see Dick Cheney.

By the way, I still haven't figured out exactly why, but I find it wildly enteraining that the off-camera protagonist chose to call him "Mister" Cheney.

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