Lessons from Marley and Marley

Yesterday we had movie night with our friends, something we try to do every month. (This is aspirational; it probably happens eight times a year, with various different combinations of people showing up each time.)

Anyway, in December we always watch a Christmas movie, and although last year we deviated and watched Die Hard, we almost always watch A Muppet Christmas Carol. Personally I’m convinced this is not only the best Muppet movie, but the best movie version of Christmas Carol, too. The script holds up great, the songs are timeless, and it touches on many big, important themes.

In fact, watching it this year, with this hideous and regressive piece of tax legislation just passed in what has to be one of the biggest pork-barrel deals in recent history, the some of the lyrics from the Marley & Marley song seemed all too apropos:

We’re Marley and Marley
Avarice and greedy
We took advantage of the poor
Just ignored the needy
We specialized in causing pain
Spreading fear and doubt
And if you could not pay the rent
We simply threw you out


(full lyrics here)

In Dickensonian times, the government didn’t help people much. They offered poor-houses and prisons, as Scrooge pointed out, and that was the extent of it. Private wealthy individuals helped but they were a drop in the bucket; countless people lived in poverty and misery. I’m afraid we’re going back to those times again, when things were great for the wealthy and the rest be darned.

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