As for that one lump of coal Scrooge allows him, it bears
emphasis that Cratchit has not been chained to his chilly desk. If he
stays there, he shows by his behavior that he prefers his present
wages-plus-comfort package to any other he has found, or supposes
himself likely to find. Actions speak louder than grumbling, and the
reader can hardly complain about what Cratchit evidently finds
This is … I know, okay? I know it’s not worth it, that it’s the Internets, whatever, dumbasses, blargle blargle flap flap flap. But look. This is an example of the aggressive missing of the point of charity that I talk all the time about, both here and in meatspace, where the emphasis is all on Bob and whether he deserves to receive Scrooge’s generosity or his penuriousness. That isn’t the point of the story. That isn’t the point of anything. I know our school systems suck these days but did no one ever teach these guys elementary reading comprehension? Or morals? Or fucking … I don’t even … a kindergartener would be ashamed to be this stupid.
The point of the story is that Scrooge could have been a good guy but was being a dick instead for no good reason. The point of the story is that Scrooge had the ability to love and connect and was closing himself off to it, and using money as an excuse to do so. The point isn’t that Bob deserved to receive his charity or even needed his charity. It was that Scrooge deserved to share his life with others and treat others decently. It wasn’t about Bob at all. Or how many kids he had. Or whether he should have just gone to look for a better job. Or any other choice he could have made. It was about Scrooge, seeing a job put in front of him, and turning away. And then, gloriously, not turning away anymore.
I get so riled up about this because I love this story, because I love Christmas, and because really the most destructive cultural tendency we have is this typical satisfied/smuggy/middle-class bullshitty position. This idea that you can excuse yourself from responsibility to others by making your responsibility about others in the first place. By making love into a bowl of sugar and pretending there’s only so much. By acting like your life is a room with limited space, and only so many are allowed in, and guarding that space selfishly. It’s about you, and about what you deserve to give, it always is. How wide you deserve to open the doors. How far you can stretch those walls to fit everyone who wants to come inside.
I’m not lecturing anybody here, I have my own ideas about what I can do and can handle, and I’d no more pass judgment on you than I’d ask for yours on me. But I am saying the story, the whole concept of generosity, isn’t about what Bob Cratchit could have done. It’s about what Scrooge could have done. Bob Cratchit barely even exists in that decision. He barely enters into it. It’s not about him at all.