TCS Daily

A TCS Christmas Carol

By Douglas Kern - December 23, 2004 12:00 AM

It's Christmas time, and that means it's time to enjoy A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens' melancholy tale of a productive businessman who gets worked over by three meddling supernatural social workers one Christmas Eve, transforming him into a simpering socialist.

It's almost as sad as Star Wars, really.

A Christmas Carol could have been a wonderful story, had someone other than that crypto-commie Dickens written it. So, for your holiday enjoyment, I submit these re-imaginings of A Christmas Carol, as other authors might have depicted it:

John Kerry: After an unsuccessful presidential campaign, Scrooge is haunted by three spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows him his heroic service in Vietnam. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him a few moments of an unremarkable Senatorial career...and then the Ghost of Christmas Past reappears, and shows his heroic service in Vietnam again! The Ghost of Christmas Future shows him grading the exams of smug grad students at Harvard...and then the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him his heroic service in Vietnam! Again!

Terry McAuliffe: The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge a presidential campaign that was perfectly executed, with no mistakes whatsoever, at all. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Bush beating Scrooge because HE'S A FILTHY, FILTHY LIAR, AND HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE HIS LIES, AND, ALSO, VOTE FRAUD! We don't actually see what The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge, but Scrooge assures anyone who cares to listen that the future entails a Scrooge victory in 2008 because THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT CONSERVATIVE LIES. Scrooge spends Christmas hitting the lecture circuit and seeking consulting work, with strangely limited success.

John Edwards: Tiny Tim sues his parents for wrongful life, and his doctors for wrongful death. His crusading attorney makes a small fortune when the doctors settle out-of-court, even though they know perfectly well that Mrs. Cratchit's C-section didn't cause Tiny Tim's birth defects. Tiny Tim's cut of the settlement allows him to go to Oxford. For a week.

Jessica Simpson: Three ghosts haunt Ebeneezer Scrooge. They both teach him a valuable lesson about life.

Ayn Rand: The ruggedly handsome and weirdly articulate Ebeneezer Scrooge is a successful executive held back by the corrupt morality of a society that hates success and fails to understand the value of selfishness. So Scrooge explains that value in a 272-page soliloquy. Deep down, Scrooge's enemies know that he is right, but they resent him out of a sense of their own inferiority. Several hot sex scenes and unlikely monologues later, Scrooge triumphs over all adversity -- except a really mean review by Whittaker Chambers. Meanwhile, Tiny Tim croaks. Socialized medicine is to blame.

The Libertarian Party: It's pretty much the same as the Ayn Rand version, but about halfway through the story, we learn that Scrooge is an alcoholic wife-swapping embezzling weirdo who's wanted for back child support payments in several states. Even readers sympathetic to the Libertarian story throw up their hands in disgust and grudgingly seek out the Republican version.

Richard Dawkins: Ghosts don't exist. Scrooge does whatever he wants. Tiny Tim dies. Later, Scrooge dies. No one cares. The Christmas Carol meme lives on indefinitely.

Peter Singer: Same as Richard Dawkins, except that, seeing no reason to do otherwise, Scrooge eats Tiny Tim for Christmas dinner.

George Lucas: It's the same story we know and love, but Jacob "Jar Jar" Marley is a real irritant in the prequel, conveniently named Episode One: The Phantom Menace. Worse, The Ghost of Christmas Past sequence is subtly altered so it appears that Scrooge tried to haunt her first.

Tom Wolfe: We meet Ebeneezer Scrooge over 300 pages of incisive descriptions of life in 19th century London, complete with overwrought now-Now!-NOW! New Journalism affectations. The tale proceeds swimmingly until halfway through the Ghost of Christmas Future sequence, at which point the story just sort of ends.

George A. Romero: Scrooge and several other London strangers barricade themselves in a shopping mall because the Zombies of Christmas Past, Present, and Future have risen from the grave, seeking to consume the cookies and eggnog of the living.

Johnnie Cochran: After hearing Marley's warning, Scrooge wisely lawyers up. Scrooge's mouthpiece deftly gets Scrooge's past excluded as prejudicial. On cross-examination, Cratchit is exposed as a bigot owing to the virulently anti-Irish remarks he let slip to a reporter several years earlier. The jury returns a "Not in Need of Redemption" verdict after hearing the superb closing statement for the defense, in which Scrooge's attorney observes: "If the past don't fit, you must acquit."

M. Night Shyamalan: In a completely unexpected twist, it turns out that Scrooge is the dead one, and the "ghosts" are actually the people that he's haunting.

Bernard Kerik: Let's just say the story doesn't get too far beyond the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Milton Friedman: Scrooge is actually a reasonable fellow who pays his ungrateful employee Cratchit a comfortable middle-class salary by the actual standards of mid-19th century London. After his haunting, Scrooge spends Christmas telling everyone what he learned from the past, present, and future: the UK should embrace a bimetallic monetary strategy.

Stephen King: It's a dark, spooky Christmas Carol that preys on the inchoate fears of baby Boomers, but no one reads past page 1597. The movie adaptation stinks.

CBS News: After the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future issue their independent review report, Scrooge grudgingly admits that his remarks about prisons, workhouses, and "the surplus population" were inadequately sourced. Scrooge takes no further action. Tiny Tim dies. Scrooge runs a five-part series on "England's Impending Health Care Crisis."

Doug Kern: Beleaguered TCS columnist Ebeneezer Scrooge is noticeably unkind to the Tolkien fanboys who pester him with goofy e-mails about the "Lord of the Rings remake," even though the original article clearly states that there isn't one yet. Later that night, Scrooge is haunted by the Ghost of Irritable Libertarians Who Can't Take a Joke, the Ghost of Near-Homicidal Leftists Who Really Can't Take a Joke, and the Ghost of Vengeance Against Gimmicky Holiday Columns. After the third haunting, Scrooge is never seen again.

Jacques Chirac: Scrooge can't understand anything that happens when the Ghost of Christmas Future haunts him. It's all in Arabic.

Happy holidays!

The author is a lawyer and TCS contributor.


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