Then Dickens goes into confessional poetry mode with a quickness: "I've always railed against the fantasies. Oh, I loved an illusion as much as the next man, reveled in them,...that's what they were! Illusions! The real world is something else. I dedicated myself to that: Injustices, great social causes. I hoped that I was a force for good. Now you tell me that the real world is a realm of spectres and jack o' lanterns. In which case -- have I wasted my brief span here, Doctor? Has it all been for nothing?" Dickens makes a compelling point, but, like, I don't follow. Are ghosts and beasties automatically more important than health care and human rights? Because if the Dickens has devoted himself to those causes, 1869 UK is a bad year and place to trumpet your successes in that arena. I think, though, that it's a basic all-or-nothing faith-based v. humanist argument: either worldly concerns are paramount, or they're not. And if you're deeply stupid (which the Dickens is not) or have intense blind spots (which he clearly does), you might be fooled into becoming a Ghostbuster when you could probably get more done at the local soup kitchen. Or, you know, reforming the feudal system or whatever. Taking child labor out of the equation. Writing interminable novels about wackily-named and whining poor people in a variety of countries and locales.
Episode Report CardJacob Clifton: B- | 1318 USERS: B-
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