Brickbats

Brickbat: Scrooged

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X-Mas
Willeecole / Dreamstime.com

For more than 40 years, fifth-graders at Pennsylvania's Centerville Elementary School have performed A Christmas Carol. But not this year. Parents say the play was canceled after two parents complained about the line "God bless us, everyone." Officials admit they canceled the play after the complaints but say that wasn't the reason. They say that after more than four decades they realized that it took students out of the classroom, where they should be studying, for about 20 hours total to produce the play.

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  1. “They should be in class studying” is one of the biggest load of crap excuses ever, and should be laughed at as soon as someone mentions it.

    You are telling me a 5th grader’s time is so precious they can’t spend a few days for the play. How many movie days, and in-service days, and days off to they normally get in the year. And they are assuming the play doesn’t teach them anything; they probably learn more from things like that than otherwise.

    At my school we took a day off for a walk-a-thon; I mean shilling for a school fundraiser. Yeah you don’t see them cancelling that do you

  2. I’LL BET THE PLAY WOULD CONTINUE UNMOLESTED IF THE LINE WAS “ALLAHU AKBAR”.

  3. Suits me. After watching it last night I realize A Christmas Carol is socialist propaganda. Cancel it.

    1. Really? Scrooge (pre-reform) says he doesn’t want to give to charity because his taxes already support workhouses and prisons.

      Scrooge (post-reform) gives from his own money (not someone else’s) to get Cratchit a goose and get Tiny Tim some medical treatment.

      See here.

      And here.

      (“Though the protagonist throughout A Christmas Carol might be Bob Cratchit, there are sympathetic characters who are in fact capitalists. Fezziwig, a man of business, nevertheless treats his employees like family. And then there are the easily overlooked “portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold,” collecting money to “buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.”)

        1. Again:

          “When Scrooge tells a gentleman who seeks help, he merely retorts, “Are there no poor houses?” His retort represents a problem of the welfare state as he simply refuses to give because he has already given to the government.”

        2. What Was Charles Dickens Really Doing When He Wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’?

          Not sucking at writing like in all his other works.

          1. Bear in mind that you’re not the sex Dickens was aiming at with his works.

            1. “*My* “Tim” ain’t tiny!”

              “Oooh, *Charles*!”

          2. Is Little Nell alive?

          3. “Not sucking at writing like in all his other works”

            /drops gloves, hesitates, picks one back up and slaps T&T with it.

            Dickens is sublime. Nuance, atmosphere, humor, insight into the human condition…it’s not action packed or preachy, just brilliant.

          4. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

            1. Can’t stand CD.

      1. yeah, really. There are a couple of scenes, at least in the version I saw last night, where characters give long winded socialist screeds. Most notably the ghost of Scrooges ex partner Jacob Marley.

        1. Speeches in favor of a government-managed economy and welfare state?

          Because the only pro-welfare-state speech I remember is that of pre-reform Scrooge, with his endorsement of workhouses and prisons.

  4. I got the lead in the elementary school plays we did. Not because I have any acting ability, but because the teachers thought I could remember the lines.

    Of course, it also meant having to wear tights to play the Pied Piper of Hameln. I can still recall the horror of being able to see my undies through the white tights. 🙂

    1. What does your therapist think that means?

  5. Damn! and this year the ghost of Xmas future was going to be a thinly veiled Trump caricature.

  6. I hope they didn’t cancel the Festivus celebration.

    1. Don’t be silly.

      No one celebrates Festivus.

      1. In former Soviet Russia, Festivus grievance airs YOU!

  7. I can understand why a brainless Occupy type would try to fit A Christmas Carol into a socialist straitjacket. Occupy people are idiots.

    And I can understand why someone like Ayn Rand would reject a story which is full of altruist and Christian ideas.

    I really don’t see how you can denounce post-enlightenment Scrooge without also denouncing Andrew Carnegie. They both had altruistic, religion-based ideas of how to spend their money. *Their* money.

    1. Carnegie did more good before he sold US Steel.

      Afterwards, he was producing nothing and subsisted entirely on burn time from initial capital investment.

    2. Speaking of Rand, the SIL magazine once had an objectivist Christmas Carol parody that ended with Tiny Tim telling Scrooge, “I’ll buy my own damn crutches!”

  8. Christmas Carol II: The wrath of Tiny Tim

    1. He tasks me, and I shall have him. I’ll chase him round an undigested bit of beef, and round a blot of mustard, and round a crumb of cheese, and round a fragment of underdone potato before I give him up!

      1. Fist is acting weird today.

        1. For humbug’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

          1. Don’t blame me. That reference wasn’t in The Flintstone’s version.

          2. FIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSST!!!!!!!!

  9. Next year they should perform “Scrooged.”

    1. Yule love it!

      1. Yule love it!

        Let’s be honest Lou, you paid for the women!

  10. I’d agree if they were teaching them anything worth a shit. But no, social studies.

  11. They say that after more than four decades they realized that it took students out of the classroom, where they should be studying

    “God infuse us with knowledge, everyone!”

    1. ^For those playing at home, by,”…knowledge…,” he means vodka, infused with bacon, vanilla bean, and pomegranate flavoured essence…

      1. … But I already ate the bacon! Now I’m going to have to get more if I’m going to infuse the vodka.

      2. You know me like a book, Doc.

        “In knowledge there is truth.”

    2. They say that after more than four decades they realized that it took students out of the classroom, where they should be studying

      For “educators,” they’re kinda slow up the learning curve.

    1. Was the patient about to destroy evidence?

    2. He ran right at us! And he was barking!

      1. And he was brandishing a spork!

  12. Well, the whiniest two assholes in any crowd deciding things for everyone else, that’s the way things were intended to work, right?

  13. What I want to know is, did the fifth graders learn more by observing a few joyless PC thugs shut down a school play by intimidating a bunch of spineless unprincipled bureaucrats than they would have learned by studying Dickens’ and his vivid commentary on the human condition in Victorian England? You know, “God bless us, everyone!” isn’t a violation of the separation of Church and State, it’s a line from a play. It’s an expression of joy at the fact that a miserable old bastard has finally figured out that money doesn’t buy happiness, that good friends and good times are more valuable than gold.

    When I was in the fifth grade, we did Tom Sawyer and we built and painted the backdrops, scrounged up the sets, learned how to operate the lights and sound system (primitive as they were), supplied and manned the concession stand, wrote and printed up the little programs, set up the chairs in the gym and put them all away afterward – in short, learned what all goes into putting on a play and how what goes on on stage is only half of it. Learned a little appreciation for how shit doesn’t just magically appear, there’s a lot of hard teamwork going on you don’t see and everybody’s got an important part to play in getting something accomplished.

    But I’m sure a lesson about teamwork and accomplishment ain’t something you want to be teaching the kiddies these days.

    1. did the fifth graders learn more by observing a few joyless PC thugs shut down a school play by intimidating a bunch of spineless unprincipled bureaucrats than they would have learned by studying Dickens’ and his vivid commentary on the human condition in Victorian England?

      One hopes so.

      /Ghost of Christmas Future

    2. They saw the complainers flee ahead of the community outrage.

  14. I heard it was cancelled because, in some of the costumes, you could see cast members’ nipples!

  15. You forgot to mention the part about how the family, who are Jewish, were then doxxed by neo-Nazis. (It’s unclear whether the family actually then fled for their safety, or were already going on vacation anyway — there are reports claiming both things.)

    1. So? Let the SJW/PC asses run for a change. Let them be on the receiving end of the punishments they dish out to others with such joy.

      Maybe, next time, they’ll think twice.

      And if they were complaining about the line ‘god bless us, every one!’ they’re not Jews. They’re atheists.

    2. Well, that and the fact that the school district itself is saying there was in fact no complaint:
      “There was no complaint,” the school district wrote about the matter on its website. “Questions were asked about play processes and procedures. The decision had nothing to do with a religious concern; rather, the decision was made due to the amount of instructional time that this non-curricular activity had grown to require.”
      http://www.philly.com/philly/b…..ounty.html

      But hey, the crowd wants to hate and it’s apparently very important that a publicly funded school be spending time/resources on a holiday play, so “Suck it SJW!!!!”

    3. “Was it a complaint about the line “God bless us, every one!” that prompted reassessment of the play?
      Absolutely not.”

      “Was there a religious issue in the complaint?
      There was no complaint. Questions were asked about play processes and procedures. The decision had
      nothing to do with a religious concern; rather, the decision was made due to the amount of instructional
      time that this non-curricular activity had grown to require.”

    4. “Why did the play not occur this year?
      The play did not occur this year due to the amount of instructional time this production had grown to
      consume. As Mr. Kramer worked with the 5th grade teaching team to understand what putting on the
      play entailed, it became clear that the teachers had concerns about committing roughly 20 hours of
      instructional time to something that is not part of the fifth grade curriculum. To provide some
      perspective about how this might impact instruction, committing 20 hours of instructional time to the
      play would be roughly equivalent to foregoing math instruction for students for one month, in that one
      hour of math is taught each day of the week for four weeks.”

    5. cont’d…
      “Given the desire to ensure available instructional time is used to best meet the diverse educational needs of their students, and to not disadvantage students relative to their fifth grade peers across the district, the teachers and Mr. Kramer came to the decision not to conduct the play this year as it has been done in the past.
      Mr. Kramer did explore with the teaching team, and other members of the CES staff, possibilities for
      continuing the play with production time falling during non-core instructional time. This would have
      involved a different level of commitment and coordination across the building and there was not
      sufficient support for doing the play in this way. Mr. Kramer also offered to work with interested staff
      and/or parents after school in order for the play to continue. However, no one was either able or
      interested to assist with producing the play after school hours. Had the primary concern been with the
      content of the play, possibilities for continuing the play would not have been sought by Mr. Kramer.”

      http://www.hempfieldsd.org/cms…..ESplay.pdf

      So basically, you’ve got mandatory participation in a religious holiday play. How very libertarian. And when asked to work on this beloved tradition off the government’s time, no one could be bothered. Yep, that def looks like they’ve declared War On Christmas.

    6. Forgot to cite the part where participation was mandatory:
      How long had the fifth graders been doing the play? Was it voluntary or mandatory?
      The fifth grade play goes back many years, 20 or more. Because it was done during instructional time, all
      fifth grade students were required to participate. The play was planned by the fifth grade teaching team
      and practiced by students during the school day.

      1. So basically, it cut into the time students need to learn how to pass the standardized testing required in order to even graduate, and thereby increase funding and revenue for the school administration.

  16. This SJW/PC bullshit really just comes down to an asshole or few who have learned that they can wag the fucking dog for whatever opportunity offends them. That and a dumb ass government that provides legal redress for their manipulative pleasure.

    Perhaps this would be a good time to write our lawmakers and demand that overreaching regulatory agencies [Education and OCR come to mind] be shut down.

  17. The Brickbat doesn’t mention the family was run out of town after the community uproar.

  18. I came here for Bill Murray and got nothing…

  19. I’ve been assured repeatedly by Reason writers that the “War on Christmas” is a fabrication of the persecution complexes of privileged white Evangelical Christians, but that they richly deserve a war on their holiday anyway for being such culturally imperialistic fascists. Students shouldn’t be performing any extracurricular activities on the state’s dime in which they might engage even tangentially with ideas that could be construed as religious. So this is good news.

    1. The ‘states dime,’ hmm that dime looks like one of mine.

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