big questions, stories, Uncategorized

A Tale of Two Lists

two lists muppets

Let’s talk about Ebenezer Scrooge, being that it’s December and all. I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve read A Christmas Carol (or watched the 1992 Muppet movie version of it, which by the way is fantastic), but Scrooge is actually a pretty complex guy. He experiences fear and regret and loneliness, just like anyone. He has memories of love—and of heartbreak. And most importantly, he courageously allows himself to undergo a deep and genuine transformation in a very short period of time, becoming a much kinder, more generous, and more caring person.

However, when we refer to someone as “a Scrooge”, do we mean that they’ve recently gone through a positive, life-altering transformation? Uh, no. We mean that they hoard their money and refuse to give any of it away to help others—in other words, that they’re selfish. We remember Scrooge as someone who forces his employees to come in on holidays, keeps the heat turned down so low that those same employees are constantly shivering, and refuses to give a single penny to charity. Scrooge’s complex humanity falls away, and only a two-dimensional symbol of selfishness remains.

Stories that contain strong themes of right and wrong, good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains, are deeply embedded in our culture. It’s true that the tellers and writers of these stories often take care to portray the “villains” as three-dimensional human beings with journeys of their own. However, I for one still find that I end up with two overarching categories, or lists, in my mind. The first one looks something like this:

List One
Ebenezer Scrooge
Voldemort
The Grinch
Darth Vader
The Wicked Witch of the West
Cruella de Vil

And the second one looks something like this:

List Two
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim
Harry Potter
the Whos of Whoville
Luke Skywalker
Dorothy Gale
adorable Dalmatian puppies

Even though we know that most of the people on List One have pretty complex narratives (Scrooge and the Grinch change their minds, and we know a great deal about the backstories of Voldemort and Darth Vader), I’d argue that we still pretty much categorize them as bad guys. Pretty much everyone on List Two, however, is remembered for trying to banish evil from the world/galaxy, or for simply being kind to others (or, in the case of the puppies, just hanging out being cute).

But here’s something else that’s interesting. The people on List One aren’t just mean. They’re mean and rich (or at least trying really hard to get rich). A corresponding theme, also interesting, is that nobody on List Two is actively trying to get rich (Harry Potter is already rich, but he has other problems).

These are pretty common tropes. Think of the number of books and movies out there in which “rich” is lumped together with “bad”, while “poor” is lumped together with “good”. Here are just a few more that I can think of off the top of my head:

  • “The Gift of the Magi”: A short story about a poor couple who give each other gifts that turn out to be useless. The moral of the story is that although they are poor, they are wise and loving.
  • Moulin Rouge!: a “penniless writer” and a prostitute risk everything for love. The rich guy is the bad guy.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Charlie, a sweet and angelic boy, shares a tiny house with his parents and four grandparents, who are too poor to afford a chocolate bar. (Ok, there’s no real villain in this one, but you get the picture. Plus the other children, all from somewhat richer families, are portrayed as being greedy and selfish.)

It’s easy to divide the world up into dichotomies. We are great at this, especially when it comes to moral characteristics like selfish vs. generous, or financial categories like rich vs. poor. But the real world is more complicated than that. If you’re poor, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a kind or generous person. And if you’re rich, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not those things.

On the other hand, I think it would also be an oversimplification to say there is never a relationship between money and morals. A certain subset of rich people in the real world make their money by taking advantage of others, and a certain subset of poor people in the real world are poor because they choose to make helping others their number one priority. And let’s also note that at least some professions that have a strong focus on trying to make the world a better place (I’m thinking teachers, and employees of non-profits) involve lower salaries than a lot of other types of jobs.

To complicate things even further, it is probably generally useless to attach definitive labels to people, since everyone always has the capacity to choose to be kind or generous (or not) in any given moment. Wealth, too, is a continuum: we can’t categorize people as just “rich” and “poor”. And there’s a big difference between trying to take care of yourself and your family financially (think Bob Cratchit) and aiming to trample other people in a quest for extreme riches.

Stories with heroes and villains are here to stay. And that’s a good thing, because stories are awesome. But there are a couple of things I’m still curious about:

First, what impact does the rich/bad vs. poor/good dichotomy that we so often see in stories have on how we think about ourselves and others? Do archetypes of selfishness like Scrooge function as cautionary tales, encouraging people to be kinder and more generous? Are they helpful in teaching children (and adults) the difference between right and wrong? Or do they encourage us to reduce ourselves and others to two-dimensional stereotypes?

Second, what exactly is the difference between the type of wealth-building that involves taking care of ourselves and the type of wealth-building that directly or indirectly has a negative impact on others? I think that in a lot of situations these two types may be pretty easy to distinguish, but I also think there are situations (and perhaps professions) where this issue can get a bit murky. How can one distinguish between the two?

I don’t have any answers on either of these points, but I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts.

And truly, I just want to put in one more plug for the Muppet Christmas Carol. I would venture to say that even if you don’t celebrate Christmas at all, you might still love this film. It’s funny, joyous, uplifting, and has great music (and, FYI, there is no mention of religion).

What do you think about any of this? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

43 Comments on “A Tale of Two Lists

  1. Oh my goodness I have So Many Thoughts right now!

    As someone who works in marketing, early in my career I had to contend with what I would and would not be comfortable spending my career selling to other people. I spent a summer working in fashion marketing, and while I wasn’t totally opposed to it, it also seemed like enh, do I really want to spend my life selling teen girls clothes they don’t need?

    There’s also a big correlation between the jobs that pay really well – marketing at cigarette companies pays a mint, apparently – and the ones that don’t have the best impact on the world. I decided early on that I wouldn’t spend my time or my energy marketing for tobacco companies, packaged processed foods or soda, because I just do. not. think. they make anyone’s life any better. In fact, I believe they all make people’s lives worse to different degrees.

    That said, I have no problem making a fortune selling people something that will really help them! Not that I’m making a fortune – but like, if it was an option and didn’t ruin anyone else’s life? I’m into it.

    And one that I can’t forget to mention: if you haven’t read Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, you really, really should! I know the musical is this big phenomenon, but the book is even better, and he’s taken a similar approach to a few different fairy tales in his other books. He recasts the “villain” as the hero of the story, and shows you a totally empathetic narrative of how they got to the place where they take the actions that are so vilified in the original tales.

    1. Ok ONE LAST THING: I adore the Grinch. Is that weird? I have more Grinch decorations than I do regular decorations. Maybe it’s because he’s targeted at kids but like, I cannot take him seriously as a villain. He’s too snuggly.

    2. Ooh, marketing, what a good example! So you’ve had to actually confront these questions. Fascinating. I could see how it could get tough having to make a call about what you’re okay with selling to people, but it sounds like you’ve drawn some hard boundaries about certain things you’re not willing to promote. Good for you!

      I got the chance to see Wicked in New York a couple of months ago, and loved it, but I haven’t checked out the book. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  2. Wow, really food for thought. (And I love the Muppet Christmas Carol, too!)
    One thing I think is that in the real world we see some big names trying to change the narrative. Buffett, Gates and now Zuckerberg, having made their fortunes, are pledging to do good with it and give most to charity and do good. They may not use their money to support the causes I might like best, but it’s still more of “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility” story than “The Love of Money is the Root of all Evil.”

    Maybe that’s always been true. There’s always been great philanthropists, and Horatio Alger made a name by pushing the Rags to Riches story. But most of us aren’t wealthy, and so I think we rarely relate to the Blanes as much as we do the Duckies.

    1. These are such good points, Emily. There are definitely wealthy people who are consciously choosing to put their money to good use. I really need to look up more info on the Gates Foundation, but my understanding is that they have a ton of humanitarian projects going on in the developing world. (I also read that Bill and Melinda Gates plan to leave relatively little money to their own children because they want them to value hard work and make their own way in the world.)

      Haha, the Blanes and the Duckies. Love it! And I agree with that point as well: it makes for a better and more relatable story if the protagonist is struggling against villains and/or adverse events.

  3. Muppet Christmas Carol is my absolute favorite Christmas movie and it is our Christmas eve tradition! The problem with society that the PF blogger community often discusses is that the real rich are not flaunting their richness. Because everyone assumes they are poor, the villains in the story become how we picture rich people. They hoard. (Scrooge McDuck!) The poor are humble. When you have less, you are more charitable and more grateful. If you are the magic person that is able to strike the perfect balance between being wealthy and also being grateful, charitable, and humble, then you have won at life. But that’s hard. In our money saving journeys, we often get selfish. And we become a bit like Scrooge (pre-change). The goal is to avoid that. And we teach our children not that we can’t afford things, but that we choose not to spend money on that so we can spend money on other things. Then our kids don’t think we’re poor because we’re not. We are lucky to have more than enough for our needs. And because of that, we get to make conscious choices about where that money goes.

    1. Yay, Maggie, I’m so glad you love the Muppet Christmas Carol! And how cool that your kids get to grow up watching it. I just never get tired of it. Gonzo, Michael Caine, the music — it’s amazing.

      It’s so funny to me that people are mentioning Scrooge McDuck, because I think I only saw Duck Tales once or twice growing up, and so I can’t remember much about him. Hopefully he was at least nice to his own nephews. :/ And yes, I totally agree with you that learning to save money is a journey that may have many different phases (including opportunities for selfishness). Being and staying conscious about our reasons for saving is probably key. It’s pretty awesome that you’re teaching your kids about conscious spending and saving at a young age.

        1. hahahahaha, no way! I’m glad someone’s keeping track of these things. If I recall, he had a whole silo full of gold, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s the winner. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  4. I know you go for the high brow literature on your blog, but there are TONS of movie examples of this, too — the villians in James Bond movies are ALWAYS rich and evil (and one-dimensional), for example, and same for all the comic book movies. In fact, it’s always felt weird to me that Bruce Wayne is a hero when he’s so rich (though, admittedly, Batman is complicated), and it was felt SUPER weird that Harry Potter is rich. (I’ve wondered, actually, if JK Rowling wishes she could go back and change that, or at least make Harry Potter middle class, like she recently admitted she should have had Harry and Hermione end up together.) But there is something so true about all of this — we associate classic heroes with poverty or at least modest means, and classic villains with greed. Perhaps it’s because it’s easier to write a non-violent villain as greedy than as just about any other quality (adulterous? I can’t think of many other negative but non-violent qualities!). And you’re so right that Scrooge is actually there hero of the Dickens tale, and we should be lauding his change of heart. But our popular imagination just refuses to embrace complexity, it seems! (BTW — You should totally write the “sorting hat” post if you feel up to it — you merge literature and PF so seamlessly over here, and I think you’d do it more justice!) xoxo

    1. Hahaha, I love that I get called “high-brow” for talking about the Muppets and Harry Potter and Dr. Seuss! 🙂 I’ve actually had people tell me that they can’t stand the Harry Potter books because they aren’t literary enough. Oh, and the reason I left superheroes off the list is because I have never been into those characters/books and so know nothing whatsoever about any of them! I do think the James Bond villains are good examples, though very one-dimensional, as you point out.

      Wait, WHAT? J.K. Rowling seriously said she should have had Harry and Hermione end up together? Seriously??? I need to go do some googling. I do think it’s worth pointing out that Harry was raised in a fairly modest household (and slept in a closet no less), so even though he’s technically rich, he also has kind of working/middle-class sensibilities.

      I don’t know what we’re going to do about this Sorting Hat idea! I will think a bit about how I could turn it into a post. But you definitely still get first dibs if you want. 🙂

  5. Going on a few tangents here, bear w/ me 🙂

    I’m one of those weird guys that root for villains in movies. Not because I’m an evil man, mind you. I just think it makes 99% of movies and shows way too predictable. I haven’t seen the latest Bond movie, but I’m pretty sure he vanquishes the bad guy after appearing to be put in a life threatening predicament that he manages to escape from. So you watch movies like that (and the Avengers) and wonder how the hero will win instead of IF the hero will win.

    Regarding Scrooge – I usually think of McDuck. I always thought he was a hero! He took in his nephews and beat the Beagle Boys all the time. He just got a bad rap because he was rich. He did lose a lot of value on his $$ by having a huge vault of cash everywhere instead of investing it or putting it in a savings account.

    I think it’s just easier to digest in media by having similar stereotypes – rich and bad vs. poor and good. Shades of gray take a lot more subtlety to get right. There does need to be more stories of wealthy, privileged and doing good for the world. I can’t think of too many current stories like that, but I do think of villains in the fictional drama Keeping Up With the Kardashians. 🙂

    BTW – my first job outta college was in Real Estate – while there are some good people, it did appear that the more “evil” you were the more successful and rich you were. At least in that setting.

    1. What a great comment, Vic! That is a really great point about Scrooge McDuck losing out on investments, hahahaha. My brothers were really into that show, whereas I only saw it a couple of times, but I do remember the big silo of gold.

      I love that you root for the villains in movies. 🙂 I definitely agree that too much predictability can get tiring. I tend to like movies where there is no clear hero, either because there just isn’t one main character or because the protagonist is too deeply flawed to qualify as a hero.

      Regarding fictional characters who are trying to do good, I agree that there aren’t a lot out there. But as Emily commented above, there are definitely *real* rich people who are trying to do good for the world, for example Bill and Melinda Gates. Hopefully they’re encouraging other wealthy people to do the same thing!

      1. More tangents…

        Oh the anti-hero! I think those shows and movies end up making the main characters the hero even though they do terrible things as you end up cheering for Walter White or Tony Soprano to win. Even Hannibal Lectar was somewhat of a hero – and he ate people!

        I do like those ensemble pieces where everyone is all shades of gray. I used to watch a lot of independent art house films like that back in my day but am very limited these days in how much I watch w/ the kiddo. These days I only have time for the occasional popcorn movie from Redbox. I have gotten more into TV these days bc they’re more bite sized.

        Oh yes there are indeed good rich people in real life. Mark Zuckerberg giving most of his fortune away is an awesome story. Which still leaves him with hundreds of millions. Crazy. I need to come up with the next big social network. You with me? 🙂

        1. Oh right, anti-hero, that’s the term for that!

          Oh, I am definitely with you on the social network: in fact, I wish I had *any* type of business idea. I’ve been listening to the podcast StartUp recently and it makes me want to be an entrepreneur! But yeah, having a business idea is probably key… 🙂

  6. Honestly? More people can relate to poor people than rich people. Yes, some are born into wealth and only know wealth, but they tend to at least pity poor people (that could be a whole series of blog posts….). Let’s be honest: it’s easy to hate rich, mean people! And stories are about selling something. A movie, a book, etc. So I think marketing and sales come into play, even if it’s subconscious.

    1. Ah, that’s a good point, DC. I truly hadn’t thought of that while I was writing…And not only is it easier to relate to poor people and hate rich people, any good story needs the protagonist to be struggling against something…and if you’re already super rich and have all the power, you probably don’t have much to struggle against.
      Hm, and actually I think the marketing concept applies really well to Dickens — he was writing serially, so was probably trying to make money and get a larger audience from week week.
      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  7. I am running out the door, but I just wanted to say what a gifted writer you are, Sarah! Oh, I have so many thoughts on this…….

  8. I love it! I am in social work, so I my thought is: I’m giving where I can, and will do that for as long as I can (burnout is high in my field). Its a phase in life, and I hope I also get to a super comfortable, verging on rich phase, too. They may overlap, they may not, but I will be the same person regardless!

    1. Ah, social work, another example of a profession that is doing great things for the world and unfortunately underpaid (or at least that is my understanding). I really admire you for doing that kind of work — I’m sure that no matter when (or if) you decide to do something else eventually, you’ll have touched a lot of lives.

  9. Wow…just, wow. I am blown away just a bit – so many great thoughts! This is honestly a topic/discussion I would like to further develop on – maybe in the future you could schedule a Google hangout for people to attend & chat? 🙂

    First of all, absolutely love your examples. Muppets Christmas is a classic! Sometimes I feel like entertainment & movies over utilize dichotomies because it allows people to categorize information feasibly. The issue is that these presentations lend people to develop thoughts on stances that cannot be mutually exclusive. Luckily, when you’re older you can sort the differences and challenge the themes. When you’re younger & figuring out your way in the world – this is our main exposure. Rich = Bad, Poor = Good. Yikes!

    Your second point on wealth building that directly or indirectly has a negative impact on others…oh. my. goodness. Your words are singing to me! I think this is where a vast majority of people fall into some form of a trap. You start on a career path, that has promising pay & career advancement, great benefits, move up & up – but it’s just a “job.” A job that, even if it impacts others negatively, you keep going for the wealth building.

    Goodness, you bring up so many great points but I need to stop here before I write paragraphs! 🙂

    1. Hey Alyssa 🙂 I’m glad you liked it! Yeah, dichotomies are definitely easier to digest than anything that’s nuanced. I still really can’t figure out if I think dichotomies are helpful in simplifying things, or unhelpful because they’re stripping away important complexities. And YES, I can so imagine that the good vs. bad versions of building wealth are not so easy to distinguish when you’re confronting them in real life. I’m sure that many people who are taking advantage of others tell themselves they’re just cutting harmless corners…

      And as for coordinating a google hangout, that’s a cool idea! I’m definitely interested in doing stuff like that. I feel like there are so many cool options out there for connecting with people; I just haven’t gotten it together to figure out what they are and how to coordinate them, so at the moment I’m still just writing blog posts. 🙂 Have you hosted google hangouts via your blog?

    2. Oh, and by the way, if you have more thoughts maybe you could put them into a blog post! I’d love to read it. 🙂 I also love the idea of doing a link-up (is that the word I’m looking for?) where different bloggers could all post their take on a given topic.

        1. Ooh, giving a topic ahead of time, that’s an interesting idea. Linking posts is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while, but I will think about it more consciously in the near future. I think it could be fun! 🙂

      1. I have not hosted a Google hangouts via my blog yet, but it’s been something I’ve been contemplating because I think it would be incredible to chat with everyone I’ve been able to connect with via social media & comments! I’m going to look into that, maybe we could create something. 🙂 I would love to take that on and place my thoughts in a blog post! Reading the comments section, I think a lot of people would be interested in doing so and I would love to see the expansion of thoughts. I could create a post & send it over your way for review before posting in the future (I just want to make sure that you get credit/input since this was your original amazing idea)! 🙂

        1. Ok, I’m starting to have an avalanche of ideas about how to connect people together. 🙂 I’ll try to get them straight in my mind in the near future. But in terms of this rich/poor/good/evil topic, I’d say take it and run with it!

  10. I love watching Muppet Christmas Carol! Every time the vegetable yells, “Help, help! I’m being stolen!” I giggle.

    Unfortunately, only having it on VHS has meant no movie these last few years. But I’m seriously considering just getting it on Amazon for $9.99.

    I think you’re right that there’s an interesting tie between riches and meanness. And of course, there’s some truth to the idea that rich people didn’t get rich by giving their money away. But then there are very generous rich people, even beyond Mark Zuckerberg, the Gates and Mr. Buffett.

    1. There are actually a lot of studies demonstrating that poor people are far more generous (relative to their means) than rich people are (relative to theirs.) To make a very long story short, it’s basically because the rich don’t have much empathy with the non-rich; their social circle is primarily limited to their class peers, and they simply don’t know a lot of people who struggle financially. The less well off, on the other hand, tend to have personal experience with being in need, or at least know some people who do, and therefore tend to give more. Plus, a lot of giving by the rich amounts to enriching (as it were) their own peers/cultural environment: building buildings at Harvard, endowing the New York Philharmonic. Not that either of those things is inherently BAD, but it’s not the same as providing scholarships to state university students in Iowa.

      1. Again, such a good point. I tend to automatically lump “the arts” and “educational institutions” together with all other “good causes”, which I do think is true to some extent, but that’s such a great point that for rich donors these sorts of gifts can often be very peer-specific.

        And as someone who lives within ten minutes’ walking distance of Harvard Yard, I can confirm that they have some pretty nice buildings.

    2. Seriously, that movie is hilarious. I like the meeces. 🙂 Also the random lobsters waving their claws at the very end. And Michael Caine is amazing. I actually don’t own it myself — I just borrow it from the public library. Maybe you could do that?

  11. As usual, a great and thoughtful post. I think that the answer to the second question:

    “what exactly is the difference between the type of wealth-building that involves taking care of ourselves and the type of wealth-building that directly or indirectly has a negative impact on others?”

    is actually always murky. Perhaps in some cases it’s very clear (building wealth through arms dealing or ripping off the old lady next door with shady insurance sales) but in many cases, say the one we’re basically all pursuing of investing in the stock market, it’s dodgy at best. The problem with the stock market is that we have very little way of realistically evaluating the social impact of the companies themselves (in fact, we know that many of them have major negative impacts) — and even worse, it’s not all that clear to me that building wealth, period, is a social good. I am definitely participating in self-care when I invest in the market or save money rather than giving excess away, and I don’t intend to stop, but it definitely makes me morally uncomfortable, and I think it should, because it’s a morally ambiguous (at best) practice.

    1. This comment is like a post in and of itself. I am absolutely with you on the moral ambiguity and uncomfortableness of wealth-building. I think this is actually a huge part of the reason why I was never focused on my finances until recently — the idea of “making money” just made me uncomfortable. But then of course if you don’t pay attention to money you end up with debt, and that’s also very uncomfortable, though in a different way.

      The stock market…yes…I recently moved my 401(k) into a socially responsible portfolio, and then later I read an opinion piece arguing that since the stock market is one degree removed from the actual success of the company, your investment has no impact and therefore you might as well invest in whatever companies are going to make you the most money. So now I’m totally confused…

      Anyway, I think you raise some super important points here.

  12. Ah, the eternal struggle of the proletariat v. the bourgeoisie, the working class v. the gentry class. It is so prevalent in literature and film that one would think we have nothing else to discuss in life other than money. I think your comments about the complexities of characters, rich or poor, are spot on (I’m including the characters we encounter in real life, too). Life is complicated, people are complicated and neither should be seen purely as the 1-D we perceive.

    Muppets’ Christmas Carol is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. Michael Caine is the best! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you understand the joys of the Muppet Christmas Carol! I’m actually not very into Christmas, but I just LOVE that film.
      Yeah, it’s true, money is a pretty ubiquitous topic. In the pf world we like to say that money = choice (and I do believe that’s true), but I suppose it would also be true to say that money = power…which I guess is always something that people are going to be interested in.

  13. Such a phenomenal post, as usual. All of the money tropes that we grew up with are actually so dangerous because they become ingrained in our belief system before we even have a chance to question them. It wasn’t until I started to consciously question my beliefs that I realized I believed earning a lot of money was “bad.” But even beyond that, I believed that even WANTING money was bad. I think a lot of that can be traced back to what you’re talking about in your post—the oversimplification of “good” vs. “evil” But I also think that money is a weird thing that possesses a lot of different stigmas.

    For example, as Americans, we tend to believe that having nice, flashy things like expensive cars and huge houses is “good” but my partner is British and they believe the OPPOSITE. Whenever I’m in London with her family and friends, it’s like I’m in an alternate reality where expensive things must be hidden or disgusted so it doesn’t look like you’re “bragging” or being “rude.” Money beliefs, subconscious beliefs and cultural norms about money are SO fascinating and the way you illustrated it with the “villains” is brilliant

    1. Hey Taylor 🙂 I can SO relate to what you’re talking about regarding subconscious beliefs that money is bad, or that wanting money is bad. I actually originally had two paragraphs in this post (which I took out before posting) about my own experience of being in college and actively *not* choosing a lucrative career path because I felt like that would make me a bad person.

      That’s really interesting about Britain vs. the U.S. I actually studied abroad in London, but unlike you I didn’t really get to know any British people, so I don’t think I had much of an insight into cultural beliefs. On a related note, I’m SO jealous that you get to go to London — it’s one of my favorite places in the world and I haven’t been there in forever. Say hello to it for me next time you’re there! 🙂

  14. You had me at Muppet Christmas carol. I found this post to be really thought provoking. It is true, we tend to demonize the wealthy. We do this even with real life examples of the richest people using money to help others.

    I also realized I may be demonizing myself. My husband and I are fortunate to have excellent jobs. We are the upper middle class. We do not have kids. We have a beautiful home. We travel. We have excellent retirement savings. Other than a mortgage, we don’t have debt. We are generous. We live a life we love. Sometimes I feel guilty about this. I don’t want people to know about our successes for fear of being judged. I think that is ridiculous. It shows that we put too much emphasis on income. I am not sure how we go about fixing this. Sigh!

    1. Haha, K, I’m glad you are with me on the amazingness of the Muppet Christmas Carol! It’s seriously one of my favorite films, and I’m not even that into Christmas.

      Thanks for sharing a little about your experiences with money and the emotions that can sometimes be attached to it. I definitely also have a fear of being judged about my money choices (though in my case I’m afraid people will judge me for having taking out too many student loans without thinking carefully about how I would pay them back). I don’t know how to fix this either, but I do believe that it’s really important to think consciously about how we feel about money, and to talk about these issues if/when possible — which for me mostly means talking about them virtually on the blog! 🙂

  15. Wow, I never thought of it like that, but it makes sense. I think it’s easier to relate to the working class hero than rich people. I wonder if we conflate being poor with being moral and rich with being evil? It certainly is illustrated that way in pop culture. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

    1. Hey Melanie 🙂 Yeah, I think that’s a good point that it’s easier for people to relate to a working class hero. Maybe because there are, by definition, more non-rich people than rich people in the world. Or maybe because rich characters are written/perceived as having no problems, which makes them harder to relate to. It’s a tough question to answer. But worth discussing, I think. 🙂

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