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Tony Grist

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Misers [Dec. 14th, 2005|11:48 am]
Tony Grist
Whatever happened to the misers?

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries people loved their misers. There was a whole literature about them. They were mean, they stank, they hid guineas in dung-heaps, they made pies out of long dead sheep. Mr Boffin in Our Mutual Friend is an avid collector and consumer of miser-porn. Daniel Dancer, John Elwes, Vulture Hopkins- these guys were famous.

There were famous fictional misers too- Scrooge, Silas Marner, Uncle Ebenezer Balfour.

But then along came the 20th century and misers- both real and fictional- dropped out of sight.

So why don't we have them any more?

[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2005-12-14 06:51 am (UTC)
Capitalism; there's no greater enemy to it than a miser, so it was the first thing to go. No one wants to be a Scrooge! (And those who are keep it to themselves as much as possible, 'cause they're really going to hear it if they don't.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-14 08:26 am (UTC)
But Scrooge was a capitalist. He raked the money in and then sat on it.

The real, old-time misers couldn't help themselves; it was a form of mental illness. The strange thing is it seems to be a form of mental illness that has died out- or has it?
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2005-12-14 09:52 am (UTC)
That's not a good capitalist, that's a bad capitalist; the money must be spent!

Perhaps the actual mental illness kind has reduced; it's been a long time since the "Western world" has faced a time of serious deprivation, and it makes sense that that would have been a strong trigger for that kind of problem.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-15 02:20 am (UTC)
So the miser is the person who dams up the flow of capital and prevents the system from working as it should- hmm, yes, I get your point.

I think you're right about deprivation.
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