An Art Christmas Carol - The Ghost of Christmas Present
Ebenezer Scrooge saved his soul, and today the challenge is to save all our souls
Ebenezer blinked. Ted Content Guy was gone and a new apparition appeared before his eyes.
A large jolly spirit, laughed in good cheer. The spirit turned his bright eyes on Ebenezer and said in a deep, yet gentle voice, “Touch my garment, Ebenezer, for I am the art ghost of Christmas present, come and see things as they are. . . .”
Ebenezer reached out a trembling hand and touched the ghost’s robe and instantly found them both hurtling through the air, flying above the streets of New York. They flew over the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, over Central Park, over the SOHO galleries. Out, out, out….to the lowly suburbs.
They landed in front of a small home. There was a minivan parked in the driveway.
“Where are we?” Ebenezer asked, disgusted.
“We’re in front of a house.”
“How awful this place is spirit! Are you telling me people actually live here? Let’s go back to the city! Why are we here?”
“That is what you must decide.” Answered the spirit.
Ebenezer looked through the window. There was a family there. It was Bob, his assistant. He was talking with his small son, yes, if he strained, Ebenezer could just hear the conversation.
“You see, Tim, this one is by Renoir.” said Bob, who appeared to be showing his son, Tiny Tim, great artworks by past masters.
Bob continued, “The Impressionists experimented with new techniques, they tried different ways of applying color. They wanted to find ways to more accurately express the beauty that they were seeing in the natural landscape. Here, look how beautiful this next one is….”
Bah! Humbug! thought Ebenezer. Beauty? He expected such antiquated concepts from Bob, but he was now infecting the next generation too? What difference did beauty make in a world where success, where money, depended upon feeding the machine algorithm an ever increasing amount of content? Bob should be teaching Tiny Tim how to game the Instagram algorithm! How to make Reels!
How could their online content aggregator thrive when there were prudes such as Bob around still espousing things like beauty? Didn’t Bob understand that online attention is all that matters anymore? We live in an “attention economy” now. Really, he would have to sit Bob down and have a talk with him . . .
“Oh Dad! I want to be an artist! I want to paint like the Impressionists! Can I work some more on my painting now?” Tim then went into a fit of coughs.
“Sure Tim! Let me set up your easel.” Bob replied.
Ebenezer suppressed a laugh. Paint like the Impressionists, indeed! Everyone knows the real action these days is in developing memes that can spread quickly across social networks. He thought about the guy who taped a banana to a blank canvas. Now that guy was a visionary! What a concept! That’s something you could sell t-shirts of! You could even sell courses, people could do it with apples, with oranges, there are all kinds of fruit and vegetables you could use to make memes. “Poor Tim”, Ebenezer muttered, “he’ll be doomed to a life of artistic insignificance, no content site or social media algorithm will ever take him seriously.”
The spirit heard Ebenezer’s mutterings and commanded, “Look through the window.”
What Ebenezer saw was astounding. Tim was sitting in front of an easel. His left arm was in some sort of brace and didn’t look very usable. His right arm. However, he could move, but it looked like it caused Tim great effort and pain to take each brush stroke. He coughed nearly continuously. He was obviously a very sick boy.
However, Tim was fighting the pain and was working on a nearly completed painting. Ebenezer’s eyes moved over to the canvas and, for just a moment, he was amazed. There, on the easel, was an exceptionally good copy of Monet’s Water Lily Pond.
“The boy does have talent.” Ebenezer mumbled. "Ghost," said Ebenezer, with a strange wave of emotion, "Will Tim live?"
“That is the future, Ebenezer, and I understand only the present.”
“I must know,” Ebenezer pressed.
"Very well, I see an empty easel" replied the Spirit, "and a brush without an owner. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the boy will die, and his art with him."
Stay Tuned for Part 3, and the conclusion of An Art Christmas Carol in our next newsletter….