So today would’ve been Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday. (If, y’know, people actually lived that long.) I feel like I was reminded of that fact in all sorts of random places on the Internet today, like BBC America’s blog and Uwishunu, VisitPhilly’s blog. (Yes, I follow Philly Tourism on Twitter. It is depressing and inspiring at the same time. And sometimes it reminds me of important stuff, like the Van Gogh exhibit opening at the Art Museum, which I will be home it time to attend.) Hell, even today’s Google Doodle is Dickensian.
The problem with all this Dickens-y stuff is that I really hate the works of Charles Dickens. And I’m not just speaking as someone who’s seen a movie version or two of A Christmas Carol. Although God knows I’ve been inundated with A Christmas Carol; I read it in the seventh or eighth grade, I’ve seen at least half a dozen film adaptations, and I’m pretty sure I saw it performed on stage once when I was in high school. And I do loathe A Christmas Carol. So very much. But I also read Great Expectations and Oliver Twist in high school. And man, did I hate them too. In fact, I don’t even have words to express just how much I disliked Great Expectations (although hate, loathe, despise, and abominate spring to mind).
It was Great Expectations that turned me into a Dickens-hater. Even though I already hated A Christmas Carol, I went in to Great Expectations with an open mind. After all, T. David, my high school English teacher, just gushed about it. It was brutal. I’ve pretty much repressed everything about the novel, but I know I actually read the whole thing (which is more than can be said for pretty much every novel we read in high school English afterwards). Of the three Dickens novels I’ve read, Oliver Twist was the least loathsome. But by that point it was too late, my hatred of Dickens had already been branded on my brain. (Not unlike the hatred of trigonometry I came to know in eleventh grade.)
It would be remiss of me to only speak ill of the dead (especially on his birthday). So I will acknowledge that the only Dickens-y thing I ever enjoyed was the episode of Doctor Who in which the (Ninth) Doctor and Rose meet Charles Dickens. And even then I spent most of the episode disliking Dickens just because he was Charles Dickens.
Also, I just informed the picture of Ben Gibbard that was on my TV that I kick ass for correctly identifying Death Cab’s “Underneath the Sycamore” before the vocal started. That’s a thing normal people do, right? (Maybe I’ve been “watching” too much Music Choice.)