INTERVIEWS WITH THE FAMOUSLY DEPARTED
Charles Dickens Speaks
Interviews with the Famously Departed, seeks to take advantage of the wisdom of the ages. Sure, there’s Oprah, NPR’s Terri Gross, Bill Mahr, and even Martin Short’s Jiminy Glick. However, Wild River Review will not take you back to the future, instead we’ll bring the past to the present.
Political figures, famous writers and artists, local and international players – they’re all here. Well, all there. And we’ve got them. Well they’ve got us, anyway.
With great expectations, we’re delighted to start off with a well-known serial journalist, Charles Dickens, who was born February 7, 1812 in Hampshire, England, died June 9, 1870 in Gad’s Hill Place, England; and is buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, England.
WRR: So Mr. Dickens, are you having a dickens of a time in the afterworld?
Ha. Ha. Very funny. At least you didn’t ask if the afterworld is the best of times or the worst of times like the chuckleheads at the Times of London.
WRR: We’d love to get your opinion on a few of the issues of our day.
A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self. (A Christmas Carol)
WRR: Do you have any advice for lenders and their clients involved in the current mortgage crisis?
Charles Dickens: A person who can’t pay gets another person who can’t pay to guarantee that he can pay. (Little Dorrit)
WRR: Is there hope for our federal budget?
Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin. (Oliver Twist)
WRR: We’re heading into an election year and a case can be made that eight years of controversy during the Clinton Administration has led to eight additional years of controversy during the Bush Administration and four years of stalemate in the Obama administration. Any advice for the candidates?
Accidents will occur in the best-regulated families. (David Copperfield)
WRR: What quality you would like to see in our politicians?
It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. (A Christmas Carol)
WRR: Who, in your opinion, will win the 2012 Presidential election?
The dodgerest of all the dodgers. (Our Mutual Friend)
WRR: What advice do you have for the losing party?
‘Umble we are, ‘umble we have been, ‘umble we shall ever be. (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
WRR: In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful neo-con?
This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in. (The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
WRR: During your lifetime, pollution, especially from coal was a serious problem. What do you think about global warming?
Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it. (A Christmas Carol)
WRR: If horse apples were the scourge of your day, what do you think about SUVs, the CO2 they emit, and the responsibility of the people who drive them?
Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill conditioned state from mere excess of comfort. (Barnaby Rudge)
WRR: You wrote so brilliantly about the everyday virtues and vices of humanity. If you were writing today, how would you respond to the following issues?
1.) Reason to get a flu shot.
It wasn’t the wine, murmured Mr. Snodgrass in a broken voice, it was the salmon. (The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club)
2.) Why vegetarians refuse to eat red meat.
Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you’ve conquered human nature. (Nicholas Nickleby)
3.) Afternoon Sex.
In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile. (A Christmas Carol)
Train up a fig tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade of it. (Dombey and Son)
5.) Reality Television.
Why then should we drop into poetry? (Our Mutual Friend)
6.) Not getting the gift we want at the Holidays.
Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are! (The Chimes)
WRR: You are joining us in a new era, that of the web. How do you feel about the fact that we are conducting this interview via email?
Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true. (“The Signalman.” Short Story)
WRR: You wrote regularly for a major paper. What is your opinion about the power of blogs?
The American elite is almost beyond redemption… Moral relativism has set in so deeply that the gilded classes have become incapable of discerning right from wrong. Everything can be explained away, especially by journalists. Life is one great moral mush-sophistry washed down with Chardonnay. The ordinary citizens, thank goodness, still adhere to absolutes… It is they who have saved the republic from creeping degradation while their betters were derelict. (Dombey and Son)
WRR: Online magazines?
Dreams are the bright creatures of poem and legend, who sport on the earth in the night season, and melt away with the first beam of the sun which lights grim care and stern reality on their daily pilgrimage through the world. An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself. (Nicholas Nickleby)
WRR: We thank you for taking the time to talk with us.
It is required of every man, the ghost returned, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. (A Christmas Carol)
WRR: Where should we send your check?
What do I care? Not like I can spend it. Why don’t you keep it for a special fundraising event? A mutton spread with some toad in the hole, pie and mash, clootie dumplings and jam roly-poly puddings will bring them in. Or bring them here.
Joe practiced law in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for 14 years and designed large scale databases for AT&T for five years. He currently works for NextLevel Web Strategies, a legal marketing firm based in Princeton, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, received his J.D. from George Washington Law School and he has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.
Joe’s book, Philadelphia Originals, was released for publication by Schiffer Publishing in 2009. The book shows that the unique styles (how Philadelphians paint, sing, practice law, tell a joke, cook) of Philadelphia’s most notable professions can be traced back to the perfect complement of the spiritual William Penn and the practical Benjamin Franklin.
His second project. Philadelphia Before You Were Born, is a study of the last time Philadelphia newspapers used artists for all their illustrations. It was published in 2011.
Joe’s many other published writings include a humorous look at book clubs for the Bucks County Writer and the literary stages of a baseball season for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also writes the Interviews with the Famously Departed Column for the Wild River Review.
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