A certain figure has been looming unexpectedly in my mind over the last month. The adverb “unexpectedly” is the key — it could not refer to the Holy Father, whose passing gripped the Church and the rest of the world. Pope John Paul II, may he rest in peace.
Rather, the figure that plagues me was provoked by something quite removed from the Pope: whining. And that figure? Veruca Salt. There isn’t a person in my generation who hasn’t seen “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Since the classic is soon to be remade (like all classics), I’m sure another generation will be made familiar with Miss (or Ms.? She might like that) Salt. For the reader who does not know this young lady, I’ll make introductions.
While I regrettably have not read the book, I have seen the movie more times that I can count. Forgive me if I unwittingly diverge from Roald Dahl’s text! Veruca Salt is one of the youths who wins a tour of Willy Wonka’s candy factory. In this strange morality tale, almost every child (and accompanying parent) who wins the contest displays some kind of vice: one boy is obsessed with TV; a girl incessantly chews gum. All are spoiled, and each meets his bizarre demise. But Veruca, at least in my mind, is the most spoiled of all. The child of wealthy, pushover parents, she whines incessantly and throws violent tantrums. When told that she cannot have any of Willy Wonka’s golden geese (which, of course, lay golden eggs), she screeches:
Mr. Salt: It will, sweetheart.
Veruca: At least a hundred a day.
Mr.Salt: Anything you say.
Veruca: And by the way.
Mr. Salt: What?
Veruca: I want a feast.
Mr. Salt: You ate before you came to the factory.
Veruca: I want a bean feast!
Mr. Salt: Oh, one of those.
Veruca: Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts, so good you could go nuts.
Mr. Salt: You can have all those things when you get home!
Veruca: No, now!!… I want today, I want tomorrow, I want to wear ‘em like braids in my hair, and I don’t want to share ‘em. I want a party with room fulls of laughter, ten thousand tons of ice cream, and if I don’t get the things I am after. I’m going to scream! I want the works, I want the whole works, presents and prizes and sweets and surprises of all shapes and sizes, and now! Don’t care how, I want it now!*
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online