I always wondered about the message in ‘Charlie in the Chocolate Factory’ (‘Charlie’ from here). The story is too popular to be meaningless. Dahl seems to idolize poverty. But we have two versions of the rich capitalist, the profit seeking father of Veruca and the factory owner Wonka himself. Wonka employs unpaid drones: Oompa Loompas. Wonka satisfies and creates our desire for chocolate. Yet too much consumption (fat) is not good. We see the four sins of gluttony, spoiledness/overindulgence, gum and fame addiction, TV addiction (over stimulation).
Dahl’s vision is a very religious one, being poor is a virtue. But good things (factory ownership) come to those that are virtuous.
I think there are two ways it can be interpreted: One, Wonka is a good capitalist who wants to stress the good things about the system. He creates fairness (chance to win) for everyone who can afford chocolate. He is not profit but quality driven. Second, Wonka is neither good nor bad, he is eccentric, he is part of the system but he lacks empathy for (spoiled) children – he doesn’t see that it’s the parents’ fault. Maybe it is important for children to understand this ambiguity of life. We can hope but not expect goodness.
If Wonka was a real socialist (or prophet), why would he not give away chocolates to the poor?
You can read a few more views on Reddit, OfWealth, Vice, and LiteraryRamblings.
The Milos Foreman movie ‘Amadeus’ is a brilliant movie. While Salieri (teacher of Beethoven and Schubert) might not have been a true adversary of Mozart, seeing the world through his eyes is astounding. The detail that went into the movie is great. While rewatching it, I noticed how religious a movie it actually is. Salieri is obsessed with the fact that Ama-deus (love of God) is God’s son (incarnation) but he is shocked at the infantility of the person. At best we are destined (by God) to be mediocre beings in a world that is like a lunatic asylum.
Mozart was very vulgar, he seemed to be obsessed with the ‘ass’ and faeces. Some speculate that he had Tourette’s syndrome. Oliver Sacks even debated the idea.
I think it should not surprise us that ‘genius’ sometimes comes in very simple and blunt forms. Genius is a product of talent/genes and education. Devoting your life to one activity only will lead to underdevelopment of other faculties. WA Mozart’s father Leopold was one of the best violin teachers in Europe at the time. Wolfgang was not allowed to live his childhood, that’s why he had to carry it with him through his life.
Genius can be like an overtrained muscle, if you only lift heavy things with your right arm you will look very disproportional.
Genius requires simplicity.
We need to differentiate between a simple genius and a universal one like Goethe. Maybe Einstein who was a musician and physicist was the last one alive.
Imagine what music Mozart could have written if he lived a more stable and longer life and would have put more mature thought into it.