An interesting article today from The A.V. Club on the philosophies of some of Bill Murray’s most famous characters, including Herman Blume from Rushmore.
The asceticism of Scrooged and Rushmore
As practiced by certain sects of Hinduism, Jainists, and even Christians who reject the ideas of “prosperity theology” (and actually, you know, listen to Jesus), asceticism involves a conscious abstaining from worldly pleasures in favor of focusing on one’s spiritual life. While he doesn’t end up wandering the desert in sackcloth eating only what may fall into his bowl, Murray does arrive at these basic tenets of asceticism in two of his most popular roles: In Scrooged, Murray’s Frank Cross is dedicated to success no matter the cost to his basic humanity, until a night of being tormented by spirits—who are really just manifestations of his own conscience—opens his eyes to the simpler joys of “putting a little love in your heart” and helping your fellow man. In Rushmore, Murray’s Herman Blume is a self-made tycoon with his own multimillion-dollar business and the lifestyle to match, yet he’s crippled by ennui, and despairing over the alienation he feels toward his family. Pursuit of a truer definition of love eventually tears his world apart—and wrecks him both financially and physically—but by movie’s end, Blume has undergone a total spiritual reawakening, and seems to have found happiness at last in his total unburdening.
Read the full article at The A.V. Club.