Re: [mythsoc] Drinking lurid predajuice while breaking Christo's yardstick over the lesser Trump's head
- There are at least three things we might usefully distinguish: (1) what
Lewis actually wrote, and therefore presumably believed; (2) what he would
have said and written and believed had he lived today, or had Joy had more
time to work on him; (3) how we hold and evaluate these views or presumable
On the principle that "nobody is ever told what would have been" (except
that from time to time, characters in the Narnia stories are told just that)
I'm going to set aside (2); and for the moment I will avoid (3).
On (1), what Lewis actually wrote, there can be no doubt. He espoused
order and hierarchy. A character in _Out of the Silent Planet_ says that
"beasts should be ruled by _hnau_ [sentient beings] and _hnau_ by _eldila_
[angels or spirits]". On this planet, if all were well, the laity wouldbe
ruled by the clergy (who would exclusively be men) and wives by husbands.
Jane Studdock's marriage in _That Hideous Strength_ is failing because, says
Ransom, she is failing in obedience to her husband. He says this directly
in an essay, "Membership":
"I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe in the
authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple, to
have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over
beast. I believe that if we had not fallen ... patriarchical monarchy would
be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin...the only
remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of
And he continues the theme in another essay, originally titled "Notes on the
Way" but which Walter Hooper, perhaps a bit tendentiously, retitled
"Priestesses in the Church?" (in summary, he's against them).
I would argue with some elements of Alison Lurie's review, but all in all I
thought it wasn't bad.
On 1/28/06, Cai Cherie <eternityfindsitself@...> wrote:
> Thank you for the Lurie article. She has written some wonderful novels
> that I have enjoyed, so I have to admit I was disappointed by her stinted
> appreciation of Narnia. I wonder sometimes if we should all--me included--
> follow WH Auden's generous-minded dictum to only review what we like or are
> at least fairly sympathic with. Otherwise, he said, we are inclined to show
> off. I would add that we are also in danger of showcasing our own ignorance
> and/ or lack of charity. Thats how it works for me, at least, if I attempt
> to analyze or crititique the appeal of something that does not appeal to me.
> Its a tough job, but really, does anyone have to do it? Reading Lurie's
> review, how I wished she'd followed Auden's dictate and had written instead
> on something she found of at least small worth. For one thing -- she got
> McDonald's character the North Wind and her land, wrong. For another,
> dosn't Lurie have any sense of the importance of the symbolism of the lion
> in Western culture,
> even if one discounts it's British aspects?
> Also, why does Lurie seemed to miss so much of the good stuff but was
> all eyes for any difficulties, which, for her, were writ-large, rather like
> a flashing billboard, obscuring the small set of books hidden behind. Is she
> really trying to argue that we are meant to hate Aravis because of her dark
> skin? If Lewis was the racist Lurie paints him, would he have been so
> amused (because of their occaissionally conflicting but ultimetly
> complementy personalities,) instead of appalled, by Aravis's marriage to
> Shasta? Does Lurie really think that Aravis shows no initive? Always looks
> to adults for solutions? I doubt it -- Lurie is a smart woman and capable
> of seeing what is clearly written. Yet her arguments are mostly just bits
> of quibble; they lack the heft needed to properly make a dent in the
> standing of a literary work. Yet she seems convinced that Narnia deserves,
> needs and merits denting.
> So why so much hostility? I wonder if it is based on another argument
> she puts forth? She really seems to hate that there is an "authority" in
> Narnia, that there is a being who knows the right and helps others along the
> road to knowing it. Aravis has many virtues, but she can also be
> inconsiderate of others. She can see others, especially others of a lower
> class or caste, as less human than herself. Does Lurie think that this is
> fine-- that the child should be encouraged to develope this trait as she
> sees fit? Or does she stand with Lewis on this one, feeling that for Aravis
> to truly flourish as a human being or properly step into her adult role
> where she will wield real power, it would probobly be a good thing for her
> to first learn to honor the dignity, humanity and wellbeing of every human
> being? Does Lurie really think there are no yardsticks, or that the world,
> or any world, would be better off with no yardsticks? Of course not, there
> is a yardstick that somewhat resembles
> the Golden Rule, or Lewis's Tao, that Lurie herself uses to beat Donald
> Trump and his would-be clones over the head with. And its pretty much, my
> guess is, the same sort of yardstick that Lewis would use for the exact same
> purpose on the exact same target, although Lewis might hit harder.
> I recently read a short interview with Christopher Lloyd, a well know
> plantsman and writer, well, well-known to those of us who like playing
> around in the dirt. I find that when I read Lloyd I am often struck by how,
> when giving a bit of gardening advice, his remarks resonate further afield.
> They make sense in the larger context of life. In this interview he said
> that wisdom means overcoming one's own preduidices (hmmmm, not unlike that
> of an Ulster Irishman being convinced of the truth of the Christian story by
> a Roman Catholic, and then going on to marry a converted Jew?)
> Wisdom is overcoming one's own prejuidices. Well, isn't that a hard
> bite of truth in a soft nutshell? Lurie has alot of wisdom, I hope that she
> will gain more. Because the very idea of any Authority, any Godhead who
> holds us in his/her heart, any positive side to a conviction that we are
> loved by what made this universe, seems to bring out the worst in her. She,
> like anyone who is reading this, and certainly the aged novice who is
> writing this, has the great luck of being alive, of having the opportunity
> to grow in wisdom. Lewis, unfortunetly, does not . He is frozen, in our
> small minds at least, (who knows how he has really developed ?) in his mere
> 60s. Think if he had had more time, and even better, if Joy had also had
> more time -- because I would hold that she was a wonderful influence on him.
> Think if they had had another 20 years to gain in wisdom, to Lloyds age, and
> their own wisdom.
> Well, they didn't, and I am enough of what Lurie would consider a
> nutcase to think there is probobly a good reason why that gift wasn't given
> them, I just don't know it. But its not to late for the rest of us. And I
> hope the preduidice of anti-Christian bias will be seen as the inhumane
> cruelty that it is, and will die out. On its own. Without me having to
> break too many yardsticks over otherwise smart people's heads.
> Because then we can all go about using the few unbroken one's left to
> poke that aweful tupee(or transplant of pubic hair or WHATEVER that eeeevil
> beastie is,) off Trump's head. I would like to see the Secular humanists
> (amongst who I was raised) rally with the Christian humanists(amongst whom I
> now count myself) against the true danger facing us -- our inhumanity to
> each other and our destruction of what gives us life.
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