Re: [mythsoc] Philip Pullman article
- At 03:02 PM 3/5/2001 , Mary S. wrote:
>> Not-Pullman isn't accusing Lewis's favored characters of bullying, butI don't think counter-cases are improved by bringing in other factors that
>> Lewis himself. And he said nothing about fascism itself, or fascist tastes
>Well, yes: but I was making a counter-case. Also it's my opinion that
>Fascists are bullies. Thus a character like Eustace, who bullies, is more
>like a Fascist than the Pevensies, whom Lewis approves and who do not bully.
make it appear (however incorrectly) that you're confused about what case
Not-Pullman is trying to make.
While bullying may be characteristic of fascists, it's also characteristic
of enough other people that its presence does not itself make a character
more like a fascist, any more than great height would by itself make him
more like a basketball player.
I don't think it would be completely wanton of Not-Pullman to describe the
Pevensies as bullies, either. Their, and the Narnians', behavior to
Eustace resembles Tough Love treatments to an extent, and I've read such
behavior by Tough Love operatives described as bullying. I don't wish to
make this case myself, but it could be advocated without being completely
>> (did Mussolini promote vegetarianism?), but fascist style.The problem with Not-Pullman's use of the term "fascist" is that, like most
>I don't know if Hitler "promoted" vegetarianism, but he was, in fact, a
>vegetarian, which is what I was thinking of when I made the allusion.
people who use the word, he used it very loosely. I am attempting to be
conscientious and use it more strictly (and to understand exactly what he
means by it), and strict usage compels me to note that Hitler was not a
fascist. He was a Nazi. Yes, the Nazis had much in common with the
fascists, but once you go down that route, where do you stop? Here we have
Not-Pullman almost calling Lewis a fascist, which seems extreme. If we
want to find out exactly how accurate Not-Pullman is being, we should
compare with Mussolini, not with Hitler. Mussolini _was_ a fascist. And
Eustace's parents were vegetarians, among other things.
I don't know if Hitler promoted vegetarianism. He might have (the Nazis
were big on public health matters of all sorts, down to and including
sanitation), but if he did not, then his private practice of it is no
evidence that there's anything relevant to Nazism about vegetarianism.
Hitler also loved dogs.
>Fascists were also big on fresh air and calisthenics (though I don't knowWhat was Lewis thinking of when he described Eustace's parents' "special
>about underwear) - ever hear of "Strength through Joy"?
underwear": does anyone know?
>> I like VDT, but despite, not because of, these matters. I try to ignoreNot-Pullman also describes the books as "some of the vilest ever written."
>> the argumentation, and read the book as an imram - a re-envisaging of a
>> voyage like St. Brendan's. As such, it's effective and wonderfully
>I agree! in fact it's my favorite of the seven. And given your statement
>above, would you agree that Not-Pullman is wrong when he calls the books
I didn't feel it necessary to record skepticism about that either.
>> >And all this is to ignore the fact that Lewis' tales are mostWhat description is that? The one I remember is the one in which he said
>> >(he protests) NOT allegories.
>> Aslan is not an allegory of Christ? Could have fooled me.
>Nope, you need to re-read Lewis' own description of what he was doing and how
>it differed from allegory.
that in LWW he deliberately made Aslan's death and resurrection into a
parallel with Christ's. That sounds like an allegory to me. Many people
feel that Tolkien protested too much when he claimed he detested allegory,
and his work is much farther from an allegory than Lewis's is.
>> Steve Schaper wrote:Indeed they are, but my point is that Steve was trying to define "fascist."
>> >That is not what fascism is. Fascism is the ideology that rejects the
>> >of the transcendant-objective signified as a 'Jewish' (or Christian)
>> > >rejects the concept of the individual and individual responsibility as
>> >bourgeois notion, and embraces the group will to power as the greatest
>> This is so general, it could almost describe Communism.
>Of course. Tyrannies of the Left and the Right are alike... as Orwell (for
Instead, he defined "totalitarian", which is a different term with a
broader meaning. If we wish to criticize Not-Pullman for throwing the term
"fascist" around loosely, we should not use it loosely ourselves.
- In a message dated 3/10/01 12:56:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@...
<< Must today's children be protected from Lewis'
evils? Or should the first chapter be revised to say simply that "Eustace's
parents were rather disagreeable people" - as DR DOOLITTLE has (in my view
rightly) been rewritten in certain parts, as PL Travers rewrote a bothersome
chapter of MARY POPPINS? >>
It's possible to take a middle position. It's possible to think a writer is
good and to agree with him on many things and yet to disagree with him on
others, while not finding it necessary to tell children that they should
ignore certain points in the book. I give all my nieces and nephews a copy
of the Chronicles of Narnia. I agree with much of Lewis said, but I think
that (like anyone else) he was incorrect on a few issues. I don't find it
necessary to include an "errata" list of wrong ideas in Lewis's books (or
anyone else's books I give as presents). I think that my nieces and nephews
are already learning the lesson that they should read a lot of books and
think for themselves about the issues involved.