Monday, December 04, 2006

CS Lewis On The Media

Miss Hardcastle, a singularly unpleasant chief of the security police in Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, corrects a rising sociologist. He has commented that while it might be easy to fool an uneducated audience, it must surely be difficult to mislead an educated reader.
Ah, you fool, it’s the educated reader who can be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers?... But the educated public, who read the highbrow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They’re alright already. They’ll believe anything.

Not much has changed in 60 years.


David Foster said...

It's kind of spooky in reading Lewis to note that many of the things which have been afflicting US society over the last decade or so had already reached the level of major forces 40-50 years earlier in the UK.

Anonymous said...

That's it!! That's the name!! I can never remember the third in the trilogy - I can only remember "Perelandra" and "Out of the Silent Planet".

Under certain circumstances, Lewis actually talked about American problems by making them look like English problems. For example, in the addition he wrote to "The Screwtape Letters", Screwtape's monologue talked about the British education system - I don't remember exactly what the issue was, it has been about 15 years since I read it - but Lewis was actually talking about the American education system. He felt that if he, as a resident of the UK, were to come out and openly bad mouth an American institution, that he would be ineffective in helping. By cloaking it as a "British problem", he hoped to get his American audience thinking about it, so that they would do something about it.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

BubbaB, I highly recommend Lewis's The Abolition of Man to you, in light of your comment.

Anonymous said...

Now that you mention it, I have read part of "The Abolition of Man." Unfortunately, I was in a phase of my life where the political aspects were of no interest to me (i.e. - college, where I read non-required books to be entertained, not to learn.) I read stuff like Douglas Adams' "Hitchhikers" trilogy, and Lewis' "Space Trilogy", and "Chronicles of Narnia". I made it through "Mere Christianity", too. But things with a clear political bent did not interest me as much as they do now. Maybe I need to go back and read it.

Do you mean that he specifically targeted the American public education system, or was he specifically targeting the British system, with implications to the American system?

I also read C.S. Lewis' biography, "Jack." He hated his name, "Clive Staples", iIrc, so much that he gave himself the name, "Jack."


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I am a Lewis fanatic, BubbaB. All your Inkling questions answered here, happily.

He was very much targeting the British system - both times. He had heard that the American system was farther down the same road and was appalled, but refrained from commenting because he had no direct experience. He hoped his words would have a salutory effect across the Atlantic, but was humble enough to admit ignorance.

Even though he has turned out to be dead right.