The Chronicles of Narnia
Rich Lowry writes today of Who Is Afraid of C.S. Lewis, and Why? Key comments:
"Lewis and Tolkien undertook their project against the grain in a mid-20th century that was an age of desiccated rationality. . .I like that: "The postmodern trinity of race, gender and sex." Tiresome, isn't it?
We have gotten more desiccated since. Now everything tends to be viewed through the postmodern trinity of race, gender and sex. . . . [Narnia is about] the capacity to be childlike, with its guileless receptivity to wonderment and joy."
Here's Meghan O'Rourke's insightful take on Narnia generally:
Judging the Narnia books solely by their Christianity is an impoverished way of reading them. It is a reflection more of our polarized moment—in which a perceived cultural divide has alienated Christians from secular culture and secular readers from anything that smacks of religious leanings—than of the relative aesthetic merits and weaknesses of Lewis' books. Lewis, devout Christian though he might have been, would have been the first to say so—in large part because the litmus-test approach has led us to overlook children's experience of the books. The real genius of Narnia is the way Lewis built, out of a hodgepodge of literary traditions and predecessors, a patchwork world of unconventional characters who understand and instruct children without seeking to domesticate or indoctrinate them. The result is indelible, and anything but strictly allegorical.The whole piece is very much worth reading.
I'm going to try to see the movie this weekend.
The Democrats' Self-Destructive Leftist Ossification
Victor Davis Hanson has a devastating piece in today's Private Papers entry, entitled "Democratic Implosion: Can The Party of the people Be Saved from Itself?" As always, his writing is so tight, it's hard to find an excerpt that does justice ot the entire piece. Here's a try:
Contrast the Democratic reactions to respective advice offered by Congressman Murtha and Senator Joe Lieberman. The former is a respected but not nationally known Democratic figure; the latter ran for the vice presidency of the United States. The Democrats gushed over Murtha’s bleak Dean-like assessment that the war is essentially lost and that we must leave as soon as possible. But then when a vote was called on the issue, they voted overwhelmingly not to follow the congressman’s prescription.Even though I don't think the Democrats are "the party of the people" at all, the whole thing's a must-read.
In contrast, when Lieberman returned from Iraq and gave a cautiously optimistically appraisal that our plan of encouraging elections, training Iraqis, and improving the Iraqi economy is working both inside Iraq and in the wider neighboring region, he was shunned by Democrats — who nevertheless by their inaction essentially agreed with Lieberman and so made no move to demand an immediate withdrawal. How odd to be effusive over the Democrat whose advice you reject while ignoring the spokesman whose advice you actually follow.
Iraq from Businessmen's Perspective
William F. Buckley's got an interesting piece out today, breaking down the Iraqi opposition and responses thereto. This graph intrigued me:
As for the other principal menace, as many as a hundred IEDs exploded in Baghdad alone in a single week. Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. commander, has called for the equivalent of a Manhattan Project to address that problem. Efforts are being made to come up with techniques of detection and immobilization, but it is felt that the awful lag time is not sufficiently diminishing. "Inability to reverse effectiveness of this weapon not only costs us casualties, it has a significant effect on support for the war at home."Yes. Isn't it truly awful that we keep losing our best young men and women to those makeshift bombs? Surely we can figure out a way to neutralize such a crude but murderous weapon. Doing so would go a long ways toward winning the conflict both in Iraq and at home. Seems like a no-brainer to me.