Wind in the Willows

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jul 13 15:00:29 EDT 2003


>Minnow:
>> I think your point is good, though perhaps not the point you meant to
>make.
>> WitW and VF set out to entertain, I think, whereas ideologically-based
>> texts set out to instruct (like, they hold your face down in a pot of
>> message and force-feed you till you're sick of it) and are a chore rather
>> than a pleasure.
>
>Well, I don't think WitW is an 'ideologically-based book' in that sense
>either. It's not in the same category as, say, Animal Farm or Aesop's
>Fables - and though unlike you I don't decry the whole genre, I agree that
>works of this instructive kind tend to choredom, except in cases of Rare
>Genius.

The interesting thing is the way in which either whole books, or those
parts of books, which ought to come with "Author's Message" written all
round the page in curlicues (like the wonderful moment in *What's New
Pussycat?* when the screen is taken over by this device) are so often
dreary *even though the author is perfectly capable of being interesting,
fun, and generally a Good Thing*.  It's like the bit in *Murder Must
Advertise* when it is revealed that the people who *care* about the product
in question are the very last people who can produce good advertising copy
about it, whilst their colleagues, who don't care about it at all, can
spout catchy phrases to sell it apparently without effort.

>I have been using 'ideology' in the sense of  "a manner or the
>content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture" (I
>lazily quote from a dictionary) rather than in the narrower sense that would
>turn WitW into a Lehrstuck.

Are you sure we aren't agreeing furiously?  :-)

>> >Though I can just see him saying: 'Mary, that church clock has been
>standing
>> >at ten to three for an awfully long time now - let's pay to get it
>fixed!'
>> Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhh!!!!  Wash your ears out with soap
>and
>> water!
>Would you believe I was lip-reading? :-)

In that case, since I doubt you would manage to wash *his* mouth out with
soap and water, you'd better wash out either your own, or your eyes.  Ouch.
Sorry, but we wouldn't want you to remain contaminated....

Minnow


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