Huh

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Dec 21 11:02:15 EST 2004


Robyn wrote in reply to me:
>
>>The urge to mock the over-earnest isn't confined to those two authors, I
>>don't think: it runs as a thread through an awful lot of literature.
>>Doesn't Jane Austen fail to suffer some sorts of fool gladly? Dickens
>>can be fairly scathing on his day, too, as can Thackery and Trollope.
>
>This is an interesting point. I find that Lewis is rarely funny though - 
>like he doesn't understand the fine line between ridicule and satire or 
>preachiness and parody. Look at how hilarious Mr Collins is. Yes, it's 
>obvious that Austen doesn't like him, but she can be witty about it instead 
>of obvious.

True, indeed.  Perhaps this is another example of the difference between
those who are merely observing, and those who have an axe to grind:
Austen isn't exactly trying to encourage anyone to believe in the same
way that she does, she's more observing and reporting the phenomena of
her world.

That brings me back to "people with A Message are often rather po-faced
about it".  One day try to convince a fervent Ban The Bomb marcher that
Lehrer's "We Will All Go together" would be a good song to march to!  I
have yet to meet one of the earnest ones who can see any humour in that
at all.  Lewis had A Message; in fact, he comes close to being just
another of the sort of person he mocks, with a different bee in his
bonnet to be sure but the same sort of reactions.

Narnia is saved by having interesting stories, and never by its pot of
message.

Minnow
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