The Fantasy (or should I say hallucination?) of Universal College

Imagine my horror this morning when I turned on the radio and heard adults–people who have actually been issued drivers’ licenses; who are authorized to open bank accounts; who even (Heaven help us!) vote–arguing for universal college education, paid for by the government, of course. “By the government,” for those unfamiliar with the not entirely honest use of language customary among those who try to shape public policy, means “by you, you suckers.”

“Universal” means everybody goes. Well, almost everybody already goes to college. As long as you’re willing to pay for it, there’s a college, somewhere, that will admit you.

In the same broadcast I learned that the total amount of outstanding student loan debt has just topped one trillion dollars. So what we’re talking about here is the American taxpayer getting gored for another trillion bucks (that’s a thousand billion, folks) and then adding onto it from there. Hey, the money just rains down out of the skies–right? It’s not like we have to work for it.

Once we get universal college paid for by the American people, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision the next two steps. 1) Make it compulsory, because that’s the only way to make it “fair,” and government is really into fairness. 2) Once everybody (literally) has a college degree, the degree will mean absolutely nothing, so we’ll have to go on to… universal grad school!

Forsooth–how many people do we need with master’s degrees in women’s studies, queer studies, victimology, self-esteem, white hispanic studies, black hispanic studies, scab-picking, and head-butting? Meanwhile, you keep all these individuals in college for 10, 15, or 20 years, and there are that many people not out in the marketplace working themselves to death, paying for it all.

This is a much, much, much dafter fantasy than anything that any fantasy writer has ever come up with.

Happy Earth Day… Not!

In the spirit of Earth Day, I would like to revisit a news story published in The London Times in March, 2009: “UK population must fall to 30m[illion], says [sic]Porritt Jonathan Leake and Brendan Montague.” The article is posted on Free Republic at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2212052/posts .

“Jonathan Porritt, one of [Prime Minister] Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society,” the Times reported.

According to the 2010 census, the UK’s population as 62.3 million. The Times did not report by what means the scientific advisers proposed to get rid of 32.3 million Britons, nor how quickly they proposed to do it.

The secular road to Utopia always leads to a mountain of emaciated corpses. Think in terms of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” in which at least 40 million human beings (and probably many more) were done to death by starvation, violence, torture, exposure, and disease–and all in a mere four years (1958-1962)!

Behind the facade of “sustainability” and “environmental justice” and “smart growth” and “social justice” lurks a cruel ruthlessless that sane people will not find easy to imagine.

Let us hope God hears our prayers, and for His own great name’s sake, delivers us out of the hands of these murderers and tyrants.

Now That’s a Good Neighbor!

An inspiring news story from New Jersey!

Newark Mayor Corey Booker was awakened early this morning by the noise of the house next door to his being on fire.

The mayor rushed into the burning building and carried out a woman who would have died if he’d waited for the firemen. A city detective tried to hold him back, but when he couldn’t, he followed Booker into the house. Booker suffered minor injuries, for which he was treated at the hospital and released this afternoon.

“I’m no hero,” Booker said, adding that he didn’t feel at all heroic during his action, but instead experienced intense fear.

But of course he is a hero–and if there were more like him, the world would be a better place. Hats off to Mayor Corey Booker!

BBC’s Old ‘Narnia’ Series Was Better Than the Movies

Not for the first time, and I hope not for the last, I’ve begun to watch the old BBC-TV production of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

So far I’ve seen and reviewed all the new Narnia movies–and this old production from the 1980s runs rings around them. Yes, some of the costumes and special effects are primitive, even a bit silly–no fancy computer graphics, back then. But it doesn’t matter! These old shows captured the spirit of Narnia; and the new movies, for all their expensive and up-to-date production values, do not.

There’s plenty of good acting in the movies, and wonderful camera-work; but the writing is strictly third-rate. The movie-makers made any number of ridiculous decisions. It would be hard to say which was worst. Trying to turn Prince Caspian into a smouldering hunk? Turning Susan and Lucy into warrior princesses? Presenting Reepacheep as a kind of furry Bart Simpson? Or rewriting the whole doggone story, as they did with Voyage of the Dawn Treader? I find the effect of the beautiful cinematography of these films soon wears off, but my distaste for the multitude of follies still lingers.

Watching the old BBC version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was struck by how Peter (Richard Dempsey) starts out as a high-handed little prig who never loses an opportunity to lord it over his younger brother, Edmund (Jonathan Scott); and by Edmund as a nasty little piece of goods, sly and smarmy and totally self-centered. Their experiences in Narnia–most importantly, their coming to know Aslan, the Great Lion, Lewis’ fantasy avatar for Our Lord Jesus Christ–change them to the core. The real Peter emerges as a merry, brave, and great-hearted boy on his way to manhood, while the real Edmund shows sober, wise, and courageous: he, too, will grow up into a great man.

But what stirred me most, as it always does, was Aslan himself. When Peter is knighted and blessed by Aslan, I could almost imagine what bliss it would be for me, if I could kneel before Christ, and lay my eyes on Him, and receive His blessing in person. It stirs me just to write about it.

And that most of all, I think, is what C.S. Lewis had in mind.

PS–You can get these old Chronicles via amazon.com.

What’s Missing from the Easter Message?

The Episcopal Church has sent me a copy of the annual Easter Message from Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori. It’s 383 words long, in eight paragraphs.

Not once in this message has the Presiding Bishop seen fit to mention the name of Jesus Christ.

Oh, she drops hints that Easter maybe sort of, kind of, have something to do with Jesus. In the next-to-last paragraph she says, “I would encourage you to look at where you are finding new life and resurrection, where life abundant and love incarnate are springing up in your lives and the lives of your communities.” It is just conceivable that this could be a roundabout approach to Jesus—albeit an approach that never quite gets there. And she concludes, “Give thanks for Easter. Give thanks for Resurrection. Give thanks for the presence of God incarnate in our midst.” God makes it into the very last line of the message.”

My Next Book

OK, I’m ready to write Book #6 of the Bell Mountain series, as soon as I clear away this mountain of work in front of me.

No, I don’t have a title, not yet. What I do have is the first and last chapters and some new characters. That’s all I need to get the show on the road. My Lord will give me the rest as needed.

A minute or two after I sat down to supper a few nights ago, I received those two chapters as an instantaneous burst to my imagination. Call it inspiration. I can’t begin to explain how it works.

Thank you, Father.

Conspiracy Theories and Fantasies

I recently published a column, “Have They Skinned the Rattlesnake?” (you can see it on Lee’s Twitter), in which I posed rhetorical questions. My purpose was to move readers to think about the sorry state of our country and the world–not to solicit information from my readers.

Somehow the point of the column slipped past a lot of people, and I was snowed under with emails from readers eager to provide me with the reasons why America is going to the dogs. One and all, they trotted out conspiracy theories.

Far be it from me to deny that conspiracies exist. They always have, they always will. But the ones offered by my readers are truly grand conspiracies: top-secret plots that everybody on the Internet seems to know about, involving tiny cabals of all-powerful, all-knowing puppet-masters who micro-manage everything that happens in the world. All of our history, our politics, our economics–it’s all an illusion created by the Illuminati, or the “bankers,” or the Trilateral Commission, or the Masons, or even reptiloid space aliens who wear latex masks to make us think they’re human. The ranks of the all-powerful Lizard People include Queen Elizabeth, George W. Bush, and Boxcar Willie. If you flip a coin and it comes up heads, some conspiracy made it do that; if it comes up tails, the same conspiracy arranged for that. Let me add that a disproportionate amount of this conspiracy theorizing is virulently anti-Semitic.

The great thing about all this stuff is that none of it can be proved. You have to take the conspiracy theorist’s word for it all, because somehow he has become privy to top-secret information that the world’s most powerful plotters and schemers have successfully hidden from everyone except him and his like-minded friends. With the conspiracy in total control of all the information, it will always be impossible to prove the case. And prove it to whom? The conspiracy controls the courts, the media, the legal profession, and also rigs wrestling matches when it’s not busy faking moon landings. (A few believe that pro wrestling alone is immune to the baleful influences of the conspiracy.)

I am a fantasy writer, and I know fantasy when I see it. And a lot of this stuff is 100% pure fantasy.

Meanwhile, I am soooo sorry that I ever wrote that column!

 

Realistic Fantasy vs… well, Fantastic Fantasy

Laura Andrews, a frequent visitor to this site, has on her own blog an essay, “Realistic Fantasy?” (see http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/ ), posted Feb. 5, which raises an interesting question–

How “realistic,” or how “fantastic,” ought a fantasy to be?

Personal taste will provide the answer for the reader; but for the writer, the question is not so easy. Hey, you can only get so “realistic” before your fantasy isn’t a fantasy anymore. Or you can be so “fantastic” that you wind up being the only one who knows what you’re talking about.

Fantasy can be written to show what the writer thinks ought to be: hence knights in shining armor, kings who rule righteously over people who love and respect them, and so on. Or you can be “realistic” (sometimes for humorous effect), and write about cowardly knights who aren’t worth much, corrupt kings, swinish peasants, etc.

At this point I open the forum for discussion.

I bear it in mind, when I write, that heroes don’t always look like heroes; wisdom may look like foolishness; and the light of goodness may shine most brightly in the dark. So to that extent, my own fantasy stories are “realistic”–because sometimes a dark background is the best way to show off the light.

Tale Weaver Interview

Interview from Tale Weaver

Today I’m interviewing an actual, published author! Lee Duigon is the author of a series of Christian fantasy books. While I haven’t read his books, I would love to; they sound very good 🙂

So, without further delay, the interview 🙂

Just For Fun: Courtroom Clangers

KEEPING A STRAIGHT FACE AS A COURT REPORTER
These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by  court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
ATTORNEY:  What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

WITNESS:     Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY:  This myasthenia gravis , does it affect your memory at all?

WITNESS:     Yes.

ATTORNEY:  And in what ways does it affect your memory?

WITNESS:     I forget..

ATTORNEY:  You forget?  Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

____________________________________________

ATTORNEY:  Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?

WITNESS:     We both do.

ATTORNEY:  Voodoo?

WITNESS:     We do..

ATTORNEY:  You do?

WITNESS:     Yes , voodoo.