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Old 11th September 2009   #1
HSG
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Default A demonic conspiracy (C.S. Lewis)


We have long had a love/hate relationship with the English author and critic C.S. Lewis. A Christian apologist (some might say propagandist), Lewis penned some of the best and some of the worst literary criticism in the history of English scholarship. (Good on The Faerie Queene, hopeless on Paradise Lost.) Lewis's Christian dogmaticism led him to wilfully misinterpret literary works almost as badly as today's Marxist-feminists distort any texts that they discuss. Both Lewis's approach and the modern political approach make literature subservient to an agenda, instead of evaluating it faithfully, in accordance with its own aesthetic truth.

But literary criticism represents only one aspect of Lewis's career. He also penned numerous works of fiction. Today, he is probably best remembered for his Narnia series, thanks to the recent film adaptations. In his own day, however, Lewis's most famous work was The Screwtape Letters. It is by virtue of the latter that Lewis's name comes up on this forum, for a Judgment of Paris reader recently alerted us to a significant and topical passage in its pages.

The Screwtape Letters consists of an epistolary discussion between a demon named Screwtape and his underling, Wormwood, on how to lead a specific mortal towards damnation, as well as how to corrupt mankind as a whole, and undermine human civilization.

In the following passage, Screwtape instructs Wormwood on how male/female attraction can be manipulated for infernal ends. The mortal (never named) whom Wormwood is tempting is referred to as "the Patient," while the "Lowerarchy"--a coinage by Lewis--refers to the power structure of hell.

Here are the demon's instructions to his underling:

In the meantime I would like to give you some hint about the type of woman--I mean the physical type--which [the Patient] should be encouraged to fall in love with if "falling in love" is the best we can manage.

In a rough-and-ready way, of course, this question is decided for us by spirits far deeper down in the Lowerarchy than you and I. It is the business of these great masters to produce in every age a general misdirection of what may be called sexual "taste." This they do by working through the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses, and advertisers who determine the fashionable type. The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely. Thus we have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females--and there is more in that than you might suppose.

As regards the male taste we have varied a good deal...The age of jazz has succeeded the age of the waltz, and we now teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. Since this is a kind of beauty even more transitory than most, we thus aggravate the female's chronic horror of growing old (with many excellent results) and render her less willing and less able to bear children.

And that is not all. We have engineered a great increase in the license which society allows to the representation of the apparent nude (not the real nude) in art, and its exhibition on the stage or the bathing beach. It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear more slender and more boyish than nature allows a full-grown woman to be . . . As a result we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist--making the role of the eye in sexuality more and more important and at the same time making its demands more and more impossible. What follows you can easily forecast!
(105-107)

It is remarkable just how much of the devilry of the modern media Lewis anticipates in this passage. Although the book was published in 1942, it could just as easily have been written today.

Lewis notes that the "misdirection" of the beauty ideal is being wrought by "the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses, and advertisers who determine the fashionable type." In other words, he already singles out today's fashion "elite" as being the cause of the problem--identifying designers, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue as the specific agents that are distorting feminine beauty. And those are precisely the same individuals and institutions that continue to prop up the androgynous standard today. Sixty years ago, Lewis already foresaw their methods and schemes.

As Lewis states, the hidden agenda behind their actions is to drive men and women apart, and to prevent fruitful and fulfilling marriages. In this too Lewis is remarkably prescient, for the androgynous identity that the media foists on women today nearly ruins any chance of amity between the genders, let alone love. This manifests itself both in the media's promotion of an androgynous appearance for women, and in its celebration of belligerent, unfeminine behaviour. (Think of all of the she-male, muscularized actresses in modern movies, who insult men at every turn, and, with ludicrous martial-arts abilities, always seem capable of thrashing male combatants many times their size.)

The Judgment of Paris has consistently linked the degeneration of the feminine beauty ideal with the modern assault on Western culture in general. With that in mind, note how Lewis uses a musical example to indicate the progressive corruption of Western civilization. In saying that "the age of jazz has succeeded the age of the waltz," Lewis suggests how the degeneration of popular music has resulted in jazz (a degraded musical form that is alien to Old World culture) pushing out the waltz tradition, which was aristocratic and purely European. This musical point is a shorthand for the atavism of civilization in general. In this too, Lewis was prescient, for music has continued to deteriorate since his time, leading down to the primitive noise that is heard on the radio today.

Perhaps Lewis's most damning critique is having his devils acknowledge that "we now teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys." That was already the case in 1942, but consider how much truer the statement is today. In Lewis's time, the androgynization was only beginning; today it is indisputable. In this observation, Lewis makes a subtle but significant comment about the nature of those "artists, dressmakers, actresses, and advertisers who determine the fashionable type."

Lewis is especially trenchant in identifying the goal of establishing this anti-feminine ideal, stating that the intention is to render women "less willing and less able to bear children." Both parts of this statement have been proven to be true:

1. "Less able"? Undoubtedly. It is well established that starvation robs women of their ability to menstruate. And as an important thread on this forum recently noted, studies have demonstrated that career pressures, along with dieting, are rendering many modern women infertile.

2. "Less willing"? Certainly. No one can deny that the modern media has long been engaged in an all-out war against the traditional Western family, denigrating motherhood in favour of careerism for women, ridiculing husbands, and presenting the rearing of children in the worst possible light. Lewis recognized this agenda even in his own day.

The consequences of the anti-motherhood bias are grimly apparent today. Many nations in Europe have a negative birth rate, and the native Caucasian populations in those countries are set to become minorities in the near future. The Screwtape devils' scheme of eradicating Western civilization is proving to be all too successful, not just in a cultural but even in a demographic sense.

In his final and more prescient observation, Lewis states that the depiction of the female figure is becoming "falsely drawn" (anticipating by decades the contemptible modern practice of airbrushing), and that models' bodies are "pinched in and propped up to make them appear more slender and more boyish than nature allows a full-grown woman to be" (thus predicting the advent of body-disfiguring "shapewear"). Note, in the latter passage, another damning reference to the "boyishness" of this distorted standard of appearance. Again, Lewis identifies one of the underlying impulses behind the anti-feminine aesthetic agenda.

* * *

Perhaps it is not so surprising after all that in 1942, Lewis could be so prescient in his description of the methodology for ruining gender relations, and for tearing apart the family structure, through the imposition of an androgynous identity for women. Although he attributes this agenda to demons, the real force whose methods Lewis uncovers in The Screwtape Letters is cultural Marxism (which today cloaks itself in the mantle of "social justice")--of which feminism is one offshoot. The power of this ideology is stronger today than ever before, particularly because its resentment-based values have been internalized by generations of individuals who aren't even aware of the original source of those values. The schemes and methods that Lewis identifies in The Screwtape Letters have been propagated and perfected in the decades since the book was published, and today are prevalent throughout the media and modern culture.

The tragedy is that as the devils' power has increased, and as their agenda has become more brazenly apparent, the forces of resistance have become weaker and weaker. Few today dare oppose cultural degeneration and atavism, for fear of being politically branded. Tragically, the defenders of Western culture have diminished as their enemies have grown stronger.

Have Lewis's devils completely triumphed? Nearly so. Western culture is deeply imperilled. The time is now for the slumbering instincts of self-preservation to stir, for the infernal agenda that Lewis outlines so precisely to be frustrated, and for Classical ideals to be restored.

The feminine beauty of Justine Legault (Scoop Montreal, Ford Toronto, size 14):

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Old 11th October 2009   #2
Mike
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Default Re: A demonic conspiracy (C.S. Lewis)

This is my first post here, and I actually registered because browsing this site reminded me of this very passage from The Screwtape Letters. I was going to post this passage as my first post, but I thought, "I'd better go look first. Someone else may have already posted it."

This was the first C.S. Lewis book I ever read and led to me becoming a huge fan of his work.

Even back in the '90s I was truly distressed at what I saw happening among my female friends. Beautiful, gorgeous young ladies with lovely, feminine curves felt "overweight" just because they couldn't fit in a size 2 dress.

I tried, back then, to explain that real men, men with adequate testosterone in our bodies, like curves and hips. But all to no avail.

When I read The Screwtape Letters . . . well, I felt as if I had met in Lewis a kindred spirit. When it came to many of the standards of society that I felt were crazy and mixed up, such as the skinny obsession in the fashion industry, Lewis clearly felt the same way I did. For the first time, I felt I was not alone.

And while I agree that this distortion of feminity stems from the radical feminist idea that wants to claim there are no differences between male and female, which in turn stems from a cultural Marxism, let's not write off the implication Lewis makes too quickly.

For those of us who believe that such beings exist, it is not difficult to imagine demonic involvement in the distorted standards of feminine beauty. This website does an excellent job of pointing out the damage done to our entire society by this distortion. One must admit that, should demons or devils exist, they must be delighted by the results.
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Old 13th October 2009   #3
Christine
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Default Re: A demonic conspiracy (C.S. Lewis)

Interesting discussion!

First, I agree that feminists have an infuriating tendency to rewrite every literary text with their "reading" - this fan of the Gothic literature classic Dracula feels her blood boil every time when these modern meddlers attack Stoker's pure, feminine "angel in the house" heroine, Lucy.

However, much worse are those who aggressively fight against everything plus-size. Now my sister doesn't see how well clothes fit on her curvy body; she wants to be thin (and, sad to say, suffers from an eating disorder).
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