Monday, May 01, 2006

A glimpse into the far future, courtesy of the distant past

Continuing with our coverage of oddities from back issues of G.K's Weekly, Chesterton's wonderful magazine, we come upon a column which is much like the one posted most recently, except that it is from a hundred years in the future, rather than the past. Behold:

March 28, 2025.--
. . . Professor Chew is already famous among the Higher Critics for his reconstruction of the history of St. Joan or Joanna, to whom he has assigned a date much later than that of orthodox tradition; such documents as have survived the Great Change indicating that canonisation following on her rehabilitation can definitely be fixed in the twentieth century. Moreover it is clear that the most enlightened classes knew nothing of her until her cause was championed by Bernhardi Shaw, the famous German propagandist. Her surname seems to have been Southcott, though she was sometimes called "of the Ark" in reference to the sacred box that contained her scriptures. The Church is much criticised for still stubbornly refusing to accept these results of research; especially since Professor Chew's final discovery about the oil-fields of Chapagne. He points out that the affair obviously happened under the dynasty of the Oil Kings, which preceded our present royal house of Rubber Kings; since there is definite reference to Joanna making a king at Rheims through the power of oil.

His new work is concerned with the old thesis that our present system is much older than is commonly supposed; and that the alleged period of anarchy, in which economic and sexual activities were left to the caprice of individuals, was altogether legendary. He points out that there is no official record of the alleged "love-making" and personal proposals of marriage in any of the State papers or government reports; and that these individual adventures are only recorded in the "novels" or narratives of the period, which are full of improbable events. "To ask us to believe," he concludes, "that a man felt a personal attraction to a woman at the same time as the woman to the man, and that this occurred continually throughout society, is to ask us to believe that society was founded on a coincidence." He points out, moreover, that as men are not equal in attractive power, any more than in money making, all the attractive men would have had enormous harems and all the unattractive have remained celibate. In this there is probably some exaggeration: the professor hardly allows for a readiness for such reciprocation in normal psychology. We suspect that in the Victorian time polygamy in a legalised sense was the exception rather than the rule . . .
Although some of the specifics are off, the general sentiment is horrifically accurate.

1 comment:

Maria said...

Frightening, isn't it?