Thursday, January 27, 2022

G.K. Chesterton and the Meaning of Education

Joseph Pearce is on a roll. 

G.K. Chesterton and the Meaning of Education| National Catholic Register: The tragedy of modern education is that it has left us perilously ignorant of who we are, where we are, where we have come from and where we are going.

“It is typical of our time,” Chesterton wrote, “that the more doubtful we are about the value of philosophy, the more certain we are about the value of education. That is to say, the more doubtful we are about whether we have any truth, the more certain we are (apparently) that we can teach it to children. The smaller our faith in doctrine, the larger our faith in doctors ...”

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Tolkien, and Father Christmas


Since I have Tolkien on my mind (having seen the movie now), I stopped by the library and picked up a copy of  The Father Christmas Letters (edited by Baillie Tolkien). I had read a few of them before, and wanted to read them all, in part because they are Tolkien, and in part because I'm writing my own "Santa" book and wanted to see how he dealt with Kris Kringle.

Tolkien had written (and illustrated) a letter a year to his children beginning in 1920. This particular collection has the letter from 1920, but then skps to 1925 -though there is a stamp for 1924 and an undated note. I wonder if there is a more complete collection?

I was amused to see we actually have a couple of common ideas - problems with goblins, caves beneath the North Pole, heavy snow, fireworks mishaps, and melting ice and snow. He has a polar bear who means well but causes problems; I have some goofy elves and a human friend who flies a mail plane.

Alas, I don't have his drawing abilities.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tolkien (the movie)


I finally got to see the 2019 movie Tolkien

At the time it came out it got mixed reviews, but some Catholic commentators noted that at least it did not attack his faith or distort his life with contemporary obsessions.

I agree that as a film it's, frankly, not that good. "Dull" is the word that comes to mind. 

It's not bad, but the pacing is slow, and the structure is flawed, making it kind of confusing. I also found the attempts to link his life with elements in his fiction clumsy.

It did not attack his faith, and one of the strong positive characters is a priest. But given how deep Tolkien's faith was the movie needed to address Catholicism in more detail. 

I'm glad I saw it. For fans of Tolkien it's worth watching, though the definitive movie about him is yet to be made. But for non-fans, it's probably not the best introduction to Tolkien. Watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy instead!