December 05, 2005

More from Our Narnia-addled Commentariat

Polly Toynbee melts down over a frustratingly popular allegorical lion.

Choice quotes:

Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls...

Here in Narnia is the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America - that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right...

Toynbee concedes that our contemporary educational system has so successfully shielded recent generations from knowledge of history, literature, and culture that the often clunky and fairly obvious Christian allegorical content will be utterly unnoticed and incomprehensible to most of the new cohort of viewers and readers of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. That's a relief. Sometimes a lion is just a lion.

Yet Toynbee's faith in this benign process of deculturation wavers in the end, reflecting, I fancy, a fear that we as a society may yet fail to pass on to future generations our own hostility towards and embarrassment about Christendom and its history. What if our carefully secularized children, in the process of enjoying an exciting fairy tale about English children and a lion, happen inadvertently to sense something of the deeper, intensely troubling, drama of redemption at the root of the story? What if they "ask embarrassing questions?"

Well, let's hope they don't. With any luck, they won't.

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 5, 2005 06:48 PM | TrackBack

In her defense, Christians really shouldn't be allowed to write books; and the ones they do write obviously shoudn't be allowed to be made into movies; and there most certainly shouldn't be any Americans involved in the process.

Posted by: josh at December 5, 2005 08:22 PM

I'm missing the occasion for her vitriol. "Its a beautiful movie well acted but...the allegory disturbs me and some people will see their values reflected in Lewis's." What's the big deal?

I guess she'll like the following movies better. Or does Puddleglum = John the Baptist?

Also misses a basic element of the allegory: in this instance might doesn't make right (at least not with its muscles).

signed, an atheist but not a fanatic.

Posted by: slickdpdx at December 5, 2005 09:13 PM

I read the books as a very young child and loved them, but completely missed the allegory till about the third book. We weren't a very religous home.

Posted by: Duncan at December 5, 2005 10:25 PM

Ditto to Duncan's comment. And for all his efforts, though I loved the books, C.S. didn't make much of a Christian out of me.

Funny how the same folks who leap to defend Harry Potter from charges of slippery-slope Satanism get all bent out of shape when a film comes along with a slightly Christian context.

And don't tell me there was no allegory in the Lord of the Rings...

Posted by: Wesley at December 6, 2005 12:24 AM

Homegirl needs to chill. Why does it matter if a story has Christian overtones? It's not like anyone's forcing the kids to see this. It doesn't even have to be about religion, but the general triumph of good over evil. And aren't all Disney movies about that anyway?

Posted by: Megan at December 6, 2005 03:52 AM

narnia cycle is an inferior x-ian allegory
compared to terminator trilogy!
therein lies true muscular republican heroism!
i laugh at the "green christian" estrus of
c.s. lewis! his tales will likely only spawn a
generation of girlie-unitarians.

Posted by: t2fan at December 6, 2005 06:04 PM

Oh, the Onion strikes again!

Posted by: Megan at December 7, 2005 10:28 PM