Leunig and Lewis: Eustace and the Awfulisers…

Every night and every day
The awfulisers work away
Awfulising public places,
Favourite things and little graces
Awfulising lovely treasures
Common joys and simple pleasures
Awfulising far and near
The parts of life we held so dear
Democratic, clean and lawful
Awful, awful, awful, awful.

(Michael Leunig)

It’s one of my favourite Leunig poems. “Democratic, clean and lawful”. Out with the Monarchy, out with pipe-smoking and motor-cycle riding and bishops, in with Motherhood-statements and rule-by-committee and non-sexist language…

On exactly the same note, there’s a character in C.S. Lewis’s “Voyage of the Dawn-Treader” (Narnia Chronicles) called Eustace, who was raised by what can only be termed “proto-awfulisers”. He learns his lesson, a pity so many in our day and age do not. Eustace was, if you do your dating correctly, in fact a “proto-baby-boomer”, a hater of tradition, a lover of the bland and the modern, a dowser and a wowser against all things magical and quaint.

Why has the aging Baby-boomer generation been followed by “the Harry Potter Generation”? +George Pell, who, bless his little red-cotton socks, has actually read a couple of the Harry Potter novels and seen the films (more, I think, than could be said for the legendarily dour and serious +Geoffrey Robinson), says of this generation:

They are encouraged to be curious, provided the curiosity is not costly or demanding and many have an itch for novelty, a fascination with technological marvels, the mysterious and abnormal, especially if they are ignorant of genuine religious traditions. Many of this last group are restless and rootless, seeking limits, yearning for a good cause and more than happy to identify with the victims of injustice, with those who bravely confront evil and loyally stick with one another.

Ah yes, loyalty. Loyalty to a secret, mysterious society, which, though visible is in reality invisible, though known, is yet a unknown, though seeming ordinary is yet the most extraordinary reality in the day-to-day bleakness of what we mistakenly call “the real world”.

Sentire Cum Ecclesia, folks. Not for Awfulisers or unreformed-Eustace’s.

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