Years ago (as in 2005), I was intrigued by the fact that my company routinely received protest letters from schoolchildren, usually but not always 7th and 8th graders in English classes in California. The letters would be sent to the CEO (who never saw them; his admin passed them on to me to answer). I’d think, okay, it must be a writing or composition exercise. Then I read them. Invariably the letters parroted each other, were full of misspelled words, and were written in print or block letters (never cursive). One would have thought the English teachers involved would have taught spelling and grammar before turning children into protesters.
I was reminded of this when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week, about an English teacher in Massachusetts celebrating the canceling of The Odyssey by Homer from the school curriculum and fretting that anything more than 70 years old was still being taught. One can only conclude that literature and the accumulated wisdom of the ages is being set aside to teach political indoctrination.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis turned 75 this year, and it continues to enchant new generations of readers. Esther O’Reilly at The Critic Magazine has a few reflections on Narnia, redemption, and steadfastness (not to mention a possibly apt comparison between the frozen world of the White Witch and life under pandemic lockdown).
Of all the New Year’s resolutions I’ve heard (and sometimes made), one of the best comes from J.K. Wall at Gentle Reformation. It’s the New Year’s resolution we all need.
More Good Reads
Writing and Literature
Dickens and America – Benedict Kiely at The Imaginative Conservative.
“A Christmas Carol”: A Capitalist Story – Jacqueline Isaacs at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.
Tom Joad and the Quest for an American Eden – Mark Malvasi at The Imaginative Conservative.
Tom Bombadil Hospitality – John Sommer at Story Warren.
The Dangerous Love of Ease – Greg Morse at Desiring God.
Our Hearts Smile, Even If Our Faces Do Not – Tim Challies.
Life and Culture
2020 – The Worst? – Elizabeth Stice at Front Porch Republic.
Egon Schiele on What It Means to Be an Artist and Why Visionaries Always Come from the Minority – Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.
Institutions Rescue George Bailey – Harry Moss at Front Porch Republic.
Down the 1619 Project’s Memory Hole – Phillip Magness at Quillette.
“Pride Goeth…” and Other Sonnets – James Tweedie at Society of Classical Poets.
The Thin Place: St. Baglan’s Church, Wales – Friends of Friendless Churches.
Oranges & Lemons Churches – Spitalfields Life.
Be Kind to Yourself – Andrew Peterson
Painting: The Old Man Reading, oil on canvas by Fyodor Bronnikov (1827-1902).