Monday, November 19, 2012

Mayberry R.I.P.

Here is an article by Anthony Esolen (who's as good as Peter Kreeft, IMHO, and whose translation and notes for Dante's Inferno are perhaps the best you'll find), and it starts with the question, "Why don't boys and girls hold hands any more?"  Be advised that reading it might kind of break your heart.

This article is painful to read.  It's not only true, it's been true since I was "courting" my wife Karen thirty years ago.  I am sorry to say there was very little of that boy-girl romance between us even then.  Even in the 80's, college students didn't "date", they either had sex or didn't with people they casually hung out with.  And while Karen and I dated (we weren't in college), my attitude toward women was not one of gentleness or protection.  Chivalry and Courtesy - gone.  I missed it without realizing I missed it .
We have a murder mystery called Mayberry R.I.P. - and that's the name of this un-named syndrome.  Not only is Andy dead, the whole way of life is dead.

The author as Sheriff Andy in his play Mayberry R.I.P.
There's something in the air that is attacking Love and the source of all Love, God. 

Belloc writes so much about his love of singing, singing joyful songs as he hikes through the hills.  Who sings any more?  What would we sing?  The songs on the radio that have no melody and that are about screeching and sex?  The hills are no longer alive with the sound of music, because the sound of music is gangsta rap.  At least during Advent we hear the good old songs once more; real music is popular only in Christmas tunes.  And boys and girls who "stay inside", as Esolen points out, don't know life.  It poisons us all, even devout Catholics.  We trade love for contraception and fornication, we destroy the family and find ourselves terribly lonely.  We think we're hip because we have gadgets and gonorrhea, and meanwhile the family in the stable on a cold night in Bethlehem is further from us than ever before.

 Of all the things that are hard for the young people I teach to grasp, the notion of love is at the core.  "The love that made the sun and the other stars," as Dante says - the love that made hell itself, as an act of Mercy and Justice together.  It is the great thing that young people are hungering for; it is the Great Starvation.  Without it, you get suicide and a fascination with torture and death; without it you get boredom.   

With it, the entire world comes alive.

1 comment:

Tom Leith said...

Mr. Esolen will be Credo's speaker in the Spring. Time is running out to register for Robert George's talk this coming Sunday. If you like "intellectual Catholicism" you'll love Credo.