Friday, November 4, 2011

Mouthwash Recommended

Walter Hooper is a trustee of the C.S. Lewis estate. He served as Lewis' personal secretary for a short time and knew Lewis quite well. He wrote the introduction to Present Concerns: A Compelling Collection of Timely, Journalistic Essays. The essays were written by Lewis and later compiled by Hooper. In the introduction, Hooper recounts the following exchange he had with Lewis:
"Who is Elizabeth Taylor?" asked C.S. Lewis. ...
"If you read the newspapers," I said to Lewis, "you would know who she is."
"Ah-h-h-h!" said Lewis playfully, "but that is how I keep myself 'unspotted from the world'."
He recommended that if I absolutely "must" read newspapers I have a frequent "mouthwash" with The Lord of the Rings or some other great book.
I read this quote on vacation awhile back and found one more reason to love C.S. Lewis! Funny how timely and relevant Lewis was and still is for not having read newspapers! If this was his opinion roughly a half a century ago in England, what would he say to us today in America?!

So much of what passes for "news" is not "newsworthy." When "news" becomes more a business than a service, it's bound to shoot itself in the foot. When the compulsion to gain a greater market share trumps the responsibility to inform the populace of real and newsworthy news, "(cheap) entertainment value" might rise, but news as a good and public service dies.

As you walk through this holiday season, you might have a little extra time on your hands here and there. Shut off the TV, close your internet browser, and sink your teeth into a good book -- like this or this (present Book of the Month) or this or this or this or this (or this, if with your kids) or this or this or this. It's a great way to wash the world off your teeth.

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