Father Z, in a post today on liturgical puppets, includes a quote that goes right to Robbo’s heart:
“We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.”
— Hilaire Belloc, This That and the Other (1912)
I think friends of the decanter will agree that this neatly captures the essence of many of Robbo’s screeds about the barbarism of our so-called modern culchah here. (At least I hope so. Otherwise, my writing is even poorer than I thought.)
Now, you may snarf your hot beverage at this assertion, but the fact of the matter is that I’m neither a prig nor a snob. Really. The point of the matter is that from my studies and observations, I’m simply very aware of the enervating effect of Belloc’s sitting by and watching and the devastating consequences of such moral enervation so often illustrated over the course of history.
In other words, I see those large, awful, unsmiling faces pretty clearly.