Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
3Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Memorable Perceptions of Modern Noise and Man's Ingrained Inattentiveness

Memorable Perceptions of Modern Noise and Man's Ingrained Inattentiveness

Ratings: (0)|Views: 745 |Likes:
This brief essay proposes to consider how two eloquent Catholic authors, Hilaire Belloc and Evelyn Waugh, describe and deal with the phenomenon of noise, an unmistakable mark of the intrusive modern world even in times of putative peace. The first account is from 1925 and deals with a famous city upon the water in northeastern Italy, Venice; and the second account is from 1938, some thirteen years later, and deals with the high, upland capital of Mexico, Mexico City.
In a "coda," we will juxtapose some good words from Josef Pieper and Simone Weil on this same subject.
This brief essay proposes to consider how two eloquent Catholic authors, Hilaire Belloc and Evelyn Waugh, describe and deal with the phenomenon of noise, an unmistakable mark of the intrusive modern world even in times of putative peace. The first account is from 1925 and deals with a famous city upon the water in northeastern Italy, Venice; and the second account is from 1938, some thirteen years later, and deals with the high, upland capital of Mexico, Mexico City.
In a "coda," we will juxtapose some good words from Josef Pieper and Simone Weil on this same subject.

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Saint Benedict Center on Jul 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/10/2013

pdf

text

original

 
Dr. Robert Hickson 13 June 2013Saint Anthony of Padua 
Memorable Perceptions of Modern Noise and Man’s Ingrained Inattentiveness
Epigraphs: On Poverty, Irony, and the Barbarian
Poverty has a yet nobler effect
by
the introduction into our lives of irony
:
and irony I take to be the salt in the feast of the intelligence
....All the poor of London have irony; even poor gentlemen, after the age of fifty, discover veins of irony and are better for them, as a man is better for salt in his cooking.Remark [also] that irony kills stupid satire, and that
to have an agent withinone
[
i.e
., “irony”] that kills stupid satire
is to possess an antiseptic against thesuppurative reactions of the soul
. Poverty, again, makes men appreciatereality. You may tell me that this is of no advantage. It is of no directadvantage; but I am sure that it is of advantage in the long run.
For if youignore reality you will come sooner or later against it like a ship against arock in a fog, and you will suffer as the ship will suffer
.” (Hilaire Belloc,“Talking of Poverty,” in
Short Talks with the Dead and Others
(London: Sheed& Ward, 1926—second edition), p. 195—the entire essay extending from pp.191-196)***“The Barbarian hopes—and that is the very mark of him—that he can have hiscake and eat it too. He will consume what civilisation has slowly producedafter generations of selection and effort but he will not be at pains to replacesuch goods nor has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marvelling that civilisation should have offended him with priests and soldiers.The Barbarian wonders what strange meaning may lurk in that ancient andsolemn truth, ‘
Sine Auctoritate nulla vita
.’ [“Without Authority there is nolife.”] In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable in this that he cannot
make
; that
he can befog or destroy, but he cannot sustain
; and of every Barbarian in thedecline or peril of every civilisation [or cultured city] exactly that has beentrue. We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we
tolerate
him; in the long stretchesof peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his
comicinversion
of our old certitudes [
e.g 
., as in “the modern attack upon propertyand upon marriage”—(279)] and
[of] our fixed creeds
refreshes us: we laugh.But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond:
and onthese faces there is no smile
. We permit our jaded intellects
to play with
 
thedrugs of novelty
for the fresh
sensation
they arouse, though we know well thatthere is no good in them, but only wasting in the last.....The real interest inwatching the Barbarian is not the amusement derivable from his antics, but the prime doubt whether he will succeed or no, whether he will flourish. He is, I1
 
repeat,
not
an agent, but merely a symptom.
It is not he in his impotence thatcan discover the power to disintegrate the great and ancient body of Christendom
, but
if 
we come to see him triumphant
we may be certain thatthat body
, from causes much vaster than such as he could control,
isfurnishing him with sustenance and forming for him a congenial soil
 —andthat is as much as to say that we are dying.” (Hilaire Belloc, “The Barbarians,”in
This and That and The Other 
(New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1912), pp. 281-283—my bold emphasis added, italics in the original, the entire essayextending from pp. 273-283)***This brief essay proposes to consider how two eloquent Catholic authors, Hilaire Belloc andEvelyn Waugh, describe and deal with
the phenomenon of noise
, an unmistakable mark of theintrusive modern world even in times of putative peace. The first account is from 1925 and deals with afamous city upon the water in northeastern Italy, Venice; and the second account is from 1938, somethirteen years later, and deals with the high, upland capital of Mexico, Mexico City.Hilaire Belloc’s account is briefer and more charmingly ironical (and satirical), and it is to befound in his essay, “Talking of Venice.”
1
Evelyn Waugh’s account is to be found in his book,
 RobberyUnder Law: The Mexican Object-Lesson
.
2
Belloc at once puts us on alert, as he opens his essay on Venice with a special light tone of drollery, and as he leads us to behold “the itch for innovation” and “the insolence of novelty”:
3
I read it in the papers some months ago that they were talking of replacing thegondolas in Venice by motor-boats. I hope they will.What Venice has lacked hitherto in modernity has been noise. It has crowds of tourists, huge advertisements, bombs dropped on it from the air, newspaperswith large pictures of murders, American films and a magnificent publicity: butlittle noise. (16)Continuing to present, with details historical, all that Venice cumulatively has assimilated, but
1Hilaire Belloc,
Short Talks with the Dead and Others
(London: Sheed & Ward, 1926—second edition), pages 16-22.References to this essay will henceforth be placed in parentheses in the main text above, as will be also done with the page references to Waugh’s book on Mexico.2Evelyn Waugh,
 Robbery Under Law: The Mexican Object-Lesson
(London: The Catholic Book Club, 1940—first published in England, in the spring of 1939, and thus shortly before the distracting outbreak of World War II), especiallyChapter Two, “Tourist Mexico,” notably on pages 21-26, where Waugh’s accent is on a special outbreak of noise!3These last two related phrases in quotation marks are memorable insights from the writings of Dr. Samuel Johnson andG.K. Chesterton, respectively—Chesterton’s words coming from his 1932 book on Geoffrey Chaucer, entitled
Chaucer 
.
2
 
for one conspicuous omission, Belloc says (with a wink to Rabelais):Venice had had whole libraries of books written about people who had writtenother libraries of books about it. Essays were written on Venice (all exactly thesame and quoting [John] Ruskin) by boys and girls in England, Wales, the Sixcounties [of Northern Ireland] and the Lowlands [of Scotland]; by boys andgirls of the middle and upper middle classes; 395,288 of those essays werewritten in 1922 (according to the statistics supplied to me by the presentGovernment) between Thames and Tees alone.
Venice already had chemicalcooking
in a respectable number of restaurants
and it had a great number of places where you can change money at a loss
. It had buildings—palaces and prisons—turned from their old uses into shows. It had all theses things.
But ithad not the essential of modernity which is deafening metallic noise
. (16— my emphasis added)On the premise that contrast clarifies the mind, and thereby bolstering his own (ironical) point,Belloc continues:Such noise [“deafening metallic noise”] is the glory of Rome and Paris. I amglad to say we are reaching a high standard here in London. But Venice isabominably backward in this point. Let them see to it.While the Venetians are about this vigorous cleansing up of their world andridding it of the old nonsense, it occurs to me that they could do worse than fillup their canals. (16-17)Like a Swiftean “Projector” or a modern Land Developer, Bellocs continues with theviewpoint of his adopted Progressive Persona:Perhaps it would be too expensive to fill up the Grand Canal, but I am sure themultitude of lesser ones could be turned into reasonable lanes and streets at anexpense that would be more than covered by the increased rents of the shopsand houses along them. As things now are (or were, when I was last in thetown), one had perpetually to cast about for a bridge as one walked abroad, andit made the perambulation of the city exasperatingly difficult. Moreover, thegreater part of these bridges are shockingly expensive. They are of stone andeven carved. It is a sheer waste and one of which a modern municipality should be ashamed. (17)Bellocs Progressive Planner shows that he is a little shaky about certain traditionalmanifestations of the sacred, as they would be once understood by Catholic Christians, at least:Is it not also rather absurd that, to this day, they should keep St. Mark’s3

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->