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Daily Wisdom-isms: That Hideous Strength (The Educated Reader)

By this point, if you haven’t picked up a copy of this magnificent work of art, you should. It’s worth every penny. In this excerpt, our hero Mark is becoming a bit disenchanted with his place within the evil organization known as N.I.C.E. Things seem ambiguous…without direction. And as frustrating as this is, Fairy Hardcastle explains that it is exactly how things have to be. Enjoy!

“I’ve no notion of spending my life writing newspaper articles,” Mark said. “And if I had, I’d want to know a good deal more about the politics of the N.I.C.E. before I went in for that sort of thing.”

“Haven’t you been told that it’s strictly non-political?”

“I’ve been told so many things that I don’t know whether I’m on my head or my heels,” said Mark. “But I don’t see how one’s going to start a newspaper stunt without being political. Is it Left or Right papers that are going to print all this rot?”

“Both, honey, both,” said Miss Hardcastle. “Don’t you understand anything? Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and a fierce Right, both on their toes and terrified of the other? That’s how things get done. Any opposition to the N.I.C.E. is represented as a Left racket in the Right papers and a Right racket in the Left papers. If it’s properly done, you get each side outbidding the other in support of us–to refute the enemy slanders. Of course we’re non-political. The real power always is.”

“I don’t believe you can do that,” said Mark. “Not with the papers that are read by educated people.”

“Why you fool, it’s the educated reader that can be gulled. All our difficulty comes from the others. When did you meet a workman who believes in the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair Flats. He is our problem. We need to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the highbrow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They are all right already. They’ll believe anything.”

Now do you believe?

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