`Filthy materialism '
— By HILARY KNIGHT -
MY series of columns about spare-time recreations must again be interrupted because 1 have received an anonymous letter from Belfast which seems to me important. It is from a "Final Year College Man" who is very critical of my column on the grounds that it is "effeminate" and "kindergarten-ish".
"Look," he says, "in this world today the young people as a whole are maturing very much faster than a generation ago. A cross-section of the youths in any college or grammar school will reveal that.
".How can you possibly expect intelligent and fast growing-up Catholic boys and girls to 'turn a blind eye' on the filthy materialistic world in which we live? 'I hey need guidance to keep them on the right track, but not the sort of guidance which is on page 8 of the `C.H.' .."
I have various remarks to make about this. To begin with, let us get it clear about the purpose of my column. Its primary purpose is not, in fact, to "guide young people along the right track".
No, its primary purpose is to discuss the sort of topics which (I hope) interest you, and even, perhaps, to bring fresh interests to your notice. Its purpose is also to act as a forum where you can express your views (but. being a
new column, it obviously hasn't got very far yet).
A 'BLIND EYE' NEXT: have 1 ever said 'I expect boys and girls to "turn a blind eye" on the -filthy 'materialistic world"? And what exactly does my correspondent mean by the "filthy materialistic world"?
The world is materialistic in so many different ways and if I were asked, I would suggest a variety of methods of trying to fight this.
However, as my correspondent's letter was prompted by my column about the cinema, I think he must be referring to the materialism manifest in the wanton cruelty and violence that some films offer as entertainment, and which I deplored. Now if I were trying to lead you along the right track, I would certainly suggest your boycotting that kind of film (though whether I should expect you to do so is another matter).
Incidentally, you would not he depriving yourselves by doing so, for there are so many good films. Take "The Defiant Ones," for example. No film could be more exciting. more gripping, more breath-taking, more all the things that the blurbs say—and yet at the end you come away resolved to love a whole section of God's creatures more than you loved them when you took your seat. But, unfortunately, you can't escape "filthy materialism" even then because of the advertisementbarrage by which we are victimised in the cinema nowadays " Buy a box of so-and-so chocolates and your day trill be made .. ." " You can't expect to find a wife unless you use such-and-such hair cream.
. . I must say I would recommend giving your eyes a good rest at that point.
PIN-UP GIRLS RUT my correspon
" dent's assertion that young people mature much earlier now than in the past (whether this be true or not is another matter) suggests that the materialism he has in Mind may well be the open glorification of sex and the prevalence on every bookstall of pin-up girls.
The problems that arise from this —and the fact that you would have to be literally blind not to be aware of it — are ones that 1 had planned to discuss later on in the year, after 1 have finished my series on spare-time occupations.
My correspondent tells me that his hobbies are soccer. hurling, and reading. He says that he has spent pounds on novels, but does not tell me the sort of novels he buys. I wish he had.
Hurling, he says, is "a very ancient, and probably one of the most skilful, games in the world". Please, Correspondent, will you tell us more about this?
HE says that everything I have written so far "bores him stiff". " Why not engage some obliging and understanding young chap to describe a motor-race, a big light, a soccer match? Why not draw a pen portrait of some outstanding Catholic personality in the world of sport, music, screen, drama, and stress the need for a good religious character at home and at work?"
I am very grateful for these ideas but again, would like to comment. Descriptions of motor-races, big fights, and soccer matches are given anyway in the daily press (which don't expect you not to read), so accounts of them in this column would surely he redundant: unless any of my readers at school or college sees a fight or a match or a race that has some especially interesting feature, in which case do write about it for me.
Moreover, to stress the need for a good religious character at home and at work would seem superfluous in a Catholic paper where the acquirement of such a character must surely be the ideal of all its readers.
But I think the suggestion about pen (i.e. written) portraits of outstanding Catholic personalities who have an especial appeal for teenagers is an excellent one. Would any of my readers volunteer to do one?