27 December 2007

The Post Christmas Clutter

As the first wave of Christmas wrapping paper, boxes, and packaging materials has made it to the garbage and toys are scattered hither and thither while waiting for the inevitable wails of "I'm bored" or "there's nothing to do" echoing throughout the house, I wanted to share an essay from Fr. McNabb called "The Passing of Children's Games."

Plato has told us that one of the surest forebodings of a nation's death is any great change in the song's that people sing. (Hmmm, replacing the glorious musical treasures of the Church with happy clappy banal pop ditties post Vatican II?) He would have been a better prophet of his own people.... had he known that an even surer sign of a nation's death is any great change in the games the children play.
It will not be denied, at least by any lovers of sport, that children's games have sickened------it may be to the point of death. Perhaps some of my readers may not understand what i mean by saying that games have ceased to be creative and even imaginative. We have largely confused games, which children must re-create as they play with toys, which children merely use to enjoy. the great national games are a dispiriting study in the same ailment. They are now mostly composed of a few skilled players who are paid to play, and tens of thousands of onlookers who pay to be amused. Yet to be amused is passive, not active or creative in form and function. but to "play" bears an active meaning or reminiscence; and reminds us that children who need to be amused, whilst three is grass in the fields and sand by the shore, are the anaemic offspring of a people on the threshold of death.
It is money-making and professionalism that have been the death of children's games. Nowadays as there is a business side to everything, not excepting the Gospels, so there is an opportunity of making money out of the games our children play. I can even imagine that somewhere in the background is that supreme creation of Mammon, a "Toy Trust." If there is, then it immediate aim is not to amuse children, but to amass wealth; and its final end will be to destroy children, who, in spite of economics a la Herod, are the nations' wealth in bullion.
The toys of children, like the clothes of their elders, are at present the prey of fashion. I wish it were more evident that the changes of fashion are nowadays beyond the control of what our grandparents called a "leader of fashion." If there are persons who claim this survival of decayed nobility they are "leaders" who no longer lead, but follow. the real leaders are the tradesfolk, the manufacturers or general dealers, who insist that the next season's fashion in hats or gowns or playthings shall be what they think best, that is, best, not for the buyers, but for the trade. In something less than a generation we have witnessed almost the complete decay of the old games which demanded the fewest toys, and most creative childlike imagination.
There are a thousand reasons for this unnerving decay of children's games. after the spread of money-making and professionalism, perhaps the chief reason is the decay of children. When a homes holds but one or two children at the most, toys, playthings, and organized games become a domestic necessity. The child-boy or child-girl lacks that best of playthings, namely, two or three brothers or sisters. The noble art of child-play is entrusted to a paid nurse, whose apparatus is the bought toy and playthings. the child is amused, as precious pet dogs are taken out on a
lead to be exercised. The tragedy of decaying child-play may be written in six acts.
Act I: Horatio dives, the only begotten son of John Dives (nee Murphy) and Marian Dives (nee Tomkin's), has no elder or younger brothers to play with or fight with.

Act II: A nursery is set up in the abode of Horatio Dives, where, under pretext of "bringing him up," the said Horatio is imprisoned for the term of his natural boyhood. Several jailers (alias head-nurse and under-nurse and nursemaids) are paid to see that Horatio does not live like an ordinary boy with five or six ordinary brothers and sisters.

Act III: The head-jailer, to pacify Horatio in his struggles for his birthright of boyhood and freedom, discovers the efficacy of teddy bears, gollywogs, and that kind of thing.

Act IV: Mr. Makepenny, the sweater and multiple storekeeper, discovers money in teddy bears, gollywogs and that kind of thing. He thereupon develops the "toy-line" of business. The motor cars outside his Piccadilly and Fifth Avenue stores congest the traffic.

Act V: All the lesser people, to whom the moneyed classes are the Communion of Saints, buy toys for rapidly decreasing families.

Act VI: !!!! (Curtain)
Dead March in Herod.

1 comment:

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Boy, oh boy! I hear ya here! I was wondering what is wrong with modern music in the liturgy though...don't you like this?:

HAHAHAAAA! It reminded me of practicing for Mass in the parish school in the late 70's! What a hoot!


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