The press has certainly taken its lumps lately—and they’re not altogether undeserved. As Federalist contributor Tom Nichols points out in his new book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge, a great deal of journalism currently exists more to confirm its audience’s preconceived notions than to inform them about reality.
Nichols’ book inspired me to reflect on how politically obsessed and ideologically sequestered our press has become, particularly when it comes to hot-button social issues. To illustrate this, let’s take the debate into the world of counterfactuals: in the alternate history where C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s fantasy series is released this year and becomes a mega-hit, I think the hot takes would probably look something like these.
The American Conservative: “Narnia and the Problem of Borders”
By not effectively maintaining border security, King Tirian ensured his nation would be invaded and plundered by the Calormenes. Also, Archenland should’ve been Narnia’s Benedict Option.
The Atlantic: “How World War II Shaped Narnia”
One of those very comprehensive and thoroughly researched articles that’s so long it’s divided up by roman numerals. It’s fascinating, but you have to go to class at some point. Most of your social media friends will share this article after reading about a third of the way through, and nod sagaciously when asked about it.
Breitbart: “Narnia Ignored Calormene Jihad, Innocent People Died”
The nation should’ve gotten smart and gotten tough. Also, Soros would’ve funded the Calormenes.
BuzzFeed: “20 Times Eustace and Jill Almost Kissed”
A series of GIFs with inconsistent formatting obviously poached from Tumblr. About ten of them can be viewed as vaguely romantic, if you stretch the definition.
The Federalist: “17 Reasons Puddleglum Is The Most Hopeful Character In Literature”
We promise, there really is something good to be found in bottom-feeder mass-market material. Also, it has something to do with sex, gender, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Can’t we get that in the title?
First Things: “Cair Paravel Against the World”
In the face of mounting cultural opposition, “Narnia” shows us how to preserve our institutions. Also, Pope Francis really needs to clarify his stance on animal souls.
Huffington Post: “Nevertheless, Lucy Persisted”
Despite her brothers’ attempts to mansplain away what she found in the wardrobe, Lucy kept talking and ended up the Queen. (Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, by the way).
Mother Jones: “Why the Dwarfs Must Always Be for the Dwarfs”
In the face of unprecedented Narnian and Calormene labor exploitation, the Dwarfs of King Tirian’s Narnia retained solidarity. American workers must follow their example.
Jezebel: “Susan Pevensie and Internalized Misogyny”
She starts wearing lipstick and gets kicked out of Narnia? Talk about patriarchy!
MTV News: “New Years’ Resolutions for C.S. Lewis”
Ugh, white dudes, I can’t even. Here’s some Beyoncé instead.
National Review: “The Left’s Britain Problem”
Liberals are criticizing “Narnia” because they hate that the books draw upon a distinctly Burkean, Anglo-Saxon intellectual heritage. Also, Trump doesn’t understand that heritage.
New York Times: “Amid Online ‘Narnia’ Outcry, Trump Is Silent”
The article opens with a scowling picture of the President, with Sean Spicer or Jared Kushner out-of-focus behind him. Paul Ryan is blamed for not speaking up about the “Narnia” controversy. Someone from the Center for American Progress will be quoted.
The New Yorker: “Kellyanne Conway, Our White Witch”
Just as Jadis presided over the destruction of Charn, so too will Conway preside over the destruction of the American Republic (“Trump,” after all, is the new Deplorable Word). There will also be at least two references to French writers you’ve never heard of.
Patheos: “Are We All Aslan Now?”
If we can really reach inside ourselves, beyond the false dilemmas presented by the Religious Right, we can realize that we too are Aslan, armed with the courage of lions to speak truth to power.
U.S. News and World Report: “The 10 Best College Fantasy Literature Programs”
Reason: “Narnia Doesn’t Need Kings”
In “Prince Caspian,” the Telmarines were on the cusp of transforming Narnia into a successfully modern state that would’ve created job opportunities for everyone. Aslan’s violent return destroyed valuable capital and plunged the regime back into a preindustrial dark age. The GDP losses are incalculable. For shame, Aslan.
Rolling Stone: “A Swordfight on Campus”
[Retracted: This story erroneously alleged that C.S. Lewis intentionally promoted school violence in the closing pages of “The Silver Chair.” We regret the error, and will be ordering a full investigation.]
Salon: “With ‘Narnia,’ the Publishing World Takes Steps Toward Normalizing Mike Pence’s Theocracy”
Narnia is ruled by monarchs appointed directly by a deity, and that’s precisely how the Trump White House sees itself. And what’s Aslan’s position on reproductive rights? These questions need answers.
Slate: “Narnia’s White Savior Problem”
The Pevensie children are colonial occupiers of a foreign regime, and should’ve used their talents to center the voices of Narnia’s native inhabitants. Also, the interracial romance in “The Horse and His Boy” is really, really problematic, if you think about it.
Vox: “What you really need to know about Narnia author C.S. Lewis”
Did you know that C.S. Lewis also wrote a series called “The Lord of the Rings”? [Correction: This story meant to state that C.S. Lewis wrote a series called “The Space Trilogy”].
WorldNetDaily: “You’ll Never Guess What Books Obama Wants to Ban”
President Obama once said he thought “Holes” was his favorite young-adult book. Obviously, he’s planning to take Narnia out of school libraries across the country. Also, this event was foretold in biblical prophecy.