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Studdock as Pecksniff

By Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. (articles ) | Mar 21, 2003

Readers of C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength will remember the scene in which Mark Studdock, momentarily released from the degradations of Belbury, resolves to restore his self-regard by taking a high-hand with the upright Cecil Dimble:

"The idea of being annoyed with the Dimbles occurred to Mark almost as an inspiration. To bluster a little as an injured husband in search of his wife would be a pleasant change from the attitudes he had recently been compelled to adopt."

It is hard not to be reminded of Studdock in reading the diatribes of many ecclesiastics against the war. The resemblance lies not in their moral reasoning -- often cogent in itself -- but in the sanctimoniousness and overly theatrical agony of their self-display. Ron Russell's SF Weekly article records the latest in a series of humilations in which senior churchmen are reduced to speechlessness before overwhelming evidence of incompetence, mendacity, and fraud. Small wonder if the chance to baritone a little from the pulpit proves a temptation too great to resist.

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