My husband calls this 21at century “The Age of Outrage.” It seems everyone is insulted, offended, or outraged. So many people seem to feel justified while calling others hateful names. A few are paid huge sums to spew venom into the air waves, berate elected officials, civil servants, women, "fat people," people with mental problems. Popular TV shows promote humiliating others. Modern life seems to promote and enjoy anger directed at the "other."
Even though Screwtape Letters was written 71 years ago, at the start of WWII, the ideas are entirely contemporary. Lewis says, “I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of ‘Admin.’ The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ’dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.” I can’t help but wonder about candidate Romney who said, “I enjoy firing people….” Who enjoys causing suffering to others?
Well dressed, manicured, massaged corporate Big Wigs are paid multi-millions to increase profits. They cut expenses by firing people and by broadcasting TV shows that do not require writers, sets, musicians, or actors. Shows that put no talent on stage. Shows that demonstrate the lowest of human behavior. Shows that appeal to mindlessness, even cruelty. What is so entertaining about watching oveweight people be berated and shamed? What pleasure is there in viewing shows in which people are drowning in their own possessions, filth, and garbage? Is is amusing to watch a "Bridesilla?" I ask, as I do not watch them; I see only enough as I change chanels to know viewing these shows would have a negative effect on my mind and my soul.
Screwtape understands human nature and human weakness. He offers advice to his inexperienced nephew, Wormwood, on how to bring young Christians to “our Father Below.” But, the reader must remember that "Satan is a Liar…” The reader must be prepared to question and to think, and to face himself, honestly. This book requires thought and quesioning one's self. This is a book to be enjoyed, over and over. It will make the reader both laugh and cringe, as we recognize ourselves and people we know. It is witty, wry, and wise---thought provoking. It may awaken us to be outraged at ourselves and to reconsider what we "enjoy."