I fear you have brought me to the point of the exclamation marks!
And I quote:
“But do you think we are qualified to have our opinion matter in this? Are we not too old? Too set in our ways and our views?”
Of course we are old. Of course we are set in our ways and views. That is precisely what qualifies us to have an opinion – and for it to matter. Youth might be wasted on the young, but at least our Lord, in his infinite wisdom, spared for old age the nugget of passing judgment on their wasteful ways.
As a scientist you must agree on this, surely? The educated guess, the firm belief, the incontrovertible statement of opinion is only possible after the careful collection of facts, the heaping on heap of experience. I know for a fact that the piercing of the nether regions of which you speak is a bad idea. And I know this because once, riding a bicycle as a young girl, I was inadvertently pierced in the nether regions myself as the rusty transport hit a hidden rock.
Or, to be more literate and less literal: I presented a young girl of my acquaintance with How to Read and Why by that fellow Bloom. She threw it from her in disgust, very upset – I would even use the term incensed – by his view of the futility of the very young reading the very important. I can’t remember what he writes exactly – and the cat is on my lap so I can’t get up and check the source – but I think it is something along the lines of the young, lacking experience, cannot possibly understand the Greats on any true level and should accordingly leave them for later, when the harsh blows of life have given the capacity to grasp the harsh blows of fiction.
I can tell you now: this is a mode of reasoning that would have had me, as a young girl, foaming at the mouth. Now, I rather see the point. Re-read a book of choice which you did not enjoy as an adolescent. What does it tell you today?
The obvious problem with this line of reasoning is, of course, this: how are the young supposed to grow to maturity without the guidance of proper literature? Reasoning with Bloom they will leave it aside, find their code of conduct in the filth we discussed earlier, and thus end up pierced either way, and so ruined for any later proper course of reading.
Alas we are left with a dilemma: ruin your youth by reading beyond your age, or ruin your old age by not having read in your youth.
As for the other matter which you bring up in your letter, namely the where of getting books, I am afraid I must admit I no longer feel the need to get new books at all. You see, I have quite a lot of re-reading to do, of the classics I devoured in my early twenties. Who knows what Ulysses will turn up this time?
With the hopes that your health may Bloom,
PS: This letter if very brief, but I hope it may one of those occasions when the intensity of feeling compensates rather for the lack of lucidity of the argument. Consider it modern verse, if you will. Only modern verse, don’t get me started, seems lacking in both sense and sentiment: which limitations I suppose, are good reasons why we should be glad of its limited format.
PPS: I am thinking of renaming the cat the Vicar, because I rather miss having someone about who never followed orders. I suppose the name would be a better fit if he would leave the sparrows alone, but then again, you can’t expect felines to be very up to date on scripture.