An article in the City Journal, a leading urban policy magazine, describes the recent inability of Time magazine’s editors to spot the recent misallocation of Evelyn Waugh’s writings to a survey of women authors, as an example of the failure of America’s educational system. Stefan Kanfer writes:
When the dustup hit the Net, one of Twitter’s most popular commentators, Matthew Yglesias, owned up to his ignorance like a man—an unlettered man. “Confession time,” he wrote. “Until today I thought Evelyn Waugh was a woman, because his name is ‘Evelyn’ and that is typically a woman’s name.” Whereupon, a derisive Twitterer asked, “Have you ever read anything?” Answering in kind, Yglesias shot back, “Yes, several books but none by Evelyn Waugh.” Very amusing, but Yglesias isn’t your average blogger. He’s a graduate of Dalton—a tony Manhattan progressive school—and attended Harvard where he graduated magna cum laude in 2003…
Waugh saw all this coming more than 50 years ago. In Scott-King’s Modern Europe, a fatuous headmaster declares, “Parents are not interested in producing the ‘complete man’ anymore. They want to qualify their boys for jobs in the public world. You can hardly blame them, can you?” Scott-King, Waugh’s mouthpiece, responds: “I can and do. I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.”
Waugh’s novella Scott-King’s Modern Europe is also available in Waugh’s Complete Short Stories. Thanks to Dave Lull for forwarding this article.