no clear answers, and the allegorical obscuritynof the book may well account fornits failure to reach the best-seller lists.nRegardless of any precise meaning,nthe novel reinforces the observation ofnthe failed priest in The Power and thenGlory: “the world’s unhappy whethernyou are rich or poor—unless you are ansaint, and there aren’t many of those.”nEach of the Toads has a soul—starvednand pinched as it is, and, as Greene hasnsaid of Trollope’s clergyman, his “un­nRobbing the CradlenAn Oak Lawn CommunitynAwareness Group is fightingnhard to remove a book from thenparents’ shelf in the children’snroom of the Oak Lawn Library.nThe book is a pictorial albumnentitled Show Me, published bynSt. Martin Press in 1975 in NewnYork. It presents, inter alia, photographsnof 10- to 14-year-oldsnengaging in oral sex and masturbation.nThe head librarian balksnat banning it. He says:nIt is for parents to use withnchildren; it was not intendednfor children to use themselvesn… as a professional librarian,nI have a broader responsibilitynto the community,nand that would includenmaking sure the library isnnot subjected to the whimsnof any individual in terms ofnwhat other people wish tonhave available to read.nIndeed, the book was intendednto encourage a very specificnsymbiotic relationship betweennparent and child. Among othernengrossing things, we can readnthere: “Embraces and caressesn[of the genitals] are fun andnpleasurable for both children andnadults…”nThe Oak Lawn CommunitynAwareness Group put Show Menon public display. Only two personsnout of 75 who viewed thenbook did not think that it shouldnbe banned. One of the latter said:nimportance in the world of the senses isnonly matched by his enormous importancenin another world.”nSo, after a half-century as a majornnovelist, Greene continues to be fascinatednwith the human dilemma in whichnmen and women struggle to maintainntheir equilibrium on the dangerous edge.nHe still sees himself as following thentradition of Henry James. In his essaynon Mauriac (1945) Greene says thatn”with the death of James the religiousn”Married couples who view itnare shocked. If it disturbs adults,nwhat can it do to children.””nIn April 1977, in The RockfordnPapers, we wrote:n. . . the worst that isnwrought upon youth bynShow Me is its truculentndestruction of children’snunique quest for hiddennmeanings of sexualitynwhich they do not want tonhave programmed by adultsnlike a school curriculum.nMeanwhile, the San FrancisconPublic Library has decidednto ban Mary Poppins, Said thenlibrarian in charge:nIt is not censorship. It’s selectionnafter careful review.nIt is not a very good book.n(RAV)nSubhumanitynAccording to New York magazine,na highly reliable source,nthere is a rising epidemic ofnheroin use among the well-to-donin that city. People of potentialnworth to society are pulverizingntheir psychological equipment.nLiberal Culturenreducing it to the condition ofnmalodorous mush and turningninto zombies in droves.nIn the time-honored liberalntradition, New Fo/-^ !r articlenasks for compassion, understandingnand help for thosenwho have acquired “the habit.”nFree will and simple personalnresponsibility are not mentioned.nIn contrast, people who fall fornheroin are, with a sort of pride,ndescribed as intelligent, sensitive,nattuned to “liberal politics”nwith “strong feminist leanings.”nDiscussing their switch from cocainen— which, during then1970’s, helped them to “explorenlife in a chatty, loving way”—nthey offer a rationalization:nMaybe because this decadenis hitting all of us hard,nwe’re after a change ofnpace, a brief escape. Call itna temporary, reversiblen(sic!) frontal lobotomy.nThis, to our mind, is like deliberatelynopting for subhumanitynas a standard of living. Whynshould we, who believe in humannessnas the supreme yardsticknof Western civilization,nhelp them at all?nnnsense was lost to the English novel, andnwith the religious sense went the sensenof the importance of the human act.nIt was as if the world of fiction had lostna dimension.”nWith Greene at least, in all of hisnwork, that dimension survives. In thenugly world of Doctor Fischer and thenToads there are no values, no truths,nbut the apparent absence of thesenthings should not blind us to their existence.nDnOn Human NaturenEdward Albee, a playwrightnknown for his behavioral nonconformism,nis producing Lolitanon the stage. For that purpose,nhe auditioned a roomful of whatnthe Associated Press calls “aspiringnnymphets,” no more thann13 years old. Then:nBefore the interview began,nAlbee warned the 50 littlengirls that the play includesnscenes of ‘sexual intimacy.’nHe added: ‘Anybody whosenmother isn’t interested innhaving you play that kind ofnthing shouldn’t be involved.’nNo one left thenWe’re not surprised. Human naturenseldom changes, and whennpresented with a choice betweennmaking a hefty amount of moneynor refusing self-degradationn—it most often opts for the firstnoption. So it was in medievalnAlexandria and 18th-centurynLondon. We thought that inn20th-century America the socialnethos was finished with offeringnpecuniary inducements tonchild prostitution, but we werenapparently wrong. We wondernwhether Nabokov would givenpermission for such a manipulationnof his brilliant novel. ButnNabokov is out and Albee is in,nand the right to injure humannlives at their outset now seemsnto be the law of the land. Dni35nXovembcr/Deccmbcr 1980n