Sunday, 1 February 2009

“The critics say that epics have died out
With Agamemnon and the goat-nursed gods;
I’ll not believe it”
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

What our age lacks is the passion older civilizations seem to have had. Kierkegaard said of the modern age (he was speaking in a religious context) that you can hardly call its inhabitants sinners; they (i.e. us) are lukewarm beings whose sins are of the vague and wretched sort. The older civilizations really sinned! They murdered, they stole and they lusted in the proper sense of the words. These terms hardly qualify in describing the modern human being. In a time when love just means being nice to other people passion is almost dead. Look at the stories we tell on TV, they’re getting sillier every year. As a kid I watched lots of TV because they had good cartoons on, shows like Darkwing Duck, Bikermice from Mars and Captain Planet. I see that they’re barely showing cartoons on children’s shows anymore, all they go on about is the presenters and what they get up to. Apparently we’re the most intelligent beings on the planet and yet we waste our lives away talking about the cellulite on some celebrity’s thigh. Did you see how lumpy Jennifer Smith’s thighs are? They have pics of it in Warm Magazine. WTF?! Douglas Adams is right, it’s mice that actually run the show and dolphins are second in command.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Like the lovely Mrs Browning I believe that the spirit of old is not dead yet. It is locked away in some cupboard and it’s still fairly easy to get hold of the Golden Key with which to open that forgotten cupboard. That Golden Key is, believe it or not, literature. Stories have always been the favourite art form of human beings all over the planet because they are an ingenious way of preserving a society’s wisdom and even more importantly, they are entertaining.

The epics have not died out my friends; they’re on shelves in your local bookstores and libraries. If you’ve never heard of those places just look around for dusty looking people and they’ll gladly show you the way.
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