Friday, August 05, 2005

I read a blog entry that Sabrina had recommended in an email that made me feel very trivial with my reports of house remodling and chicken activitiy. This guy, Jeff, was talking about "dumbing down" Chaucer by translating his work into rap in order to appeal to young people today. I used to think about such things, and actually hold the same opinion he expressed--that people should rise to literature's level rather than lower literature to theirs. Sometimes the plot of a story can stand alone, though, and used as subject matter for another venue. I could, for example, paint a picture of Chaucer's knight. It wouldn't say much about Chaucer, but it might be a good painting just the same. I'm thinking of "Jesus Christ, Superstar," which actually set the Bible story to music and had Jesus dressed as a clown. I think it had value, but not as a means to appreciate the written text.

Of course, the objection Jeff had was using rap to get kids to appreciate Chaucer. That certainly can't happen if kids aren't exposed to Chaucer. Chaucer was a writer, not a rapper. I really think changing some basic culteral tradition in order to make it more appealing to modern people is a mistake. Look at the Catholic Church, for example, abandoning Latin. It took away so much of the elegance of the mass, the ritual. The new English Bible, ditto. To me the appeal of the church has a lot to do with thee's and thou's, Gloria in Excelsius Deo, etc. Sitting, standing, kneeling, genuflecting, beads.............it has all the high drama one could ask for in an otherwise pretty mundane world consumed by, well, chicken stories and steaming wallpaper. I could have become Catholic just for the ceremony of it. My non-belief in God was all that stood in the way. Thom Lehrer made the point beautifully in the 60's with his song "Vatican Rag."

Anyway, Demeter is eating and walking around today. She even went up the ramp to the roost.
I went to Machias today to see Ann, then to Columbia to pick up Lytton's special food at Four Corners Veterinary Clinic. He won't get bladder stones again if I can help it. On the way home, I went to Toni's for some recorder practice, then checked in at the gallery, went by the house, and came home. My eye is very painful (Cogan's Dystrophy) today and I more or less sat around moaning and groaning about it to the dogs. I had to keep the eye closed, which didn't foster much activity other than picking up the messes that have accumulated during my stint as a wallpaper stripper. Things look a little neater now, though I still can't eliminate little piles of papers that need attention in the immediate future. Psychologically, this house isn't my home anymore and I can't get up much enthusiasm for cleaning it up. I feel I should start to pack, but since I'm really not quite sure where I'm going, it seems purposeless. You'd think that the fact that I have to go SOMEWHERE, no matter what, would get me started, but it doesn't.

I do have some intellectual curiosity left, I guess, since I'm reading Sheldrake's "The Presence of the Past." One or two pages at a time is about all I can handle. Theoretical physics makes for very dense reading and every sentence is so mind-blowing that one such as I has to stop and contemplate each paragraph extensively before moving on. There are so many radical ideas out there, so many fascinating ways to look at things, I'm sorry I can't just inhale it all. My mind takes in such delights with a savoring slowness.

2 comments:

emmacfive said...

I tried sending you an email but it came back saying there's no such address? Did something change?

cuz mic said...

on a far less heady level I was thinking of translating the Uncle Remus stories so the black population wouldnt be offended. Reason being that it is sooo politically incorrect (and rightly so in some instances) that it's off the library shelves and can't be found in book stores. They're such great stories, I want them back.