|Visual Aid for the Subtext Challenged|
Once upon a time there was a land called
Europe. It was full of people of diverse cultures and languages, but they shared a common trait in that they had an oral culture. Being primarily farmers, these people would pass long dark winter evenings by telling tales that were meant for adults and children alike. These tales were meant to both entertain and frighten and they had meaning. Within each tale was a lesson to be learned, sometimes multiple lessons. These tales rarely ended happily.
Then one fine day the oral culture was supplanted by a literary culture and many of the people were no longer farmers. This was okay because the tales continued to be told, and although the various people lived in different lands and spoke in different tongues, the tales were all very much alike in all the important points. And one by one the tales were written down by different authors and some of the authors changed the tales, or perhaps they simply heard different versions. No one can really say to this day.
One fine day a new, magical land was discovered and they called it
America. And America never had an oral culture to speak of, but that was okay because people from all over Europe came to America and brought the tales with them either in memory or in print. And time passed and the green land of America blossomed until one day it was determined that the tales and their lessons were no longer proper and so the tales were changed and new versions of the tales were printed. And the children of America grew up happy in their ignorance and they too had children and their children had children. And like their fathers and mothers before them, they too thought the tales were a bit too much for the youth and decidedly unmarketable given the globalized community that the green land had become, and so the tales were changed again. And eventually the children grew up and never knew that their tales had been changed to make them safer for developing minds and more marketable for media conglomerates run by anthropomorphic rodents in short pants. And first Le Petit Chaperon Rouge and then Rotkappchen disappeared until all the children had left was a syrupy happy ending. And thus did childhood extend ever until death and adulthood was hidden away for ever. And they all found out one day that there was no happily ever after. Too bad they weren’t prepared for it.
Heed this lesson and keep your pumpkins lit.