More Culture Rot: We Have Lost a Treasure

King Arthur, if he ever existed (scholars aren’t sure), lived and died some fifteen hundred years ago. After the Bible, his story was the story of the Western world. Before the invention of the printing press, King Arthur’s story had been translated into French, Italian, German, Icelandic, Spanish, Swedish, and Russian, and hand-copied into books all over Europe. By the middle of the 20th century, King Arthur had become the subject of prose, poetry, painting, sculpture, classical music, movies, television programs, toys, board games, a Broadway musical, and innumerable works of historical and literary scholarship. I even know of a housing development where the streets are named after his knights.

But now he has fallen on hard times.

Yesterday I quizzed a 13-year-old boy and his 38-year-old uncle–representing two different generations–as to what they knew about King Arthur. Writers are allowed to do things like this; it would be considered intrusive, coming from your plumber.

The boy first: “Tell me everything you know about King Arthur.”

“Uh… Was he a king of England or someplace? He had some involvement with the U.S.?”

He came up totally blank on the Round Table, Camelot, Merlin, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot. He defined the Holy Grail as “a big cup with a lot of jewels on it, and if you drink from it, you live forever.” An interesting response, I’d say.

His uncle did a little better.

“King Arthur… Oh, yeah, with the Knights of the Round Table.” Merlin he identified as “a wizard,” but didn’t make the connection between Merlin and Arthur. He came up empty on Camelot, Guinevere, and Lancelot. “I think I might’ve heard that name, sometime, Sir Lancelot. But I don’t know anything about him.”

So for fifteen hundred years the story of King Arthur was told, and built upon, and retold, and decorated (sometimes almost beyond recognition): it even caught on in Japan.

And now it’s lost. This great treasure of our culture, buried under an avalanche of comic books–no more Prince Valiant comics, I regret to say–and video games, reality TV and truly benighted “music” that shrivels souls. After a millenium and a half, we’ve managed to erase it in a mere two generations. The story came out of one Dark Age to vanish into another.

I don’t believe that man evolved from apes. But a lot of people seem to be working very hard to make apes evolve from man.

 

4 comments on “More Culture Rot: We Have Lost a Treasure

  1. It started back farther than you would believe, like about 85 years ago according to my memory, but likely, as soon as “government schools”, under the auspices of Dewey and Mann, came into being. See what only one man can accomplish if he is dedicated! I am only one….

    1. I make it a rule in life to believe bad people when they say they’re going to do bad things. Dewey & Co. said they’d dumb people down, and they’ve succeeded in doing it.

  2. It is amazing to see how well they have succeeded. Why should we be surprised, though? Satan’s servants have an extremely crafty lord; one who made the serpent start a revolt that has lasted for centuries.

    1. A stupid, easy-to-manage population, herded and culled by “experts”–that was the vision of the founders of public education, and they have made it happen.

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