Monday, October 22, 2012

Good and Bad Have Long Tails...


Of the three books I'm reading, Oscar Wilde's The Complete Fairy Tales feels the most prosaic. Qualification: I am not done yet. The allusion to christ in The Selfish Giant feels maudlin, while the inviolate boundaries drawn between good and bad in The Devoted Friend feel tedious.

Good and Bad have long tails. Tales that grab the middle, and attest only to the pendulum's extreme swings deny deeper truths. It's not so much that everything is relative....

It's much more that this leads to that and that leads to this, and addressing a partial continuum in moral absolutes feels hollow.

But Wilde wrote his fairy tales ages ago. Perhaps, I can forgive him for being a man, somewhat of his times.

When I was a child...

We had a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale collection (printed) and an LP of The Brothers Grimm. I wore that LP out. The book of fairy tales was more dangerous, and lingering. Things we were not allowed to discuss in my home--anger, envy, betrayal--laced those stories.

I kept quiet about those things. And held my breath.

Because those enchanted tales held out hope for a future where the truth might be set free, and I might be able to breathe.

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