January 21, 2011

The Beowulf cookbook

When pressing events don't intrude, I've been blogging about Beowulf lately. I mean, somebody's got to do it. If you aren't into that kind of thing, you can skip to the links and comments section.

After going over this first major work of English (sort of) literature several times, I think I've got the recipe down. It has four main ingredients:

1. A full cup of Tolkien. Old J.R.R. was a major medievalist and possibly the 20th century's greatest Beowulf scholar. He also got a lot of inspiration and ideas from the text for his fiction, including orcs, dragons sitting on hoards, the term Middle Earth, Rohan, and the whole ambiance thing;

2. An equal amount of the Sopranos. Each little kingdom is like a mob family, with a lord who distributes benefits (or "ring-giver") and loyal retainers. At any sign of weakness, another crew will muscle its way in. It's a culture of honor where violence can break out at any moment and feuds are common;

3. A full cup of pagan warrior ethic, in which the greatest immortality one can have is to live on in legend after death. The Greeks called this kleos; and

4. A tiny drop of Christianity, minus any references to Jesus.

Mix the first three ingredients and coat sparingly with the last one, bake for a few centuries and there you have it.

ONE MORE TIME, here's a de-bunking of several right wing lies about health care reform.

COAL KABUKI covered here. At least things remained peaceful as far as I could tell.

WAL-MART is moving to promote healthier foods. I still won't shop there, but in the spirit of fair play I'll give them 5 points.


TESTING, TESTING. It may work better than studying.


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