Monthly Archives: December 2012

G.K. Chesterton on Fairy Tales

A panda, possibly post-coitus.

A panda, possibly post-coitus.

From Tremendous Trifles (Kindle version is free).

I thought I would have a dingdong of a time finding this excerpt, because all of those quote sites (or sites with quote collections on them…looking at you, Goodreads) only have two or three sentences at the most. That’s fine if you’re one of those people who put inspirational quotes on photos of pandas having sex time or whatever. But to experience more complex thoughts you have to dig, and thankfully I didn’t need to slap Google too hard to get this.

I lost the link to where I found this, but I didn’t steal this from another blog so no one will care (but go here and here and here for that).

I find that there really are human beings who think fairy tales bad for children. I do not speak of the man in the green tie, for him I can never count truly human. But a lady has written me an earnest letter saying that fairy tales ought not to be taught to children even if they are true. She says that it is cruel to tell children fairy tales, because it frightens them. You might just as well say that it is cruel to give girls sentimental novels because it makes them cry. All this kind of talk is based on that complete forgetting of what a child is like which has been the firm foundation of so many educational schemes. If you keep bogies and goblins away from children they would make them up for themselves. One small child in the dark can invent more hells than Swedenborg. One small child can imagine monsters too big and black to get into any picture, and give them names too unearthly and cacophonous to have occurred in the cries of any lunatic. The child, to begin with, commonly likes horrors, and he continues to indulge in them even when he does not like them. There is just as much difficulty in saying exactly where pure pain begins in his case, as there is in ours when we walk of our own free will into the torture-chamber of a great tragedy. The fear does not come from fairy tales; the fear comes from the universe of the soul.

The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it– because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

Panda photo by vpickering.

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An Addendum to My Last Post About Blogging

I forget what I searched for to get this image, but here it is.

I forget what I searched for to get this image, but here it is.

In my last post, I may have made it sound like I find blogs annoying*, but I really don’t. I subscribe to many of them and I know there are some mutual subscriptions.

The crux of it was that, even though I’m not a heavy publisher, I was getting burnt out on my own blogging. One can only write so much about how terrible governments are or “hey, Jesus and God are kinda weird but I’m down with them regardless” type of philosophical crapshooting before you feel like you’re just grinding metal against metal. There are literally five or six blogs in the universe that talk about those things and I can guarantee they write about it better than I do. The savvy Internetter with the latest search engine can go to those for that.

But with fiction, it’s different. Yeah, there’s plenty of writers giving it away online, but my fiction from me and no one else. Please don’t take the last part of that sentence as a snide “I’m awesome, if you don’t like it, deal with it” adolescent disclaimer, but as an honest valuation of whatever it is I do here. Opinionating on other topics like I have been doing are repeated en masse by the digital glom of consciousness.

I’ll still do normal blogging things on here, but I will try not to waste your time with drudgery.

Photo by funkandjazz.

* This is despite how much I’ve written in the past about Super-BloggersTM and their annoying bloggy habits and enjoyment of universal adoration.

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Blogging Is Annoying So Here’s a Bunch of Tweets

Lately I’ve taken to writing microfiction on Twitter. There wasn’t an epiphany or earth-moving impetus behind it. It was very fly by night. I’ve been doing them for over a week, once a day.

Back when I posted a lot of flash fiction on here I used to do 100 word stories daily for quite a while. It eventually petered out because, even though I had enough ideas, more important things got in the way as they tend to do. With the Twitter thing it’s different because there’s less writey-time and more a mental wrangle to fit a plot or sense within 140 letters.

I’m still going to write here in the blog but one can only post so much political or theological commentary before getting burnt out on it, especially if you like writing fiction. There’s only so much you can do with writing about what other people have written or thought out, when what all you think about is telling your own stories. The Internet is rife with the former but only I (or you, or anyone) can produce the latter.

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Muggeridge on Political Power

From The End of Christendom:

Against the new leviathan, whether in the guise of universal suffrage, democracy, or of an equally fraudulent triumphant proletariat, he (Kierkegaard) pitted the individual human soul made in the image of a God who was concerned about the fate of every living creature. In contrast with the notion of salvation through power, he held out the hope of salvation through suffering. The Cross against the ballot box or clenched fist; the solitary pilgrim against the slogan-shouting mob; the crucified Christ against the demagogue-dictators promising a kingdom of heaven on earth, whether achieved through endlessly expanding wealth and material well-being, or through the ever greater concentration of power and its ever more ruthless exercise.

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