Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Life in All Things: My 2016 Resolution

I am not, in general, one for New Year's Resolutions. However, this is an exception: Appendix N.

The aforementioned appendix is from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks, specifically the Dungeon Master's Guide. It is a list of fantasy and science fiction works that Gary Gygax found very important to the formulation of D&D, and recently one of the contributors to the Castallia House blog explained why it matters to gaming, the SF/F literary field, and the pop-culture derivatives thereof.

My resolution is this simple: to read as many entries on that list as I can in 2016, for the purpose of better understanding the past from which so much that is good (and the cancer that is killing it) comes from, so that I can carry on what is good and know better what is not in my own works.

What pushed me into the commitment was this:
This estrangement between the generations… it isn’t normal. And it’s not just that people in the seventies would have read many of the same science fiction and fantasy authors that their parents and even grandparents did. The scope of things that fall within the black hole of the generation gap seems to be expanding almost exponentially now. Even things like Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry– I would have watched the same stuff that my big brother watched when I was a kid… and we were familiar with the same classic cartoons that out parents and grandparents would have watched. But that’s changed now. And it goes beyond these things just sort of quietly dropping off the radar for the moment. Millennials that will admit to never seeing them still “know” somehow that these things were racist or something and deserve to be erased. It might seem silly, maybe, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest of that post, and then back through the series. I had that connection with my father, who was a closet nerd and introduced to me much that I still enjoy now: James Bond, Monty Python, Doctor Who, J.R.R. Tolkien, Fawlty Towers, and that's just an abbreviated list. I have younger cousins now who struggle to grok much of this stuff; if they weren't grounded in some form of Christianity, it would be alien to them utterly- and it's still not easy.

Cultural transmission, in the proper method, is done from Elder to Junior; you learn at your mother's knee and your father's hand. It's too important to leave in the hands of anyone else, which is why it is vital for people to master media literacy early and hone it often; letting Madison Avenue teach you what your culture is has results no less suicidal than shooting pure heroin into your veins- it just takes longer to wreck yourself. That's why I'm doing this- to take back into my hands what should never have left them, the responsibility to foster my culture and keep it growing to the health and benefit of my nation, country, and civilization- and not let it fall into the hands of crazy cultists who'd rather wipe their asses with it.

In short, to do for something bigger than myself.

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