Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Death of Literature

Today is a sad day. Today is the day I realized that literature might possibly be dead. The bullet that penetrated the heart of literature actually struck weeks ago, but I did not realize the significance of the bullet until today. This bullet is not a book, but a video game. Which video game? The Dante's Inferno video game to be exact.

Let me explain.

In the amazing piece of literature written by Dante, The Inferno is part one of The Divine Comedy and tells of a journey through Hell where Dante (the fictional version) is led through Hell by Virgil, the personification of Human Reason. The pairing traverse through Hell surveying all the sinners and various demons that populate Hell in the nine circles. The book was intended to show Dante's faith (the author Dante) in his God and mapped out his version of what the Catholic Hell looked like. The grotesque imagery used by Dante in the story has never been matched in any other piece of literature, and the only violence exhibited in the story is done by the demons to the sinners or from the sinners to each other. Beatrice, Dante's "crush" in real life, is looked upon in high regard by Dante in the story, and she embodies Divinity. Satan resides in the Ninth Circle, and he is frozen in place while he chews on the bodies of Judas, Brutus, and Cassius.

Now let's discuss the video game. Dante is "killed" by an assassin and Death confronts him to take him into the afterlife. However, Dante slays him and takes his scythe in the process. He returns to Florence only to find that Beatrice has been murdered. After this the story becomes a bit gruesome as Lucifer appears to Dante and steals away Beatrice. He retreats to a chapel to escape an onslaught of the undead. Then a huge crack rips open in the earth and Dante descends into Hell. He meets Virgil there and then they embark on their journey. However, instead of merely surveying the demons and sinners, Dante slays them and mercilessly fights his way to meet Satan in the final circle. Here Satan at least looks a little bit like he is portrayed in the book, however he acts nothing like what the story says. He is the final boss for Dante, and after defeating him Dante is carried out of Hell to meet Beatrice.

This is only a vague and nutshell version of the video game, yet you can see the HUGE diversities between the book and the game. I didn't even mention the army of mutilated and demonic unbaptized babies that Dante has to fight. Also excluded was the gruesome accounts of Cerberus, Charon, and various other mythological beings that inhabited Hell in the game. It's enough that the creators of the game admitted that they completely changed the storyline from the book and had no problems with doing so, but they could at least have made a decent game out of it. Apparently the game gets quite repetitive, and it takes on too many flaws that many platforming games usually have.

I was offended when I found out that this game was being made. I was provided hope, however, when I was told that a movie was to be made for The Inferno. My hope, however, was completely and absolutely demolished when I discovered that the movie was to be based on the game and not the Divine Comedy version. I am appalled that such a game and soon-to-be movie exist. Is this proof that literature is dead and now only exists to keep the bloggers and tweeters alive? (yes, I realize that was contradictory. I'll do that quite often in my blog, so don't point it out. I do it on purpose.)

Poetry is losing its form, novels can be written by anyone, and grammar is being abused every day. Please, please, please, read a book, and preferably one that was written at least fifteen years ago. Help save literature before it really does die.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Because Education Isn't Valued Anymore

Well I have bad news my children. Our school system no longer values our education and is throwing away its greatest resources. Impossible you say? Well not quite. I bring forth proof to the table, and it stinks of money and government.

The school system I'm forced to be a part of is quite possibly one of the worst in the States. This statement is not based on petty emotion or on stupid arguments. The facts present themselves in the decisions made by the leaders of the Board. This "Board" tries to act in the best interest of every school in the county and tries to help the education of the students that attend these schools. However, this is rarely achieved by their decisions. You are asking for a specific reason aren't you? Shall I present you one now? Why, yes I shall.

The School Board decided it would be a good idea to fire five of our teachers at the end of the year. That in itself is quite a bad situation, but this matter hits closer to home for many of my friends and me than for most. One of the five unfortunate teachers is my Mythology teacher who also teaches Latin. The Board also decided that another good idea was to cut Latin out of our school completely. This in itself is absurd. Latin is quite possibly the most useful foreign language offered to high schools. The practical applications of Latin go far beyond that of any other foreign language aside from Spanish (if it is actually taught correctly). Another department that is under question is the French foreign language. If they cut this class out of the school, the only foreign language left would be Spanish. They cut out Russian about three years ago and killed German a year ago as well. Theatre Arts was slashed out of the programs, and Driver's ED was given the electric chair as well. However, would you like to know one of the classes that has survived all these murders? Turf Grass Management. Because our world would be lost without all its turf being kept in order obviously.

To me, these are the most ridiculous choices of cuts I have ever seen. Let's get rid of all of our foreign languages and try to diminish the Arts! But we must keep the vital classes such as Turf Grass Management, Cosmetology, and Green House Management! All the classes they have erased so far have much more practical applications than those that I have stated above. This is so preposterous that it nearly causes me to break down and cry when I think about it. Not just from sadness do I cry, but from pity that our education has been brought down to this level.

I feel sadness for my teacher though. She has tenure at least, so she is being transferred to another school. However, the bonds she has developed here are now being broken, and it is a terrible thing when I can physically see the sadness and pain on fellow students' faces over it.

Congratulations School Board. You have provided yet another reason for me and countless other students to despise you. My advice to anyone who reads this is to value your education. If you are out of school, then I beg of you to help your community and somehow provide all you can for the education of anyone you can. If you have children, then my message is simple: care about and think about which school you put your children in. Unless you absolutely have to, please do not simply settle for a school. Research is key my friends, and use every available resource.

This wraps up this post. I am quite angry at this point, but I think you will agree that my anger is justified.