Monday, September 21, 2015

Stories About Stories 2

One of my failings as a thinker is -- I suddenly get interested in something and chew it to bits. This is more on Brain Attebery's quite harmless paragraph, taken from facebook.

I talked to a pagan friend yesterday. The Icelandic and Finnish myths are still alive and relevant in her community. I think Brian wanted to move on to his main topic, the use of indigenous religions in fantasy, and didn't think through why the use of white mythologies was okay. (Well, I guess the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians are not white. His list is actually a grab bag of cultures. The Icelanders and Finns are white cultures on the the margin of Europe. The Greeks and Romans are foundational. Their art and literature are everywhere in European culture right up to the present. The ancient Egyptians and Sumerians are also foundational, but more remotely, and they exist in an ambiguous racial state. The Egyptians at least are often regarded as honorary whites. I guess any myth that is part of Western history is okay to use. And I can see this is an argument. But it isn't because the myth is dead. It's because we regard these myths as part of our past.)

For example, the Egyptian fad in the early 19th century, after Napoleon invaded Egypt... Sumeria is a longer stretch, but it could be argued that the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia come down to us through the Bible and the histories of Greece and Rome. Here is George Gordon, Lord Byron, on a Biblical event:

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

I need to point out again that this is not what Brian's book is about. It's a tossed off comment, before he moved on to the serious discussion.


Blogger Todd T Davis said...

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