Thursday, December 15, 2011

Underfables: Plato's Inferno

            Plato’s Inferno

            Once upon a time, the philosopher‑kings of Plato’s ideal Republic ordered the guardians to commence an Inquiry into the Purification of Literature. The philosopher‑kings disapproved of literary crudity; they commanded that literature become as pure and ideal as themselves.

          The guardian Inquirers reported that most books are vile trash, fit only for burning. One in ten books was at least readable, and not outright cruddy; but that wasn’t good enough anymore. The Inquirers vowed to expunge all cardboard characters, then all insipid dialog, then all idiotic plotting. Each purge decimated literature.

          Then came the political purifications. Plato’s own “Republic” was soon lost to the flames. The Inquisition purged literature down to one book; then one chapter in that book; then one page; then one paragraph; then one sentence; then one word; then one letter; then nothing.

          Moral:  Ninety percent of everything is crud.

          Commentary on the Underfable:
          Here we see Platonic idealism take on Sturgeon's Law, and lose.

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