“The world is dominated by people whose greatest talents are proliferation, incompetence, a keen sense for self-preservation, and the ability to drop members of that tiny minority of the population which is actually capable of solving problems, in the shit.”
-Simon G. Sheppard
What sort of things have The Dunciad’s gotten themselves into today? To answer this, we have to go back a bit. It all starts with what I call, “the Cult of Dulness.” In their formative days, the first thing they did was begin to lie to themselves, deliberately forgetting that was is against truth is both unprofitable and unjust. These lies accumulated, forming a shakey scaffold on which to build their totalitarian empire. Their whole worldview spawned in the self-indulgence of material abundance, making them believe in earnest that milk and honey grew on trees, and were their natural right. They believed they could obtain justice without law and order, wealth without labor, peace without force, and harmony from deliberate disunity. They believed their material possessions were easy to accrue (for, of course, they shunned their ancestors and forgot their sacrifices), they believed they could tear down every existing order and tradition – the good along with the bad – and that it was their imperative to do so. Since things were actually pretty decent the world over, they had to lie to themselves even further: making a bastardized inversion of what the world is and thus how it should be. Their whole paradigm became about tearing down every semblance of order and social norms: and from this worldview came “Chaos.” The time was right, too: “Night” had descended after the recent fall of the millenia’s last great civilization, and dusk slowly approached the men living amongst the ruins. From Chaos and Night came their offspring, Dullness. And it is this unholy royal family that rules with an iron fist today.
The results are predictable: Science has been halted, shackled down by shouting hordes of cultists: he slowly shuffles, pitiable and importent. Logic had his tongue cut out years ago; and his crazy step-sister, Sophistry, shrilly shouts her “pub-shock arguments” upon which the cult found it worthy to charge six-figure sums to learn in colleges. Morality is kept in the basement, tormented by impish curs who strut about, calling themselves “moral”. And the royal family watches it all: The mother, Dishonesty, watches while holding her daughter, Chaos; together they utter their dry harpy laughs at the incessant pain they cause the world over. Dullness takes herself too seriously to find humor, but is still silently proud of her work nonetheless. She sternly prevents people from saying anything naughty: you can find her censoring people Dishonesty tells her to. She preaches decorum and civility while her co-patriots and cult-adherents run rampant. Night stands alone, solemnly enjoying his reign, enjoying the shroud of lies he swept over the women, who now do his bidding. The heads of the cult frequently offer sacrifices: here’s a few wars, here’s a debt-based currency, here’s more disunity and pain, here’s another social norm we’ve destroyed. The lower members enjoy immense privelege while the common man condemns them.
It would be dramatic to emphasize the fear and danger of living in the Cult of Dullness’s dystopia: and there is reason to be afraid. But once you see past their lies and terror, you only become more jaded, more immune to the sweeping terrors of this destructive facade. Have you ever spent so much time with a known liar that you stop being so angry and start to become bored by his prescence? It’s the same thing here. When I hear about the blatant corporate censorship, the lies percolating throughout our histories, the constant fear-mongering about the cult’s Satan figures (none of which deserve an ounce of hatred they get), I just get really, really fucking bored. I was blessed to find the antidote early in my age: and it is Truth. While truth is chained and enslaved now, it lives forever, so it can wait a long time.
When people try to defy the Law of Gravity, the result is always bruises and broken bones. Similarly, when people defy the laws of ethics and act dishonestly, the result is always the Truth coming back to break their bones. I know how this will end: if we don’t stop it, then the results of the Cult’s experiment will kill them all, brutally, and wipe the slate clean. Truth is angry, and he is waiting for his day to set the world straight again.
“It is worth something to recognize that what is wrong in life is based on emotional unreality and is temporary. What is right in life is part of the reality that unfailingly endures, establishing the principle that might is right.”
– Richard W. Wetherill
I made a few choices that set this short essay apart from its source material, Pope’s “The Dunciad.” The first is obvious: I chose to avoid writing in the same epic form. This was due more towards my admiration of the original’s formula then time constraints or laziness on my end. I simply didn’t think I could replicate it well, and I believe that a short essay was much better for my purposes. The second difference is that I didn’t write exclusively using the allegorical components, only using them sparingly, since it would be redundant and dumb to use so many allegories in an essay format, so I centralized them in one paragraph. The third is more thematic: the settings and subjects are way different. Everyone would find it droll to read an essay about long dead English prudes, so I chose to write mine on a more relevant topic. I avoided naming names because I only had so much room to spell out why I hate them and want them all dead, and I think everyone will find what they want to see in this poem. Finally, I wanted to experiment and see if a creative essay could rival a formal literature of power.
So can you replicate a literature of power? I think not. Mine pales in comparison to Pope’s work, and I doubt only a few would be moved by it today. I think it is possible to achieve similar results (especially if I had the space and captive audience I wanted), but not total replication.
Thanks for the time, and the good year.