Off Topic on Bad Books

Nat Case hedberg at vermontel.net
Thu Sep 2 16:17:37 EDT 1999


Brian, many thanks. You've saved me a longish reply which I can't afford
today. 

I actually think Melissa and I are pretty close in opinion.

The only thing I would add to Brian's is that I do think canons are
important, but they need to keep their boundaries in perspective. A canon is
a consensus of a culture or subculture that has had time to develop a rich
secondary literature of things referring to other things. The canon is that
part of the overall literature you need to read understand much of the rest.
It's actually pretty close to what I was just saying about terra incognita:
a canon appears where you can more-or-less clearly see where the highways
are and how at least some of them connect.

So a canon's best function, I believe, is in defining a culture, giving the
artists within it a "interesting framework to climb about in" (see "sage of
Theare"... see, I even managed some DWJ content!). But that canon applies
only to that society and culture. In a heterogeneous world, where we cannot
assume that true Englishmen are all good Christians with pure
Anglo-Saxon-Norman-Celtic-Viking-Dane-Pict blood, those holding and
treasuring the canon would do well I think to recognize their fallibility,
humanity, and essential subjectivity.

End of sermon. Turn to your hymnbooks, please...



Nat Case
Hedberg Maps, Inc.

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