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Culture Clash: Baby Sloths vs. Classic Literature

1. The Internet, As It Were

Here is a picture of a baby sloth.

The only way to maintain literacy on an Internet overrun with Bed Intruders, tub-related women and epic treadmill fails is with subliminal messages.  The idea of subliminal messaging began when the director of Yale Psychology laboratory E.W. Scripture, PhD, published his description of the basic principles in The New Psychology in 1897.  Back then, you had to sneak the subliminal messages in.  That was the whole point.  Today, the process is a little easier.

To prove my point, I present to you a gallery of baby sloth photos, accompanied by my thoughts on classic literature.  The subliminal messages are going to be in nearly-boldfaced paragraphs, but don’t worry, you still won’t see them. 

2. He Reaches Out and Grabs You

“Once there was an old man who loved things…”  Elihue Micah Whitcomb, the Anglophilic misanthrope known as “Soaphead Church,” appears in only nineteen pages of Toni Morrison’s acclaimed 1970 novel
The Bluest Eye
, but his connection to humanity through alienation is one of the most riveting character arcs in modern literature.

He is reviled by human contact.  He is nauseated by the “humanness of people — their body odor, breath odor, blood, sweat, tears.”  He is initially revolted by the dark skin and kinky hair of Morrison’s Pecola, but her poor sincerity twists his reactions into pity: Some people are able to rise above their defects, but this young girl, this young black girl wishing for blue eyes could and will never.

Church is the most religious man in the novel, and he is a child molester.  He speaks of the “white laughter” of girls he has defiled.  He receives no redemption but his own warped understanding of right and wrong, and through all of this abhorrent evil and desolate arrogance he becomes one of the most complexly human, honest characters I’ve ever read.  He is the side of the human soul that the best of us wish away.

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