A simple plan to make literature more relevant in the marketplace of ideas by maximizing revenue potential.
Over the course of human history, great works of literature have generated less revenue in aggregate than a single day’s worth of Starbucks sales.
Why is literature losing out so badly to the coffee mongers? That they sell a drug, legally, we rejected as too simplistic; many retailers of drugs legal and illegal don’t get wealthy. We attempted to answer the question by visiting a local Starbucks. The answer is shockingly obvious if you have eyes to see. Just look around. Everything is for sale. Little racks with branded items pop up like toadstools. Nature abhors a vacuum; so does Starbucks—every empty space is filled with something you could buy. So, we have initiated a project to go back and apply what we’ve learned to great works of literature in hopes of raising greater revenues.
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN by John Keats and The Stoneslide Corrective
John Keats was the romantic of the Romantic Poets, always believing that his literary imagination could lift him to a sublime, if not divine, realm of existence. Of course, he ended up coughing himself to death in a rented room in Rome. He could have left more than eternal fame to his heirs if he’d worked a few endorsements into his great odes.
Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan Learning Center historian, who canst thus
Deliver a Teleflora tale more sweetly than some rhyme:
Come forth and beest thou more energetic,
And with Red Bull get thy wings;
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Phoenix, and its University?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
Lenscrafters canst thee aid, and them make clear.
What mad pursuit? What Segway speed!
What struggle to escape?
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM by T.E. Lawrence and The Stoneslide Corrective
T.E. Lawrence was a British officer who served as liaison to the Arabs during World War I. Lawrence co-led the Arab revolt against the Turks, weakening the Turks’ ability to fight the British. Britain promised the Arabs independence for their efforts, and instead screwed them via the secretive Sykes-Picot Agreement. Had Lawrence hitched his memoir-wagon to the star of capitalism, his beloved Arabs would have lived forever in luxury instead of wandering the desert landless and disenfranchised.
Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, downing Dos Equis, lounging in our Tommy Bahamas, hiding behind our Oakleys under the indifferent heaven. We were the most interesting men in the world. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. Neutrogena Helioplex360 was a lifesaver. At night our Hollister hoodies glistened with dew, and we were shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. It was like an eternal stay at a Hedonism Resort. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man’s creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare. We had the enthusiasm of unrestrained Toby Keith fans who’d won free tickets on StubHub.
As time went by our need to fight for the ideal increased to an unquestioning possession, riding with spur and rein over our doubts, Jack Link’s in our mouths. Will-nilly it became a faith. It was as if we’d opened an account on eBay—the world’s online marketplace—and sold ourselves easily, quickly and highly profitably into slavery for freedom, manacled ourselves together in its chain-gang, bowed ourselves to serve its holiness with all our good and ill content. The mentality of ordinary human slaves is terrible—they have lost the world—and we had surrendered, not body alone, but soul to the overmastering greed of victory. We needed the counterbalancing message and ministry of Saddleback Church and The Purpose Driven Life. By our own act we were drained of morality, of volition, of responsibility, like dead leaves in the wind. We were indistinguishable from the empty vessels of “Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies.”
THE WINDHOVER by G. M. Hopkins and The Stoneslide Corrective
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Jesuit priest who lived in obscurity and poverty. That he crafted gnarled, intricate poems about the presence of God in the world did him no real good. Imagine if he’d turned his eye to a more lucrative idol?
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, Dappled Danish from Dunkin’, and I was
Riding my rolling level underneath me steady Chrysler 300, then striding
High there, how I wrung every drop from my Vanilla Bean Coolatta ©
In my ecstasy! then off, off forth to work,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the sweet caffeine
Rebuffed disappointment. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a pastry,—the achieve of; the mastery of Dunkin’!
We intend to work our way through the canon, improving as we go. Read updates of Thoreau and Dylan Thomas. Read updates of Lincoln, Obama, The Song of Solomon, the Lord’s Prayer, and Faulkner and Hemingway.