The fact that we became a nation and immediately separated church and state - it has saved us from all the misery that has beset mankind with inquisitions, internecine and civil wars, and other assorted ills.
Contemporary fantasists all bow politely to Lord Tennyson and Papa Tolkien, then step around them to go back to the original texts for inspiration--and there are a lot of those texts. We have King Arthur and his gang in English; we've got Siegfried and Brunhild in German; Charlemagne and Roland in French; El Cid in Spanish; Sigurd the Volsung in Icelandic; and assorted 'myghtiest Knights on lyfe' in a half-dozen other cultures. Without shame, we pillage medieval romance for all we're worth.
Every shrink knows that it's not the event itself but how you respond to it that tells the story. Take ten assorted individuals, expose them all to the same life trial, and they will each suffuse it with exquisite personal detail and meaning.
Billy was fascinated by the television. At its most basic level, it occupied his time and shut out the demons of isolation. This was another irony because, for so long, he had shunned the tube for a similar purpose-to prevent it from bombarding his brain with demons of banality. However, each time he turned the machine on, he began to discover a world of assorted delights, as well as gain insight into the insidious manner in which this medium was shaping the mass psyche. If nothing else, he learned there was nothing innocuous about it.
The day is refracted, and the next and the one after that, all of them broken up into a hundred juggled segments, each brilliant and self-contained so that the hours are no longer linear but assorted like bright sweets in a jar.
Hunting is the noblest sport yet devised by the hand of man. There were mighty hunters in the Bible, and all the caves where the cave men lived are full of carvings of assorted game the head of the house drug home. If you hunt to eat, or hunt for sport for something fine, something that will make you proud, and make you remember every single detail of the day you found him and shot him, that is good too.
Cleverly assorted scraps of spurious science are inculcated upon the children to prove necessity of law; obedience to the law is made a religion; moral goodness and the law of the masters are fused into one and the same divinity. The historical hero of the schoolroom is the man who obeys the law, and defends it against rebels.