Are the Classics Doomed?

You know those books you’ve either read, or at least know the plot of because 15 people in your 9th grade English class did presented it for their book reports? *cough* Old Man and the Sea *cough* Animal Farm.

The film industry has its own overrated, yet underrated, Citizen Kane and Casablanca, or even North by Northwest. These books and movies have entered the lexicon having been parodied, praised, and played/read ad nauseam. Most people know the major plots of these movies and books without ever having touched them because at some point in their lives, Americans (this experience is probably different in other countries), have seen the ending of these movies and have heard people analyze the entirety of the aforementioned books.

So does that mean it’s not worth reading? Not quite. First of all, reading is essential and one of the most important forms of self maintenance – aside from exercise and a healthy diet. And second, just because you think you know how a book ends doesn’t mean it isn’t an enjoyable read. Ever hear the saying ‘it’s the journey not the destination,’ well that certainly applies to reading, and to movies. I used to work at a dine-in movie theater, which meant I was constantly slipping in and out of theaters at random moments during any given movie. Deadpool 2 had just come out and I knew the first 30 minutes of the film by heart. About 3 weeks after its release,  I finally took advantage of my free tickets and watched it. And you know what? I still loved it.

So even if you have seen Homer Simpson screaming obscenities at Edgar Allen Poe’s Raven, read it because the joke becomes that much funnier. Even if you have seen the kids of South Park drive their parents away by accusing them of sexual abuse and then proceed into a Lord of the Flies-type society in which they try to sacrifice an innocent couple to “The Provider,” read it. There are so many intricacies and details that will be lost on your experience of the story if you don’t read it firsthand. However, maybe it’s time for adult animation to find their own storylines instead of highjacking from better, more talented writers. Because not only does over-satirization and imitation drive people away from reading, but it also detracts from the story as a work of art.

And finally, what are my favorite “classics?” My favorites have always been ones that were less conventional like The Picture of Dorian Gray, Siddhartha, and Brave New World, The Time Machine, The Plague, and On the Road. There might have been a slight rebellious spirit behind my particular choices. Everyone was reading the tried and true so I just had to be different. My top three being Siddhartha, Brave New World, and The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is a little more conventional as a favorite, I realize, but I am a sucker for aesthetic.

Now I bet you’re asking yourself, can a book have an “aesthetic?” Yes, at least in my mind. I might go into detail on this later, but if you’ve ever felt your mood, attitude, and/or way of thinking change upon reading a book, this is the effect of an aesthetic. F. Scott Fitzgerald literally “colored my world” (cue Disney music here).

A rating system is not necessary here because since these are my favorites, all three get five stars. And if you haven’t read them, or its been a hot minute since you have, READ THEM. In the spirit of the roaring 20’s, I created a drinking game for The Great Gatsby. The rules are as followed: drink whenever… the eye is mentioned, there is an elaborate and nonsense plot point (like having a get together with your secret girlfriend’s husband and his secret girlfriend), and for run-on sentences (which happen A LOT). Finish that puppy when someone is murdered. 5/5 for my man FSG.

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