Friday, November 11, 2011

The Introduction to the Riley Anthology, by Ian Riley

The Introduction to the Riley Anthology seems to be in essence a history lesson. It provides a background for the stories which follow. It allows for a fuller understanding of those stories, an idea of the motivations behind them. With these ideas, with knowledge of the motivations, we are better able to read and appreciate all that is behind these stories and letters. I like using non sequiturs to end paragraphs.[i]

The creation stories are certainly an interesting take on the matter. Juhwertamakhai[ii], the god figure, does not hesitate in the least bit to “drop the sky” on creation when he deems it necessary. The idea of the great flood is certainly present here, but the multiple occurrences seem unusual. They suggest a god who is not easily pleased. The final creation implies the importance of the coyote, a direct result of the landscape the people call home. Dolphins are quite intelligent animals.

Another creation story includes the idea of a dark, lower, realm. The monsters of this realm include a large turtle who comes forth to carry woman and earth on his back. The turtle grows to the size of a great island and the woman’s offspring grow to be the good mind and the bad mind. The good mind creates humankind along with many other things which the humans consider to be good. Conversely, the bad mind creates things objectionable to humans.[iii] In the end, the good mind triumphs over the bad mind, but the bad mind retains power over death. Jerry Seinfeld has had quite a successful career.[iv]

The letters from Columbus are an interesting look into what he has to say, a look into what he actually thinks he has discovered. His use of the word Indians to describe the natives confirms his belief of where he thinks he is. When he talks about the naming of the island Espanola, he reveals his real imperialistic motives. This ties into the other creation stories because it too is a story of creation, but this time it is the creation of a new empire in the western hemisphere. Beware Jimi Hendrix as the bell tolls one.[v]

[i] And long walks on the beach.
[ii] His brother’s name was Steve.

[iii] Like Monday mornings.

[iv] He makes several million $ per re-run (The Internet).

[v] He’s very friendly at 4 o’clock though.

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