Saturday, March 1, 2008

The usefulness of a liberal arts degree

I've always been a reader. Whatever I could get my hands on, I read. I had little supervision, so some of what I read was probably beyond my grasp at the time. But I self-censored, delicately avoiding anything too "edgy."

And then I went to college, got one of them fancy-pants liberal arts educations, specifically, an English degree (and a second one!). I read all sorts of stuff, things about death and ghosts and incest and many a piece of literature with all sorts of bawdy plots (what education wouldn't be complete without Shakespeare?).

In that time, my "weirdness threshold" went up significantly. I have yet to read something so utterly offensive as to make me put it aside in horror. Incest? So Greek tragedy-esque. Romantic-era gothic fiction containing a date-rape scenario? Mildly disturbing, but kinda quaint. Stories with homoerotic undertones? Yawn.

I was discussing this with a couple people recently.

"Yeah, I mean, I was reading this book once where necrophilia was a factor, and this little part of me went, 'well, that's disturbing,' and I read on."

"What's necrophilia?" one person asked.

"It's when people like screwing corpses," my dear, sweet grandmother, whose attitudes about sex I could swear are Victorian, explained in a stage whisper so the other people in the coffee shop couldn't hear.


Which made me think, where did I originally learn what necrophilia was?

Probably from a book.

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