The wisdom of Ignatius J. Reilly: From Boethius to Batman
I mentioned recently that I just read John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces for the first time. It's a wonderful novel, and made me laugh out loud more than once. One particularly absurd passage really stuck with me, as anti-hero Ignatius J. Reilly tries to set his acquaintance Dorian Greene on the right path. How? By reading Roman philosophy and comics, of course:
From A Confederacy of Dunces, Chapter 10:
“I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate facade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?”
“Who? Oh, heavens no. I never even read newspapers.”
“Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age,” Ignatius said solemnly. “Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.”
“I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he’s found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.”
Ignatius may be an ass... but he could have a point.