Friday, July 13, 2012

Deteriorta Inspirational (sic)

In 1927, the little known American poet Max Ehrmann wrote Desiderata, a prose poem which epitomized the past perfect Latinate etymology of  "desired things". The text became widely known when the pastor of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore used Desiderata in a devotional poem. In fact, Adlai Stevenson, the former Democrat Governor of Illinois and two time failed Presidential candidate, had the Desiderata at his bedside.

Yet despite the storied history of the Desiderata, I find more ironic inspiration in the 1972 National Lampoon  parody Deteriorata. The surreal straight rendition of this reductio ad absurdum jeremiad is oddly inspiring. In fact, Les Crain, won a Grammy for his reading of the Desiderata, yet he admits that he prefers the parody Deteriorata over the original.

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