I was very satisfied when finally, our English literature professor admitted that romance is fake and can never be real. In fact, part of its defect is that it is supposed to be fantastical. I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders, because I felt perfectly normal to be me and not a knight in shining armor. But how is it that a Muslim from the Arab world living in the Arabian Peninsula can be so invested emotionally in what or how English literature differs in its inherent concepts? What does it mean?
In my final courses at AOU, students were taught this so-called secret that part of the British Empire’s educational leadership is intellectual domination. Our teacher took it upon himself to theorize that farm peasants were obligated to be able to read but not to the point of becoming critics of the socioeconomic reality of their nation. Therefore, famous, or infamous rather, authors were induced financially to repeat a naive formula of a hero saving the helpless, powerless, thoughtless woman from a one-dimensional villain. Due to such repetition, the masses became stuck with such a scenario. It is the norm in Hollywood, Bollywood and even in videogames.
From the Latin word romanicus “romance” is defined in dictionaries as a love affair that is not long-lasting or serious and is associated with wonder and mystery. Two married grownups aren’t that mysterious to each other after a week at least, and the “they lived happily ever after” part is just a curtain hiding actual psychological developments between any normal couples that encompasses power struggles and sometimes anger management techniques and the rest of real feelings that make Cinderella wish she had a heel strap.
But why should we take this whole matter of romance so seriously when it is just temporal entertainment? Minds are shaped by language, and hearts are led by feelings – this encapsulates all what literature entails. Unfortunately, the empire still rules the masses epistemologically. And it is a real shame that such romantic perfectionism has destroyed households, depressed hormone-crazed teens and wasted billions of dollars and dinars on forms of arts that are made for intellectual suppression, rather than liberating people to peruse the real joys of discovery.
Life in itself is interesting when seen for what is it, not how we think it should be. Isn’t time to stomp on our “pink glasses”?
By Jeri Al-Jeri