Strangers and Pilgrims

Season 1 – Death of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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Choosing a Subject Matter

Sitting on my desk right now I have a copy of Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

Paradise Lost is a blank-verse poem about the fall of Adam and Eve.  It is a story that had been told thousands of times before Milton wrote his poem, and a thousand times after Milton wrote his poem.

A guy I went to film school with did a post-modern adaptation of the story as a little web/television series. 

Similarly, it has been painted a million times.  The famous one that immediately pops into my mind is Expulsion from the Garden by Masaccio.

And, I think about what is a popular story to re-tell now-a-days?  What is a popular story to tell now-a-days?

And, I immediately think of all the fan-fiction.  People writing their own Harry Potter stories.  People writing their own Twilight stories.  People painting their own pictures of their favorite video game characters or favorite superheroes.

Instead of looking at history to tell stories, and to pattern our lives after, a lot of amateur artists, today, look at fiction.

And, this isn't new.   Don Quixote was written in the late 1500s.  If you read Don Quixote, you'll find out that the story is, on one level, an anti-fan-fiction story.  It's an anti-cosplay story.  Don Quixote patterns his life after the knight errant stories that he loves.  Fiction stories of princesses, and dragons, and what not.  And, for this, Don Quixote, is made fun of.  He is called stupid.  It is said he has an illness.

But, in our modern time we look at Don Quixote as a romantic hero.  We coined the word quixotic from his name, and it is now a synonym with romantic and idealistic.  Don Quixote, at least as a symbol in the world of pop culture, has been re-interpreted.  I don't think anything is wrong with that, though.  If we want to take Don Quixote and Sancho Panza and remix their meaning that's fine.  I don't think it hurts anything.

As I've looked at all the source materials, and genres, out of which I could tell a story in a podcast, I have decided that the one genre, and the one source material, that interests me the most is the life of Joseph Smith.

And, so, that's why this podcast is about the death of Joseph Smith.  Stories from and out of his life are the ones that are the most interesting to me -- at least at this point in my own life.