Blog Post

Is it the Dark Ages Yet? A Handy Home Test

Like many other people, you have probably been warned within the last year that your society, state, organization, or household is about to return to the Dark Ages.

You may well have been alarmed by this, especially by the range of predicted causes, which may have included one or more of: trade imbalances; climate change; either, both, or all of the major political parties; television; the internet; the new boss; and/or your local electric company. It is difficult to keep an eye on all these factors at once, and attempts to do so may provoke anxiety or strabismus.

While research here at the Dark Ages Recognition Unit has not yet led to the development of reliable prophylactic measures, we would like to alleviate some of the public's uncertainty in the interim by enabling self-diagnosis. By completing this simple four-question test, you can reliably ascertain how Dark your Ages are.

For each question, select the one most accurate response:

1. Does anyone know what is going on?

a. Yes. I am fairly sure that I do.

b. I'm pretty sure that someone around here must.

c. No, but I think someone used to.

2. How would you find out what's going on if you really had to?

a. Study the situation, and then double-check.

b. Ask someone.

c. Look it up.

3. Who's in charge here?

a. People we can work with.

b. We are, sort of.

c. Them.

4. Who is "us"?

a. People who think like us.

b. People we grew up with.

c. We're still working that out.

 

Total your responses with this numerical key: a=0; b=1; c=2.

Scoring:

0-2: Relax; all is still relatively Enlightened.

3-4: There is cause for concern: are you in a Renaissance, or a Decline? We suggest starting a diary to keep track of the situation.

4-5: Things could be Darker, but not by much. Have you considered extensive travel? You should.

6-8:  Your fears are realized: it is the Dark Ages. Try denouncing the failures of your contemporaries. It won't help, but it might make you feel better. Briefly.

The second leaflet in this series ("Interpreting your Home Test: Epistemology, Power, and Identity") will be issued by the Dark Ages Recognition Unit very shortly.

Emily Thornbury's picture

I'm an Associate Professor in the English department at Yale University. My field is early medieval literature, mainly Old English and the Latin of England before the Norman Conquest: my book Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.