Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it. Fresh from Medieval tymes, Geoffrey Chaucer digs up an auncient email in which the Chief Pardoner explains why his business has been forced to diversify into two companies in order to cater to both old and new technologies.
AN EMAIL FROM THE CHEEF PARDONER OF ST. MARY ROUNCESVALLES (i.e. SYNNEFLIX)
FROM: CHIEF PARDONER OF ST. MARY ROUNCESVALLES, AND LEDERE OF SYNNEFLIXTO: OWER LOYALE BRETHREN AND SISTRENRE: TRADITIOUNAL PENAUNCE VERSUS INDULGENCES VIA SYNNEFLIX
Mea maxima culpa. Ich moste maken explanacioun unto yow alle. Ich do wryte thys emayle aftir Ich have walked twelve tymes the roade from London to Canterbury and back wearinge no shoon and IV hayre-shirtes.
It appeareth from the feed-backe over the laste fewe fortnightes that many feythful soules did thinke we at Synneflix lakked in dignitee and humbleness by cause of the maner in which we did announcen the separacioun of tradiciounal penaunce and ower newe sale of indulgences, and eek the chaunges of donacioun required for ech different mode of achievinge spiritual helthe. Swich a thing was nat ower entente, and Ich do praye yow all may me pardon. Nowe Ich shall telle yow of how this cam to pass....
For many a yeere, my gretest feere for the Hospital of St. Mary Rouncesval and ower compaye of Synneflix hath been that we wolde nat maken the chaunge from success in regular penaunce to success in indulgences. Moost hooly orderes that have a knakke at sum thinge – lyk Cluny at beinge verye solemn or the Cistercianes at clearinge forestes – do nat become grete at noveltees that the folke desyre as the yeeres do passe (for us, this thinge is indulgences), by cause thei have greete feere of harminge their initiale actes of devocioun, or, as Odo of Cluny seyde, "ruininge the brand." In the ende, thes orderes com upon the realisacioun too late that thei have nat yiven enough labour to the development of newe practises, and thei lose all donaciouns and patronage and then sum newe order taketh ovir and getteth all the glorye, lyk the Franciscans.
...So we did come to the realisacioun that penaunce and indulgences are becominge two busynesses that have bitwene them a grete diversitee, wyth verye different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed in different wyse, and different theological, eschatological, and liturgical implicaciouns, and we need to let ech oon growe and function on its owene. Yt is a soore thynge for me to saye this unto yow aftir many yeeres of yiving esy tradiciounal penaunce wyth pryde, but we we thynk it is necessarye and beest: in yet a few weekes, we shal yiven a newe name unto ower tradiciounal penaunce servyse, and we shal clepen yt “Slothster.”
We did choose the name “Slothster” for that it maketh reference to the sloth of which ye are guiltee if ye com nat to penaunce. We shall kepe the name Synneflix for indulgences aloon.
For me, the practys of traditional penaunce hath always been a thynge of joye, especiallye by cause our customers have putte their sylver into niftie red envelopes to signifien the payne of their sadnesse at their sinne. O, Ich do love thos red envelopes. How thei do tend to pyle up in the treasurie! Ower Slothster servys shal stille involve alle of thes steps, including the red envelopes.
Helas, at chez Darwin we mourn gretely the divicioun of Synneflix, and yet we finde that the variete of indulgences offered by Synneflix to be paltry and ful of le penaunces serial pour children, oor b-grade accioun movies . We go avec Slothster, though mayhap sloth shall overcoum us so that we sygn nat up and becoum consumers of Synneflix by default.