Today's Kids Have No ValorCommentary • archive • ISSUE 29•23 • Jul 9, 1996 By Higelac of the Healfdanes, Eighth Century Norse Viking Higelac of the HealfdanesEighth Century Norse Viking I am Higelac of the Healfdanes, and I have spoken: The youth of today have no valor! No courage of kings! T-shirts? Blue jeans? When I was a young man we wore bone helmets and horns that proclaimed our kinship with valorous deeds of courage.We wore hairshirts that ripped our flesh even as we drank our mead. And we fought for great treasures known across this middle earth!My son, Unferth-the-Spirited, once sacked an entire mead-hall for a bloody boar’s head hanging from the door. This was his treasure: He wore it and became known as Unferth-the-Boar’s-Head. Where is such valor today?Last week I spied a young man exchanging money for a Snickers bar. Money? Exchange? Where is the honor in such an act? And further, he did not even stab the cashier when he left.I am Higelac, son of Hrothgar, who wore Banloc, the sword of the Scyldings, as a token of his valor. I sacked for gold and jewels. I have lost patience with today’s youth, with their “music” and their “automobiles.” I demand viking ships, spears, swords and torture devices!Last week I saw a young maiden taking part in a most shameful exchange. She was providing fellow citizens coffee in return for paper currency. What has this nation-state come to? Hwaet! Lo!I want swords! Fire! I want sacking and burning! Where is the courage in negotiation? Without deeds of valor and courage, how do we remember the name of Wealtheow the Peaceweaver? We do not, I tell you!When I was a young viking, we sacked for the sake of sacking! We burned for the sake of burning! I sacked and stabbed for the treasures of the Geatmaecgas! I slaughtered friend and foe, monster and demon. I, chief Healfdane warrior, once slew an entire village. Banloc the Brilliant once took 500 in that time. Where is that valor today? Lost! Lost!Just yesterday I saw several lads playing “basketball” in the park. Worthless rabble! Gone are the days when we thought everyone to be the enemy, and we committed great crimes against humanity.These youths must be armed with byrnes and shields, with swords and helmets hewn from the bones of great beasts slaughtered in battle. They must raid and sack and pillage!I, Higelac, took Banloc and smote Ecgtheow, leader of the Danes, at the battle of Finnsburgh. On that day a great many heads were lost. But no one smites anymore!This morning I saw a group of children running around playing tag. And who was killed? No one! There was no carnage, no headless beasts, nothing! And for what? Again, I say, nothing! No head of the wicked Grendel, no houses of kings, no spoils at all.You call this valor? We need sacking and burning! The whole of this middle earth will be destroyed without the might of its people. We will perish in the depths of the dark abyss, leaving no name behind. The need for valor is urgent, the time of reckoning imminent. Nation’s youth, hear me and hear me well: I know all of this, for I am Higelac, prince of that fame known across this land, and I have spoken! Aaaarrrggghh!