A friend recently referred to my blog as a "bog." It was a typo, but it got me thinking...
Once there was a man who had a bog. As it was his alone, a rare circumstance as usually governments protect patches of land with acidic and sulphurous composition foul enough to catch fire and emit toxic smoke, he tended his bog every day. Bogs are pretty much self-maintaining and require little care, occasionally eliciting comments from passers-by and more rarely inciting others to protest against what's in the bog. This man. however, was quite the bogger. He was well-known for his bogging.
There were a number of denizens of his bog, and most of them were unusual. His wife made a sunny appearance here and there, but for the most part his bog was visited by ghosts, vampires, criminals and, on a few memorable and amusing occasions, his brother. There was one denizen of the bog, however, who thought himself above all others and spent his days scheming.
He was a frog. A bog-frog, and his name was Gog. Yes, that's Gog the bog-frog. An ignominious end, he told himself, for a mysterious figure mentioned often in the Hebrew and Christian holy writings. This Gog, you see, was THAT Gog, variously mentioned as an evil ruler, evil land or simply a fallen angel. Fallen, indeed! As people lost faith and continued to see holy writings as allegories and myths or simply misinterpretations of historically-verified places and things, Gog found himself de-evolving from an Entity of Great Power to a lowly amphibian. No one was more dismayed than Gog himself.
He grumbled things to himself daily about how the mighty had fallen, and how in bloody hell was apocalypse to ever come if people refused to believe in it. So, among the race of humans, Gog was of little or no use or concern, yet he managed to maintain an effective presence in the bog. He struggled to uphold this, because he knew for a fact that forgotten gods and entities wound up working the late shift somewhere, trying to scrape gum off the undersides of desks, or asking people if they wanted fries with that.
Gog was good at performing some simple magical tasks. One of these was the creation (from swamp gas, as the Air Force stridently maintained in public) of mind-altering illusions of alien spacecraft, which were often believed to come to ground and abduct humans, thereon performing experiments of an often Freudian-sexual nature. The other dark swamp denizens were amused by this, and drew some strength for themselves from his antics. As long as people believe, said one, in things of no real substance, we have a place in this world, and we can continue to feed imaginations and feed off of them as well.
This bog the man owned was therefore a complex metaphysical ecosystem. It gave rise to shadowy things that humans, for some reason known only to the progenitor and a few psychologists, needed in order to create and feel something deeper than the tangible objects at hand. The bog suffered badly in the 1980s, when materialism was rampant and few believed in things other than lucre. Gog found himself becoming transparent and insubstantial, and he feared for his life. The man even considered plowing under the bog, filling it in and erecting condominiums *wink* for Young Urban Professionals, a new and thriving species.
In a remarkable instance of deus ex political-machina, the party ended and the check arrived, and most people found themselves a bit short. The bog-owner scuttled his plans for development and took comfort in watching the greenish glow of his bog in the moonlight, puttering about in it from time to time. The only well-endowed survivor of the era was Technology, and he became magnanimous and paid off some debts and produced cool gizmos and pretty soon those who had thought so highly of owning lucre found themselves trading it in on these gizmos. Gog was amused and licked his frog-like chops with glee, for history had taught him what he anticipated.
Technology made increasingly more complex gizmos, and it is a fact of human nature that the more advanced technology becomes, the more incomprehensible it is to the average human, and the more it looks and acts like magic. The rules of hard-and-fastness start to dissolve and people, lost in a maze of things they use daily but do not understand, begin to suspect elves or voodoo as the culprits behind the machines which out-perform their masters. Gog sat on his mammoth lilly-pad and watched the stream of pagans, Luddites and flamers troop past the bog, and more and more frequently they would stop to applaud the bog. He grew in strength.
Technology, having gone completely power-mad, created a giant net to hold all his developments, and cast it over the world. Thus imprisoned and yet fascinated by the threads, humans began to develop their own bogs. Soon everyone had them! There were adult *ahem* bogs, kiddie bogs, flaming bogs, recipe bogs, hog-bogs, and dog-bogs. Gog gulped, realizing the very development that he cheered was rapidly undoing him. One day he realized that he had become wraith-like and with a barely-audible "NOOOOO!" He popped, finally, out of existence.
You see, while technology was still too enormous for most people to grasp, they had found something they could hold onto. They began to tend their bogs, some almost obsessively. With bogs and denizens of their own, the cultural fabric that had once held them together in little clumps dissolved. Some even lived in their bogs, forgetting there was a real world outside the swampy confines. It was all still magic, of course, but since now everyone could do a little magic, the need to go to an expert for this was unnecessary. Gods became more personalized and not at all subject to consensual validation. A print magazine, archaic art-form that it was, even suggested that humans had individualized to the point that each of them had become the most important person in the world to themselves. Bogs sprung up everywhere, and the man with the bog grew some amazing things in his. At least he was pleased, and a few other bog-owners were as well. Someone even created a bog devoted to Gog, but this didn't ressurect him, as a bog doesn't constitute belief.
The aliens, watching from space, saw the world they had been visiting gradually enveloped in a greenish glow of swamp-gas. They glanced at each other, shook their small grey heads, and turned to speed off to another world less marshy. They still had some Freudian-sexual experiments they were dying to try.