"We", whoever that is, all know what the Middle Ages were like, don't "we"? They were nasty, brutish, and went on for ages. Anything after the Romans and before the Renaissance is the bad old Middle, right? You could call it "medieval"; everything smelled bad, minds and bodies were in a permanent state of plague, and the only known form of entertainment was killing, in all its most disgusting forms. See above for an expert reconstruction of what the world used to be like.
If you believe all this, and don't believe in the existence of cathedrals and Chaucer, congratulations – to borrow the words of Joseph Brodsky, "you're in The Empire, friend" – the empire of intellectual complacency. Or you've just mistaken Monty Python and the Holy Grail for real life. Medievalists – those who study the art and architecture, the literature, the politics and philosophy of this period, and therefore have a vested interest in arguing, quite bizarrely, that there may be more to it than that – will roll their eyes at you, but don't mind them. Let Salman Rushdie show you the way. . .