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We Weren’t Kidding About That Cult of Obama Thing

Baba Wawa admits to Piers Morgan how the Mainstream Media feels about Obama.

BARBARA WALTERS: We thought that he was going to be — I shouldn’t say this at Christmastime — but the next messiah.

How is that workin’ out for ya, Babs?

(more…)

Obama’s Partners

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So, over the weekend, the Obama Regime came to an agreement with the gay-killing, terrorist-supporting Iranian regime. The agreement is that sanctions will be lifted, and Iran will be allowed to continue to enrich uranium. And in return, the Obama Regime gets a distraction from the Obamacare debacle and the predictable adulation of their sycophants in the press.

The agreement is strikingly similar to the deal Jimmy Carter negotiated with the Norks in 1994. And we all know what a brilliant success that was.

Obama is happily willing not only to negotiate with the gay-killing, terrrorist supporting regime in Iran, but eagerly grants them major concessions. But he will not negotiate with Congressional Republicans.

How telling stories helps us define the meaning of marriage

Back in February and March when I was re-reading and reading* Madeline L’Engle’s Time Quintet, I recalled the author’s bittersweet Two-Part Invention.  The subtitle helps show my interest in the book:  “The Story of a Marriage.”

At the time, I thought it was the best book on marriage I had ever read.  Later, when I re-read the Odyssey, I realized Homer’s epic still holds that title.  (And perhaps always will.)

Given that I underline in my books and often write notes in the margins and fly-leaves, I thought that by reviewing this book, I might quickly locate a few insights, a few conclusions she has made about that ancient and honorable institution to help me craft a post on gay marriage similar to that Megan McArdle, as Jane Galt, wrote eight years ago, A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other.

But, L’Engle’s book was about marriage primarily in the sense that she reflects on her life, her relationship with her husband Hugh, farmed in part around his death from cancer in 1986 .  To write movingly about marriage, she deals not in abstractions, but in anecdotes, sharing certain experiences with us as she recalls her feelings and her reflects on her and her beloved’s interactions.   And as I reviewed my notes, I wondered if what has been bothering me so much about the debate on gay marriage is that most people do the opposite of what L’Engle did in this book, that is, they talk mostly in abstractions.

Marriage is about love, say the advocates.  Gay marriage will destroy the institution, say the opponents.  The former hardly discuss how love can sustain a life-long partnership.  The opponents don’t tell us how exactly same-sex unions will undermine the institution.

And their tired cliches sound increasingly empty each time another individual repeats them anew.   What L’Engle teaches us is that to really get at the meaning of marriage, you need do more than recite rehearsed bromides, you need to tell stories.

No wonder that when Homer reunites Odysseus and Penelope after twenty years of separation, he has Athene delay the dawn so that the married couple can both delight in the pleasure of love-making and share each other’s stories. (more…)

Evil in Colorado

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:45 pm - July 20, 2012.
Filed under: Mythology and the real world,Post 9-11 America

Throughout human history, men, without any apparent reason, have done horrible things to their fellow men. Perhaps, the Greeks* attempted to consider the persistence of human evil through their most prominent hero, Heracles, who murdered his own wife and children in a fit of rage.

Diodorus attributes his diabolical deeds to a frenzy the Olympian Hera “sent upon” the hero, contending his saw his own family as his enemies. Who knows what demons lurked in the head of the Colorado shooter that caused him to believe he needed murder moviegoers he had never met.

These people had so looked forward to seeing the Dark Knight Rise only to have their anticipation turn to horror.  Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.  We pray for the survival — and speedy recovery — of those now hospitalized.

What this man did is evil pure and simple.  He is in custody now.  No punishment could be too severe.

*NB:  Realized I had left out a key word in the original version of this post, the simple word “Greeks.”  I hope some understood that through the context — and apologize for the omission.

President Obama’s Hollywood Mentality

Anyone who has spent time about Hollywood wannabes (and yes, I once was just such a wannabe) knows that talent, hard work and determination do not necessarily yield success in this town.

Here, you see people work hard, hone their craft, invest their own money and receive little return.  They may audition for countess roles and never get cast.  They may write, rewrite and re-rewrite scripts only have production companies reject them having only read the log-line or the first few pages.  They may raise their own funds and devote their own time to producing a movie, only to see it languish it film festivals — and never get a distribution deal.

And then you’ll see someone else, knowing the right people (or knowing the people who know the right people) or having the look — or the story — they’re looking for, move to town and find success in a matter of moments.  It may not seem fair, but that’s just the way it is in a competitive business.  Hard work here does not necessarily yield reward.

Perhaps, President Obama was thinking of the way things work in this part of the world when he remarked last Friday in Roanoke, Virginia that “there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there”:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

He’s right that every successful person received help along the way.  There’s a reason the ancient Greeks honored Athena — and depicted her helping their heroes.  They knew a man often required the assistance of others to accomplish his goals.

He is, however, wrong about who made things “happen.”  Although most entrepreneurs received assistance as they built their enterprises, they did indeed build them.  No one makes it own their own, that is, without the support of others.  (And more often that support comes from the private sector, a venture capitalist, an encouraging friend or family member, a devoted mentor.)

In the end though, it is, by and large, an individual’s grit and determination which account for his success.

Far too often, in the entertainment industry, however, hard work alone often yields little reward.  Such is the nature of a highly competitive field. (more…)

Green Lantern comes out. . .

A student of mythology, I have long been fascinated by how American superheroes have much in common with the heroes of ancient Greece–indeed of the heroes of other cultures as well.* Like most of their Hellenic counterparts, the “big” three comic book legends, Superman, Batman and Spider-man, were all raised by surrogate parents.

And the similarities don’t end there.  All have the capacity for superhuman feats of strength, Heracles a bit like Superman and Perseus like Batman in his ability to use technology to outwit diabolical villains, er, supernatural beasts.  In some ways, a Mesopotamian hero, Gilgamesh, is like Batman, achieving his greatest deed (slaying Humbaba) as part of a dynamic duo, but with the former wildman Enkidu instead of with the former acrobat.

As many have speculated about Batman and Robin enjoying a “special” relationship, so too have scholars considered the homosexual aspects of Gilgamesh’s friendship with Enkidu.

There are similarly ambiguous relationships with the Greeks.  To be sure, most of their heroes have strong, often defining relationships with women.  Perseus seems truly to care for Andromeda.  Theseus has several relationships with women, first, Ariadne, then Hippolyta and finally Phaedra.  That said, though Heracles had many wives, he failed to return to the Argo when accompanying Jason on his quest because Hylas, the young man for whom he had taken a fancy, had disappeared.

In short, while most of the male heroes definitely preferred the ladies, some did take an interest in men.  With that in mind, I’ve been following the reports about a DC comic book hero coming out.  And today, we learn it will be Green Lantern:

The original Green Lantern – a DC Comics mainstay for the past 70 years – will be revealed to be a gay man in next week’s issue of “Earth 2.” (more…)

Beowulf responds to WaPo hit piece on Romney’s youthful indiscretions

When, in the greatest poem written between the publication of Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Divine Comedy, the wormy Unferth reminds Beowulf of his youthful braggadocio, the eponymous hero questions his accuser’s sobriety, noting that he an his friend Breca made those errors of judgment, “being but boys in our time of youth” (my translation).

Playing Unferth’s part, the Washington Post, Ed Morrissey reports, “Despite demonstrating zero curiosity over Barack Obama’s college transcripts to check on just how brilliant the academic actually was, the Post now has a big expose on Mitt Romney’s high school career as … a practical joker“.  And following the great Geatish hero’s lead, Romney has apologized, acknowledging his youth: “Back in high school,” he said in a radio interview, “I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that” (via Ed).

Asking if  “a decades old high school story is really ‘news’,” Jennifer Rubin offers:

When long investigative pieces on Obama’s last three years (i.e. his presidency) start appearing on the front pages of newspapers, maybe the press has justification for going back decades to explore his opponent’s childhood. But so long as gobs of potential, substantive stories on Obama go unreported, you have to wonder why time and resources are spent on his opponent’s high school years. No wonder conservatives are suspicion of mainstream media.

Indeed.

Just as Beowulf questioned Unferth’s competence to ask question questions, so do we wonder at the Post’s competence to cover presidential elections in an even-handed manner.

UPDATE:  Jim Geraghty wonders about the absence of comparable Post coverage on Obama’s youthful indiscretions: (more…)

Two cultural phenomena intersecting

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 am - May 8, 2012.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV,Mythology and the real world

Just returned from seeing the Hunger Games.  I had thought that if I saw a late show on Monday night, I’d miss the crowds, but even though I got to the theater 10 minutes before the show was scheduled to start, only walked in the actual auditorium as the previews were starting.  There were lines at the Grove.  On a Monday night.  After 10 PM.

I had assumed most of the people in line were there to see the Avengers.  When I asked those in front of me — and around me, their responses confirmed my hypothesis.  The Avengers already has the record for best opening weekend.  It will soon join Hunger Games in the Top 100 all-time Box Office, adjusted for inflation — a real cultural milestone.

Movies that resonate as these do saw something condition about our times — or the human condition.

I had not heard of the Hunger Games books until the movie was released.  A classmate of mine from graduate school, a fellow student of mythology, encouraged me not just to watch the movie, but also read the books.  I determined to do just that — before seeing the films.  It seems Suzanne Collins, the author, had been a big fan — or at least been fascinated by the phenomenon — of the TV series Survivor — and had had enough exposure to Greek myth to have more than a passing familiarity of the story of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur as well as that of hat of Iphigenia (sacrificed so her father could get favorable winds in order to sail to Troy to wreak vengeance on that city).

And there was even a Minotaur — several of them — in this movie.

At a later date, I hope to write further about this myth, but will note that some scholars (including yours truly) see the stories of Theseus and Iphegenia as cultural markers (not to mention the Binding of Isaac), signifying that they no longer sacrificed humans.  And archeological, anecdotal and mythological evidence indicates that human sacrifice was prevalent in many cultures.

The greatest confrontation between women ever caught on film?

I am not entirely comfortable with the term, “catfight” in describing the confrontation between these two Titanesses of the silver screen–but best screen confrontation between women on screen was not as catchy — and quite clunky a title. Well, I found a better; it may lack the punch of the original, but at least I’m comfortable with it.

Here, we see Irene Papas, one of few actresses to actually get the woman whose face launched a thousand ships.  Helen of Argos, later of Troy, finally of Argos is a far more complex woman than the screen beauty portrayed in most screen versions of the Trojan War.  In a man’s world, she knows how to use her feminine charms to win her way, even if it means defying her patron deity, Aphrodite.  I do not say this lightly:  Papas is the greatest living actress.

And when the divine Miss Kate plays Helen’s erstwhile mother-in-law, Hecuba, in The Trojan Women their confrontation just sizzles.

In a war fought over Helen, Hecuba lost her husband and her sons, all that was dear to her. And in the clip above, we believe that when Hepburn, er, Hecuba, asks Menelaus to kill Helen, she really wants to see Papas dead.

The face launched a thousand ships, carrying warriors which would kill thousands of Trojan men.

Bringing Athena into conversation on Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:41 pm - March 27, 2012.
Filed under: Mythology and the real world,Rule of Law

Sometimes you find someone who summarizes a situation so well, the nest way to comment on the story is to quote him. And so it is with this excerpt from Thomas Sowell’s piece in the National Review:

The man who shot the black teenager in Florida may be as guilty as sin, for all I know — or he may be innocent. We pay taxes so that there can be judges and jurors who sort out the facts. We do not need Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or the president of the United States spouting off before the trial has even begun. Have we forgotten the media’s rush to judgment in the Duke University “rape” case that blew up completely when the facts came out?

If the facts show that a teenager who was no threat to anyone was shot and killed, it will be time to call for the death penalty. But if the facts show that the shooter was innocent, then it will be time to call for people in the media and in politics to keep their big mouths shut until they know what they are talking about.

Playing with racial polarization is playing with fire. . . .Race hustlers who stir up paranoia and belligerence are doing no favor to minority youngsters. There is no way to know how many of these youngsters’ confrontations with the police or others in authority have been needlessly aggravated by the steady drumbeat of racial hype they have been bombarded with.

H/t: WSJ.com’s Political Diary (available by subscription)

Every time I check the blogs, I learn new information about the case, about the actual incident, about the young man and about the man who shot him.  The more I learn, the more complex the case becomes.  As more details emerge, I am reminded of one of the greatest plays of classical Greece, Aeschylus’s Eumenides which begins with the Furies seeking vengeance on Orestes for killing Clytmenestra his mother his mother.  Soon, the goddess Athene arrives and acknowledges that the Furies have a case.

Before the matter is to be resolved, she wants to hear both sides and wants to make sure the facts are weighed in a dispassionate manner — before a court of Athenian citizens.

So too should those who determine the fate of Mr. Zimmerman:  weigh the facts, all the facts, dispassionately. (more…)

What Odysseus’s misery on Ogygia teaches us about happiness

Seems it’s Happy Friday at diva Ann Althouse’s blog.  She led off this morning at 8:20 AM related Robert Louis Stevenson’s thoughts about the underrated duty of being happy, then 19 minutes later quoted La Rochefoucauld’s quip about happy people rarely correcting their faults (guess that means Bill Maher is one happy fella. Dan, he said, “rarely,” not “never.” –Ed.).

Just six minutes after that, she asked, if there were a “happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful” and answered with a link of her own.  Later, she referenced a happiness bank before quoting my friend David Boaz to answer the question whether Rick Santorum hates freedom and happiness.  Her next piece led with the quotation, “I think he showed me a cover of a magazine that said ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun.’”  She then proceeded to contrast, “Romney’s Religion of Happiness” to “Gingrich’s Religion of Grievance.

And soon would lament “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.”  As compensation perhaps, she cited a Gallup poll finding “that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older…”  “Happiness,” she offered in a subsequent post, “is more like knowledge than like belief.”  And listed, “5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won’t).

She would soon furnish a clever quip, “I have told myself a hundred times that I would be happy if I were as stupid as my neighbor, and yet I would want no part of that kind of happiness.”  Finally, she found “the secret of happiness and virtue — liking what you’ve got to do.”

It was most serendipitous that I would linger on Ann’s blog today.  Perhaps the happiness drew me in.   You see, I’ve been re-reading the Odyssey and today revisited Odysseus’s misery on the island of Ogygia, by conventional wisdom a straight man’s paradise, beautiful beaches, distant from the outside world, his wife far away, an eternally youthful and nubile nymph eager to bed him.  And yet when first we see the hero, he suffers terribly amidst all these sensual pleasures, “his sweet life flowing away/with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home”. (more…)

Personal Note #1–Those days when Sisyphus can’t push the rock

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - February 7, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Mythology and the real world

I have been sketching out this post at least since November when I finally got around to finishing up –and sending in–the first round of proofreading of my dissertation (needed so Pacifica has a clean copy for its library).

A lot has been on my mind, only a limited amount related to politics.  I have (until the second half of January) been devoting a great amount of time to outlining curricula for the various courses I want to teach so I can been better prepared when I interview for jobs (and to show I am ready to teach courses they already offer).

At times, I just don’t think I’ll be able to blog for a few days, only to find, like yesterday, the words just flowing from my fingers as they did for three posts last night  – and a fourth that I would have completed had I not learned of the immanence of the Prop 8 ruling.

It seems those sudden bursts of “creativity” spare me the need of writing this post.

This morning, after finishing up the Tennessee post, I hit a wall again and felt as I often have like Sisyphus, only unable to push the rock up the hill, no matter how hard I tried.

I offer this not as a complaint, but as an explanation.  Some days, it seems I’m just going through the motions of blogging, cutting and pasting (and commenting on) the posts of others rather than putting forward original ones of my own.

I feel a lot like I did in the Fall of 2009 — right after I broke through the block in writing my dissertation.  In August and September, I had realized what was missing from my paper and had (finally!) started writing in October, only sensing in November that I needed to step back a bit before setting off  again at full speed (as would happen in January of 2010).  And that’s what it seems like now — that I need to step back a bit. (more…)

What value the humanities?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:08 pm - November 15, 2011.
Filed under: Academia,Mythology and the real world

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

As part of his “series” on the “higher education bubble,” Glenn today links a post with a title which addresses an issue I focus on (directly and indirectly) for much of the time I’m not reading about politics or writing this blog:  “Kenneth Anderson: The New Physiocrats, or, Is There Value in the Humanities? There can be, if they’re taught rigorously and seriously. That does happen.”

As I finish up the proofreading of my dissertation, I am also working on creating several myth courses to teach, including a general introduction to Græco-Roman mythology, a course on the hero, another on Near Eastern myth and a fourth comparing the themes of great myths to those of classic films.

I have found the greatest challenge to the first course (the one on Græco-Roman myth) to be not organizing the study of the various myths (the outline I constructed corresponds almost perfectly with the two leading college textbooks on mythology), but organizing the first week:  how to introduce the study of myth to show that it’s relevant to people in our contemporary society.

All too many scholars in the humanities (alas!) focus on esoteric and obscure theories, trying to “deconstruct” literature or define its structure while losing sight of its meaning — or even speculating why it is that humans tell stories.  When I was an undergraduate, I sometimes wanted to challenge some of the humanities professors (those whose classes I learned to avoid), asking them why they were pursuing a career teaching language, literature and philosophy to young men and women who were looking forward to careers in banking, law, medicine, industry and other entrepreneurial endeavors.

It is a question I regularly ask myself as I look forward to teaching.

Oh, happy day! Oh, Happy, Happy!

Athena likes me:

The Left Hand of Darkness & the Human Tendency to Dualism

I am finally getting around to reading Ursula Le Guin’s science fiction classic, The Left Hand of Darkness, a book that over the years, numerous friends and acquaintances have encouraged me to read, largely because she explores a topic that has long fascinated me — sexual difference.*

About half-way through the book, I find it at once the most brilliant work of science fiction I have ever read  – and among the most frustrating.  Brilliant because of Le Guin’s insights into how human sexual difference has defined our culture — the book is set on a planet where the humanoids are hermaphroditic.  Frustrating because, at times, it seems less a story than a reflection on sexual difference via conversations with and character sketches of some leading figures on the Planet Gethen (also called Winter), the setting for this novel.

What really got me thinking (and there is much in this book to get one thinking) was this paragraph in the chapter on “The Question of Sex”:

Consider: There is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protective/protected, dominant/submissive, owner/chattel, active/passive.   In fact, the whole tendency to dualism that pervades human thinking may be found to be lessened, or changed, on Winter.

Perhaps, it is serendipitous that at the moment I read this book I am watching some lectures of Joseph Campbell on DVD.  That great scholar of myth is constantly talking about the images of difference which recur in mythological narratives and artwork (i.e,. the ying and the yang).  Carl Jung, one of Campbell’s mentors once wrote, “there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites“.  Without sex difference, Gethenian culture would necessarily lack such tension. (more…)

Cheating students by depriving them of the classics

Just about a year ago this time, I was intensely working on my dissertation, re-reading (and re-re-re-reading) several key passages in the Iliad and the Odyssey, even delighting in some of the scholarly work on these epics.  As I read about Achilles, Telemachus and Odysseus, I often thought I was reading about people I know, in some cases, I felt I was reading about myself.

I saw in the way Athene manipulated her father in the first book of the Odyssey techniques my sisters used to manipulate our father — and my teenage nieces to manipulate theirs.  These stories may have been set in the Bronze Age where supernatural beings intervened on a regular basis in the lives of mortal men and women, but they addressed themes and related experiences similar to those we face today in a world where we’ve banished deities and developed technology that the ancients couldn’t even conceive.

And just as the Olympians have been banished from our stories, all too often those who wield power in academia seek to banish the works once called the “Great Books.”  They replace stories put to paper by dead white males with current accounts by more contemporary authors who address themes these scholars believe more “relevant” in a world of rapid technological progress and instant communication.

In reality, however, students assigned such “relevant” stories find themselves bored and sometimes even cheated, as David Clemens relates:

My former student Joshua, now ambivalently quartered at UC Santa Cruz . . . has an article in Literary Matters about cheating.  Not students cheating; students who feel cheated.  He’s found a couple of excellent literature classes (Cervantes) but most just use books as a vector for stone-cold political ideology.

When he was at Monterey Peninsula College, Josh was the midwife who helped deliver a great books program to a college that had been out to axe all its literature courses.  In my Intro. to Lit., class he heard me refer to Robert Hutchins’s metaphor for Western literature as a “Great Conversation,” and in Literary Matters he writes

“Within weeks other members of the class and I were meeting on our own time to discuss the Great Books. We read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. We read Sappho. We felt and spoke as if we had rediscovered some long-forgotten treasure abandoned by the generation before [my emphasis].” (more…)

Athena Corrects Melantho’s Misrepresentations about Reagan

In the Odyssey, Melantho is one of the household servants who sleeps with the suitors who take advantage of the hospitality of Odyseeus’s household while that wily ruler struggles to find a way home.  When that great traveler returns in disguise, she mocks him. 

Andrea Mitchell should consider herself fortunate that she will not suffer the same fate as that disloyal servant, hanged by the son of the noble king when he regains his own.  Melantho strikes us as the embodiment of the type who supports whoever wields the power.  She stands for nothing, but the prevailing ethos.  (See e.g., Rod Steiger‘s Komarovsky in Doctor Zhivago.)  

As does the NBC News commentator.  Now that it’s chic to like the Gipper, Mitchell is faulting “Republicans in particular, obviously [for] trying to appropriate Ronald Reagan for their own political purposes now.”  Peggy Noonan, who actually worked in the Reagan White House, defended her former boss’s fellow partisans for claiming him as one of their own while espousing his ideas and adapting them to present circumstances: 

I got to–whoa, whoa, whoa. Republicans are not, I think, trying to appropriate Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a Republican. Conservatives aren’t trying to appropriate him. He was a conservative. Willie, he became a public figure in America two years before he was governor in 1964, and he laid out a speech as stern, if not sterner, in its conservatism in which he explained his views on taxes, “Cut them”; his views on the size of government, “Too big, too bullying”; his views on the Soviet Union, “Hold it back, it is expansionist.” This was all very clear. As a president, as a governor, he was pragmatic in his operation.

Nice to see Mitchell show some reverence for Ronald Reagan, but would she be so giddy for the Gipper if the media narrative about this great man were what it was in the 1980s?

Dr. (blogger formerly known as) GayPatriotWest

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 11:36 pm - December 12, 2010.
Filed under: Mythology and the real world

There is an odd serendipity between my blogging here and my graduate work.   About a month after I began my graduate work at Pacifica, Bruce asked me to join him here on this fledging blog.  At the time, I had thought my life in politics was over.

And now I find that I will separate two of the great passions in my life, story-telling and politics.   Today, December 12, 2010, I defended my dissertation and have been called Dr. Blatt.   It is a moment that I will likely always remember.

Two of the people there today were individuals I met through this blog.  And I was moved that they went out of their way to hear my defense.   It seems to me that my destiny is at that place Lionel Trilling described as the “dark and bloody crossroads where politics and literature meet.”

Rare for me, I’m at a loss for words.

Save for a few process matters, I no longer have my graduate work hanging over me.   I will now start looking for part-time teaching opportunities while continuing to blog.

So, to those of you who offered you your support, thank you.  I’ll enjoy my buzz right now and ponder the next step on my journey.

The class of Elizabeth Edwards

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:22 am - December 8, 2010.
Filed under: Mythology and the real world,Strong Women

A striking serendipity helped me appreciate the true strength of Elizabeth Edwards.  On the day she died, I was fixing, as per the request of my committee chair, a hole in the section on the mythical hero Jason in my dissertation.  This one-time captain of the Argo lost the favor of the goddesses who facilitated his quest for the Golden Fleece when he abandoned his wife who provided him the tools he needed to take the fleece for another woman.

Medea did not take kindly to this infidelity and murdered her children, depriving her husband of progeny.

Elizabeth Edwards bore her husband’s pursuit of another woman with far greater class than did that legendary priestess of Hecate.  Indeed, Mrs. Edwards seemed always to show class on the public stage, particularly when she spoke about her cancer. As Michelle Malkin put it, “Mrs. Edwards was able to set aside partisanship when it came to the ravages of cancer. As should we all.”

Over at Patterico’s Pontifications, Aaron Worthing alerts us to this beautiful testimony she wrote on her Facebook page.

You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

While Edwards acknowledged that there are times when we can’t muster the strength and passion we would like, she showed far greater strength that do many people who faced trials similar to those she faced.  We all could learn a lot from her words.  We can learn even more from the grace with which she faced misfortune.

Will Andrew Sullivan Make My Dissertation?

Now that I’ve finished “original” research for the first draft of my dissertation, I am reviewing several books on gay psychology and essays on gay relationships as I prepare to write the paper’s final chapter.  Due to the unique nature of my program, I intend to apply the insights I gained in studying Athene’s role in the lives of the men of Greek mythology to the needs of gay men today, considering particularly how feminine friendships can benefit us.

And one essay which I believe beautifully addresses gay friendships is Andrew’s piece, “If Love Were All,” in his book Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival.  In that insightful essay, he reminds us of “the need for nonfamilial and nonsexual intimacy [which] is surely uppermost in our minds, however hard it its for us to articulate it.”

As I review his essay, I’ll be seeing if he can offer any insights on the gay male “need” for a guiding female hand as we seek to find our place in the world.

One more thing to note; in that essay, Andrew addresses some issues raised (at least in my mind) by Tyler Clementi’s suicide — on the importance of friendships in helping us feel we have truly found our place.

I may or may not use his essay.  I won’t know until tomorrow when I review the underlinings I made and the notes I took when first I read it.  That said, I still recall how moving was his prose.  While we may not today share his politics, we should at least appreciate how thoughtfully he addressed an issue which merits more discusion.