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?
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?
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.
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. [Read more…]
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.
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. [Read more…]
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.” [Read more…]
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.
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: [Read more…]
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.
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.
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.
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. [Read more…]