Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Hiatus...

To let you all know that a flash fiction piece of mine is up on vis a tergo, an online lit mag. It is titled "The Hammock" and was written for combat words a bit ago. Oofda that is a lot of links.

SO. Go read it!

I'll be back June 3rd! I hope you are all enjoying the month of May!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Public Service Announcement

A couple of things:

First, Blog Hiatus, from today until June 1! I am sorry to do it, but May is going CRAZY on me with travel and family obligations (birthdays and anniversaries and weddings galore!) and I really just want to focus on getting this Pirithous draft done with the LITTLE time I will not be spending running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Check back Friday, June 3 for my return to the blog. I have no idea what that post will be about but hopefully it will be spectacular enough to make up for my absence!

Second, my SPOILER FREE review of THOR is up over on GeekaChicas, and do please read up! I can add after my second viewing that 2D is superior and El husband and I both enjoyed the movie even more the second time through! 2D even had better previews. I don't know what they were thinking not including a Captain America preview in front of the IMAX showing, but that was pretty dumb. Oh yes, and when you go to Thor, be sure to stay through the credits for the Avengers teaser scene. Unless you don't care about Avengers or what is coming next for Thor, in which case, feel free to leave before the Foo Fighters song in the end credits.

If you love me, you will not just go read my review, you will also go see the movie, if for no other reason than to see the magic Chris Hemsworth works with the role of Thor. And also so that this movie makes enough money that we get a Thor 2 after Avengers. All right? Excellent! Share the #ThorLove!

And lastly, this quote, because I love it. Paris is speaking (writing) to Helen, trying to convince her to run away with him.

"And so Theseus rightly felt love’s flame, for he was acquaint with all your charms, and you seemed fit spoil for the great hero to steal away, [...]. His stealing you away, I commend; my marvel is that he ever gave you back." Ovid, Heroides: 16.
That is in fact my marvel too, Paris. 

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thor vs. Green Lantern (This is not a Classics Post. Oops.)

In CELEBRATION of today being THE DAY, I give you this most excellent youtube video.

You can rest assured that I am going to see Thor today in IMAX 3D. A report of its greatness (Please God, let it be great!) will follow in good time.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Faith and Mystery

Studying mythology is very much a journey of faith for me. I don't talk about it a lot on here, because I don't like to step on toes-- it isn't really about TRUTH, or one right way, and I've always felt faith and religion are and should be very private things. Whatever my beliefs, they're between me and the powers that be, and the same for yours. We don't have to agree. In fact, the world would be a much less interesting place if we did. I wouldn't be able to study both Classical Myth and Norse Myth along side my own Catholic upbringing, if everyone agreed, and where's the fun in that?

But as a Classicist (and interestingly enough I rarely feel this way about Norse myth), I often find myself wondering why in tarnation anyone would want to worship gods that were so cruel, so arbitrary, so generally unjust. What is there to honor in a god like Zeus, who rapes women as he pleases, or even Athena, the vaunted goddess of reason, when she throws it all out the window to curse Medusa for being unfortunate enough to draw Poseidon's eye. It's so easy to sit back and say we've evolved beyond that kind of thing, as a race. We've wised up enough to realize that worshipping a god like that makes no sense. There is no substance, maybe, or there is no justice, or there is no worth.

It's easy to think, in those unguarded moments of arrogance, that we are much more civilized now as a culture. But in America, we are by and large a culture firmly rooted in Christianity and Judeo-Christian myth. On the surface, the New Testament does present a more genteel deity than the gods that the ancient Greeks worshipped. The Olympians could be called a lot of things, but Champions of Forgiveness and Love they were not, and Jesus and His Father were something of a revelation in that respect. At least to the Greeks and the Romans (and perhaps that's why it took hold in the west, but the east maintains its own much older faiths still).

But if you look at the Old Testament, you can see the same shapes of those Olympians. Punishments were harsh, sacrifices were demanded, and God could be just as cruel to the people who didn't live by His rules as any Olympian. You don't need to look much beyond Genesis for examples: The punishment and banishment of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, and if I had been Abraham, asked to sacrifice my own son to PROVE something to an all-knowing God, I don't think I'd have gone along with it myself. Beyond Genesis there is much, much more, and I could list them all day-- one of my personal favorites  is the story of Samson, in Judges (a strange thing to say, I know, because Samson is incredibly mean-tempered and cruel. Maybe he reminds me of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, who I love to hate, but I also pity Samson and Delilah both).

In fact, I almost find reading the Old Testament to be even more disturbing than Greek Myth. Maybe because I'm not connected to the Greeks with my own faith. But maybe too, that's part of the point. MAYBE faith is supposed to be about the mystery. MAYBE if we aren't wondering if we're a little bit insane for trusting these crazy gods, we're doing it wrong. Maybe that's what faith is all about-- the mystery of whether or not you're completely sane for going through it all and trusting and believing, in spite of everything.

Of course, all the talk of mystery could just be the Catholic in me. But I think, for all the things that change, we will never give up faith in things that don't make sense.