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By Christopher Robin was Murdered (Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:26:28 AM EST) (all tags)
Save your fake Confederate dollars because the faux South will rise again. Sachsenhausen notes. One of the more unlikely lawsuits I've ever heard of. Picture of a really bad day at the office. I'm going to assume your happy because I don't understand a word your saying. Whattahel, there's always room for more books. The time to speak of cabbages and kings, but not really cabbages so much.


Friday, Museum

    Friday, on my lunch break, I met with one of the curators of a local history museum. The purpose of the visit was to let him, Kevin, get a look at what I thought might be a Confederate bond coupon. Slightly larger than our current US greenbacks, the bill was printed on single side. Wording on the bill indicated that it was issued from a bank in Richmond, noted that the bond coupon was not legal tender for paying export duties, and, in an early bit of Sesch optimism, claimed the bill marked the "Ratification of a treaty of peace between the free states and the states of the Northern Union." There was no date on the bill, but this mention of the peace treaty that never happened made 1861 the most likely date. The coupon featured an image of Davis and some Richmond politico or banking bigwig that I couldn't identify. A wonderful example of the sort of brutally ironic symbolism Civil War Era rebs were so amazingly comfortable with, the vignette featured lady liberty, there presumably there to further the cause of freedom for rich white folks throughout Cotton Land.

    The bond turned out to be nothing of historical interest, most likely a reproduction made sometime after the war. Still, I got a nice little tour out of it.

    I got to play with some of their extensive stash of historical counterfeit notes. They had several notes from Operation Bernhard, the German effort to flood the UK with bad paper. In 1942, under the leadership of SS Major Bernhard Kruger, inmates of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp were put to work counterfeiting five, ten, twenty, and fifty-pound notes. These notes would later be put into circulation by a ring of some 100 German agents in the UK and other regions. All told, the camp inmates produced more than 100 million pounds.
    Later, the inmates went to work reproducing the American $100 dollar bill. They completed their designs and ran off a couple hundred dollars worth of fakes; but the operation was shut down shortly thereafter and full production never began.
    One of things that make the Sachsenhausen counterfeits interesting is that the pound notes were sabotaged by the inmates. Every note contains the same two tiny flaws, difficult to spot under even close scrutiny, but once the pattern is identified, immediately recognizable. Sadly, unable to ever get word out, the inmates were unable to stop the circulation of several Sachsenhausen notes. Mercifully, poor organization prevented many of the Sachsenhausen notes from ever getting into circulation and a vast majority of the bills were dumped into a nearby lake.
    In 1945, the inmate counterfeiters were ordered moved to another camp where they would all be executed. The approach of Allied forces, however, prevented their execution.

    As a footnote to the story, in the Nazi government paid one of its spies, a valet to the British ambassador in Ankara, in Sachsenhausen notes. After the war the spy attempted to sue the German government for back pay and failed.

    Aside from the counterfeits, they had several other interesting pieces displayed. On of my favorites was 20, 25 pieces of old school ticker tape that a Boston stock broker had clipped a mounted for display in his office. The strips depicted the staggering rapid decline of the market on the day of the great crash. One of the limitations of ticker tape was that you couldn't tell the time between reports, but with just the short length this broker had, you can watch a handful of stock tumble from triple- to single-digit value. Under the strips of tape, the broker appended a type note reading "This is what a stock market crash looks like."

Saturday, Haircut

    Went to my regular place off Union Square. Jakub asked where May was: "Where's your beautiful wife?"
    "She's working. But she's not my wife. Soon. I gave her the ring and asked her to marry me. Next summer, we'll do it."
    The barbers got so excited they seemed to forget that I don't speak Russian. I'm assuming they were happy for me and congratulating me, though, honestly, I couldn't swear to it in a court of law.

Saturday, Consumerism

    Haven't been to the Strand (enormous used bookstore just South of Union Square) in awhile, so I swung by after the haircut.
    Found a tiny book of nonsense verse and illustration by Mervyn Peake. The intro is by his widow and is interesting, if not particularly lengthy or deep. The poems themselves are considerably darker than Lear's similar works.
    Also picked up the Archie and Mehitabel Omnibus. A steal at four dollars. I hated these when I was a kid. I found them difficult to read and tedious. It was only later, in college, that I took a second look and "got" them.
    May, on seeing the omnibus, suddenly made the connection to one of her favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. Calvin imagines he's been shrunk down to the size of a bug and he's jumping from key to key on a typewriter. Later, Calvin's father asks, "Who typed 'Help, I'm a bug' on my typewriter?" Calvin, walking by: "I don't know. A bug apparently. How strange." Never saw the connection before but it seems to be a reference.

Sunday, Brunch

    May and I, Bar Tabac, after church brunch. The Old Testament reading had been the David and Goliath story. We were talking about legendary kings and how David and Solomon struck us as odd because, though much of their stories are taken up with accounts of victories and wars and whatnot, they also have large sections of their stories dedicated to policy implementation and civic works and census taking and the like. In short, within their stories, they actually govern.
    Gilgamesh mostly spends his time plaguing his own people, hunting, going on adventures, and hanging with his friend.
    To the degree that sacrifices of royal family members is a policy choice, we see Agamemnon acting in the role of governmental head – but mostly the kings and leaders of the Homeric world seem to show up only when it is time fight or best a monster or fall victim to a curse. Certainly we learn more about the leadership role in the works of historians like Herodotus, but then we leave the realm of legend and enter into history (though, admittedly, the distinctions are not so fine in the early days).
    Arthur doesn't produce policy until T. H. White invents something to justify why Arthur was supposedly such a great king in the first place. 'Till White, he spends most of his time screwing, fighting, questing, and getting killed.
    We had no conclusions, or even a thesis. It was chatter.

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A counterfeiting museum would be cool by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:39:16 AM EST
though like many things, the craftmanship in engraving actual plates is dwindling, replaced by shoddy scanning and laser printing work, which can easily be detected by someone knowledgeable, if the laser press itself doesn't purposely malfunction.

At least the North Koreans are still at it, with real presses and hard working engravers.


N. Korea bills. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:48:36 AM EST
You think the Treasury would have a nice museum on counterfeiting somewhere. I can't find any reference to one.

Sadly, the local museum didn't have any of the so-called "superdollars" from North Korea, though Kevin said that Treasury dudes they get to come down for talks with tour groups and the like say that only one element separates the NK bill from essentially being undetectable. And how long before they perfect the security strip?

Are perfect fakes still fake?

[ Parent ]
David and, especially, Solomon by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:15:29 AM EST
were legendary for their wisdom. But maybe that's because of the policy stuff, not the other way around.

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Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
various re's by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:23:31 AM EST
I never read the Archie stories, but still laughed at the C&H strip. Different levels of understanding, yet funny all about. Like the Tick.

Great kings tell good stories, go on fun adventures and love beautiful women. How many people read the OMB budget status reports our gov't puts out versus how many read the Starr report ? ;)

Wedding going to be in NYC at the church ? And how is the building fund coming along ? Did you agree to chair it ?

RE the REs by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:28:33 AM EST
Archy and Met: I'd read both and laughed at both and never got the connection. That May's a more clever mammal than I.

Kings: I think you're thinking of James Bonds and not kings.

The nuptiuals: The wedding will be in Brooklyn.

The church: We're about to go through a round of general fund raising, though not all of it will be earmarked for building repair. I'm not so much the chair of the building committee as the only member. May and I are trying to expand our fundraising efforts by tapping into the Brooklyn lit world. This church is a major Brooklyn landmark, it seats several hundred, it has great accoustics, and it is still looking good. We've had some nice events in the past with folks like Toni Morrison. If we could get a regular series of readers, that could bring in some scratch. We think we need these pitched as "readers in a famous landmark", and not "readers in a church." Also, we've got to get general interest, quality folk in there and not just churchy types. We'll see.

[ Parent ]
Your observation with regards to kings by lm (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:37:50 AM EST
Closely follows what I've been taught about the development of the concept of law. Homer depicts an earlier era where there was no law and kings were mostly, as you describe them, warlords more or less appointed by public opinion to fight a particular war. Gilgamesh predates even this era. But David and Solomon are on the other side of the invention of civic laws where the purpose of the ruler was no longer seen to be merely brave in battle, but also to create justice. The in-between period (at least in Greece) is where The Furies lies in chronology.

It gets confusing because (most Old Testament scholars argue) the Mosaic law wasn't written until after this discovery (and possibly even David and Solomon). So the sophisticated rules of the Pentateuch probably didn't come about until well after the era of the Judges which is pretty similar to the era depicted in Homer.

The interesting part is that chronologically the development of the idea of law seems to have been contemporary throughout the middle east. Ancient Israel, the various Greek city-states, the Persians and others all seemed to have developed roughly the same concept of law about the same time.

Europe, however, would have to wait for the Romans. Which is why Arthur had no policies. He represented an earlier era.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Arthur came well after the Romans by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:43:36 AM EST
Right, but that doesn't matter by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:53:46 AM EST
The Romans developed the concept of laws well before the Britons. Consequently, Arthur was representing a very pre-Roman society with regards to the idea of law. In fact, one of the bookmarks that scholars use to determine the end of the so called ``dark ages'' is the rediscover of Roman Law by western Europeans.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I'm just reading what you wrote. by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:55:47 AM EST
"Europe, however, would have to wait for the Romans. Which is why Arthur had no policies. He represented an earlier era."

He did not represent an earlier era. He represented the era about 100 years after the Romans left.
--
Close friendships and a private room can offer most of the things love does.

[ Parent ]
Legendary Arthur by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:15:43 AM EST
For purposes of the conversation, May and I were definitely thinking along the lines of ad hoc's Arthur. Whatever the "historical" Arthur may have been - if there is a historical model after all - the "legend" has him gallivanting around the Middle Ages not only cleaner than he should be, but advised by a wizard who was hip to all sorts of stuff.

We were talking about the idea of the king, and not really kings themselves.

[ Parent ]
My apologies for being unclear by lm (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:24:22 AM EST
The coelacanth represents an earlier era than the Glofish even if some individual coelacanths were born well after the advent of the Glofish.

In the same way, Arthur represents an earlier stage  in the development of political thought than the Romans even if Arthur came chronologically after the Romans.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Arthur is not a species by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:26:39 AM EST
He drinks like one. n/t by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:29:22 AM EST


[ Parent ]
We're knights of the round table by ad hoc (4.00 / 2) #21 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:32:26 AM EST
We dance when ere we're able,
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot,
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot.
--
Close friendships and a private room can offer most of the things love does.
[ Parent ]
Between our quests . . . . by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #22 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:40:32 AM EST
We sequin vests,
And imitate Clark Gable.

[ Parent ]
darn by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:24:36 PM EST
my voice isnt low enough for the line i want to contribute.
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Dance On, Gir!
[ Parent ]
Ain't no one will know over the Internet. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:49:59 PM EST
So tell us, what do you have to push a lot?

[ Parent ]
i have to push the pram a lot. by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 06:06:18 PM EST
there, i said it.
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Dance On, Gir!
[ Parent ]
That's what I'm talking about! by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #32 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:17:07 AM EST
I think you've made real progress today.

[ Parent ]
it's such a relief by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 11:16:49 AM EST
just to let it all out! *sob*
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Dance On, Gir!
[ Parent ]
Correct by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:31:20 AM EST
Arthur is an individual within a kind.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Food for thought. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:18:42 AM EST
That goes well beyond anything we thought up. But it is interesting. This may being biting off more than I can chew, but any theories on why the massive paradigm shift.

[ Parent ]
I don't think anyone knows by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:30:55 AM EST
It's more detailed, but I don't think it is substantially more complicated than what you presented. If I remember to, I'll dig out my notes from my Ancient Political philsophy class when I get home. Regrettably, the professor I had for that class was a world class professor in his sunset years. Consequently, his lectures were disorganized and jumped around and  it made it very difficult to determine where the facts in his lectures were coming from.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Brief summary of the first half of my course by lm (4.00 / 1) #28 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 06:29:21 PM EST
In the tragic age of Greece (represented by Homer and Hesiod who most likely wrote in the 8th century) rulers don't make rules per se but mostly serve to arbitrate between competing parties who appeal to the rulers. Decisions tend to be made in assembly presided over by a warlord who arbitrates between competing view points. The two key principles by which order is established are shame and nemesis.

During this time civilization began to develop in Greece. Most importantly, the polis developed. These were originally clearings populated by relatively few families around a common fortress. Justice and politics were identical to personal loyalty and family values. The gods, who are seen as dispensing justice, are typically portrayed as punishing violations of family values. Transgressions committed against those outside the family are generally not seen as wrong, but are celebrated as being clever.

As the primitive polis developed into the city-state, the conception of justice began to become more sophisticated. In the sixth and seventh centuries, Solon implemented a series of decrees that began to expand justice beyond the family to the polis as a whole. By the early fifth century Aeschylus (in The Furies) depicts the gods creating the jury trial, therefore, declaring justice to be a human concern and a concern for the entire polis rather than only a family concern.

By the Socratic era, laws were well established ideas. Rulers intended to implement not only rules but full policies. This transition in Greece (8th century to 4th century) can also be seen in ancient Israel as the clan of the Abrahamic covenant develop into the loose association of the era of the judges before developing a coherent law in the Davidic line of kings. Crucial for this theory is the idea that the bulk of what is known as the Mosaic Law was a relatively late invention and transposed upon the Mosaic era by later authors.

Also interesting that in the period from the 8th to 5th centuries, a tremendous amount of theological and philsophical development took place across the globe. Isaiah, Zaruthstra, and Thales all developed the idea of a strict monotheism where an eternal One was the highest existence. Meanwhile the Buddha, Confucius and Lao-Tzu revolutionized the thinking in large parts of India around various concepts of divine unity.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Thank you. n/t by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #35 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:50:49 AM EST


[ Parent ]
King Arthur by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 06:40:14 PM EST
The Arthur we know is an entirely fictional creation. The historical figures that have been put forward as "the real King Arthur" are mostly romanized britains. (Though there are lots of other theories.) The upshot, though, is that the King Arthur we know is entirely myth. Arthur had no policies because he was fictional and policy doesn't make for fiction.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
hear hear! by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 11:42:02 PM EST
Arthur we know is not just fictional but a product of multiple fictions spread accross several countries, cultures, and centuries and political environments. I have a dissertation lying around somewhere which is a case study of one of 'em.

[ Parent ]
Right. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #34 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:47:49 AM EST
This was actually mentioned in the diary. I said that, in some modern re-tellings, you get Arthur acting more like a head of state and less like an adventurer. T. H. White's book actually gives him some policies to justify his greatness. Barthelme's satirical The King has him handling labor strikes and taxes and other woes of the modern world, the joke being that he never did any of this crap in the older legends. Bradley's Mists has that whole nation-wide transformation from pagan to X-tian thing, which is him acting as the head of state. And on and on forever . . .

Arthur might be the most revealing of the various "legendary leaders" because he's been one of the most re-interpreted.

For me and May the point wasn't the "reality" of the figures involved, but the changing attitude towards leadership that they show.

[ Parent ]
Or the attempt to change attitude:) by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #36 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:04:00 AM EST
Edward (III I think , it has been a while) specifically invoked Arthurian mythos e.g. by creating the Order of the Round Table to create a culture of Chivalry and reinforce an idea of centralised royal power. The Arthur legends both demonstrate a changing attitude towards leadership and were used as a tool to accomplish it.

[ Parent ]
That, I did not know. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:13:01 AM EST
Though this happened much later, I seem to recall something about Arthur being invoked regularly in the early days of World War I - used in recruitment propaganda and the like. Another use of Arthur as policy instrument.

On a tangent, has Arthur ever been presented as an out and out bad guy?

[ Parent ]
Rings a bell by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 05:36:16 AM EST
I think he is portrayed negatively in at least one modern series written from the point of view of Mordred. He's basically blamed for holding back progress. IIRC it starts with this book by Haydn Middleton.

[ Parent ]
Fictionalized or not makes no difference by lm (2.00 / 0) #31 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 02:33:02 AM EST
The important thing is the ideas contained in the recorded stories about various figures. I don't think the position of Arthur with regards to actual history is all that different from the kings in Homer. And in that respect, most of the tales about Arthur represent a mode of thought that is less developed than Roman political thought.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Yes by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:09:21 AM EST
But I think that has more to do with the demands of fiction than the political thoughts of the writers. Arthur's characterization isn't a reflection of the beliefs of the age in which he is set so much as a reflection of what the authors believe about the age in which he is set. This is (in my mind) distinct from Homer or the bible because in both those cases (leaving aside questions of historical accuracy) the authors were in the same political mileau as the characters. I'm claiming that there's a fundamental difference between a modern author like T.H. White writing about a "simpler" time and Homer, who was essentially recording the political attitudes of his own time.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
True dat. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #42 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 01:48:42 PM EST
I think there's definitely the distinction you're pointing out at play here. The historical impulse of the Bible stories of David and Solomon and the like does mean that the authors of those texts started with different agendas and, therefore, are likely to include info somebody writing an epic poem or epic adventure would not.

That said, I don't think comparisons between various ancient heroes are entirely invalid. I feel that when we're talking about "legendary leaders" (by which I mean larger-than-life, but not necessarily fictional) we're talking about folks, real and imagined, who are regularly "re-invented" whatever the historical or fictional impulse was originally. That's why Arthur and David are being discussed, but nobody has anything to say about Prez (fictional leader of the US who makes loads of policy decisions, and saves the life of John Belushi to boot, but never really entered our collective consciousness) or Chester Arthur (real prez, but hardly larger-than-life).

Arthur changes with the times, but so does David. Sometimes the whole warrior-king thing is emphasized, other times he's the great poet. I think he's the second most complicated and profoundly human figure in the Bible (behind the Naz) whereas, in regards to one of R Mutt's linkdumps, DesiredUsername was evoking his actions as an example of the work of a mindless genocidal fanatic. Like Arthur, we get the David we need, I guess.

[ Parent ]
If policy makes for such bad fiction . . . by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #33 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:26:21 AM EST
How do we explain the popularity of The West Wing?

Some of the most famous tales about leaders of yore are about governing. The famed judgment of Solomon is essentially a small drama about what it takes to rule wisely.

Closer to the Aurthur issue, we do see Arthur make policy. In T. H. White's Once and Future King, one of the more popular additions to the Aurthur canon, it is suggested that his greatness as a king was to take the seasonal warring instinct and regulate through a series of authorized tournaments and the like. I mentioned this above. I feel White had to cook up some actual governing for Arthur to do because it is hard to buy that his death is a great loss unless we believe he was a great king - and in White's version of the tale, simply being the greatest warrior wasn't enough to qualify as great.

[ Parent ]
Ok, not bad fiction by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 07:11:06 AM EST
But it doesn't serve certain types of stories. (I haven't read Once and Future King. I probably should.)
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
I can dig it. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #43 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 01:58:18 PM EST
I see what you're saying. In fact, White and other modern reworkings support your observation. As the stories stop being poems and epics, and start becoming novels and book series, the nature of Arthur changes drastically.

Films, interestingly, seem to preserve his epic identity better than prose does. Perhaps it is the time-restricted, visual-dependent nature of the medium to stick with epic adventures rather than the less arresting work of statecraft.

White's novel is good - though odd. It feels like two different books stuck together. The first a light, almost satiric look at Arthur's youth. The second a grim novel-essay on the collapse of Camelot. Curious, but worth it, in my opinion. It's one of May's favorites.

[ Parent ]
I guess I should try by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #44 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:24:54 PM EST
When I was a teenager, my mother and my aunt kept trying to get me to read it (probably to try wean my of the SF "crap" I was reading.) The worst way to get a teenager to read anything is to tell him to read it.

Not long after that, though, I discovered "Excalibur" and literally watched it five times in a weekend. (Again, I was a teenager.) I agree with what you say and I think part of it is that "epic" tales are simply easier on film than more complex stuff.

I have read Marion Zimmer Bradley's feminist version, which is better than you'd think.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Clarification by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #45 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:26:46 PM EST
Lest I be accused as being anti-feminist by certain users, let me explain that I mean it's better than you'd think given the quality of her other works.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
That's what Homeric leaders do... by atreides (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:47:21 AM EST
That's why they got the good stuff and that's what was expected of them. When the time came to fight (or in a greater sense do something) it was their responsibility to do it and lead from the front all the while. On the other hand, the Iliad gives some good examples (in the guise of Achilles) of what was expected in greater detail. If you think about it, there are lots of reasons that Achilles refuese to fight any longer and Agamemnon's taking away Briseis is really only the straw that broke the camel's back. Get into some of those other reasons and it makes a number of Greek cheifs look a little less petty...

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.
"...compassion is more than a 16 point word in scrabble." - MostlyHarmless


Not So Much Pettiness. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:05:02 AM EST
I've read numerous things, for example, that place the Trojan war into something that much more closely resembles a modern "geo-political" crisis. Arguments about trade dominance and the like. Serious stuff and not a bunch of armed prima donnas squabbling over who knows what.

Further, David is also often no less petty than any character in the Iliad. That's not what separates them.

The distinction is more one of the king as heroic fighter versus king as civic leader and administrator. David seems a transitional figure and Solomon is hardly a fighter at all.

Certainly, Homeric epics are not without admirable leaders. Hector, for example, seems like a solid guy.

I guess what I'm getting at is when the Oedipus' kingdom falls victim to famine and whatnot, he goes a questin'. When the same befalls the Jewish kings, they may go a questin' too, but they will also set up a system of food storage and emergency distribution.

[ Parent ]
I fail to see the difference by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 03:22:26 PM EST
between most geo-politcal contests and armed prima donnas.  Other than the prima donnas often have never held a spear.


Wumpus


[ Parent ]
Of course you don't. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 03:47:37 PM EST
As the poet R. Penn Warren wrote, "Past violence lends the present stillness its power."

As members of the modern Western world, we've paid a pretty penny for air conditioned comfort while allowing proxy armies of swarthy aliens to shed their blood for our interests. We've used the stolen loot to build towers above the sanguine deluge and then labeled these keeps "the moral high ground."

Life feeds on life - it is simply snobbery that let's us lift our nose at those who actually have blood on their hands. It's like a hassling the waiters; you have the right, but it is tasteless and rude.


[ Parent ]
Legendary status of David and Solomon by motty (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 09:48:58 AM EST
This is such a minefield in so many ways. But the Wikipedia article on the Moabite Stone is interesting.

As for policy making in the historical books of the bible, the kings described therein are unusual in a) because they made it into the bible, early and detailed histories of them happened to have survived longer and more intact than of the vast bulk of other kings of the period, for all the text may or may not have been mangled in the process, and b) though the origins of these texts are not at all clear, the difference in spin between Kings and Chronicles shows that not all of those biblical histories were hagiographic lists of victories and/or adventures commissioned by the kings themselves but included material written from something approaching a more critical point of view.

I am also reminded why I avoided the Biblical period as much as I could when I was studying Jewish history.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T

"Legendary" by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:11:04 AM EST
It was a sloppy word choice. I think we meant it less as "imaginary" than "now larger than life". The way that George Washington, real guy, has a legendary existence too.

[ Parent ]
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