Print Story Don't call me babe
By TheophileEscargot (Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:20:05 AM EST) Reading, Listening, Museums, Web (all tags)
Reading: "The Thirteen-gun Salute". Listening: "Classical Mythology". Museums. Web.

What I'm Reading
Latest Aubrey/Maturin: The Thirteen-Gun Salute. Liked this one though it had very little action. Has more of a psychological focus as they have to carry an oddball envoy to and from a mission to the Malays. Does have quite a lot of natural history for the Doctor.

Also this one has a long-term villain finally confronted. As is the Patrick O'Brian trademark, some of it happens off-page, but what is depicted is disquieting enough to emphasize it.

What I'm Listening To
Classical Mythology by Elizabeth Vandiver. Another good solid course. Her course on the Aeneid was great. This one covers a much bigger area so it has to race through.

Covers the main theories of what myth is all about, then goes on to analysing certain myths in more detail. It's literary as well as sociological: deals with specific works like Aeschylus' Orestia and Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Spends a bit of time dismissing Joseph Campbell. He doesn't have a lot of mainstream credibility despite his Hollywood popularity: he doesn't support his arguments very well and his patterns don't really hold across cultures. Vandiver does talk about a common pattern of "Test and Quest" myth which does seem to crop up all over the place. It's not quite Campbellian though: for one example she points out the Greek mythical characters are generally self-interested rather than trying to do good.

Other factoids. She talks about the Curse of the House of Atreus, most of them coming to sticky ends as a result of incest, cannibalism and fratricide. Not sure if Frank Herbert had that in mind for House Atreides. A lot of our knowledge comes from a couple of sources. Hesiod's Theogony tells the story of the origin of the gods, and seems pretty authentically early. However most of our knowledge of Roman mythology comes from Ovid, who wrote with at a sophisticated level with layers of irony: some of the actual myths may have been very different. Some of them he may have just made up: Pyramus and Thisbe he claims to be Babylonian, but there are no other records and the names aren't Babylonian.

Overall, worth a look if you're interested in the subject.

Coming Soon
Next TTC course is Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotions. Lecturer has a varied background: undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology. master's and doctoral degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, last post was Professor of Business and Philosophy.

Have also ordered Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid but not sure how far I'll get. I've got a volume of his Crow poetry, but while I've dipped into it, I've found it just too bleak to go cover to cover. Ovid sounds like more a fun-loving character though.

Went to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy this year. Got the members card for the From Russia, may as well use it: haven't been any previous ones.

Basically a huge and eclectic collection of all kinds of art from their members: mostly paintings, photos and sculptures; not much installation. Some of it was a lot more traditional than I was expecting: fairly realistic painting, some quite pretty stuff. Some of the things wouldn't look out of place in an Athena. Liked the shiny gold paintings with the nude women: they're good because they're shiny and have naked ladies in. Also liked the architecture room with some cool model buildings.

The attempt at controversy seems to come from the barbed wire hula video (NSFW). It's on a very small screen, so it's pretty much what you can see from that link. Mildly disturbing, but not as gruesome as some medieval martyrdom paintings.

Maybe worth a look for sheer size. It's cheaper than most at £7, but not sure I'd go if I had to pay.

Lyrical Terrorist has conviction quashed. Touch wood and whatever, but with David Davis and all that I'm beginning to entertain a faint hope of a possibility of a return to sanity.

The woes of a stock photo reviewer: "you have no idea how many photos of lone trees in fields there are in the world".

YouTube: Butterfield diet plan

< Making plans. | I'm a horrible person >
Don't call me babe | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
If I recall correctly by jxg (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:03:16 PM EST
the Dune books were almost entirely centered around incest and fratricide. And the Fremen were certainly cannibalistic: can't let a body's water go to waste.

Now you mention it by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:47:10 PM EST
I seem to recall House Harkonnen were pretty incestuous and fratricidal. Don't remember House Atreides doing much of it though.

I think it might have been more of a thematic thing: like the original family they were simultaneously cursed and blessed, repeating the same pattern across multiple generations.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
One of Muad-dib's kids killed the other, no? by jxg (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:50:06 PM EST
And a "breeding program" pretty much implies incest of a certain degree, I'd think.

[ Parent ]
Spoilers by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 09:02:26 PM EST
It's a long time since I read Children of Dune. Looking it up they didn't kill one another, but they did have a "symbolic marriage" which might be the incest thing. And it seems Alia had her father killed.

So, looks like Frank Herbert was imitating the House of Atreus to some extent.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Ah by jxg (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 09:13:49 PM EST
Apparently it was their aunt who they killed, or forced to commit suicide - although she was being possessed by her grandfather at the time.

[ Parent ]
Atreides-Harkonnen weirdness by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Jun 20, 2008 at 06:28:01 AM EST
Jessica is the Baron's daughter; the Bene Gesserit breeding program intended for her daughter to cross back with the Harkonnen line.

Alia killed the Baron (her grandfather).

Leto II confronted Alia about her possession, resulting in her death.

Leto II and Ghanima had a dynastic marriage.

So yeah, pretty tragically greek.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
Lyrical terrorist conviction quashed by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 12:53:41 AM EST
I didn't know about that and it is absolutely fantastic news. I really did despair when all that was going on. Now hopefully this ruling will show how ridiculous the legislation is.

It's political correctness gone mad!

You are a crimentalist by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 2) #8 Fri Jun 20, 2008 at 04:10:54 PM EST
Your objections have been noted, and will be closely followed.

Now we have 42 days to break you down.

Mwha, mwha, mwha!

[ Parent ]
You'll never take me alive copper! by nebbish (4.00 / 2) #9 Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 06:54:25 AM EST
*unnecessarily shoots self in head*

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Don't call me babe | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)