When in Rome…Cheat on Your Wife

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Can I Talk to My Dad About His Affair.” The New York Times Magazine,  13 Dec, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/magazine/can-i-talk-to-my-dad-about-his-affair.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-ethicist&action=click&contentCollection=magazine&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

Dear Anthony Kwame Appiah,

What vapid advice. Do not encourage this young person to seek justice when the rest of the human world is unjust. Do not seek controversy. Settle! Settle for the truth and the comfort of adultery. In fact, this is what I would tell your anonymous submitter: While your concern for your parents is sweet, and the strain on your relationship with your father is troubling, there is truly nothing for you to worry about. Your parents will grow old and die, and someday so will you. Keep your mother’s word, keep the affair a secret, and live happily! There is no end to seeking the truth and ignorance is, in my experience, the most rewarding path. Your father was bound to cheat on your mother. What is the use of stability in marriage? What is the use of fidelity. Do not be faithful- explore the world for surely your husband will to. Humans were not created for monogamy- enjoy the world. Why even that bastar- I mean wizened ruler Julius Caesar kept five to six concubines at once. Life is full of the little pleasures we can salvage. Fidelity is for the weak minded, and monogamy is futile. Drink your fill, reap your bread, indulge in he circuses of life. After all, a sound body is a sound mind and no mind can be sad with the weight of an adulterating father upon it. In peacetime and in war, people ask for things that will do them damage. So ignore your human qualms and choose to remain a bystander instead! It’s what we all do. If you want my advice, you’ll let the gods themselves estimate what will suit us and benefit our circumstances: you see, the gods will bestow gifts that are the most appropriate rather than nice. They care more about people than people do themselves. While we are led by our blind emotional impulses and by empty desire to seek marriage and children from a wife, it is the gods who know who our boys will be and what kind of wife she’ll be.

very serious response from Yours Truly,

Panagiotis Savas.

 

Clas9, DearRomans, Juvenal, Marcus Aurelius,

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Fairy Slipper

“Beware the Frozen Ides of March. Beware

the self-betrayal of a little knowledge poorly

applied. Next time he rolls towards you in the hour

before dawn, you will say yes no matter what

he has or hasn’t done. You will listen to gesture,

not word…”

Context of the quote

The quote appears in a poem entitled “Fairy Slipper”. Similar to it’s use in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar (and other such works) it cautions the audience against a downfall. Rather than referring to a physical downfall- in Caesar’s case, his assassination- it refers to a betrayal of the heart.

Why does the author use this reference? What does she expect the reader to know about the phrase? Is it portrayed as good or bad?

The author refers to “the Ides of March” in narrative about heartache and self-fulfilling habits. She warns us to beware a certain prophesied coming. “Beware the Ides of March”, as used in this poem, can be translated to “beware the man who comes”. In using the phrase the author expects us to understand that Ides of March refers to the date on which Caesar is stabbed. The author interprets the phrase as a bad thing- beware heartache, beware the man you will ultimately let back in.

Quote from Cassius Dio and justification

“And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators. Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain  with many wounds”

This account justifies the “Fairy Slipper” author’s interpretation of the Ides of March. The Ides of March refer to the date of Caesar’s assassination, which is portrayed as brutal and treacherous. This also seems to be the context in which “Ides of March” is used in “The Fairy Slipper”.

Citation

Goodman, Henrietta. Hungry Moon. University Press of Colorado, 2013.

Gracci demogauges Russia

The return I chose for my search “Gracci demagogues Russia” was an academic book called Contemporary Populism: A Controversial Concept and its Diverse Forms

The intended audience of this text is most likely scholars studying populism as a phenomenon. It lends theoretical and empirical perspective and serves as a good reference for scholars in this field.

Connection:

There is little connection between this book and the search term.

“From the Gracci brothers in Ancient Rome to the Peruvian Raul Victor Raya de la Torre during the inter-war period, populists can be regarded as tribunes who held the power (sometimes considered to be magical) of catalyzing the will and actions of the masses through words.”

“This boils down to promoting the pleasureable at the expense of the good or, in other words, to promising monetary wealth and comfort to the detriment of good, which amounts to an elevation of the being in time. Demoguages evince this facile complacent behaviour or indulge in the spontaneous expression of desire.”

Gherghina, Sergiu, et al. Contemporary Populism: A Controversial Concept and its Diverse Forms. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Alexander the Not So Great

alexander-the-great1xI interviewed my sister, friend, and father for this assignment. My sister Frankie, aged nineteen, was interviewed in my home. In response to my inquiries she claimed that she did know who Alexander the Great was and had learned about him in her ninth grade history class but had no opinions of him. My friend Tatyana, aged eighteen, was interviewed at Barnard College. She too claimed that she knew of Alexander the Great, and like Frankie felt that he was “very accomplished and impressive but too far removed from contemporary history” for her to reserve any legitimate opinions on him. My father, aged 54, also knew of Alexander the Great, having learned about him through literature he had read in his youth. He too had no strong opinions on the emperor.

The answers I received through my interview process were all strikingly similar: my interviewees knew of Alexander the Great but little about him. Why is this? Most likely because contemporary history does a poor job of attributing Alexander’s feats to the lasting impacts we see today on Western culture. Namely among these are his military conquests and prowess, spread of Christianity, establishment of cities, and pioneering of the modern day coin. While his accomplishments are great and many, the most profound appear to be his military prowess and facilitation of Christianity through the West. These, above all else, have had the most profound impact and have irrevocably shaped Western civilization and culture. The fact that my interviewees knew so little about him took me by surprise and seemed disconnected from his significance as it was stressed during lecture. Evidently, history curricula must seriously consider Alexander the Great’s inclusion; his conquests and accomplishments have shaped much of history as we understand it today. One fact provided from my interviewee Tatyana, however, was undeniable: he was extremely accomplished, so much so that he was regarded as a god in literature. This is apparent in Theocritius, Idyllis 15 and 17 in which Alexander sits beside Ptolemy, “destroyer of the Persians, a god, wearing his colorful diadem.” Alexander is notably accomplished in his military conquests, something that can be noted even by someone (Tatyana) who carries no decisive opinion of him. Notice here he is also referred to as “destroyer of the Persians”, a reference to his military feats. He sits beside Ptolemy, son of Zeus, believed to be directly descended from the thunder god himself.