Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Women in the Metamorphoses

the role of women is very strange in the metamorphoses. women are either virgins who are trying to escape a god's force, or they are haneous jealous bitches. And sadly enough the only normal ones are raped and ostracized. Look at Callisto for example. She is normal until Jove rapes her; then, unable to hide her pregnancy she is banned from the nymph clan without even being given the chance to explain the situation. Even the gods portray this. Juno is possibly the worst with all her jealousy. Io, perfectly innocent, is raped by Jove; then, Juno takes her revenge in spite of the fact that she had nothing to do with it. I suppose its called rape because she didn't want it. Juno had no right but took vengeance anyway.
I'm sure feminists have a field day with these stories showing the sexism and what have you.

Crazy Love. I do mean crazy

I think another aspect besides sex control and fidelity that has shifted in our modern time compared with the past is the notion of love. I look at the story of cupid and psyche to explain this. In the story she kills her sister and does unthinkable feats for the gods in the name of love. Now? no way. i think people are just plain lazy, and if there's that much work involved, they say, "well out of 6 billion people I'll take my chances on falling in love with someone else." I'm trying to put it in perspective but i suppose I've never loved someone so much i would mislead and kill my siblings for that love. but then again maybe if my lady friend was the unattainable female counterpart of cupid, perfect in every way (don't let her know i think she isn't) i would be able to master these feats. but I don't know. Even then i still love my family just as much, maybe even more likely to do horrible deeds for their love.

The Lion King

No story is unique huh? well what about the lion king? a revolutionary Disney movie indeed. the story is shockingly similar to Oedipus's story, though he doesn't actually kill his father. the part about scar ruining the community with his tyranny, and there are also elements of decent story with the elephant graveyard.
if you're interested in other cinema representations of mythology check out
it'll blow your mind

Rape and heros

I have been brooding on the argument i had with my mom a couple weeks ago, where she stated that violence and art are linked. Other than me finding this just ludicrously false, i don't know why its been picking at me. but i went to a couple of websites to see if i could get a glimpse of her point of view. One was called (i know it sounds ridiculous, but it exists). This sight basically shows a list of movies that have rape scenes in them, and draw a link between actual sexual violence. now i just won't believe that. from all the rape scenes I've watched I'd say the exact opposite is true. For the most part cinema shows sexual violence for the ugly monster it is. I really don't think people are that suggestible, or easily misled. maybe these website creators need to watch the Sopranos Dr. Melfi rape scene and realign their thinking.

Violence and the eterneties

Many people have said that violence in the media is correlated to violence among young people, and would like to see this violence decreased or censored. I argue that violence is timeless, and is no worse now than in the past, it is simply easier to access by a broader audience. The desire to have violence censored is misguided, because violence has a desensitizing capability. Violence in media is a catharsis to the reality of violence in our day to day lives. I hate to put too fine a point on it, but we should thank violence in media for exposing us to violence that we will never have to (hopefully) personally know, and allowing those feelings to vent even if only subconsciously. In explanation, works such as Ovid’s metamorphoses and even the bible use violence to control people’s actions, yet still convey a moral message. This same control can be observed in modern media such as COPS and CNN, but such notions are even noticeable in popular violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto. Violence in media is not really the problem; the problem lies in people’s fear of feelings and their unwillingness to purge said feelings.
It is very convenient for us in this time to think that acts of violence were somehow different and justified in the past because of the militaristic nature of their society. The media then was simply a way to desensitize people to the inevitable violence of the times. But what’s changed? Don’t we live in a country that spends more on its military than all the countries in the UN combined? Don’t we as a society have more weapons than any other country in the world? Yes, we do. So maybe we are all looking at media violence the wrong way. If we have the largest military in the world and use it, then the images of violence on TV and in video games are simply getting our society ready to do what it does best. It’s also important to remember the way we receive violence from the media as means to understanding its prevalence in our culture.
We should explore how violence is portrayed in media then compared with now. Modern media uses violence the same way Bacchus uses brutal violence to instill fear and respect from mortals. After all anyone who’s played GTA knows you can’t go on a 5 star murder and destruction bender without getting killed by the cops; that’s like real life, so what’s the message? The metamorphoses are no different, in that a mortal cannot challenge a god without consequences, or possibly gruesome death.
Often in classical literature the nature of these violent acts is masked by a messenger, or hidden in poetic prose, rather than a vile firsthand experience of it. That is rather refreshing from our modern media which is so blunt, but nonetheless it is still very much the same; we just call the tasteless messenger Fox News, CNN, MTV, or videogames. And there’s nothing different in the way they tell of brutality: without regard for emotion, twisted and uncensored. It’s actually rather surprising that people are so against it when it becomes something of a catharsis for feelings towards violence. I’m not dismissing real acts of heinous violence by way of catharsis, but at least seeing depictions of violence is a way of coping with the reality that violence exists. Even now very real depictions of violence return home from Iraq in the form of images on TV, in time magazine, or any of our favorite media centers. This proves that Sparagmos has not changed, only the medium for showing it by way of technology. Basically Technology is the victim of criticism in the argument that violence in media is related to real violence because violence is a timeless concept.
An act of extreme violence that has littered the literature of the classical realm, as well as the present is rape. There are several instances in the metamorphoses that depict rape as well as its aftermath. Some would call sexual violence in media a “triggering mechanism” for rape; however, I refuse to believe that that a person is not capable of rape without the so called trigger. Just like any other act of aggression, the person is predisposed to it because of socioeconomic factors or childhood abuse rather than violence in media. Media is the scapegoat for people who fear violence, and have no way of purging their fear.
Rape is committed in classical literature by even some of the most heroic and powerful characters. Jupiter for example, is basically the rape king, but it seems unlikely that Tereus drew his uncontrollable urge to rape Philomela from Jupiter’s prior rape of whomever (and even for a god he did a lot of raping). People have a lot of nerve saying that in this time (retrospectively one of the most peaceful times the planet has known) that simple portrayals of violence are linked to or cause violence. If someone has the potential for rape, then media makes no difference; it will be “triggered” somehow, and it’s silly to blame everything on the media, when it has way more to do with personal circumstances. And even still, in all of its horror, it is important to remember that seeing violence like this in media makes it easier to cope with its reality.
So after I skimmed through a few of the metamorphoses, I wrangled a couple quality hours of gangsta blastin and “real TV”, and what did I learn? Well, I learned that I can’t go out shooting people without a whole swill of blue and red flashing attention, and high speed chases through residential neighborhoods end in DUIs or even worse first hand taser lessons. With those examples representing a few media portrayals of violence, who is going to tell me that violence in the media makes me more likely to be violent? As a matter of fact, based on what I saw on TV, I’ll probably leave my guns at home when I go out next time, and I’ll try my hardest get a DD to drive my stolen car. Similarly, (even if we only call the metamorphoses a mock epic), it still makes a man think before he challenges authority (especially divine authority). He’d say, “Just look at what happened to Pentheus or Arachne. What is the cost of pride?” One can even look at God this way considering the plagues of Egypt or the story of Job and his plight. Does anyone dare question the wrath of god like Ramses did? Well, even though I really think a locust coat would accent my features, and I like the way the gentle breeze kisses an open sore, it’s probably not something I’d gamble with.
Some people speak of peace like its just one Red Cross parachute prevision box away, and all I can do is chuckle. Based on the idea that what is past possess the present, I’d say they’re being painfully optimistic. Violence has existed forever, in Ovid’s time and our present; the idea that it can simply be unlearned and forgotten is impossible. Even Plato would agree we may have forgotten how to be violent, but we will relearn it forever. Due to the constancy of violence across time, media cannot be claimed responsible, and, at the very least it’s comforting to know that if I need a little release all I have to do is flip on the tube, and pow! Catharsis. Though many horrible things will surely happen in my lifetime it is important to remember that my story is not unique. If it has happened it will happen again, and again, and again; all we can do is abide.

One minute ovid (many days late)

Atalanta was a damn foxy lady, but she was told by an oracle that she couldn't marry. Aside from being a damn foxy lady, she was a super fast. she decided that if anyone purposed that she would simply beat them in a foot race and wouldn't have to marry them. also they would die for trying. Hippomenes was a good looking fella, and he wanted Atalanta bad. knowing the danger of racing her and fearing for his life he asked Venus for a little help. She agreed to help him win the race. all he had to do was throw a golden apple off the path every time she got ahead of him. so after the third and heaviest apple was thrown he won the race, and they got hitched. Venus was super pissed that hippomenes didn't thank her for all her help so when the two were at a shrine later she put a spell on them both that made them uncontrollably horny and they bumped uglies right on the shrine. When Hera found out they had defiled a shirne she turned them both into lions.

O vengeful god

Revenge is a common theme in the metamorphoses that is generally a motive for the gods liberal transforming. Most of the transforming has to do with broken promises or whatever. One act of vengence struck me as odd though. In the story of Mercury and Battus, Mercury tests the chatterbox's word by offering more than his previous reward for more information concerning the missing herd. this seems strange because looking at the situation it appears that mercury wanted him to tattle. he seemed to enjoy his revenge.

I suppose its not wrong to enjoy revenge, but this was almost unethical. it was like ancient entrapment. Past posseses the present. Cops do it all the time today.