Friday, June 6, 2008

Invocation of the Muses

I went to the Getty Villa today. I have wanted to go forever (theoretically) and have just never gotten around to it. I am glad that I waited--Lit Hum made the experience so awesome. There was a whole room dedicated to ancient Greeks mythology, mostly the Iliad and the Odyssey(!!!). The room actually had copies of the epics there for you to read before viewing the stories portrayed in art. I got so excited when I walked into the room that I almost crashed into the WT (white trash) lady telling her fake blonde/boobed friend how the movie was great, and just so much better than trying the books (which are so...long). I thought that my head was going to explode. This was the point at which I made a very dramatic leap towards the copy of the Iliad sitting on the bench and proceeded to thumb my way through the entire first book before deciding my time might be better spent looking at the art that couldn't be found in any bookstore in the western world as the Iliad most likely can be.

It was then I thought, what movie could she possibly be talking about? Troy presumably, but there are so many things wrong with that movie that had I heard the entire conversation I probably would have actually bitten her head off after that comment (like a Scylla).

Other highlights of the museum included the basilica room holding five different Muse statues ("Tell me, Muse..." I thought to myself), numerous phalli in the Theater collection, where i hearkened back to Aristophanes, and the statue of Leda, who was raped by Zeus when he turned into a swan, which produced Helen, who was the woman that launched a thousand ships, beginning the Trojan war.

It's nice to know that the Columbia bill has at least instilled in me self-worth for a few secluded hours in a fancy museum at the base of the hill in Malibu, and an entire car-ride worth of thoughts for the way home.

I bought a copy of the History of the Peloponnesian War for myself, since I either left mine in New York or I sold it back for a whole $.05. Is it sad that the one book that I feel that I can't live without is Thucydides? What if I am in dire need of conquering someone in the next month or so? It may be sad, but I read "Pericles Funeral Oration" on the way home, and I remembered why I liked reading this so much last semester, when everyone else hated it, save a few hardcore Poli Sci nerds like me.

Other than the fact that I don't think that our President's speech writers are this good, I wouldn't be surprised if I got a copy of the speech and was told it came from some sort of political or military rally in the United States within the last 5 years. There are so many freedom and security- based talking points that could be applied to the United States' current situation that I am moved, even though I don't necessarily agree with the politics. My appreciation for Thucydides definitely springs from the American Foreign Policy class that I took. I am in awe of the pure realism of the Greek generals, and the incredible rhetoric that Thucydides employs to sway his audience.

"The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.
" I like this quote for its simplicity, even though it scares the shit out of me. I have this little monster inside of me debating between realism and liberalism. I would like to be an idealist. I love the idea of the United Nations, but I fear that states are driven by power, and that international cooperation is going to be fine and dandy until somebody either accidentally or accidentally-on-purpose hits the red button, a nuke goes flying, and all hell breaks loose. Or until oil really becomes a problem, and we don't have a solution except for more anger at the Middle East.

These are the things that I am afraid of. I am afraid of ignorance in the world, I am afraid of the shifting balance of power, I am afraid of stagflation and a crumbling economy because of fuel prices. I am afraid of a global food crisis, mass famine, drought, and war and disease because of it. I am afraid that these things are all going to happen in my lifetime--and yet, I am also excited because if they do happen in my lifetime, they are my problems to fix. It is somewhat exciting to think of how my generation is going to rise to the occasion, what we are going to come up with, what frontiers we are going to break through. What I do know is that I will not sit on the sidelines. I'll do what I have the power to do. And I will do it well.

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