Category: tv

Writing

December 2: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

TV. The one thing I noticed most when I started writing every day for NaNoWriMo was how much less TV I watched. At the end of October I finished watching the series to date of Eureka, and, in keeping with my tradition of having a series to watch at all times, should have started something new. But I didn’t, because I knew I’d spend 1-2 hours or more every day writing, and it was hard enough to keep up with the shows that I was already watching. I haven’t missed it.

I can’t eliminate TV entirely. That would just be silly. Clearly I need a mindless escape. But I like that I’ve cut it down significantly.

On that note, it IS nearly Christmas and I AM looking for another series to watch in December. Preferably one with less than 5 outstanding seasons. Don’t want to waste too much time.

Clashing theologies

So, the other day I started watching the History Channel’s series Clash of the Gods. Apparently it’s been out for a while, but I don’t normally watch documentaries. I couldn’t resist this one when I found it.

clashofthegods

I’ve only seen the first episode, so far, which is about Zeus. The History Channel advertised the series as “the truth behind the myths.” I must say that they were really grabbling for this “truth.”

What “truth” really means, apparently, is finding the Judeo-Christian tradition in ancient myths. Sort of.

I tried to watch this with a grain of salt. I know that these documentaries are produced for the masses, not for someone like me who actually studies classical mythology.

They seem to be trying desperately to relate this to a Christian audience. They continuously referred to Tartarus and Hades as “hell” and Mount Olympus as “heaven.” They have it mixed up here, you see. Because in Greek mythology, all the dead go to Hades, regardless of the lives they led. True, Tartarus is the place for the ἄθεος (godless), but surely there’s a way to say that without the loaded Christianized word. Mount Olympus, on the other hand, is definitely nothing like the Christian heaven, though the documentary refers to it as such on more than one occasion. Mortals don’t go to Mount Olympus when they die. It’s just where the gods live. The ideal afterlife in the Greek World was spent in the Elysian fields, reserved for heroes and other virtuous mortals. The ancient Greek word οὐρανός, which roughly translates to “heaven” means the heavens, as in, the sky. Not as in the paradisaical afterlife.

The Oracle at Delphi is referred to as “a direct line to God.” God. In the singular. Really? Maybe they’re talking about a direct line to Zeus, right? Since they’ve been building him up to be the One True God (though the Greeks were polytheistic, there were some places where Zeus was the only important god, according to the documentary.) But this isn’t even true. The Oracle at Delphi was dedicated to Apollo. Questions asked at Delphi went to him, not to Zeus. It was Apollo who had the gift of prophecy. Failed to mention that little bit.

They try to find a monotheist tradition from the get-go. They start by comparing the birth and childhood of Zeus to that of Jesus or Moses (an important child born and hidden away in order to safely grow up and fulfill his destiny.) There are certainly similarities, but ever heard of Joseph Campbell? All traditional “heroes” have a mysterious birth or childhood. Perhaps that would have been worth mentioning, rather than tossing in a picture of Jesus in the manger and Moses in the rushes.

Next, they talk about Zeus’ destruction of the first race of man, with “a massive flood, one that may even be linked to the Biblical story of Noah.” It’s true that the archaeological and geological data point to the probability of a flood in and around the Mediterranean world at a time that was close enough for the Greeks to remember. And it could also very well date to the same flood as the Old Testament tells of Noah. It’s in mythology from all over the world, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Aztec, Hindu and even Irish tradition. This does not mean, as it was implied, that at heart the ancient Greeks were little monotheists waiting to happen.

The Greeks were polytheists, through and through. Their gods could not have been more different from the Judeo-Christian idea of God. Greek gods are not omniscient. They are basically like really powerful humans. With flaws and weaknesses, tempers and desires. And there are a lot of them, too. They liked it that way. Each little city state could have their own, that way.

As my friend and fellow classicist Kitty said: “Dear History channel: Zeus? Never really succeeded at the monotheism thing.”

And how do they finish it all off, you might ask?

“But there was one more challenger Zeus didn’t count on. Jesus Christ.”

Give me a break.

I understand the importance of drawing parallels between different mythologies. In fact, I love doing it. But they didn’t bother comparing it to any accept the Christian mythology. And this is the “truth” that they were promising us? What I don’t understand is why they don’t seem to think that these stories, which have lasted thousands of years already, can’t stand on their own? That people won’t understand them unless they’re Christianized?

Infinite possibilities

Nathaniel Fisher
You hang on to your pain like it means something, like it’s worth something. Well let me tell you, it’s not worth shit. Let it go. Infinite possibilities and all he can do is whine.

David Fisher
Well, what am I supposed to do?

Nathaniel Fisher
What do you think? You can do anything, you lucky bastard, you’re alive. What’s a little pain compared to that?

David Fisher
It can’t be so simple.

Nathaniel Fisher
What if it is?

-Six Feet Under

Rome Revisted

Moving on from HBO’s Rome, and following the trend of sexy big budget period TV series like the Tudors, I give you Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Two thousand years later we still love to watch a gladiatorial match. Can’t wait, though!

Dead sexy

Bill…

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Or Eric?

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Or, for those of you who’ve read the books…

Quinn?

tiger

I have been spending far too much time reading Charlaine Harris books. But, for the record, I’d go for Eric. I always like the emotionally unavailable ones…