I have detailed commentary on the "Prince Caspian" movie which has been a few paragraphs away from posting for the past half month... but honestly now is not the time, just before the US elections.
Random thoughts about the election:
- Obviously I support Obama
. Not because I'm certain he'll be a good president (nobody can be sure of that about any candidate), but because I am quite certain McCain/Palin would be horrid ones (and that's something one can be reasonably sure about -- certainly Palin at least seems to WANT me to consider her a terrible candidate).
- I expect many exit polls
to wildly screw-up at the beginning: Too much early voting done by Democrats. I'm guessing some exit polls will hand states to the Republicans (e.g. North Carolina) that may very well go to the Democrats once the actual votes are counted. So, please, nobody panic if some exit polls show a much closer election than it's likely to be.
- I like reading conspiracy theories
. My favorite one this time around was not the "Obama's birth certificate is a forgery, he was really born in Kenya, and thus is ineligible to run for president", (which is a rather lame conspiracy theory as conspiracy theories go) but rather the "Obama is actually the son of Malcolm X, and his mother married Obama Sr. as a mere ruse to hide that fact" which has it all: secret romance, hidden bloodlines, political drama, etc. Not to mention that it cancels out the importance of the former conspiracy theory (as the child of two citizens is a natural-born citizen no matter where it was born). It's fun when conspiracy theories cancel each other out. :-)
- Recently Adam Cadre
posted an article which pretty much epitomizes the reasons I read his articles -- when he makes observations that combine psychology/sociology/mythology/current, medieval and ancient politics and elucidates points of history in a unique way. http://adamcadre.ac/calendar/12682.html
One minor point I'm not certain I agree with (Medicine as a "Mercurial" profession? Mythologically that doesn't make much sense to me - Asclepius was the son of Apollo) but on the large: YES.
This essay provided datapoints which support my position and which I wish I knew about when a few months back I was arguing with my brother about the role of Jewish communities in America and Russia. (My brother was basically arguing for a religion-related POV which claimed that Protestantism and its focus on the Old Testament was one of the reasons the Jewish community prospered in America.
This was making less than zero sense of me. It was making NEGATIVE sense. I was making the class-related argument instead: it's very reasonable for a highly educated class of people to thrive in a new land which didn't deny them opportunities -- same as it was reasonable for such a class to strive in Russia for the overthrow of the old older which had them as perpetual 2nd-class citizens.)
But I lacked datapoints to further support my view -- this essay provides them, by referencing similar success stories by the Indians in East Africa, the Lebanese in South America, the Chinese in Southeastern Asia, the Armenians -- and framing them with the Apollonian/Mercurial division of professions -- which once upon a time were divided between the insiders of the community and the outsiders.
- Which reminds me also this -- how the older Olympians
seem like forces of nature (Zeus - sky and lightning, Poseidon - sea, Hades - death, Demeter - earth and the circle of seasons) while the younger Olympians seem more related to professions and human behavior: Ares for the warriors, Dionysus for drunkenness and maniacal destruction, Apollo for sober toil, Hermes for services. Hephaestus for the smiths, Athena for all craftsmen.
The article I linked to notes the decline of the Apollonian professions, and their replacement by Mercurial ones as the backbone of current society. But it seems to me that as the Apollonian professions declined with industralization, most Mercurial ones will also inevitably decline with sufficient computerization. What will remain then?
Athena - for the scientists and teachers (and programmers :-)
Hercules - for the athletes
The Muses - for the artists
Aphrodite - for the sex workers and supermodels.
- Which brings me back to the topic of the current elections. I bet a small amount of money in Intrade
-- it's one of the longshots, Obama winning Georgia, so I fully expect to lose it, but that's okay, I didn't bet much. But in retrospect, as I turned it around in my head, I didn't much like it either way. It's not wealth-creating toil, it's not artistry, it's not craftmanship. It's not even a Mercurial "service" in the sense of actually helping someone out, it's Mercurial in the sense of "god of thieves and gamblers". I still hope I'll win the bet, of course, but it feels distasteful even as a principle.
So the main thing I learned? Though I have nothing against Hermes, I'm definitely not his. I still belong to Athena.