Why I like M. Night Shyamalan

Lady1I want a bit of the unexplainable in my life.  I want mythos and story to enter my world.  Don’t get me wrong, I love science, but at one time everything was mythos for it was the only way to understand the world.

I know that people have been dissing M. Night Shyamalan, but I have to admit…I really like his movies.  He tells a tale that makes myth out of things one might not even consider.   One movie called Lady in the Water struck a childhood memory within me.  Have any of us…now think really hard…made up stories about the pool you visited, about the drain below…thinking as if it just might lead to another world.  Think about it…a child does not swim in a pool, but swims in an ocean, THINK REALLY HARD…you know that thought crossed your mind when you your no bigger than your mama’s knee as you held on tight to that Float Toy in that pool.  It was NOT a Float Toy,  you know that, it was a ship.  I have a strong memory, of holding onto a floating swim board and imagining ocean waves coming across the bow of my tiny ‘ship.’  I remember a man watching me, his fat belly, his unseeing eyes ‘eyeing’ me with contempt.  This is what he said to me before turning away, “…are you insane, boy?”

The world of imagination was lost to him.  He had moved on, and there was no room in his world for even a boy (which I was at the time) to dream.

That is why I love this clip from Roman Holiday.   Watch.

Tell me…weren’t you just, just for a moment swept away by a single thought that THE MOUTH OF TRUTH, actually, and truly, bit his hand off?

And if it was true, what a wonderful world that would be!

I come back to this clip every few years.  It always makes me jump.  I want the world to be made of myths.  That is why I READ, that is why I WRITE, my own attempts of novelizations of dream-like worlds in that ancient world.

That is why I like  M. Night Shyamalan’s movies, and I always will.  This director is not of this epoch.  The ancients would have loved him, and though he might not be Homer…he is Shyamalan.  His tales make me jump in the present, and would have made me jump in those ancient times…by the campfire, as the ARGO was moored and waiting…to sweep out into the deep blue sea, under that ancient moon.

Poseidon’s knife

Found this knife on Ebay.  I could not resist it.  I really have no use for a knife.  It was as if I was prisoner of a siren’s call.   

The blade

The blade

 

The handle

The handle

Quote

Something I found by Francis Bacon:

“Antiquities are…remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.”

What did not escape?   That’s something I think about once in a while.  That…and death…and aliens…and what could have been.

For future archaeologists

untitledIf your looking to train your kid to be a future archaeologist, Target provides just the thing to get Mary or Billy started.  For a dollar you get a brush and pick to dig your way into an ‘honest-to-goodness’ pyramid.  There is even a prize included.  Can you ask for more?

(For non-U.S. Citizens Target is a bargain store that offers anything you can name for reduced prizes.)

Nothing new under the sun

Rome invaded by the BarbariansThe more I read about the past, the more I feel a creepy feeling go up my spine about the present.  A recent article titled:  Paid not to kill in D.C. accounts the efforts of activists supporting a program where offenders are paid up to a $1000 a month not to commit another gun crime.   Why am I reminded of Ancient Rome where barbarians were ‘paid off’ to go away.  This may seem like a good idea,  and for a while it may work, but it will inevitably fail.  Those receiving money for not to ‘burn and pillage’ always come back for more.  Please google Alaric.

Why is it we NEVER learn?

It didn’t work with the Vikings — different time period, but still relevant.

Why after all is said and done, this ‘progressive’ program seems like a state-financed protection racket?

Because…it is.

Something I ran across in the April 10th, 2016 New York Times.  

Article:  What I learned Tickling Apes by Frans  De Waal.   

The term anthropomorphism which means “human Form,” comes from the Greek philosopher Xenophanes, who protested in the fifth century B.C. against Homer’s poetry because it described the gods as though they looked human.  Xenophanes mocked this assumption , reported saying that if horses had hands they would “draw their gods like horses.” 

Real Men…Dance!

31The Pyrrhic Dance was a war dance originated in Crete and traced to Sparta.  Five year-old boys were trained for it, and it was a chief part of the Festival of Gymnopoedia.  It was performed in Athens during the Panathenai  Festival celebrating Athena.  In Roman Imperial times the Pyrrhic dance was a dramatic ballet on various subjects.  One can imagine the sound of armor, flutes and the slapping of feet on marble, with shouts to the gods.  It was a uniformed display of martial prowess with weapons and shields which not doubt fascinated the Romans.

Does this kind of thing go on today?  No way…utter nonsenseExcept, I was in Germany and a company of New Zealand troops decided to honor the allied soldiers gathered in the training field.  The New Zealanders got into a formation, each soldier made a posture of defiance, shouted, grimaced, and stuck their tongues out in fierce expressions.  As the Moiri language echoed above, feet stomped the ground, and without understanding the words,  I had the overall impression that threats were being released like weapons and there was much appealing to the Gods for the destruction for anyone that opposed them.  After it was over, I remember saying to the British Sergeant Major, “Now…I’ve seen everything.”    He looked at me over his shoulder and said, “Hell, I saw that at the last football game.”

Called the Haka, it is a traditional war dance.  Originally, a way of intimating opponents, it is now used to honor visitors, guests, and in some cases ‘the dead.’  Watch the video, I dare you not to cry.  I am not claiming that there is any direct line between the Pyrrhic Dance and the Haku.  All I am saying is…Real Men Dance.

 

Adventurers Wanted

If they had want ads in the time of Jason and the Argo would it look something like this? Want Ad As you can see it’s not Jason who lives at 4 Burlington St. but an adventurer by the name of Ernest Shackleton ( the explorer who led 3 expeditions to the Antarctic.  He lived during what is called the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration and if you read up on it the dangers you would be hard pressed not to consider their dangers equal to any faced by the ancient mariners).   Have we changed that much?  No.  We have not.  What motivates us?  Despite the promise of hazards, small wages, bitter cold, constant danger, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL…there were MANY that applied. Why? “…honor and recognition in case of success.” KLEOS. RENOWN. GLORY. 202,586. That is the number of people that volunteered for a one-way mission to Mars. Think about it. What adventure are you willing to RISK ALL! The Argonauts live.

The Naked Past

george in a bathtowelIn making a comparison in how the ancients see the world when matched up with modern views – nudity would certainly make the list.  We (modern folk) are basically uncomfortable with it.  Nudity for the ancients was a depiction of heroism.  No where is this seen more than a statue that was carved of our founding father George Washington.  He was shown nude, depicted like the ancient hero, and its reception was anything but gracious.  I saw this statue at the Smithsonian years ago.  The original viewers (back in the 1880s) sarcastically dubbed it:  “Washington in the bath.” It isn’t hard to see a certain deification in how Washington is depicted – however one can see why.  He laid down his power much like the ancient Cinncinatus who went back to his plow.   Note *  King George III met an American living in London.  He was supposed to have asked what Washington’s intentions were now the war was over.  The American said that he had heard Washington planned on retiring back to his farm. George said “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”  The Horatio Greenough’s 1840 statue (which certainly has classical influence) had some issues in finding a home.  It got moved about in various parks and finally made it inside out of the cold.  The curators probably thought ‘old George’ needed a certain amount of privacy, and were concerned that he might catch a cold (joke).  Anyway, school children were known to ask embarrassing questions.  “Why is Washington naked, Daddy?” 

01-29-statuesNudity in government has always been a touchy subject.  Former Attorney General John Ashcroft (though sources denied it) got fed up giving his briefings in front of the naked breast of The Spirit of Liberty.  Curtains were eventually added, hiding the naked goddess.  I am not sure if it was to protect the propriety of the Goddess Liberty or to save the attorney general from embarrassment.

I came across the following video on YouTube.  The title “None of That” depicts an over zealous nun protecting the ‘public morals.’  It comes from the Ringling College of Art and Design.  Watch the film, it is a marvelous film…however, reality is far more interesting – watch the film and afterwards let me tell you about Sister Wendy.

Sister WendySister Wendy has produced a series of documentaries for the BBC on the History of Art.  For someone who is on record as a hermit and ‘consecrated virgin’   (yes an official designation) she would be the first to say that she has no issues with the nude form.  One can imagine that she was a great believer in the adage:  “…as God made us.”  The cartoon None of That does not depict the very real intellectual appreciation of this nun and noted art historian.  Sister Wendy who earned top honors at Oxford University is nothing like the nun depicted in the animated cartoon.  You are more likely to find Sister Wendy leading a tour through the museum, rather than covering exposed ‘naughty bits’. She would smile and explain every detail, unfazed by naked breast or buttock, totally at peace that those depicted in their nakedness is truly “…as God made us.”  If by chance she caught the nun adding the black censored panels (as in the cartoon) I am sure a fight would have ensued.

Nudity is part of western culture.  I don’t mean to say we don’t have our limits.  We still mark off where and when it should be displayed, but the nude form has its roots in our classical past.  I still remember driving down Wisconsin Avenue in D.C. to see a man being led away in cuffs by the cops.  He was nude and his only article of clothing was his protest sign.  Our boundaries are tested in protest, in fashion, and sometimes for the only purpose of shock (remember ‘streaking’ at football games?).  At  risk of sounding like a puritan “There is a place for everything, and everything in its place.”  However, when I start to cringe is when we cover up who we are, or what we were for the sensibilities of others.  Nudity is a fact, it is inescapable part of our classical and religious past.   Are we so separated from our naked ‘classical’ past that we must do the following?  Note the photo below.

boxed nudesThis is what Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saw when he met with the Prime Minister of Italy.  Venus was boxed away, and maybe a bit of who and what we are as a culture was boxed away as well.

 

 

Adventure for any time period

It’s not Greece or Rome that this delightful graphic novel takes place in, but the Ottomon Empire (? -pretty sure).  It’s so well told that you won’t care.  It has all the facets of good story telling:  reluctant hero, a dashing female character, evil baddies that won’t stop chasing the heroes.  The story:  a Turkish Lieutenant meets an woman adventurer named Delilah Dirk. She manages to always get into trouble (on a constant basis) and though he starts out her jailor he eventually winds up as her companion as they flee from assorted dangers. She is a fantastic sword fighter, a thief and always one step away from death. If you like madcap adventure, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is worth your time. If I was to pick an actor for the role of the Turkish Lieutenant it would be Brad Pitt.  For the role of Delilah Dirk?  The Chicago Actress Lorrisa Julianus – trust me.

DDTL3DDTL