Monthly Archives: May 2004

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The Best Iraqi Blog…

…Is still Iraq the Model. Omar has some words of wisdom about the death of the Governing Council’s president:

And no matter what precautions we take, we cannot be a 100% sure that we can protect every single person, including our leaders and the higher officials who make favorite targets for the terrorists but we still can make their attempts go in vain by making our leadership *replaceable*. This idea may seem odd or even a little bit cruel but I can give some further explanations; the terrorists think in the same way their dictator-masters do. They believe that every nation has “and should have” one strong man to lead her and if it happened one day that the nation “lost” this strong man (the Khalifa, in OBL’s followers’ minds), she will certainly be doomed. The main point that they fail to capture, is that this idea applies only to totalitarian regimes and does not apply to democracies.

(Bolding by me.)

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More Troy

This is a really fascinating chat transcript about the Iliad. Why is it important that Hector cut Patroclus’ throat, for instance? Find out here! You might also read week one, week three, and the final week.

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Achilles/Briseis — Fanfic through the Ages:

Some of the reviewers got a tad huffy about it. Well, Hollywood didn’t come up with the idea first. Achilles gets fixed up with all kinds of women in legend and lore.

And btw, Briseis isn’t a “virgin consecrated to Apollo”. Chryseis was the daughter of a priest of Apollo…but she’s not in the movie. Briseis’ real name, btw, was Hippodamia daughter of Briseus, and she was a widow. But nobody really does her this way, ’cause all that wasn’t in the Iliad.

But no, I don’t care. If Peter Jackson’s fanfic was this well-written and on topic, I would’ve liked it, too.

Anyway, Horace was okay with the romantic version of the story.

There’s no guilt, believe me, in loving such a
handmaid, Phocian Xanthias: long before you
proud Achilles fell to his slave Briseis’
snowdrift complexion.”

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Troy and Chivalry

I saw Troy on Sunday. Good stuff. Brad Pitt did truly classic work as the wrathful, sulky, yet heroic Achilles, and poor Briseis finally got her day in the sun along with the ever-popular Patroclus. Eric Bana as Hector did what I knew he could (he needs to play more heroes!). Orlando Bloom as Paris made the character simultaneously the selfish, cowardly little jerk we think him and somebody who could genuinely be lovable to Helen and his family. Sean Bean was Odysseus.

I will admit to being a bit peeved about Agamemnon being portrayed as Prince John (and Menelaos’ transformation into the Sheriff of Nottingham). Also, Hollywood apparently decided that if good guys had to die, so did bad guys. And not on their way home, either. But I didn’t really care. Even Scenery-Chompin’ Agamemnon! didn’t actually hurt the movie. The classic scenes were there and had all the old Homeric power. When Priam came to beg Hector’s body from Achilles, the theater was dead silent and I don’t think there was a dry eye.

“Tomorrow morning you will still be the enemy.”

“I am the enemy tonight. But you can give the enemy respect.”

Very topical, of course, and rightly so. (There is a reason why the story of the Trojan War was one of the most popular legends of the Middle Ages. Hector was even listed among the Nine Worthies of chivalry. Also, be sure to scroll down to the various versions of the Nine Female Worthies.

When you go to see Troy, don’t watch the credits. I know I always say “watch the credits”, but not in this case. The credits song is dorkily inappropriate to the silent, subdued mood of katharsis, so feel free to leave. When the DVD comes out, you can hit the ‘mute’ button and see the credits that way.

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Dan Brown: A Talent for Idiocy –

In the aptly named thread “Let Us All Point and Laugh”, rec.arts.sf.written takes on Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. Yes, after you’ve watched Brown totally foul up art history and Church history, see him screw up his science!

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Meditate among Yourselves –

You are at Mass, praying the “Our Father” and holding hands with your neighbors. You close your eyes — and suddenly realize that you are holding a carpenter’s strong but wounded hand.

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For the Really, Really POD….

Why settle for a rabidly modern lace mantilla? Now you can cover your head with a
barbette,
linen or
silk veil, or a
reeeal wimple. Accessorize with a turret hat and be as beautiful as you are virtuous, you Tower of Ivory, you!

For those who don’t want lay wimples and do like armor, Sword Maiden assures us there really were such things as warrior nuns.

The Order of the Glorious St Mary was founded by Loderigo d�Andalo of Bologna in 1233. It was the first religious order to grant the title of `militissa� to women…

In 1477AD, Abbess Renee de Bourbon raised an army in order to attack a renegade monastery in Paris. She was on a personal crusade to end the excesses of the monasteries and convents under her domain. When she eventually prevailed, she made each nun and monk sign an oath of loyalty to her…

The problem of warrior nuns became so pervasive that in 15th century Bologna a law forbade citizens from loitering near convents for their own protection! Various popes established decrees forbidding women from engaging in martial combat or wearing armor, again in an effort to reduce the power of these warrior nuns. This is one of the decrees which were used against Joan d� Arc.

Definitely check out Chivalry Today, particularly the essay on “The Road to Abu Ghraib”.

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