Tag Archives: Classics

Liberal England: How can a #Liberal talk to a #Hate Addict?

The wonderful Jonathan Calder has published my piece on what Europe’s oldest poem, the Iliad, can tell us about hate addiction.

How can Liberals argue with people who are getting a kick out of hate?

The Iliad on Jonathan Calder’s Liberal England Blog

 

Advertisements

#Chiraq

Guest Post from Herbert Agyemang in St Albans

dear reader,

 Every Christmas, I often relieve the ennui of HOME ALONE, and the other wholesale lassitude that stifles, by re-watching  old stacks of DVD’S and even streaming and reviewing new movies online. Bah humbugged, and flu-bug notwithstanding and cocooned from prying eyes, my lounge, my personal Library : my four walled and floor to ceiling high book-shelves  have seen me assiduously  watch at least 10m times or more { 10  times, just in case I missed a skit or something } the latest Spike Lee joint. CHIRAQ. On each of those 10 or more occasions, I have come away with this:  I am not a professional film critic by any stretch,  but I don’t think I am wrong to suggest here that in his tragicomic turn,  CHIRAQ, Lee brilliantly invokes Greek playwright Aristophanes’ ‘Lysistrata’.

Continue reading

#Tory Myth 3: Life is Tragic

I hope I meet Byl Wringe again some day. Last heard, he was teaching Philosophy in Turkey.

When we were students together he had a moustache he fiddled with. We were Young Fogeys, at the end of Thatcher’s era. Byl said he couldn’t be a Christian because Christians denied Tragedy. But things do go wrong, he said. The centre doesn’t always hold. To deny that fact is to deny also the vulnerability of the world, which is its beauty, its lovability.

Believing in Tragedy is believing that irresistible forces meet immovable objects, that there are problems that can’t be solved. In the tragic world view, Economic Growth is pitted against Environmental Protection; Housing against the Countryside; Employment against Inflation; Human Rights against Human Responsibilities; Security against Peace.

Poster for Sophocles' Electra, performed by students at Kings College London in 1989

Poster for Sophocles’ Electra, performed by students at Kings College London in 1989

That’s what the Ancient Greek Tragedies did. They took abstract nouns and hurled them at each other. Antigone can’t reconcile Respect for the Dead with Respect for Authority. Electra’s love for her Dad drives her to hate her Mum. Pentheus is torn between sensuality and dignity, in the end literally torn.

What’s the answer to these clashes of opposites?

‘Sacrifice!’ say the Right Wing. ‘One Good has to be sacrificed for another Good!’ (Oddly, it’s often someone else’s Good that has to be sacrificed.)

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

Possibly a transformation of both?

What if transformation were possible? What if reconciliation were possible? What if there were solutions?

‘Love hopes all things.’

What if the tragic outlook missed a trick, turned out to be a little wooden, seeing the murdered tree of the cross, and not the dynamo that was forged?

Byl, are you out there?

Buy Adventures in Tory Land: Politics in Middle England at amazon.com/co.uk or click here:

http://amzn.to/19GvXqE

What makes a good caricature?

Animal Lover cropped

Hate. The hate we imagine our enemies to have. The artistry of hate: distorted features, tense gestures, a tornado of props….

I asked Asbjorn Gundersen, currently in his final year studying Illlustration at the University of Hertfordshire, to do me some caricatures for my Amazon ebook Adventures in Tory Land. I was amazed how quickly he could get to the essence of each character just from a few words of description. ‘Racist animal lover’ is above; below, ‘Over-protective mother’:

mother cropped

These are the bold characterisation methods of ancient myth and religion:

– clear physical attribute (racist animal lover has a bald head, marking tribal membership)

– animal characteristics (overprotective mother is a mammal, running on instinct)

– objects they carry with them everywhere (animal lover’s doggy bowl)

– action! Subjects of myth and caricature are rarely peaceful or laid back about life.

Well done Asbjorn! The illustrated edition will be up and running just as soon as he has rubbed out those pencil lines he draws through the middle of all his pictures. Is it a mark of a good caricaturist to self sabotage? Here just for good measure is the Lib Dem Local Party Organiser….

Lib Dem activist shrunk

Check out Asbjorn Gundersen at https://www.facebook.com/asbjornog