Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Thing About Classics

It's an odd piece that I read through this morning.  Up at Columbia University.....the ivy-league school that only the ultra elite of students end up attending.

For some of the degree programs there.....you have to attend Roman or Greek mythology classes.  For ninety-nine percent of all college students in America....you get a pass for Greek or Roman history.  A hundred years ago.....you couldn't avoid passing such classes.

So, there's these Columbia students who are a bit unnerved by various Greek or Roman passages in mythology.....which end up getting read aloud in class.  They say there need to be warnings about such episodes.

This leads back to "Metamorphoses" (by Ovid) where a pretty violent assault and rape is written out and explained.  This hypes up the topic of these classic pieces of literature being offensive or sexist.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Greek and Roman pieces over a fairly tough society and people meeting up with pretty bad circumstances.....which you might compare today in some way to getting to New Orleans on a Friday night and ending up in the bad part of town, or visiting Baltimore's more violent side of town.

I have to be honest.....I attended a couple of community colleges, the University of Maryland, and Louisiana Tech.....where none offered Greek or Roman mythology/history classes.  Even if they had.....I doubt if I would have wasted any time or effort for such a class.  From high school in Alabama, the closest they came to including such stories was a Shakespeare piece.

I was probably fifty years old before I sat down and read over Greek or Roman mythology or history.  I can think of a couple of reasons why one might want to sit down and read over the 'classics'.....and try to grasp the society in existence then.

From this Columbia University crowd who are a bit fussy and disturbed over the text?  I doubt if many of them have been to third-world countries, spent an evening in the bad part of Detroit, or sat in some Trailways bus station in Kansas City around midnight.

Homer, Virgel, Socrates, and Seneca all sat around and did a lot of thinking and story-telling.  It might be worth a few hours in some university sitting to listen to the stories and think about what they wrote.


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