Sunday, 8 October 2017

Epic of Gilgamesh: Poem Three

If you follow my essays, this is a series of twelve pieces over the epic poem series of Gilgamesh...written over 4,000 years ago on some clay tablets and were stories told around the campfire there in Sumeria. I'd suggest that you go back two days ago and catch poem one before reading this one.

Today, we follow our two heroes, Gilgamesh (king of Uruk), and the rural backwoods guy Enkidu....who got civilized by a local harlot gal, and then took up a fight with Gilgamesh over some young brides.

In poem three, we find our two guys standing there in the rural court area of Uruk, with the senators or elders wanting to give Gilgamesh advice prior to this big journey.  Not a lot is written over the's probably mostly words about not sipping booze or wine with folks you don't know....don't pick fights with bad-ass folks....and watch out for harlot-women along the trail.

At some point after this meeting....Gilgamesh decides to visit his momma....noted as Ninsun (sounds like Nissan but different).  She was a Goddess, in absolute form.

Most folks tend to go back and look up the literal translation of Ninsun, and it tends to be the lady-in-charge-of-wild-cows. 

Most guys sitting at the fire and listening to this....particularly from rural areas, would have this image burned into their mind over some sturdy and big-boned gal who tended the nut-case cows of some valley who'd go and chase guys down.

Anyway....Ninsun gave some advice as well to Gilgamesh.  At this point, Ninsun think so highly of this friend of Gilgamesh....she makes him a son.  There's not much written down over how Enkidu felt about accepted in the has to assume it was accepted without much talk.  That's how stoic guys are.

Then Gilgamesh hands out some words to the elders about how to run Uruk while he's gone.  This is sparse in terms of what was said.  One might suspect that he made sure they didn't do nothing stupid.  Then, the boys leave for the big adventure.

End of poem three.

To be honest, I kinda think poem three is weak, but there was probably more made up with Ninsun, and her Goddess business. 

Epic of Gilgamesh: Poem Two

Part of my series on the ages old story of Gilgamesh (you need to go back a day or two to review poem one)....this is my rendering of poem number two (without the poetry stuff).

As we last left our three characters (Enkidu the unsophisticated rural guy, Gilgamesh the thug king, and Shamhat the harlot gal with slutty behavior).....Shamhat had just brought Enkidu into a camp of shepherds.

Naturally, most audience members listening into the story are a bit thrilled, because this is probably their chief occupation, and it's a bit thrilling for their craft to be mentioned in a story.

There on the first day in the camp....the shepherd guys are introducing Enkidu to the local refined food.  It's safe to was a bit gourmet-like in nature, probably very fatty/greasy, and the spices and pepper-usage were a bit too much for Enkidu. But he was never a guy to turn down a free buffet-dinner.

After a while, the shepherds have a vote and appoint Enkidu to the head position of night watch.  To be honest, this is the worst job of a shepherd and Enkidu probably didn't grasp that until the end of the first shift. 

As days evening....some guy with no name (there's always that type of character in a Steinbeck novel)....comes passing by.  A bit of conversation starts up between Enkidu and the stranger.  Guys in this case typically talk about weather, sheep, women, and 'stuff'.

The stranger brings up a new topic though....Gilgamesh (the king) and his treatment of new brides.  The talk gets hyped up and Enkidu is all disturbed that such guy is taking advantage of these fine women.

In a flash, without much thinking....Enkidu decides to take off to Uruk.

To be honest, Enkidu wasn't much of a traveler....probably had no idea where Uruk was located....and didn't have a map or compass.

No one says much over days or weeks passing....that part of the poem that just leaves this out.  We an assume that it took more than a day or two.

So our hero....Enkidu arrives at this capital city and plants himself at the entrance of a wedding chamber.  As Gilgamesh prances up to the doorway.....he finds Enkidu blocking the door.  It's a bit of a shocker. one ever blocks doorways in the kingdom.

A fierce fight erupts.  The poem doesn't really give this much coverage.  It ought to have been a sixty-line moment, and a lot of fist-to-fist coverage spoken about.

What we can say is a pretty good fight occurs, and there's a pause....mostly because both are tired-out and not able to fight much more.

Enkidu notes that Gilgamesh was fairly strong.  Both guys admire each other....a bit of sweat has fallen off each other.  Gilgamesh says that he Enkidu ought to be friends.  Note, he didn't say 'special friends'....just that they could hang out with each other.

Gilgamesh talks up this epic adventure idea....going off to the Cedar Forest.  Enkidu asks what's big about this Cedar Forest, and Gilgamesh responds that there is this monster called Humbaba (some kind of monster demi-God).  If they together were to defeat Humbaba....legends would be told over both.

Enkidu looks over this talk and the Humbaba creature, and he kinda thinks this ain't very smart.  He's advising Gilgamesh against this idea.  Some old guys in the Kingdom....mostly Senator-types (like Senator McCain) also note that they don't think this hunting down Humbaba idea is that smart.

Gilgamesh is not to be deterred and our dynamic duo run off in search of the Humbaba.

End of Poem Two.

It should be noted that there's almost no mention of the Shamhat gal (the slutty gal training Enkidu in poem two), and there's never a name given to the newly married gal that Enkidu saved from Gilgamesh.  It should also be noted that no mention of the stranger's name who suggested this adventure to Enkidu was mentioned.....or if he had a limp or any warts.  The party down at the Shepherd camp?  The alcohol consumed at the camp?'s best not to mention that part, I guess.

The Campus Story

It's page three news and begs questions....but it came up in the past week with the University of Missouri putting out a list of instructions on how to run or host on-campus events for the general student population.

In the middle of the guidelines....they 'nudge' the students to some degree and suggest that you (the students) ought to ask yourself...."If my event is potentially triggering, have I consulted with someone from the counseling center?"

Then it asks this event of such a harsh thing for your lifestyle or mental side.....should you go ahead and have a counselor present to help you make it?

Finally, the university asks in a simple you know where your 'safe' space is located?  It kinda reminded me of the Air Force days when you had to know your storm shelter, and that some Major might run up to you and try to test you on where the nearest tornado shelter was located.

In some ways, the university is admitting that the kids attending now (over the age of eighteen) are not mature enough or capable enough to make rational decisions, or interpret data that you hand out. 

Then you look over at this counselor business.  With a campus of 20,000 many counselors would require?  Three-hundred?  Five-hundred?  If Dalton-the-student did call you up and state some personal emergency over at the campus cafeteria....that they were out of vegan-food, how would you prioritize your arrival?  Be there in six minutes?  Expect me in sixteen minutes?  Or would you just advise Dalton over the phone that jello is a good substitute?

If these kids are this immature....can you even allow them to buy a six-pack of beer?  Or to purchase a pack of Marlboros?  Could you even trust the kid to handle condoms or date some slutty gal from out-of-state? 

It seems like to me the answer here is simple.  You need to pause kids at 18, upon graduation from high school, and force them to get a job in the real world....waiting for a year before going off to college.  Maybe even two years of waiting. Perhaps they ought to even consider developing an Army boot-camp system where you go through twelve weeks of intense training to bring your maturity level up two or three notches. 

The atmosphere up at Missouri?  It makes me curious if they have some kind of maturity problem across the state and got a bunch of kids pretending to be eighteen-years-old, when their behavior level appears to be 12-years-old.

It's a pretty bad situation when a campus leadership position is there to suggest you can't handle reality but we'll accept you on campus anyway. 

The Problem with Stupid Intellectuals

"Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them."

-- Orwell, from Notes on Nationalism (1945)

Maybe up until a decade ago, I could sit and watch a debate or discussion by a couple of intellectuals, and be somewhat 'entertained'.  But I reached some stage where it often pains me to watch intellectuals, journalists, scientists, political figures and provocateurs engage in discussions.

If you sit there and bring up poverty....the end-game of the discussion usually centers on what you want to 'give' the folks in poverty.  Yeah, it has to be a 'gift' or some government promise in the end.  Job-training or a craft-skill crash-course?  Birth-control knowledge and reasonable cost methods for the control?  Classes and knowledge on how to manage money once you get it?  None of these usually get brought up.

If you sit there and bring up gun control....the end-game of the discussion is usually centered on all weapons being banned (like the Australia method).  Hunters and farmers?  Left out of the discussion.  The mere fact that probably 90-percent of Republicans and Democrats in urban areas like St. Louis, Memphis or Birmingham have pistols in their car and house, and they have no desire to give them up?  The fact that most of these mass shooters from the past twenty years have legal or illegal drugs/prescription drugs in their system?  These are things never brought up in these discussions.

If you sit there and talk over fixing health care costs....the end-game of the discussion is that the dozen-odd things which make health-care expensive....cannot be discussed.  Generally, the talking intellectuals just want everyone to be included, and subsidy coverage for the poverty-class to be the support structure to keep this going.  We won't talk about drug companies, law-suit craziness, or the cost of medical schools. These are topics forbidden in any discussion.

If you sit there and bring up tax reform.....the end-game is a wild debate where no one really wants to pay taxes.....not the private wealthy guy....not the companies....and not working-class guy.  Why the government can't downsize it's spending budget?  Don't bother bringing that up.  Also, don't bring up state-by-state allocations.  There are literally hundreds of topics under this situation, which are just laying off in the shadows of the conversation.

If you sit there and bring up climate change....the end-game is usually to create a wealth distribution gimmick where rich industrialized countries pay the lesser countries.....for something, but you aren't sure about how this really works. The fear-factor about peer review?  Don't bring that topic up with the intellectuals.  The fact that they were fairly settled on the science in the mid-1970s with global cooling, and then a dozen years later....insisted that the science was settled in the warming was the absolute problem....then said a dozen years later, nope, the science is settled on climate change.  The fact that 500 sciences exist in the world, and only one is settled apparently, never dawns on most scientists talking the subject. 

An apology to the scientists and could do better, if you used your knowledge combined with common sense.  But you've yet to reach that level.