Saturday, October 21, 2006

The True Hero

To the Ancient Greeks a poet was greater than a prophet. The Prophet – the oracle – spouts the words of God, but the Poet takes the inspiration of the Gods and crafts them into beauty, truth refined.

It is time for book reports in my Honors World History Class. Top of my list – the Iliad; way down the line - The Odyssey. I have often heard the Iliad described as a man’s book - all that blood and sweat, comradeship on the battle field, and eternal glory earned through prowess and courage. The Odyssey is a woman’s book – some guy coming home to his wife. Neither view is correct.

I have noticed that Odysseus gets all the attention in high school English classes, and why not – most high school English teachers are women, and all of them have been trained at universities by professors passing on the misconceptions noted above. But there is something more sinister at work here, the effort to discredit the war hero, the hero that replaced the sacred king and gives his life in battle not on the alter stone. Odysseus’ deceit is exalted while Achilles’’ service is debased.

Now for the truth, the Iliad speaks to the heart of what made the West. It centers on the struggles of a true hero, Achilles. He does all he can to avoid war, suffers nine years in loyal service to his high king, and then revolts against that king when unjust acts strip Agamemnon of his right to power. At last Achilles chooses to go home to his fatherland and the unborn grandsons who will be the last men to remember his name; he rejects eternal fame, and seeks peace. But then comes the unjust murder of his best friend. Achilles abandons his just rage against his king and his hope for joy and does his duty by Patroclus.

The Odyssey exposes the forces of Relativism, the canker that can destroy civilization. Its false hero is a lecher; scheming and tricking his way from bed to bed for twenty years, a rationalizer, who sneaks into his own house to test his wife’s fidelity. His double standard is exalted by generations of unread scholars. Had Penelope lived as her husband had done, she would have died at his hands. Once home, Odysseus murders the unarmed guests of his home’s hospitality, and then proceeds to hang the girls who loved the unfortunate victims of his anger in a fit of spite.

The problem is that the Iliad and the Odyssey continue to be taught to students who do not read them by teachers and professors who have never read them. Hence the tired misconceptions are reiterated.

Misconception one, Achilles died for glory, he chose eternal fame and a short life.

The truth, Achilles chose to go home – it was his best friend’s murder that bound him to the fate he had rejected.

Misconception two, Hector killed Patroclus in a fair fight.

The truth, Patroclus was naked, wounded and a helpless prisoner begging for his life when Hector cut him down in cold blood.

Misconception three, Achilles left the fighting of the war to the Greeks because he was a “spoiled brat” wanting his own way.

The truth, Agamemnon had committed the same outrage against Achilles that Paris had done against Menelaus. Achilles states the truth quite clear on this – Agamemnon is no longer worthy of obedience because he has behaved unjustly. Achilles is the inspiration to Jefferson. Homer prophesies and crafts the words of the Declaration of Independence by Achilles’ lips.

Misconception four, Achilles thinks only of his own childish wants while deserting the army of the Achaeans to defeat.

The truth, Achilles destroys the one Trojan that could stand in the way of Achaean victory and saves the lives of all the army at the cost of his own.

Now to the frauds perpetrated to support Odysseus, the false hero.

Fraud one, Odysseus is a clever man who uses his wits to win; as in his “battle” with Polyphemus”.

The facts, Odysseus gets caught stealing another man’s food, gets that “man” drunk and blinds his one eye, then Odysseus lies his way out of danger and lies about his identity until he thinks he’s out of danger. Then in a fit of pride reveals his name and brings the wrath of God down on the head of his crew. He, conveniently, escapes the consequences of his crimes.

Fraud two, Odysseus is a great “sea captain” leader and king.

The facts, Odysseus losses his ship and his crew – every one of them lost while their Captain and King schemes and sleeps around to save his own skin.

Fraud three, Odysseus loves his wife and home more than war.

The facts, Odysseus is only interested in his own animal needs. He indulges his passions throughout his circuitous journey and then disguises himself to trick his way into his home. He is not interested in the feelings of his long abandoned bride, only in her celibacy. He would have eagerly killed her had she lived as he had done.

Fraud four, Odysseus is a great hero.

The facts, Odysseus traps his victims unarmed by deceit, murders them while they are supposedly under the protection of his hospitality and in his pride-driven rage he even murders the man who has helped him.

Fraud five, Odysseus represents a just king cleansing his house of pollution.

Ridiculous, Odysseus having murdered his guests, goes on to callously hang the girls who have served their lovers as Odysseus’ “conquests” have serviced him.

It is no wonder the Romans, who actually read the works of Homer, exalted Achilles, and despised Odysseus. The study of Homer’s works was the foundation of liberal education for millennia. Hidden under the dark cloud of medieval Christianity, Homer's art burned bright enough to illuninate the Enlightenment. The greatness of Homer’s poetry is the inspired truth of how to live like heroes. In an age where only heroes can save the West from the dark night of superstition and hate, the Iliad and the Odyssey and the truths the master crafted are miss taught to the peril of civilization.


Anonymous said...

Can't be surprised that the Greeks didn't have a problem with Oddyseus can you? I mean the men had their wives, their young male lovers and any number of prostitutes all of which was acceptable. Fits right in.

Lysis said...

I think the Greeks did have a problem with Odysseus, they surely didn’t hold him in the same high esteem they did Achilles.

The Iliad speaks the universal and eternal challenges that face all mankind; the Odyssey is simply an adventure story. The monsters faced in The Iliad are war and injustice; it is concerned with the death of men at the hands of men, truly terrible things. The Odyssey is filled with make believe monsters; excuses to play at bravery – not true heroics. Achilles is a man who loves justice enough to fight for it; Odysseus is a man who takes what he wants to satisfy his moment.

I don’t object to the sexuality in either poem. We are not looking for definitions of sexual purity in Achilles or Odysseus; we are looking for the model of a hero that can save our way of life.

Reach Upward said...

Some have argued that Oddyseus is more enjoyable as a character because he is complex and complicated. They contrast this with Achilles as a simpler, less multi-faceted character.

Almost four years ago, Peggy Noonan discussed this in a modern context in this article. She postulates that some look for complexity in their leaders "because some of them have not been able to fully engage the idea of a God, and tend to fill that hole in themselves with politics and its concerns. If the world of government and politics becomes your god, and yields a supergod ..., you want that god to be interesting."

Noonan goes on to contrast this with those that desire more normalcy in their leaders. She believes these people "want their [leaders] the way they want their art: somewhere in the normal range. They don't like cow's heads suspended in formaldehyde and don't understand that as high art."

I've chewed on Noonan's thoughts for over three years now. I think she is correct about certain classes of people, but I'm not sure how generally it is applied throughout society.

But if her view is applicable in this instance, some express admiration for Oddyseus because of the complexity of his messed up personality, while finding Achilles' single-minded sense of morality boring and less admirable.

Think about it.

truth to power said...

So the idea is that Odysseus is more interesting because he's immoral? That doesn't really resonate with me. I like hero characters to be the good guys, to inspire me to self-improvement rather than to excuse my flaws as "only human". A hero you can't expect to live up to anything ain't much of a hero.

Reach Upward said...

TtoP, I think that's the point I'm trying to make.

MindMechanic said...

I wonder who is most flawed, our heros, or the adoring public that makes them heros? And has time really changed things all that much?

We in America resist the idea of worshipping royalty and then coronate actors and musicians and sports stars.

Then, as quickly as we build them up, society takes great pleasure in watching them crash and burn.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Reach Upwards;

I enjoyed the Noonan article. I have some problem with a bit of it. It seems odd that being a religious man, (Achilles was very religious - two examples - obeying Athena’s command to spare Agamemnon and Hermes suggestion to return the body of Hector,) and close to one’s family (Achilles devotion to his father was life changing so is that of G. W. Bush,) should be considered simple; while messing around with interns in the oval office (or witches on far off islands) makes a leader worthy of media support, and adoration by the masses.

What is amazing about the current situation is not that we are asked to wonder why we like Bush, but WHY ARE WE TAUGHT NOT TO? Here is an interesting point that Noonan makes: (A whole generation of liberal journalists grew up reading Jack Newfield and Pete Hamill on Bobby Kennedy's sense of tragedy, Murray Kempton on the bizarreness that was LBJ, and a host of books with names like "Nixon Agonistes" and "RFK at Forty," and went into journalism waiting for the complicated politicians of their era to emerge. They are, that is, pro-complication because their ambition to do great work like the great journalists of the 1960s seems to demand the presence of complicated political figures.)

It is the same with the Iliad and the Odyssey. We are taught to honor Odysseus synthetically, without every being asked to find examples of his greatness in the text. We are not only even admiring the plastic figure; we are admiring a misrepresentation of that figure.

I particularly agree with Noonan on one point. Liberals and leftists prefer their leaders complicated, like cow’s head in formaldehyde; conservatives prefer their leaders uncomplicated, like the Mona Lisa.

Truth to Power;

Odysseus is not more interesting, although he is immoral. The professors who propound that position are simply reciting the lesson of their teacher’s teachers, none of whom have read either book. These misconceptions go back to the Romantic age in the early 19th century, when rebellion against Classicism and hate for Achilles became the justification for relativism. What is wonderful about Achilles (as with Bush according to Noonan) is his humanness. Achilles is the most human of all heroes. Achilles does not excuse his flaws; he fights for justice in spite of them.


It is odd that we are taught to exalt those who play games, or musical instruments, or other people in plays. Achilles was a great musician, the world’s greatest athlete, and a performer that would have put Olivier to shame (Check out the show he put on at the funeral of Patroclus.) but Achilles becomes a hero in the press of battle, fighting for justice and the right. He crashed and burned in an act of sacrifice that is the foundation of greatness.

Anonymous said...

"WE WILL STAY THE COURSE. We will help this young Iraqi Democracy succeed," Bush said in Salt Lake City in August.

"We will win in Iraq so long as we STAY THE COURSE Bush said in Milwakee in July.

"I saw people wondering whether the United States would have the nerve to STAY THE COURSE and help them succeed," Bush said after returning from Baghdad in June.

Now Bush is "Cutting and Running from STAY THE COURSE".

"Listen, we've NEVER been STAY THE COURSE." He told George Stephanopoulos, last week.

How soon before Dan and MM will proclaim AGAINST STAY THE COURSE TOO?-- Now that they fully BELIEVE that George didn't say it, and that's NOT what George MEANT.

Let's ALL watch, et al help "spin" the Bush flip flopping faster and faster.

Reach Upward said...

What you are saying, if I understand correctly, is that despite his errors, Achilles daily did the things that lead to greatness. Then when the dire moment arose, he was ready and rose to demonstrate the greatness within him.

Others may garner fame and fortune without doing the things the lead to greatness. When the critical moments arise, they choose expediency because heroic greatness does not reside within them.

Thus, it is what we think, are, and do on a daily basis that are the important factors.

MindMechanic said...


Once again, you ASSume too much.

I think Bush made two HUGE blunders in the last two weeks. I think he is trying to help other republicans and thinks that the way to do so is by pronouncing his flexibility. Both times it fell like a safe on his head.

1- He made the 'VietNam' comparison after being fed a question by Stephanopolous. Stupid. IF there is a comparison to VietNam it is in the disaster it became because of the media and because of the restrictions on the military placed by politicians because of politics.

2-He attempts to show his flexibility by refuting the "stay the course" comment. Stupid. His remark should have been clear (and I think you will see this as being familiar) "Stay the course" means victory is the only option. It DOES NOT mean nor has it ever meant that we are locked into a losing strategy. If plan A isnt working we adapt to plan B, plan C and we keep going until we find the strategy that WORKS.

QUITTING is not an option.

This IS NOT ABOUT IRAQ. This war that is ongoing is a war against Muslim extremists and their intention is CLEAR. I for the life of me CANNOT understand how people can be so stupid when it comes to our troops in Iraq.

Is ANYONE stupid enough to believe that we are NOT facing an impending world war against extremist Muslims? Ask the French. Study your history. Listen to the muslim leaders today.

Wake up! wont hear spin from me and never have, Anon. I'm not like you. You blindly defend liberal leaders. I DO NOT blindly defend anyone. I never have.

Cameron said...

"We are about 75 percent of the way through a three-step process in building those (Iraqi) forces. It is going to take another 12 to 18 months or so till I believe the Iraqi security forces are completely capable of taking over responsibility for their own security that's still coupled with some level of support from us," Casey said.

-Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq

Lysis said...

I choose not to watch Stephanopoulos; I find it difficult to stomach an hour long Democrat campaign commercial on a Sunday morning. But I have done something you have not. I have read the interview and thought about it. Here is the sentence you ripped your “quote out of context from in its entirety. Anyone who reads it will see it is completely different in tone and meaning than you pretend.

***BUSH: “Well, listen, we’ve never been stay the course, George. We have been – we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, bet we’re constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly.”***

What Bush is saying is we are not a slogan, we are not a few words bandied about by talking heads – for political reasons - we are for victory however it must be won.

As usual you have provided us with a perfect, if facial, example of exactly what this post is about. Like the Professors who have never read Homer but make statements about Achilles and Odysseus as if they had, based on things they have heard from their spin masters, you have made a claim about comments made by President Bush which have nothing to do with what he actually said. For convenience sake I have posted below the entirety of the Bush Stephanopoulos exchange related to Iraq and staying the course. Please actually read it and you will see that not only have you jerked a line out of context and misrepresented the President but that he repeatedly said, during the course of the interview, that the U.S. would not, in fact could not, leave Iraq until the goals of the war have been fulfilled. You are so disingenuous and limp in your attacks. You are like the little lady down the hall telling her English Class that Achilles died for glory and Odysseus went home for love; while she knows nothing about either one of them. Read, learn the value of getting it before you spout off.

"STEPHANOPOULOS: It's been a brutal month in Iraq.
BUSH: That's right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yesterday, 11 Americans killed, another American killed today.
On a day like that, what kind of reports do you get from the battlefield?
BUSH: Well, I get that report, that soldiers were killed...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Every casualty.
BUSH: Yeah, absolutely, I read every casualty, and it breaks my heart, because behind every casualty is somebody with tears in their eyes. Behind every casualty are families that will be mourning the loss of life for a lifetime.
I think the hardest part of the presidency is to meet with families who've lost a loved one.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've done it a lot.
BUSH: I have. And I will continue to do it. I owe it to the families.
I am amazed by the strength of the families and the loved ones. These are people that by and large have told me that their loved one chose to be there and believed in the mission.
But I grieve when I see -- when I read about the loss of life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Tom Friedman wrote in the New York Times this morning that what we might be seeing now is the Iraqi equivalent of the Tet offensive...
BUSH: Yeah.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... in Vietnam in 1968. Tony Snow this morning said he may be right.
BUSH: Mm-hmm.
BUSH: He could be right. There's certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we're heading into an election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So they're trying to influence the elections?
BUSH: Could be. I don't know. I haven't -- I don't have any intelligence that says that. Tom Friedman's a smart guy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what's your gut tell you?
BUSH: George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we'd leave. And the leaders of al Qaeda have made that very clear.
Look, here's how I view it.
First of all, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. They are dangerous. They are lethal. They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they're trying to foment sectarian violence.
They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your home-state senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said that's exactly what they created -- chaos.
BUSH: Well, I disagree with her. I believe that what you're seeing is a battle for Iraq with a democratic government beginning to grow stronger and stronger. And so I didn't hear her say that. I'll take you word for it.
But there's no question it's tough. But it's tough because an enemy wants to create enough chaos that we leave. I think she also went on to say -- I'd be surprised if she said we need to leave.
STEPHANOPOULOS: She actually said she wanted us to consider partition, which I know you're against.
BUSH: No, I don't believe -- I think that would be a mistake. I think that would create more sectarian violence. I'll tell you why. And let's -- first of all, I'm a big fan of Kay Bailey Hutchison. So if you're trying to get me to debate my senior senator from Texas, I refuse to do so.
On the other hand, I do think it would be a mistake. I think if you partitioned the country, where you've got a Sunni sector, a Kurdish sector, a Shia sector, all that will do is encourage other radical elements to come in and support their Sunni brothers or Shia brothers or their Kurdish brothers -- one.
Two, the Iraqi people don't want a partition. The Iraqi people voted for a constitution which spells out federalism that now needs to be further refined. But, we -- this is a sovereign government. This is a government of the people, which makes it quite unique in the Middle East.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you don't think that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war...
BUSH: Right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Right now.
BUSH: Right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But whatever you call it, aren't American men and women now dying to prevent Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other?
BUSH: No. George, I -- it's dangerous. And you're right, no matter what you call it.
The fundamental question is: Are we on our way to achieving a goal, which is an Iraq that can defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself and be an ally in the war on terror in the heart of the Middle East.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It seems like, every month, we're going farther from that.
BUSH: Well, I don't know why you would say that. I mean...
STEPHANOPOULOS: The casualties are going up.
BUSH: ... if that's the definition of success or failure, the number of casualties, then you're right. But that's what the enemy knows. See, they try to define success or failure.
I define success or failure as to whether or not the Iraqis will be able to defend themselves. I define success or failure as whether the unity government's making difficult -- the difficult decisions necessary to unite the country.
I define success or failure as whether schools are being built, or hospitals are being opened. I define success or failure as whether we're seeing a democracy grow in the heart of the Middle East.
Because a democracy in the Middle East, a society based upon liberty, will be a defeat for the terrorists, who have clearly said they want a safe haven from which to launch attacks against America, a safe haven from which to topple moderate governments in the Middle East, a safe haven from which to spread their jihadist point of view, which is that there are no freedoms in the world; we will dictate to you how you think.
I know some Americans don't think that is a threat. I view it as a threat because -- and the reason it's a threat is I can conceivably see a world in which radicals and extremists control oil. And they would say to the West: You either abandon Israel, for example, or we're going to run the price of oil up. Or withdraw...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Aren't some of the (inaudible) in the Iraqi government right now, Muqtada al-Sadr?
BUSH: The people voted for a government. And this government is going to have to perform to the will of the people. And that stands in stark contrast to the tyrant that preceded them and to the vision of those who would like to change the governments all throughout the Middle East.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the government format to your standards right now?
BUSH: The government is -- look, I think the guy's been in office for about four months, Maliki. In my judgment, Maliki has got what it takes to lead a unity government.
But what you're seeing is a new form of government actually beginning to evolve after years of tyranny.
I'm patient. I'm not patient forever. And I'm not patient with dawdling. But I recognize the degree of difficulty of the task, and therefore, say to the American people, we won't cut and run.
On the other hand, we'll constantly adjust our strategy to...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Exactly what I wanted to ask you about, because James Baker said that he's looking for something between cut and run...
BUSH: Cut and run and.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and stay the course.
BUSH: Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George. We have been -- we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Here's what I don't get.
STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker's a smart guy. He's got a solid group of people on that study group. But what can he come up with that you and your military commanders haven't already thought of?
BUSH: Well, why don't we wait and see? I don't -- you know, we're not in collaboration with the Baker-Hamilton committee. I think this is a good idea, to get people outside to come and take a look.
That's an interesting question. I'm looking forward to seeing the answer.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, a lot of people think we shouldn't wait, and that if a change of strategy is needed it shouldn't come after the elections, it should come now.
BUSH: Well, they're constantly changing tactics, constantly changing tactics. The strategy -- remember, the goal is, like I defined, a government that can defend, sustain and govern itself. The strategy is a political strategy, a security strategy, and a rebuilding the country strategy. And the tactics inherent in the three strategies, particularly the security strategy, are constantly being adjusted.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (OFF-MIKE) strategy working now?
BUSH: If it's not working, our commanders change it. And there's progress being made on the political front. There is some progress being made on the security front in terms of getting more Iraqi unit.
Eventually, it's going to be up to Iraq to defend herself. Eventually it's going to be the decision of the Iraqi people as to whether or not they want a form of government based upon liberty. That's going to be their choice.
Our job is to help them achieve that objective. And so there is some progress.
Look, no question it's violent, but remember why it's violent, because some -- much of the violence is caused by people that want us to leave. And the fundamental question the American people have to make is, should we stay? Should we constantly adjust our tactics to achieve the objective, but is it worth it to be in Iraq?
There's some decent people who say: No, we should have never gone in the first place.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you imagine any circumstances...
BUSH: I wasn't quite through yet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask the question...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are U.S. troops going to leave Iraq before you leave the presidency?
BUSH: No. I cannot -- you mean, any U.S. troops?
BUSH: Well, U.S. troops have been leaving Iraq since I've been the president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But complete withdrawal; no way?
BUSH: You mean every single troop out? No."

Reach Upward:

I feel you have encapsulated much of what I want to say on this topic extremely well. Thank you.

MindMechanic said...

I think the point is not his actual comments. The point is his willingness to play into the hand.

Dems and the media for years pressed him to admit mistakes and the second he did, they made it front page news. They pushed him to say it is VietNam...BAM front page news. They push him to say dont stay the course, BAM front page news.

MOST observers just read the headlines.

He should have been smarter than that.

Cameron said...

We should be smarter than that.

Anonymous said...

Bush has used the dictum "Stay the Course" Many many, many, many, times before Stephanopolous;
perhaps as many times as it has been parroted by at the Agora.

The Republicans had turned it into their war panacea --meant to cure all political shortcomings.

NOW the political chickens are roosting, Both and Bush wish so "spin" straw into gold by equivocating (that means tell lies) upon the ACTUAL meaning.

However, what WAS said is a DIRECT CONTRADICTION of what Bush had said INNUMERABLE times before without qualification. All of the other posted "what he meant to say" B.S. is just more LIES.IS.US.

The American public knows it has been lied too!!!!

MindMechanic said...


I agree completely that the language used has been "stay the course." I think it was absolutely silly to retreat from that language.

Now...LOOK at what was said.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Exactly what I wanted to ask you about, because James Baker said that he's looking for something between cut and run...
BUSH: Cut and run and.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and stay the course.
BUSH: Well, listen, we've never been stay the course, George.

OK...stop. Now of course WE HAVE BEEN about stay the course. But Stay the course NEVER meant just keep doing the same thing. Stay the course meant remain committed to defeating the terrorists in Iraq. Which is precisely what he said in his very next breath.

"We have been -- we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly."

Ah..."Stay the course" is defined.
And its honest, and its honorable. AND its acheivable and BTW it is the ONLY option.

Liberals will seize every opportunity to parse words. Just like what has happened. And THAT is why his retreat from the language was so silly.

Stay the course. Combat terrorists. Continue to support the Iraqi government. Continue to train their troops. Adjust tactics as required but complete the mission.

Stay the course.

MindMechanic said...

Cameron...agreed. WE should be. But know your enemy and HE should have been.

If Lucy is going to pull the ball out from Charlie Brown every time he goes to kick it, then Charlie Brown should know better and HE is to blame for allowing her the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Charley Brown is a "Stay the Course" prototype and ENCAPSULATES the Bush Administration!!!!

MindMechanic said... long as you accept that your liberal leftist side encapsulates Lucy.

Cameron said...

No heroes at the UN. Russia won't stop working on an Iranian nuclear power plant because it's "worth $800 million dollars to Russia."

Anonymous said...

I worry about PROFESS... ors"
who make bazarro analogies comparing liberals/relativists to Odysseus and George Bush to Achilles.

This kind of "hero worship" would be a kind of mythic tragedy if it weren't so silly!!!!

Instead, I think it would be more useful and interesting to compare Odysseus to Jacob of the Old Testament and Achilles to Esau. You know, the old "brains over brawn motif.

In as much a Jacob is considered to be the progenitor of the Children of Israel, it is Esau who is regarded as BOTH the forefather of Rome and the Roman Empire and also the Arabs!!!!

Anonymous said...

How did we go from a historical view of Greek heros to George Bush.

Is there a connection?

Is he a hero?

Anonymous said...

"Stay the course" had always been a CAMPAIGN slogan until Bush made it a miserable failure as a MILITARY strategy.

Now, Administration spokesmen have announced that, "stay the course" is NO LONGER a strategy and that the NEW strategy is . . . CHANGE!?!?, however, does NOT see a direct contradiction, nor can he admit to what is OBVIOUSLY a clear GWB departure into flagging flip flopping flacidity furthering administrative impotence in the war in Iraq.

Lysis said...


I disagree with you that Bush’s honest and clear answer to Step-on-all-of-us question was a mistake. Crafting every thing you say and do to fit the sound bit media was Clinton’s way. I would prefer Charlie Brown as president over Billy the C or Lucy.

There is a challenge. Republicans and President Bush in particular, tend to over estimate the intelligence of the American people. Democrats on the other hand over estimate the stupidity of the American people. The Foley/Clinton sex scandal is a great example of this. Democrats thought that shouting pedophile would be enough to drive Republicans from the polling places or convince them to vote Democrat. It seems that they underestimated the intelligence of Republicans at least. Bush, on the other hand, gave the American people credit that they would at least allow him to finish the sentence before judging him. We will see if he or the neo-libs media are right on this one.


The progression from a discussion of the Iliad to a discussion on American politics was quite natural. The premise of the original post was that people believe what they are miss taught about the greatest works of Western literature rather than finding out the truth for themselves. It is a perfect analogy to the only hope of the Democrats in this election and to the propaganda warriors among the terrorists and their supporters in the neo-lib media. Will the American people succumb to misinformation and reject successful Republican leadership because they are lied to? It is the very same question – will those who seek for the image of the Hero, which is foundational to our Western culture, discover the truth about Achilles and Odysseus or will they swallow the malarkey that ignorance allows their agenda driven professors, unread and unthinking, to cram down their throats.

Allowing agenda driven and ignorant teachers and professors to define Achilles would be as stupid as allowing agenda driven politicians, terrorists, and neo-lib spin misters to define “Stay the Course”. President Bush defined American policy in Iraq – and those who “read” and think know what he means and support his determination.

There is not doubt we must fear the ignorant – but we can never improve them by sticking to the false lesson plan or to the phony talking points.

mostly just listening said...

Bush has said stay the course many times before. It has always meant stay in Iraq until the job is finished. It has never meant don't change anything we are doing. Quite frankly, the context hasn't been difficult to figure out. However, the statement stay the course has now become a negative campaign spun concept of the inability to change at all in the face of adversity. Anonymous' post and his/her requirement that any who don't see Bush as changing his mind or meaning on this are kool aid drinking hypocrites or something like that shows exactly the spin and the effectiveness of it. Interesting.

I have enjoyed this post a great deal. It brings to mind for me Thomas Jefferson's (I know he isn't exactly a favorite among you frequent Agora posters)dilemna in deciding to found West Point. Jefferson was very leary of a standing army (see Greeks and Romans for examples why). However, he eventually concluded, "that which enables us to go to war secures our peace." It is knowing when to use and not abuse this that is key and I think heroic in the Achilles fashion.

I do find it a bit irritating that Lysis can quote some professors and mark how learned and great they are (see Mountain Meadows posting) and yet make the blanket assumption that so many other professors (professors he doesn't know and hasn't had experience with) have not read the Illiad or the Oddysey because of the way in which they are teaching it. Does it not occur to Lysis that they could have indeed read it and still misinterpret it? Furthermore, is it possible that they simply disagree with Lysis' interpretation? This does not mean Lysis is wrong and they are right, but I seriously take issue with the pompous and I would say ignorant idea that all of these professors have not read the material.

Finally, I have not yet seen Flags of Our Fathers, but I would be interested if anyone here has and how they think it ties into this discussion on heroes.

Reach Upward said...

Lysis, when you write, "successful Republican leadership," I assume you are referring mostly to the prosecution of the war on terror. I am reminded of the statement by the French Statesman George Clemenceau (1841-1929) that "War is a series of disasters which result in a winner."

And the war in Iraq has certainly been a series of disasters so far. But, as noted by General Casey, the Allied Forces have won *every* military campaign in which they have been involved during this war. (You would not know that from the MSM.) Casey and President Bush believe that we are indeed moving toward being on the winning side in Iraq.

But it has been a hard road and it will continue to be a hard road ahead. Many mistakes have been made and more will probably be made. The patience of the American public is wearing thin on that front, but if by "successful Republican leadership," you mean, "Thank God this wasn't left up to a Gore or a Kerry administration," then I think you are on target.

While the economy is performing well, the GOP has missed the boat on many important domestic issues. Liberals aren't the only ones trying to benefit from the Foley scandal. Some conservatives see this as an opportunity to get rid of Dennis Hastert as Speaker of the House because his leadership has been fraught with ineptness. He is one of the major reasons that many important issues of the GOP domestic agenda have failed.

When it comes to Social Security reform, permanent tax cuts, immigration issues, earmark spending and influenc peddling reform, and other important parts of the GOP domestic agenda, Republicans have largely dropped the ball. It is difficult to include the domestic agenda in "successful Republican leadership."

However, as you have pointed out before, national security trumps all other issues. Without national security, none of the other issues even matter. In less than two weeks, we'll see what the voters think about all of this.

Reach Upward said...

For an interesting view of an American soldier involved in intelligence in Baghdad, please see this link under the first story listed. The soldier argues that we should take a much longer view of transitioning security to Iraqi Defense Forces. He offers an interesting perspective about how irresponsible it is for us to move too quickly on this.

Lysis said...

Mostly Just Listening;

Indeed my claim that either professors have not read or do not understand the Iliad is rather arrogant. But being arrogant does not make one wrong. I would be delighted to consider any evidence that any “professor” or teacher has read the Iliad by the presentation of their arguments. I consider it far more arrogant to pass judgment on either Achilles or George Bush without considering the “facts”.

If anyone has an argument against my passion on Achilles and Odysseus I have arrogantly thrown down the gauntlet. The challenge is for everyone, its arrogance might serve to stir response but it does not diminish the truth of my words.

MindMechanic said...


We disagree then...and thats fine. When you go into a debate you KNOW your opponents are going to ask a series of leading questions during cross-ex leading to the GOTCHA moment. You have to be prepared for that and not just assume that people will se through that. You dont cede their argument FOR them.

I believe in Stay the Course as defined as commit to victory against extremist muslim terrorists. I think that should remain the mantra. You already see liberals using the flip flop argument. It was pointless and silly of him. In my opinion.

Maybe this would have more impact if it was published just what it would mean if the muslim terrorists win. I wonder if the Liberals would put their politics aside for the sake of a victory if they truly recognized they would be the first to die at the hands of the extremists.

Womens rights, gone.
Homosexual rights, gone.
Artistic expression, gone.
Personal freedom, gone.
Seperation of church and state, gone.
etc etc etc

As long as the terrorists arent literally sawing their heads off in the moment, liberals just poke their heads in the sand about the facts and battle on for political gain.

mostly just listening said...


Lysis, I did not say you were wrong. I did not disagree with your interpretation of Achilles or Odysseus. I would simply point out that you have no more evidence that one hasn't read the material based on their interpretation. Reading it does not make one correct, but having an incorrect way of interpreting and/or teaching the material is not evidence of having read or not read it. I would go further and say that acknowledging one could read and re-read the material and still interpret it this way speaks far more poignantly toward our political situation in which we find ourselves today.

Strategos said...

I would just like to second -Mostly Just Listening's- “Sigh”

Lysis why must discussion always involve gauntlets and arrogant challenges? Why do you think arrogant insults and radical positions are the only way to stimulate discussion? Your tactics only impassion people, and impassioned people don’t think well. You saw how poorly Anonymous understands anything George Bush says, because of his blind passion. He will criticize Bush when he says, “Stay the coarse,” for being to ridged, and then criticize him a week later for being too flexible.

Look at how easily Ann Coulter got you to abandon your long held and completely rational position on evolution simply by appealing to your anti-liberal passions. Then you completely misunderstand MJL’s post because you felt challenged.

I worked for two years as a missionary my job 24/7 was to engage in discussion in order to convert people to the truth. (I believe I had the truth, and the logic and evidence to back it up.) I had my arguments so solid no one could challenge me. I had all the knowledge, logic, and evidence to prove my claims. Occasionally because of this position I became arrogant and argumentative this invariably lead to opposition, and withdrawal, never conversion. Arrogance became my worst enemy, my logic, my evidence, my truth, meant nothing if I went into someone’s house through down a gauntlet challenging them to prove me wrong. I was not wrong but my arrogance destroyed all of my arguments.

I think you’re right most of the time, but to often you destroy the strength of your arguments by becoming arrogant about that strength.

Similarly extremist on both sides of the spectrum destroy political discourse, they do not encourage it. Rush, Hanity, Lysis, these men do not err in logic or position, but their arrogance and passion create violent and blind resistance. They do not win converts and do not stimulate discussion. Sadly they destroy any hope of either.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you punch a wall it will punch you back just as hard.

Lysis said...

Mostly Just Listening/Strategos

Sigh; Sob.

Last night in my “History” Class at the University, Professor Omar Katter (sp) came to speak on injustice. He began his discussion by sighting the “Lancet’s” most recent numbers about civilian deaths in Iraq – 650,000. When I pointed out that the numbers were bogus he swore at me. He raved on a while and told me I didn’t’ know what I was talking about – even got some applause form my fellow students. But when he finally allowed me my say he was forced to admit that the numbers could not be verified. His answer, “It doesn’t matter if the figure is false – it hurts America’s image. After a two and one half hour political speech, masquerading as a lecture on the Middle East, Professor Omar closed by saying President Bush had said, “I never said stay the course.” I pointed out to Omar that that was not what President Bush had said. His reply was to swear at me again. I asked him if he had heard the interview or read the speech. His answer was to yell at me – “News Papers don’t lie.” I assume by this he meant his sources at the New York Times opinion page. Like our anonymous friends – Katter was eager to pass on misinformation because it supported his position – and like so many in the Media when confronted with the truth he gets mad. It is the same with literature professors misrepresenting Achilles.

If ones goal is to smooz people into conversions, I suppose soft words and acquiescence to lies is an acceptable course to try. Such converts are usually lost at the first rough spot. When the false positions their teachers allowed them to hold are challenged by truth they rebel all the same.

Mindmechanic would have Bush craft his words to prevent the neo-cons from ever being able to twist them. Impossible. You two would have me accept falsehoods for the sake of humility. I am perhaps a grating and disagreeable person – but I would argue that it is my truth that sticks and stings not just my personality.

Those who would teach that Achilles sought only glory; that Odysseus dreamed only of home are misrepresenting the facts. They have only two excuses for such behavior. One – they have not read the books they purport to teach – two they are deceiving deliberately. If the professor last night could have backed his position up with truth he would not have had to resort to emotion. All the Literature professors have to do to defend their characterizations of Achilles or Odysseus is to show where the books they say they teach support their positions. Not with “one liners” ripped out of context but in the character of the hero they seek to define.

To compare small things with great – Socrates’ students begged him to talk nice to the Athenians, and live at peace in the city. He could not, for the search for truth was his goal in life, and he thought it better to improve his city and its citizens by getting them to think than to let them feel good in ignorance.

As for missionaries – I assume Jesus could have made a lot of friends among the Scribes and Pharisees if he had quit calling them hypocrites. But they were, and He could not.

Would you have me blink at lies for concord’s sake? Do you really think that that should be the goal of a lover of truth?

MindMechanic said...


"Mindmechanic would have Bush craft his words to prevent the neo-cons from ever being able to twist them. Impossible."

Hogwash. What you are describing and what I object to is exactly what he did. I would have Bush be smarter than his opposition. I would have Bush be bold in his positions and not cater to a position to show his flexibility.

I would also have Bush be clear in his definition.

In short, I would have Bush be Lysis, without the confrontational argument.

Bush did not mean that by abandioning stay the course we ABANDON the mission, therefore, "stay the course" is still the answer. He ALLOWED his opposition to define his argument.

The liberal hacks in the media define "stay the course" as a blind and foolish repetition of past mistakes. That is not only NOT a correct definition, it is a false reality.

"Stay the course" does mean and always has meant fight on to victory. It has never meant "without adjusting strategy."

The ABSOULTE fact is that our strategy against terrorism in Iraq is CONSTANTLY changing. Troop levels increase and decrease, tactics change, control of provinces change, interdiction methods change. All of these things and so many others have changed in the two years since the Iraqi people began electing their representation. It will continue to change based on need.

But the goal...victory...has not changed. Stay the course always meant victory. Until now. Bush allowed "stay the course" to be redefined. He lost that round.

MindMechanic said...


"As for missionaries – I assume Jesus could have made a lot of friends among the Scribes and Pharisees if he had quit calling them hypocrites. But they were, and He could not.

Would you have me blink at lies for concord’s sake? Do you really think that that should be the goal of a lover of truth?"

THIS is my point. By accepting the lefts argument re Iraq and Vietnam, Bush does this. By refuting "stay the course" Bush does this.

A more "Christlike" approach would be for Bush to boldly proclaim the lefts constant hypocracy on Iraq, on their willingness to play politics with the lives on US servicemen. On their historical inconsistencies re Clinton and Iraq and Bush and Iraq. On their hypocritcal rhetoric re Iraqs WMDs over the last 10 years. On their eagerness to side with terrorists and provide them aid and comfort by giving them talking points and letting them know that all they ahve to do to defeat American will is create political dissension and cause violence.

MindMechanic said...

Reprinted from an article by Pat Brennan...NOT my writing. Citing source here...

Top 10 reasons to NOT vote for demcrats...

"Reason #1. The economy is kicking butt. It is robust, vibrant, strong and growing. In the 36 months since the Bush tax cuts ended the recession that began under President Clinton, the economy has experienced astonishing growth. Over the first half of this year, our economy grew at a strong 4.1 percent annual rate, faster than any other major industrialized nation. This strong economic activity has generated historic revenue growth that has shrunk the deficit. A continued commitment to spending restraint has also contributed to deficit reduction.

Reason #2. Unemployment is almost nil for a major economy, and is verging on full employment. Recently, jobless claims fellto the lowest level in 10 weeks. Employment increased in 48 states over the past 12 months ending in August. Our economy has now added jobs for 37 straight months.

Reason #3. The Dow is hitting record highs. In the past few days, the Dow climbed above 12,000 for the first time in the history of the stock market, thus increasing the value of countless pension and 401(k) that funds many Americans rely on for their retirement years.

Reason #4. Wages have risen dramatically. According to the Washington Post, demand for labor helped drive workers' average hourly wages, not including those of most managers, up to $16.84 last month -- a 4 percent increase from September 2005, the fastest wage growth in more than five years. Nominal wage growth has been 4.1 percent so far this year. This is better or comparable to its 1990s peaks. Over the first half of 2006, employee compensation per hour grew at a 6.3 percent annual rate adjusted for inflation. Real after-tax income has risen a whopping 15 percent since January 2001. Real after-tax income per person has risen by 9 percent since January 2001.

Reason #5. Gas prices have plunged. According to the Associated Press, the price of gasoline has fallen to its lowest level in more than 10 months. The federal Energy Information Administration said Monday that U.S. motorists paid $2.21 a gallon on average for regular grade last week, a decrease of 1.8 cents from the previous week. Pump prices are now 40 cents lower than a year ago and have plummeted by more than 80 cents a gallon since the start of August. The previous 2006 low for gasoline was set in the first week of January, when pump prices averaged $2.238. In the week ending Dec. 5, 2005, prices averaged $2.19. Today, gasoline can be found for less than $2 a gallon in many parts of the country.

Reason #6. Since 9/11, no terrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil. Since 9/11 the U.S. has not been attacked by terrorists thanks to such programs as the administration's monitoring of communications between al-Qaida operatives overseas and their agents in the U.S. and the monitoring of the international movement of terrorist funds -- both measure bitterly opposed by Democrats.

Reason #7. Productivity is surging and has grown by a strong 2.5 percent over the past four quarters, well ahead of the average productivity growth in the last 30 years. Strong productivity growth helps lead to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product, higher real wages, and stronger corporate profits.

Reason #8. The Prescription Drug Program is working. Despite dire predictions that most seniors would refrain from signing up to the new Medicare prescription benefits program, fully 75 percent of all those on Medicare have enrolled, and the overwhelming majority say they are happy with the program.

Reason #9. Bush has kept his promise of naming conservative judges. He has named two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. In addition, he has named conservative justices who are devoted to the Constitution as it is written and not as activist liberal judges think it means. The strong likelihood that one or more justices will retire from the Supreme Court makes it mandatory for the Republicans to hold the Senate and have a chance to name new conservative justices.

Reason #10. The deficit has been cut in half three years ahead of the president's 2009 goal, with the 2006 fiscal year budget deficit down to $248 billion. The tax cuts have stimulated the economy and are working."

Anonymous said...

Tilting at windmills again?

Don Quixote saw terrible and monstrous enemies in things he did not understand -- even "jousting" against windmills that his paranoiac imagination convinced him were powerful enemies.

His efforts were so enfeebled that even a stolid windmill could "unhorse" him.

I have SOME expertise in this area -- I have NEVER, EVER, EVER experienced a class or even HEARD of a teacher on ANY level of academinc professionalism who would teach or make the assinine observation that, "Achilles sought ONLY glory, and Odysseus dreamed ONLY of home." -- that claim is as ignorant as the person who invented it.

Why would be "convinced" that such a FICTION had ANY resemblance to TRUTH or "those who LOVE truth?

Time to name names that can be verified -- now remember how crucial ONLY is to your claims when you try to spin this one!

Find even a credible LITERARY source that would utter such blithering nonsense! I don't think even a comic book would!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Tide of Anger
With the election coming up in just two weeks you are sure to hear a lot about the anger against Washington, and the backlash against the republicans. It is being touted on every news broadcast (except Fox) and in virtually every print and internet media outlet.

Ever wonder where the backlash is coming from?

Me...I think it is a wag the dog scenario.

Seriously...just what is it that everyone is supposed to be angry about?

Is it the Iraq war? OK. I disagree with how dire things are. I also disagree on our mission direction. I disagree with the role of the military currently in Iraq. Still it is 1 issue.

In Utah the democrats are using a sign for their campaign. Its short...its simple. "Had Enough? Vote Democrat"

Fair question.

Had enough economic growth? Vote democrat.
Had enough stock market growth? Vote democrat.
Had enough inflation controls? Vote democrat.
Had enough lower taxes? Vote democrat.
Had enough retirement income increases? Vote democrat.
Had enough increases in school funding? Vote democrat.
Had enough improvement in minority employment and business growth? Vote democrat.
Had enough increase in funding of the fight against AIDS in Africa? Vote democrat.
Had enough of a real effort combating terrorists? Vote democrat.
Had enough of a president that doesnt have sexual relations with every woman in Washington DC EXCEPT his wife? Vote democrat.
had enough of a leader that doesnt take his political direction based on polling? Vote democrat.

Just who is it exactly that is ginning up the anger against republicans? I vote 'democrats.'

MindMechanic said...

Youths Torch Buses Around Paris
Oct 26 9:53 AM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


Youths forced passengers off three buses and set them on fire overnight in suburban Paris, raising tensions Thursday ahead of the first anniversary of the riots that engulfed France's rundown, heavily immigrant neighborhoods.
No injuries were reported, but worried bus drivers refused to enter some suburbs after dark, and the prime minister urged a swift, stern response.

(I LOVE that...a 'stern' response. From France.)

The riots in October 2005 raged through housing projects in suburbs nationwide, springing in part from anger over entrenched discrimination against immigrants and their French-born children, many of them Muslims from former French colonies in Africa. Despite an influx of funds and promises, disenchantment still thrives in those communities.

About 10 attackers _ five of them with handguns _ stormed a bus in Montreuil east of Paris early Thursday and forced the passengers off, the RATP transport authority said. They then drove off and set the bus on fire.

Late Wednesday, three attackers forced passengers off another bus in Athis-Mons, south of Paris, and tossed a Molotov cocktail inside, police officials said. The driver managed to put out the fire. Elsewhere, between six and 10 youths herded passengers off a bus in the western suburb of Nanterre late Wednesday and set it alight.

Shhhhhhhhh....stay asleep France. Dont worry about will all be over soon...

Dan Simpson said...

I actually think these riots in France aren't as linked with Muslim extremism as you would assume.

Look to the roots and the actions of the actors. Though their actions are obviously wrong, they have serious and honest greivances with their government, and it looks like they took great pains to not harm anyone. That doesn't seem much like the muslim extremists I know of. Heck that isn't even like the rioters from L.A. back in the 90's.

MindMechanic said...


Recent reports have something between 2500 and 3000 French policemen being killed or wounded entering the area's where the greatest unrest is occuring. They have proclaimed it their land and committed to assault anyone who is not one of 'them' that dares to enter including the police. Muslim clerics hold rallies daily.

If it isnt ALL about muslim extremisim it is at least a significant part of it.

BTW...I read some of the 20,000 'complaints' that were delivered in the hand written notebooks. Ive also read many of the statements regarding the earlier riots in France. They are complaining because they dont have guaranteed jobs or that their employers have a right to fire them. They complain because sometimes people look at them wrong.

While I dont discount ALL of their arguments,1-they do themselves a disservice in how they behave and 2-there is still no cause for lawlessness. Is there?

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

I would argue that Bush is smarter than his opposition, if less devious; and that Bush is right – the American people are smarter than Bush’s opponents give them credit for.

Bush cleared up his definition beautifully in his news conference yesterday. But what he said will neither be splashed across the neo-lib media headlines nor quoted by neo-lib collage professors pushing for a Democrat victory this November.

Those who know the truth about what the president said are the ones who must not allow America’s enemies to redefine anything with lies and misrepresentation. Hence I appreciate your forthright comments and challenge the temerity of other.

I am most grateful for your positive exposition of the reason to vote Republican. I intend to print out both posts and share them with as many voters as opportunity permits.


If you “have NEVER, EVER, EVER experienced a class or even HEARD of a teacher on ANY level of academinc professionalism who would teach or make the assinine observation that, "Achilles sought ONLY glory, and Odysseus dreamed ONLY of home." – you have not attended the same classes on the subject that I have, nor heard as many Book Reports from high school English classes (mostly cobbled together off the internet) as cross curricularly presented in World History as I have. You SOME experience seem as lacking in this as in many other areas. Perhaps you should consult with Flaccid on such things before you stick your neck out or your foot in.

I would direct you to the discussion of the “book talk” with Thomas Cahill, the disruption of which began this Web Log. Cahill’s book begins with two chapters – “The Warrior” and the “The Wanderer”. I do not intend to condense the entirety of these chapters into this response – rather I challenge you to read them for yourself and find some real arguments to support your position or submit to the truth. But from “The Warrior” I quote “Achilles, whose mother, the sea nymph Thetis, knew he would die if he went to Troy but who joined the Greek forces in the end because he was FATED TO PREFER GLORIOUS VICTORY IN BATTLE TO A LONG LIFE SHORN OF PRIDE.” Pg18 And again on page 41 – For us, Achilles may resemble nothing so much as a pouting adolescent whose extraordinary physical maturity has far outstripped his judgment. The contemporary military historian Victor Davis Hanson has even compared Homer’s descriptions of his heroes’ exploits to rap lyrics that “glorify rival gangs who shoot and maim each other for prestige, women, booty, and turf.” Cahill then goes on to extrapolate his distain for Achilles to an attack on the Bush administration. “Hanson’s interpretation of ancient military history are much in favor among those, such as Dick Cheney, who are influential with George W> Bush. These advisers have signed on to the Greek view of war as “terrible but innate to civilization – and not always unjust or amoral if it is waged for good causes to destroy evil and save the innocent,” as Hanson puts it in *An Autumn of War*. Believe me Cahill does not intend to be complimentary to Bush, Cheney, historian Hanson, or to Achilles.

As for Cahill’s presentation of Odysseus: “To the modern reader, Odysseus is a far greater hero than a petulant boy who leaves the playground with his toys [reference to Achilles].” Pg66 And again, “Likewise in the eighteenth century, the first century capable, I believe, of appreciating what Homer was up to in the *Odyssey*, [And Strategos calls me arrogant!!!!] The percipient Samuel Johnson remarked, “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambitions, the end to which every enterprise and labor trends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution. . . Johnson’s “end” is not anyone’s end in the*Iliad*, but it is Odysseus’s homely purpose, which would only have earned him contempt of Achilles and the whole procession of heroes. All Odysseus wants to do is make it back to his wife, son, and home.” Pgs.68-69

One more example Child; before I ask you to give me some evidence to support your position. From the video series *Empire* released by PBS and available in almost every scholastic video catalog know to man; from the Liam Neeson narrated script of “The Greeks – Crucible of Civilization”, the following: “Achilles was the archetypal Greek hero. As a child he had been offered the choice between a long ordinary life and a brief burst of Glory in the battlefield. Achilles choice had been eternal fame.” The fact that this video is played without comment in a host of classrooms through out America troubles me. But it also provides the evidence of my position in this post that “the Child” dismisses with angry emotion; so like Professor Katter’s “That’s Bull Shit” statement.

So Child, once again I council you to go to Flaccid for advice, get a little instruction, attend some classes, read some books. Nothing would please me more than to see you learn to debate with reason and evidence instead of emotion and profanity.

MindMechanic said...

This is long...its an up-front warning...

Raymond Kraft

"Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat, and had sunk more than four hundred British ships in their convoys between England and America for food and war materials.

At that time the U.S. was in an isolationist, pacifist mood, and most Americans wanted nothing to do with the European or the Asian war.

Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan , and the following day on Germany , which had not yet attacked us. It was a dicey thing. We had few allies. France was not an ally, as the Vichy government of France quickly aligned itself with its German occupiers. Germany was certainly not an ally, as Hitler was intent on setting up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe . Japan was not an ally, as it was well on its way to owning and controlling all of Asia . Together, Japan and Germany had long-range plans of invading Canada and Mexico , as launching pads to get into the United States over our northern and southern borders, after they finished gaining control of Asia and Europe . America 's only allies then were England , Ireland , Scotland , Canada , Australia , and Russia . That was about it. All of Europe, from Norway to Italy , except Russia in the east, was already under the Nazi heel.

America was certainly not prepared for war. America had drastically downgraded most of its military forces after WWI and throughout the depression, so that at the outbreak of WW2, army units were training with broomsticks because they didn't have guns, and cars with "tank" painted on the doors because they didn't have real tanks. And a huge chunk of our navy had just been sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor .

Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in gold bullion in the Bank of England, that was actually the property of Belgium , given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when Belgium was overrun by Hitler (a little known fact). Actually, Belgium surrendered on one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day just to prove they could. Britain had already been holding out for two years in the face of staggering shipping loses and the near-decimation of its air force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later, and first turning his attention to Russia, at a time when England was on the verge of collapse, in the late summer of 1940.

Ironically, Russia saved America 's butt by putting up a desperate fight for two years, until the U.S. got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany . Russia lost something like 24 million people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Moscow alone... 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than a MILLION soldiers. Had Russia surrendered, Hitler would have been able to focus his entirewar effort against the Brits, then America . And the Nazis could possibly have won the war.

All of this is to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things. And now, we find ourselves at another one of those key moments in history.

There is a very minority in Islam that either has, or wants and may soon have, the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world. The Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs- they believe that Islam, a radically conservative form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe , then the world. And that all who do not bow to their will of thinking should be killed, enslaved, or subjugated. They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel , and purge the world of Jews. This is their mantra. There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East -- for the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation, but it is not known yet which will win -- the Inquisitors, or the Reformationists. If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, the OPEC oil, and the US , European, and Asian economies. The techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC -- not an OPEC dominated by the educated, rational Saudis of today, but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis. You want gas in your car? You want heating oil next winter? You want the dollar to be worth anything? You better hope the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition, loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins.

If the Reformation movement wins, that is, the moderate Muslims who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions, and live in peace with the rest of the world, and move out of the 10th century into the 21st, then the troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away, and a moderate and prosperous Middle East will merge.

We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorist movements. We have to do it somewhere. And we can't do it everywhere at once. We have created a focal point for the battle at a time and place of our Iraq .

Not in New York , not in London , or Paris or Berlin , but in Iraq , where we are doing two important things. (1) We deposed Saddam Hussein. Whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in 9/11 or not, it is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades. Saddam is a terrorist. Saddam is, or was, a weapon of mass destruction, who is responsible for the deaths of probably more than a million Iraqis and two million Iranians. (2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in Iraq . We have focused the battle. We are killing bad people, and the ones we get there we won't have to get here. We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq , which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is needed.

World War II, the war with the German and Japanese Nazis, really began with a "whimper" in 1928. It did not begin with Pearl Harbor . It began with the Japanese invasion of China . It was a war for fourteen years before America joined it. It officially ended in 1945 -- a 17 year war -- and was followed by another decade of U.S. occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries reconstructed and running on their own again ... a 27 year war. World War II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full year's GDP -- adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars. WWII cost America more than 400,000 killed in action, and nearly 100,000 still missing in action.

The Iraq war has, so far, cost the US about $160 billion, which is roughly what 9/11 cost New York . It has also cost about 2,200 American lives, which is roughly 2/3 of the 3,000 lives that the Jihad snuffed on 9/11. But the cost of not fighting and winning WWII would have been unimaginably greater -- a world dominated by German and Japanese Nazism.

Americans have a short attention span, conditioned by 30 second sound bites, 60 minute TV shows, and 2 hour movies in which everything comes out okay. The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain,and sometimes bloody and ugly. Always has been, and probably always will be.

The bottom line is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away if we ignore it. If the U.S. can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq , then we have an " England " in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East . The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates. The Iraq war is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. And now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons. Unless somebody prevents them.

We have four options:

1. We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2. We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may
be as early as next year, if Iran 's progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).

3. We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East, now, in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America

4. Or, we can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and maybe most of the rest of Europe It will, of course, be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier.

If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today. The history of the world is the history of civilizational clashes, cultural clashes. All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like, and the most determined always win. Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win. The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.

Remember, perspective is everything, and America 's schools teach too little history for perspective to be clear, especially in the young American mind. The Cold war lasted from about 1947 at least until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Forty-two years. Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting Germany . World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten year occupation, and the U.S. still has troops in Germany and Japan . World War II resulted in the death of more than 50 million people, maybe more than 100 million people, depending on which estimates you accept.

The U.S. has taken more than 2,000 KIA in Iraq . The U.S. took more than 4,000 killed in action on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism. In WWII the US averaged 2,000 KIA a week -- for four years. Most of the individual battles of WWII lost more Americans than the entire Iraq war has done so far. But the stakes are at least as high ... A world dominated byrepresentative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms .. or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia (Islamic law).

It's difficult to understand why the American left does not grasp this. They favor human rights, civil rights, liberty and freedom, but evidently not for Iraqis. "Peace Activists" always seem to demonstrate here in America , where it's safe. Why don't we see Peace Activist demonstrating in Iran , Syria , Iraq , Sudan , North Korea , in the places that really need peace activism the most?

The liberal mentality is supposed to favor human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc., but if the Jihad wins, wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc. Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy."

Dan Simpson said...

"While I dont discount ALL of their arguments,1-they do themselves a disservice in how they behave and 2-there is still no cause for lawlessness."

I was trying to make these points. Only to show the difference between burning buses after taking the people off of them, and blowing them up with the people inside.

As far as all the deaths, I can honestly say I haven't been following this recent bout. I know there were deaths in the riots last year, was unaware of all of them right now.

I was commenting specifically on the story you posted. It, and it alone, does not tie in with extremism in the Muslim world.

And again, your last two points I agree with. Tried to say that there actions were obviously wrong.

Cameron said...

In the President's speech today he was asked the following, and I'll include his reply.

Q Mr. President, for several years you have been saying that America will stay the course in Iraq; you were committed to the policy. And now you say that, no, you're not saying, stay the course, that you're adapting to win, that you're showing flexibility. And as you mentioned, out of Baghdad we're now hearing about benchmarks and timetables from the Iraqi government, as relayed by American officials, to stop the sectarian violence.

In the past, Democrats and other critics of the war who talked about benchmarks and timetables were labeled as defeatists, defeat-o-crats, or people who wanted to cut and run. So why shouldn't the American people conclude that this is nothing from you other than semantic, rhetorical games and all politics two weeks before an election?

THE PRESIDENT: David, there is a significant difference between benchmarks for a government to achieve and a timetable for withdrawal. You're talking about -- when you're talking about the benchmarks, he's talking about the fact that we're working with the Iraqi government to have certain benchmarks to meet as a way to determine whether or not they're making the hard decisions necessary to achieve peace. I believe that's what you're referring to. And we're working with the Iraqi government to come up with benchmarks.

Listen, this is a sovereign government. It was elected by the people of Iraq. What we're asking them to do is to say, when do you think you're going to get this done, when can you get this done, so the people themselves in Iraq can see that the government is moving forward with a reconciliation plan and plans necessary to unify this government.

That is substantially different, David, from people saying, we want a time certain to get out of Iraq. As a matter of fact, the benchmarks will make it more likely we win. Withdrawing on an artificial timetable means we lose.

Now, I'm giving the speech -- you're asking me why I'm giving this speech today -- because there's -- I think I owe an explanation to the American people, and will continue to make explanations. The people need to know that we have a plan for victory. Like I said in my opening comments, I fully understand if the people think we don't have a plan for victory, they're not going to support the effort. And so I'll continue to speak out about our way forward.

MindMechanic said...


I probably did that kneejerk, "what?!!! you must be wrong" kind of thing. I re-read your post and my follow up and probably didnt need to be written...

Anonymous said...


If the President had spoken with a mouth full of rocks or had made his points using a Vulcan dialect they COULD NOT have been more obfuscated and muddled -- and you submitted this as something lauditory????

It is like' last posting -- just doesn't come anywhere near answering the question -- it's not even recognizable AS an answer TO a question. It is better evidence for dementia than an explanation of how a policy shift is not a policy shift.

To who thinks the word assinine is profanity:

The crucial CRASS OVERSIMPLIFICATION once again is . . . "Achilles sought ONLY glory and Odysseus dreamed ONLY of home".

Certainly "glory" is PART of Achilles fame and "dreaming of home" is PART of the Odyssey, however NONE of the posted sources(nor anyone else) claimed those characteristics as these "hero's ONLY, ONLY, ONLY typology.

A study of motifs might conclude that "glory" and "home" were of MAJOR themes without coming ANYWHERE close to concluding that they were the ONLY ones!!!!

Furthermore, holds up HIS anecdotal experience with "plagerized efforts of students 'cobbled' off the internet" as being conclusive evidence for a "corrupted and liberal" teaching of the classics-

Laziness of students, I think, is just as common among those wearily stultified with being propagandized by literary means used ONLY to satisfy partisan ends. then puts forth HIS VAST experience in various classrooms with various teachers as the TRUTH that needs no varification.

Well, THIS "Child" isn't intimidated by wild "windmill 'chimeras' that exist only for

What passes for TRUTH with is revealed once more as NOTHING but his intolerable ARROGANCE!!!!

Lysis said...


From my post above:

“Achilles was the archetypal Greek hero. As a child he had been offered the choice between a long ordinary life and a brief burst of Glory in the battlefield. Achilles choice had been eternal fame.” PBS – “The Greeks”

“All Odysseus wants to do is make it back to his wife, son, and home.” *Sailing the Wine Dark Sea* Pgs.68-69

Only – All. Is this the best you can do, word games? Not one fact; not one example. I gave you: Cahill, Samuel Johnson, and BBS; you ignore all but my internet book report experience, (a legitimate source in spite of you lack of ability to comprehend). What students present in their book reports is what they are taught, and what they experience in their other classes. You cannot even see how documentary evidence and real world experience combine to produce the empirical evidence that supports reason and logic. You gave nothing to challenge my position, you gave no evidence to support you own. The neo-libs play with Bush’s words, you play with mine. You prove my point by your fanatical refusal to see anything but word bits and spin points. I am sorry for you. You note a Crass Oversimplification:

“The crucial CRASS OVERSIMPLIFICATION once again is . . . "Achilles sought ONLY glory and Odysseus dreamed ONLY of home".” This is exactly what I am complaining about. This is not what I say, this is what generations of students are being taught and what they are too poorly informed or trained to challenge.

If you have not seen this in the education of the students, your experience is as narrow as your mind.

Anonymous said...

The Bookshelf in Ogden is one of my frequent haunts -- I love old/used books and need to frequently visit my "friends" among them.

The Bookshelf also specializes in games,(not video) comic books and a very credible Philosophy section -- the best one in Ogden, anyway.

The mix of Bookshelf customers, therefore, is quite a diverse one and presents opportunities to encounter people not usually my familiars.

A while ago, I witnessed a very animated and unfriendly argument between two young men who were gesturing violently and yelling oaths and obscenities. A crowd gathered while I also found a magazine close at hand to watch the fun.

To my surprise, these MEN were arguing about who the GREATEST SUPERHERO was, SUPERMAN or BATMAN. These guys were 25-30 years old, each threatening the other with a rolled up 'heroic' comicbook that was used to stab the air and menace their opposition.

Also, each was VERY knowledgeable about their HERO and knew how to take logical positions and make impressive arguments -- it was a fervent, impassioned debate -- like someone's LIFE was at stake --perhaps it was.

The Proprietor of the Bookshelf loves this kind of "spontaneous" forum (it helps business) so let the "debate" continue for half an hour at least -- finally ending when one enraged devotee grabed the other's "hero" from out of his hand and stomped 'Him' into the carpet -- then stormed (not flew) out of the store.

Some things are REAL some are NOT.

Literary/historical discussions are fun and interesting, but they are NOT REALITY.

I love Hans Castorp, John Grady, Hector, and Elizabeth Bennet . . . to mention a few.

I KNOW they are FICTIONAL, but you can't have everything.

"Thus the hero of the Odyssey is a great fighter, a wily schemer, a ready speaker, a man of stout heart and broad wisdom who knows that he must endure without too much complaining what the gods send, and he can both build and sail a boat, dive a furrow as straight as anyone, beat a young braggeart at throwing the discus, challenge the Pheaceian youth at boxing, wrestling or running; flay, skin, cut up and cook an ox, and be moved to tears by a song. He is in fact an excellent all rounder; he has surpassing ARETE.

Arete implies a respect for the wholeness or oneness of life, and a consequent dislike of specialization. It implies a contempt for efficiency -- or rather a much higher idea of efficiency, an efficiency which exists not in one department of life but in life itself.

When we meet ARETE in Plato, Kitto said, we translate it virtue and consequently miss all the flavour of it. "Virtue, at least in modern English, is almost entirely a MORAL word, ARETE on the other hand, is used indifferently in all the categories, and simply means excellence."

Achilles had VIRTUE in common form while Odysseus has TRUE GREEK ARETE!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am surprised there is any argument at all...obviously, its Batman over Superman...hands down.

truth to power said...

I couldn't let this go by:

"Literary/historical discussions are fun and interesting, but they are NOT REALITY."

You really should have left the word "historical" out of there.
Unless you were just talking about arguments like whether or not George Patton would have beaten Genghis Khan.

Superman, obviously!

Reach Upward said...

MM, what in the world? They have highly restrictive gun control laws in France. And these thugs--uh compassionate thugs--had guns. How can this be? The gun control lobby tells me that crimes involving guns will disappear once we relinquish our Second Amendment rights.

Anon, your discussion af ARETE made me think of another Greek term: thumos. That made me think about this article that claims that the difference between America (the US, that is) and other countries is thumos.

Lysis said...

Anonymous [Who at times I have called Flaccid – I will not this time, you post is most impressive]

Thank you for returning some reason to the discussion.

First on Batman and Superman; I must admit that I am a Superman fan. I find his dedication to truth, justice and the American way most admirable. Batman on the other hand seems to me to portray a dark and vengeful side. Though the T.V. show I watched as a boy, with Commissioner Gordon and all, seemed to cast Batman in a far less sinister way.

Thus we could debate their character – perhaps if they were true heroes or not.

The debate over the “powers” of the two would be a different thing.

Recognizing that there are at least two debates here is, I think, important in discerning if the discussion is a childish “dust up” at the book store or a search for some grounding principle necessary for understanding our society.

In her book, *Reading Lolita in Tehran* Azara Nafisi begins her story about literary discussions with this warning:

“Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much Reality but the epiphany of truth.”

I believe we can find such an epiphany of truth in the between the stacks of the Book Shelf, in a sunny room in Tehran, or here at the Agora.

I would challenge your (Kitto’s) description of Odysseus, as I often have. In all the attributes presented, except perhaps guile, Achilles excelled Odysseus. Arête is more as Kitto suggests, just excellence, it means the best; Odysseus was not. Now we are discussing the Batman has money and wits but Superman can fly and bounce bullets off his eyeball sort of thing. What really matters to me is what these men did with their greatness, how they lived their mythic lives. Most importantly for this discussion; how are students who don’t read or think for themselves about these things being taught, and why does it matter?

More later.

Anonymous said...

The Discovery Channel recently did a show on the powers of Superman...if they could co-exist and if so, to what impact. They 'proved' that, of course...he couldnt.

Flying takes propulsion. The Earths sun may well improve or enhance Kal El's Kryptonian abilities, but even still it would not enable him to propel himself. maybe he jumps. Nope...its clearly defined as flight. the ability to alter course, speed, up, slow down, etc...

His molecular density that makes him indestructible would also have a certain negative impact on the whole flying thing.

The impact when he alters a crashing airplane would tear the plane apart. Catching a person falling from the sky while traveling at great speeds would crush bones. There certainly is no explanation for how the lazer effect works, nor the x-ray vision. Blowing strong air...OK. Fine...but blowing COLD air? Not likely.

And only in a city of idiots like Metropolis would people NOT be able to see through such a 'clever' disguise as Clark Kents glasses.

No...Superman doesnt even pass the credibility test.

It MUST be a Friday.

MindMechanic said...

Reach...I detected a distinct note of sarcasm in your incredulity.

Yeah...gun control stops the French criminals like it stops the British criminals, the criminals in Washington DC, Chicago, anywhere in California, New York, etc etc etc. Everywhere there are strict gun laws you will find the highest murder rates.

Bans dont work. Maximum minimums for criminals does, but poltiicians are afraid that actual DOING something to stop crime will brand them racist (interesting how they make the connection to race and crime).

Good thing cocaine, crack, meth, heroin, and all those other illegal drugs are banned. Otherwise we might have a traficking and addiction problem in America!

MindMechanic said...

Ongoing 'intifada' in France has injured 2,500 police in 2006

Special to World
Friday, October 27, 2006

This might have dropped below the radar, but Al Qaida and its allies are literally battling the Crusaders every day in Europe. And so far, Europe isn't doing so well.
"We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists," said Michel Thoomis, secretary general of the Action Police trade union. "This is not a question of urban violence any more. It is an intifada, with stones and firebombs."

The French Interior Ministry has acknowledged the Muslim uprising. The ministry said more than 2,500 police officers have been injured in 2006. This amounts to at least 14 officers each day.

The battles have been under-reported but alarming to French authorities. Muslim street commanders, who run lucrative drug networks, have organized youngsters in housing projects to ambush police and confront security forces. The response time allows hundreds of Muslims to storm police cars and patrols within minutes.
"You no longer see two or three youths confronting police," Thoomis said. "You see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their comrades free when they are arrested."

France's huge Muslim minority community has come under the influence of agents often influenced and financed by Al Qaida. These agents have recruited Muslim youngsters for urban warfare in which police and government representatives are injured daily.

Not surprisingly, Muslim neighborhoods are becoming autonomous zones, with police and government workers too scared to enter. The police union is demanding the Interior Ministry supply officers with armored cars.

European law enforcement sources say France could be a model for other countries. The most worried are Britain and the Netherlands.

a quiet listener said...

I'll admit between tests and making the most amazing halloween costume ever i haven't followed the blog too well this week.

But i couldn't resist.

Although a vigilante at the end of the day, batman relies on ingenuity and resourcefulness to beat the bad guys. Superman has cool superpowers that i had always though he'd done nothing to achieve although lysis and smallville would argue the point.

here's a question. who'd win in a superhero showdown? superman or batman?

i think batman would take the guise of being dark and maligne and kidnap some person take them to gotham city (where if you've watched the cartoons etc you'll know that it is NEVER EVER except for in the newest movie daytime. it's either dusk or dawn.) Superman's sense of honor will bring him there eventually. Then all batman has to do is use his fancy trinkets and toys to delay him long enough until supermans strength wears off. Wears off you ask? yes. of course. his strength is derived from the yellow sun. we all saw the episode where he goes to the world with the blue sun (or was it green) and loses his powers.

and to think. i have a GRE to take in two weeks and i'm spouting batman trivia... good grief, i'll be glad when the semester's over.

Lysis said...

A Quiet Listener;

Sorry but your plan has a fatal flaw. Superman can fly to the sun and back in the time it would take Batman to lift to bat an eye. To the sun and back – recharged and Batman tied up in his own grappling line, mask ripped off, before he has time to think about it. Of course Superman would never be so mean, nor Batman so stupid, so your hypothetical is moot. Besides Superman is much better looking!!! And that’s what really counts!!!!


Today in my history class, one of my students told me of Discovery Channel program that “debunks” myths. On it they “proved” that Archimedes could not have made ray guns out of mirrors and magnifying glasses.

I explained to him that just because “modern science doesn’t know how it’s done; doesn’t mean Archimedes couldn’t do it.” Remember the big bang took place and life evolved and “science” doesn’t have a clue.

It’s the same with you attack on Superman. Surely his abilities are beyond the petty comprehension of 21st century science. The faster-than-light maneuvers he does while catching and cushioning the falls of airplanes or a helpless girls, your science’s inability to comprehend does not negate. I mean really, few years ago no one would have believed that people all over the world would spend a perfectly good Friday afternoon arguing with each other over the internet.

It is Friday isn’t it.

Lysis said...

Reach Up Ward and Mindmechanic and all;

I am more afraid that what is going on in France will soon be the fate of America, and the world. There is a complete disconnect on the American Left as to the dangers of fanatic Islam. They are still at the “they be nice to us if we be nice to them” level of comprehension. In their economy, victory at the poles and the power it will bring them is all that matters. In their eyes, all the problems with fundamentalist, medieval Islam are the fault of American arrogance and President Bush. They are eagerly training us that going home is the ONLY way to be happy. That’s why they seek to redefine our heroes.

MindMechanic said...


At a meeting just minutes ago, we were discussing the lack of bi-partisan effort in congress and how the two sides really act more like kids than anything else. The final declaration when asked what the liberal alternative to the Patriot Act was that it was better to "just do nothing."

I understand where that person is coming from. I know the personal connection that person has. And I know the fear that drives a person to react irrationally.

We see what France is going through for doing nothing. 9-11 came about because we did nothing. THATS the result of doing nothing.

And the silence on the left is STILL defeaning.

Lysis said...

It would be wonderful wouldn’t it? To have Clarence’s power, like in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It would be nice to be able to rerun history as often as necessary to convince us all of the “best course”.

I’ll still root for George Bush as George Bailey. We are, after all, stuck with the life we have. I am not inclined to give up a fight.

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