G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, August 05, 2016

Sustaining a Benevolent Myth: Like Livia Drusilla, I Want a Good Show



Today August 5 2016, Games of the XXXI Olympiad start

Mary Pilon, The New York Times, July 18 2016:
"...Because sports are a religion, it’s difficult to imagine a world without the Olympics, and to be sure, they have given us many glorious moments. It would be easy to conclude that the Olympic “movement” has lost its way since the time of Coubertin’s lofty vision, but that, as Goldblatt demonstrates, would be to rewrite history, since the idea of a clean and easy way to achieve peace through sport was a benevolent myth in the first place."

Livia Drusilla, 30 January 58 BC – 28 September 29 AD:
 “I've a few words to say to you before these games begin. Well, gather round. Now, these games are being held in honor of my son, Drusus Nero, who was worth the whole lot of you put together. It's my intention that these games shall be remembered long after you're all dead and forgotten even by your nearest and dearest. You're all scum and you know it, but you've a chance here - some of you - to prove that you're a bit more than that. And for those whom death doesn't liberate, there'll be plenty of freedoms handed out afterwards - to say nothing of gold plate and coin. But... I want a good show. I want my money's worth! I don't want any kiss-in-the-ring stuff. And I don't want my family watching two grown men pussyfooting around each other for half an hour before one of them aims a real blow. There's been too much of that in the past. And, don't think you can fool me either because I know every trick in the book, including the pig's blood in the bladder to make it look as if one of you is dead. There's been too much of that too lately. These games are being degraded by the increasing use of professional tricks to stay alive, and I won't have it. So put on a good show and there'll be plenty of money for the living and a decent burial for the dead. And, if not, I'll break this guild up and I'll send the lot of you to the mines in Numidia. That's all I've got to say to you.”
(from Episode 4,  ‘I, Claudius’, 1976 BBC Television adaptation of Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God.)




                                                       Majestic  Siân Phillips as Livia

                                                                    courtesy: BBC

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