An Introduction to Western Philosophy

I just watched the PBS DVD on Western Philosophy called “Wisdom for Life” and here’s what it’s about. At a time when Western culture seems to be strip clubs, Kim Kardashian, and porn, the program looks at the true value of Western culture – thinking.  In an age of terror, it’s more important than ever as Columbia University philosopher Arthur Danto explains, “the 911 terrorists came here and visited strip clubs and immersed themselves in our pluralistic society … and then turned around and said ‘yuck’.”

An illustration of Mahommed's assetion - the kind before the 1300's ban on realistic art
The Prophet Mohammed’s ascension – in green robe – the kind of illustration common before the 1300’s ban on depictions of the Prophet
Continue reading →

ORESTEIA – A new staging of the famous Trilogy

I just viewed the four and half hour staging of the Oresteia by MacMillan Films on DVD and it is a delight to see the entire trilogy in a faithful translation.

Actor James Thomas as Agamemnon in the new staging of the OResteia Trilogy
Agamemnon returns to Argos after 10 years of war

I remember seeing the entire production live at the now-closed Groton theater in Connecticut 30 years ago – and I remember well the thrill of catharsis after experiencing the day-long ordeal. I have also enjoyed Peter Hall’s 1980’s British staging but found that this new staging on DVD gave me insights into many aspects of the drama which I had not noticed.

Continue reading →

The LYSISTRATA movie – The Not 300

“The 300” blockbuster movie and the recently released “Lysistrata” are not just different – they’re opposites.  In watching both films, I’m struck by how similar the mise-en-scene and how opposite the message.

The women unite in a sex strike to end war
The women unite in a sex strike to end war

The joy of The 300 is in reveling in the gore, the revenge and the balletic slaughter that is male testosterone. It’s the nihilistic primordial myth that celebrates male violence as the indispensable defender against the bestial Persian horde.  The joy of Lysistrata is in imaging a world beyond all this male violence – a world where woman are on top and war is no longer necessary – a world where male hormones are harnessed and female sexuality triumphant.

Continue reading →