Friday, April 27, 2007
One of the historical myths of our era is that the Arab Muslim saved the Greek achievement for Western civilization. The argument is that there runs a line of tradition starting during the Greek Classical period down to the modern post-Enlightenment era which was preserved by the efforts of the House of Wisdom. This is false insofar as the Byzantines also transmitted Greek works to the West, and the refugees who washed up on the shores of Italy during the late medieval period as Constantinople fell before the Turks helped spark the Italian Renaissance. But the Byzantine role is not sexy because it doesn't serve a multicultural narrative (before the contemporary period the emphasis placed upon Islamic civilization's role in preserving Greek learning was used as a cudgel against Western Christianity).Razib may be wrong (or right) here, but I find it interesting that some narratives continue to exist long after the relevance of their original purpose has attenuated. Like exadaption in biology.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Just good ol' boys,(Theme song lyrics sung by Waylon Jennings)
Wouldn't change if they could,
Fightin' the system like a true modern day Robin Hood.
Recently, I've been watching Disney's Robin Hood (1973) because of my kids, and I was struck by the parallels with the TV show, The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985). Both of these feature a minstrel / balladeer and a bumbling Southern-accented sheriff, with two brotherly countryfolk fightin' the system (Robin Hood and Little John / Bo and Luke Duke). The correspondences continue: Maid Marion morphs into Daisy Duke, King John into Boss Hogg, and Friar Tuck into Uncle Jesse. Of course, there are differences. Peter Ustinov's portrayal of an effete King John (a lion) is miles from Sorrell Booke's gluttonous Hogg. Nevertheless, the similarities impress me more than the differences.
Homage, rip-off, or coincidence?
Sunday, April 15, 2007
That very word, "conclusory," is what you learn quickly your first year in law school when you find out that your first attempt at legal writing is no good.
Monday, April 09, 2007
You’re St. Melito of Sardis!
You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.