Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notes from our presentation (Group 6)

So I'll just post the outline to our presentation to help everyone study for the final exam:

Whose Myth Is It Anyway?

-Michael Drew Carey Sexson (Ben) walks on stage to introduce the show, where the points and grades aren’t worth anything and the only thing that’s important is the myth.

Today’s skits include: The Preliminary Mythic Dating Game
The Party of the World, Century, Age, Aeon, and Eternity
A Drunken Beer Pong Symposium
A Buddhist Song of Suffering and Salvation

Today’s Improve Actors Include: Sam Roloff, Heather Kahly, Shoni Schipman, Liz Riley, and Kris Drummond

Let’s get started!!


Bachelorette #1- Antigone
Bachelorette #2- Lysistrata
Bachelorette #3- Ovid Characters.

(Bob Barkeresque) Hello folks and welcome to this evenings broadcast of….The Dating Game! APPLAUSE(I am going to make an applause sign to hold up for the class to clap to). Tonight, three lucky ladies will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance of winning a date with tonight’s sexy bachelor. APPLAUSE. Before we meet the contestants, a quick review of the games rules. APPLAUSE. Three contestants are asked three separate questions and based on their answers our lucky bachelor will decide the winner….Alright ladies and gentlemen, lets get the ball rolling! APPLAUSE.

Lets meet our bachelor! His name is Sam. He’s a handsome 19year old undergrad at Montana State University. Sam is a full time student looking for full time love! When he’s no reading poetry, he enjoys making microwavable eggrolls and has a deep appreciation for scented bath oils! Alright Sam, lets meet your three lucky ladies, but remember, you can only pick one!

Are you ready Sam?!
Let’s do it.
Let’s DO IT!

Alright Sam, Question #1 for Bachelorette #1.

Q: Bachelorette #1, who is your favorite TV celebrity and why?
A: I would have to say Jack Bauer. He’s constantly fighting for what he believes for and stands up for what is right. Plus he’s cute.
Alright Sam, Question #2 for Bachelorette #2.

Q: Bachelorette #2, if you could be one part of the body, which would it be and why?
A: Easy. I would be a dick because I could have all the fun and wouldn’t have to suffer any of the consequences.
Alright Sam, Question #3 for Bachelorette #3.

Q: Bachelorette #3, if I were to be late to our first date, what would you do?
A: I would turn you into a donkey.

Alright, all 3 are very lovely and attractive girls but which one will you choose Sam?!
Drumroll please……(make a sign that says “drum lightly on desk please”) and the winner is……BACHELORETTE #1! Congratulations you two, we here at The Dating Game wish you all the best in life. Until next time, goodnight America. APPLAUSE.


Need a volunteer to host the party and guess the characters! (Pick a student)

Partygoers include:
Echo – Liz
Narcissus – Kris
Hermes – Ben
Demeter – Shoni
Ovid / Ted Hughes / David Malouf which morphs into a velociraptor – Sam

(After student is brought down to the stage, we’ll blind fold them, while I distribute cards with the names of each character to the group; we’ll walk along the front of the classroom and show the class our cards, then begin the party)

(Arrange table and cups quickly)

Characters include: Ignorant Peleus – Kris
Philosophical lover – Ben
Bacchus, ‘love is a battlefield’ – Sam

(Begin lines as pong game starts)

K: the girlfriend’s giving me grief for not using the L word.
S: Why don’t you? It’s just a word.
K: Because she’s trying to control me! If I tell her I love her, than I’m done for, stuck forever!
B: Not necessarily, you just have the wrong understanding of love.
K: Huh? What the hell are you talking about? Always rambling your theories; I bet you got a theory for love too.
B: well it’s not exactly a theory. I heard it from a friend who heard it from his stepfather, who heard it from his father, who heard it recited by an elderly woman at some conversation.
S: Nice! Now this is my kind of theory!!
K: but how do you know it’s true or even remembered correctly since it’s been displaced from the source so far.
B: that doesn’t necessarily matter either, because it’s been tweaked and refined each time it’s been told and recollected.
K: Ok, whatever, let’s just hear it.
S: Hell yeah!! I love theories of love!!!
B: Well, what it boils down to is that you shouldn’t feel restricted by love because you can love anything: a cloud, a tree, a pebble, or even a snail. You must begin small, to try and love a tree and desire to find it beautiful, for a tree certainly is a good thing. Once you’ve found the everlasting possession of the good in a tree, and want to find it beautiful, want to love it, and for it to always remain good, you can move on to loving the beauty that is everywhere, in nature, life, and especially women.
K: Oooooookay?...?.. You’re starting to sound like that Pluto guy.
B: His was Plato, not a planet. But if you proceed in this manner to learn how to love, you’ll realize how flexible love can be; and in no time at all you’ll be able to tell your girlfriend you love her too.
S: Hurray! Hurray for Plato, Pluto, love and life. I love you guys! Drink!!!


(Everyone needs to develop their verse. Theme is ‘all is fleeting, all is suffering.’ Make it witty and pertinent to the past possesses the present theme of the class. Have fun and be creative so we can finish with a bang!)

Final comments from Michael Drew Carey Sexson; Thanks for watching ‘Whose Myth is it Anyway!!!

The father of comedy

It is times like these, late in the week leading up to finals, that the work of archetypes such as Aristonphanes can be fully appreciated. As we all know, we laugh to keep from crying, and based on my outlook for the next few days, I could definitely use a few good laughs. I decided I may as well start by writing a blog about the original comic, Aristophanes. According to wikipedia, it was said that Aristophanes could re-create the life of Athens more convincingly than any other author. This really makes me wonder about the type of society that Aristophanes was so "accurately" describing... especially if Lysistrata is included within this accuracy.

As obscene as Lysistrata seems to a 21st century reader used to the boy-girl cheesey romance comedies, it also sheds a new light on the culture of ancient Greece as a whole. Before this class, my perception of classical literature was that it was old, boring and inaccessible. However, this couldn't have been further from the truth. The fact that such a vulgar and opinionated work could exist more than two thousand years shows the considerably progressive nature of the Greeks. Reading Lysistrata, it hardly seems possible that such a story could have been created at all, let alone thousands of years ago. Although I'm sure some of the meaning was lost in the translation process, I feel that Sarah Ruden did a commendable job capturing the essence of the intended meanings implicit throughout the play.

Ah, a little refresher course through Lysistrata was actually all I needed. Reading over it a second time, I found myself laughing more frequently than the first time. This could be a result of a greater comprehension, or more likely the result of the sleep deprivation. Either way, I have to say, I owe a great deal of gratitude to Aristophanes. If it weren't for comedy, life would be absolutely tedious. If there were no laughing to get us all through the day, we would cry more frequently to say the least. Humor is the basis of almost every single one of my friendships. I think that if I had to take life seriously, I would go crazy. So here's to aristophanes.


As I mentioned in an earlier Blog, I noticed that the Greeks seem to have a god for every distinguishable emotion. I found it interesting when I looked up Dionysus and found that he was considered to be a late comer among the twelve olympians.

"In classical mythology, Dionysus or Dionysos (Greek Διόνυσος or Διώνυσος; IPA: /ˌdaɪəˈnaɪsəs/), is the god of wine, the inspirer of ritual madness and ecstasy, and a major figure of Greek mythology, and one of the twelve Olympians, among whom Greek mythology treated Dionysus as a late arrival. The geographical origins of his cult were unknown to the classical Greeks, but almost all myths depicted him as having "foreign" origins: typical of the god of the epiphany, the god that comes."

This quote from wikipedia really made me wonder, why is it that Dionysus was the late comer of the gods? Perhaps human beings were hesitant to acknowledge intoxication as a valid, naturally occuring feeling. Maybe they tried to exclude this feeling but realized that the desire for intoxication was not determined by the existence of a god reflecting those values.

Thank you

As I sit here at 6:25 am, nearing delerium after a sleepless night, I feel the theme of the class weighing down my eyelids. "All that is past possesses our present." I have always been a procrastinator, and probably always will be until the day that I die. I have no organizational skills whatsoever, and it's times like these that I regret it the most. My procrastination problem has led me to put off writing about all those concepts I wanted to develop just a little further. Just one more class period worth of discussion, and I would have been able to blog my heart out. But that extra class period never seemed to come, and each day I would find myself immersed in a new and equally interesting topic, with all my ideas from the previous class slowly fading away. Well, this all-night blog marathon brought back all those memories, and in doing so has made me realize how much I got out of this class. Not only did I attain a greater understanding and appreciation for classical literature, but also a much greater peace of mind in general. I learned more about myself and others than I have in all of my other university classes combined. The combination of Dr. Sexsons' amazing teaching and the warm receptiveness and participation from the class created a real, genuine desire to attend every single day. Not just because we were held responsible for the information covered, but because the information that we were given contains value above and beyond any single letter on a transcript. In taking this class, I realized that Dr. Sexson was right, college isn't about getting a degree, it's about getting information and increasing knowledge. In my opinion, this class was the epitome of what every college class should be. It should work toward a degree, but more importantly it should provide information which transcends the utility of any degree whatsoever.

When I go to sell my books back at the beginning of next week, I won't be recieving my full refund. I plan on keeping all the books from this class, just in case I start to forget that the keys to my present day problems are probably contained somewhere in one of them. Although I won't be getting all my money back, the lessons I learned from these books and Dr. Sexson this semester are more important than any material goods. As Dr. Sexson said, "The seeds have been planted." Now it's up to us to simply remember what we learned and let the seeds flourish.


Karma. It's eveywhere, all at the same time. It's on tip jars, whiteboards, commercials, and even ski gear. It's an accessible concept, one that to most, seems like an idealistic figment of the imagination used as a synonym for the golden rule. Yeah, even 10 year olds kids can vaguely grasp the idea that their actions have consequences. To Western society, the concept of karma seems pretty cut and dry, sitting on the same level of feasibility as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. However, to devout Budhists and Hindus, karma is a never-ending cycle of spiritual cause and affect. According to wiki, Karma is: "(Sanskrit: कर्म kárma (help·info), kárman- "act, action, performance"[1]; Pali: kamma) is the concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra) originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies.
In these systems, the effects of all deeds are viewed as actively shaping past, present, and future experiences. The results or 'fruits' of actions are called karma-phala."

Through my own personal experiences, I can clearly see how so many people are unquestioning believers in some sort of karma system. Personally, I feel that certain quirky things happen in such a way, at unexpected times, that the happening was too strange to be a coincidence. Perhaps it's only a placebo effect from the misplaced pride that stems from the seventy five cent tip at the coffee bar. I guess it doesn't really matter, because the end result is the same. In my own life, the concept of karma keeps me consistantly striving to do my best and achieve to my full potential.

What the Bleep Do We Know?

Recently, on the advice of my friend, I rented the movie called What the Bleep Do We Know? Almost instantly, I knew that the concepts contained within the movie would correspond perfectly to this class. Based on the study of quantum physics, the movie basically goes through a scientific explanation of a concept we became familiar with through classical literature. Discussing the theoretical nature of matter and the interconnection between all universal entities, WTBDWK plays havoc on the mind by providing real, important questions regarding the nature of reality. Though it delves much deeper into the science of reality, the general ideas contained within the movie fit in perfectly with many of the works we have read this semester.

The first connection that comes to mind is the wild child from David Malouf's An Imaginary Life. The wild child doesn't understand the concept of ego. In his eyes, all things are simply equal pieces of a whole, responding to the universal life force. This concept is also stressed in plato's symposium and in the budhist concept of reincarnation.


At the begining of this class, I was very confused concerning the matter of death. OK, to be honest, I was downright terrified. Having no relgious background to speak of, and little to no experience reading tragedy, I maintained sanity by merely pushing any thoughts of death, my own or others, out of my mind. I felt that ignoring death until it forced me to pay attention was the best route to take. Every now and then I would have a mild existential crisis and find myself consumed by frightening thoughts regarding my own mortality. However, on that first day when I walked in and heard "the past possesses the present," I was hooked. I had to know more. I didn't know what this class was going to encompass, but I felt the potential of finding the answers I had been unconsciously groping for in other areas of my life. At first, the connections didn't come quickly or easily, but gradually it got easier. Finally, while we were discussing the concepts of tragedy and and catharsis, it hit me. "It" being the overwhelming understanding of the power of literature to heal.

Previously, any mention of the D word would launch me into a nostalgic bout of reminiscence, calling to mind the few close friends I have lost in my lifetime. And by few I do mean three. I have been extremely lucky thus far, and the fact that death had such a stranglehold on my daily consciousness scared me. However, when we began to read tradgedies like Antigone and The Trojan Women, and our readings were combined with some crucial lectures by Dr. Sexson, the imminent reality of death didn't seem so intimidating anymore. To my amazement, when I read our tragic works with the concept of catharsis in mind, I found that my long-standing fear transformed itself into the begining stages of understanding.

My transformation or metamorphosis was complete when I heard Dr. Sexson say "Death is the mother of beauty." Finally, after all these years, after all that irrational fear, I actually understood. Life, every waking second, would not have any significance if it were endless. The fact that our time in this world is so brief is what causes matters of beauty to carry any significance. I realized that by ignoring death and keeping it out of my mind at all costs, I could never really appreciate what I was doing. Since that time, my personal philosophy has done an abrupt about-face. By trying to feel my own mortality every day, by acknowledging death as a quickly approaching deadline, I have at the very least begun to gain an actual appreciation and understanding of the beauty of existence.