The semester has barely begun and I’m already pulling all-nighters.
Well. I got myself behind, so that’s that. I also wrote a paper nearly three times as long as it needed to be. And I tried not to go on and on and on, the way I tend to do. It’s just that…that author was so obviously using the Iliad as a model. I had so much to say about it. I still do, things that I did manage to leave out since they were completely irrelevant. And that thing about the desecration of the body just couldn’t be left out. It’s such an important part of the Iliad, but in the story we read, it’s just there. And it’s gross and it’s pointless. It doesn’t tell us anything about the characters, even though it’s the kind of outrageous action that should tell us the most about a character. I was supposed to impart my own personal reaction to the things, but I avoided being snarky because that might not be appreciated. Or maybe I should have been snarkier. I dunno. I just think that if you’re going to take Homer’s material you should maybe actually try and do something with it.
Take O Brother, Where Art Thou? as an example. It’s an adaptation of the Odyssey, as it announces in its intro, but there is a lot of other material in there as well. And even the material that is in there is restated in a way that is new and exciting. The main character is clearly based on Odysseus, but it is impossible to forget that he is also Ulysses Everett McGill, and not merely because that’s how he introduces himself every single time. He’s a characteristically American trickster character, an intellectual and a little bit of a fraud. He is an underdog rather than king of Ithaka. Since Americans don’t have the same view of divine intervention as the Greeks did, we don’t have any gods in the story; those of us who believe in divine intervention don’t find it nearly as commonplace. And so we have some stand-ins for Zeus and Poseidon along with a fellow who only really works as Satan. And the themes are there: the quest for fame (they start a band which becomes wildly successful) the need for anonymity (Everett’s hair treatment alerts BIG DAN T! to their presence at the Klan rally) the return home (self-explanatory, really), prophesy (the blind fellow at the beginning, Pete in the movie theater), travel to the underworld (the theater and the Klan rally). There is a lot of stuff in there. But you kind of have to think about it before you realise what it means. Some of the stuff that’s most obvious is actually misdirection. For example, while BIG DAN T! is larger than life and only has one eye, Pete’s cousin is the one who violates the rules of hospitality.
And here I am starting a whole other essay. Don’t ever get me started talking about these things, really. And now I got to get to a morning class. Technically it’s six hours away, but I need to be awake in three hours or I won’t find a parking space. Fuck morning classes. Actually, no. Fuck UT for not having enough student parking. How many new damn buildings are you going to build before any of them are parking garages? I had to pay for parking Tuesday, even though I already have a parking pass (a 182 dollar parking pass, but who’s counting). And I still got to class five minutes late. But it was either that or never arrive. So, shit. Well. Good night I guess. Or morning. Or whatever.
I think I’m going to live dangerously and sleep for four hours. I can skip some of my morning prep. Just once. Or maybe just delay it until after class. Sure.