Against Intellectual Provincialism



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    You know, the funny thing about it is that every time I post one of my things about ancient literature I expect that there will be something in there that draws an outraged response- WHAT?!? YOU PREFER EURIPIDES TO SOPHOKLES?!?! etc. Alas, they’re never as controversial as I’d imagined. But, lemme tell ya, I’m going to post on Antigone soon and that post is going to shake the blogosphere to it’s very core!Report

    • Avatar Will says:

      @Rufus F., We brought on J. L. to give you some rough-and-tumble competition in the classics department, Rufus.

      For what it’s worth, I remain a faithful reader of your posts. And I’m a famous blogger, so you’re definitely reaching a critical demographic.Report

    • Avatar J.L. Wall says:

      @Rufus F., Allow me: WHAT?!? YOU PREFER EURIPIDES TO SOPHOKLES?!?!

      Of course, Euripides is pretty damn good, too. But he’s no Sophokles. Euripides didn’t attempt to save Athenian democracy by endorsing its temporary suspension, so he’s got that going for him, and the Medea …. but he’s still no Sophokles. But then again, I’m skeptical of the merits of Hamlet, so you really shouldn’t trust me.

      Euripides over Sophokles… Oy.Report

      • Avatar dexter45 says:

        @J.L. Wall, Other than being a seriously depressed prince and one who thought he knew the mind of god, what is wrong if that poor dane?Report

        • Avatar dexter45 says:

          @dexter45, Someday, someway, I will learn to self edit.Report

        • Avatar J.L. Wall says:

          @dexter45, It’s not that I think it’s BAD — I just think it’s overrated. It has a loose, at time sloppy, dramatic structure; that Hamlet and his mother are neither sympathetic nor unsympathetic characters and therefore unfit for such prominent roles; and, frankly, that it never makes me much care that something is rotten in Denmark. I tend to mostly agree with T.S. Eliot’s reading of it…. Not that anything I specifically mentioned hasn’t been lobbed against any other of Shakespeare’s plays, many of which I would probably defend.

          Of course, once Rufus reaches Shakespeare and Canon-blogs Hamlet, I’m planning on giving it another read and reconsidering. Maybe sooner. Maybe I just need to see a really strong performance.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            @J.L. Wall, See my feeling with Hamlet is that the play comes very close to flying totally of the rails and breaking up, which has a lot to do with the main character being in the wrong play. I feel like he’s too fully realized to actually work in a dramatic plot structure, and he nearly destroys the plot, but it doesn’t bother me, I think because plot has always bugged me anyway. I seem to be of the exact opposite opinion of 99% of everyone on the subject.Report

            • Avatar dexter45 says:

              @Rufus F., Maybe he could be a foil for Petruchio. He would be a serious riot in Troilus and Cressida.Report

            • Avatar Rufus F. says:

              @Rufus F., If Shakespeare had ever found a way to write a play featuring Halmet and Falstaff interacting for two hours, even if there was no plot to speak of, I’d see it. I’d write it myself, but it would just come out like a bad version of the Woody Allen & Tony Roberts scenes in Annie Hall.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        @J.L. Wall, I definitely think Sophokles wrote much better constructed plays, but there’s something more primitive and problematic about Euripides. Sometimes I feel like my respect for Sophokles overpowers my enjoyment, but Euripides just makes some totally wrong and loopy choices that endear him to me. A good example is the end of Medea, which is just wrong on so many levels, but has such audacity to it that it wins me over. So I realize that Sophokles is the better writer, but I have a soft spot for Euripides.Report

  2. Avatar Ken says:

    a few commenters who shall remain nameless have accused us of drifting leftward.

    Perhaps I’m narrow-minded and have a very limited imagination, but I cannot conceive of commenters who are concerned about the political orthodoxy of a blog contributing anything of value to that blog.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    It’s striking that Goldberg went from dismissing Sanchez’s argument to favorably linking to Spiliakos’s entry in the space of just a few months

    Not really. This is Jonah Goldberg, after all, who is described by Emerson’s famous apothegm only if one adds “but not tiny ones”. Goldberg’s one talent is for making debating points that sound plausible if you don’t think about them too hard, if today’s contradicts yesterday’s, so what? It’s not as if yesterday’s made sense either.Report