A few months back, there was a cute thing going around the twitter that asked us to make a small tweak to stories about the Greek Fathers where, instead of using their names, the stories used the direct translation of their names.
“Broad Shoulders spoke to Best Purpose about the teachings of Unwounded Power.” That sort of thing. In reframing the names, it asked us to revisit what we thought about Native American stories. And then, this simple reframing had me re-reading stories about the Greeks and they were brand spanking new as well.
I realized that I had internalized Butch’s truth about American names and applied it to the Greek Fathers.
And I shouldn’t have.
It’s with that in mind that I wholeheartedly recommend Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes.
It’s a collection of myths retold in a modern vernacular language (though keeping something close to the original meter) to help us read them the way that they were originally told and, in changing the language, get us to rethink these myths (and, by extension, our own).
Here’s a taste:
So everybody knows Zeus is the king of the gods, right?
Well right he is the king of the gods, but he wasn’t always.
For a while there was this guy Uranus who was a total asshole
anyway he was the king of the gods, born out of the sky or maybe it was the aether
i tend to forget this shit
but either way he was definitely married to Gaia
Who some sources say also gave birth to him
so … awkward
but like I was saying
Uranus boned Gaia a bunch
Because it was basically just him and Gaia alone in the universe and what else were they gonna do
and they had a whole bunch of kids
but the Uranus suddenly decides he hates all of the kids
and instead of like
giving them up for adoption or something
he just decides to try and stuff them all BACK INSIDE HIS WIFE
And she is the entire earth you understand so this would be fine if they were like
you know like BABIES or something
but they are not babies they are TITANS.
And so all these titans are writhing around in Gaia going nuts
and Gaia gets seriously fed up with this shit and tells one of them
whose name is Cronus
Hey cronus get your sissy-ass brothers
and get the fuck out of my womb and murder your father
and Cronus says ILL DO YOU ONE BETTER I’LL SAW OFF HIS BALLS
and Gaia says THAT SOUNDS LIKE A FANTASTIC PLAN
HERE HAVE MY BALL-SAWING SCYTHE
So one night Uranus is about to get busy with Gaia again
like i guess so he can father another baby and then stuff it back into her
but instead of getting sex he gets SURPRISE PENISECTOMY FROM HIS SON
all jumping out from behind a rock like PRANKED GOT YOUR DICK DAD
and Uranus’ dick falls into the ocean
and makes a whole ton of foam
and that is where Aphrodite comes from eventually
that’s how classy SHE is.
So then Cronus is king of the gods suddenly
The gods being actually the other titans
including some dudes called the CYCLOPES and the HECATONCHEIRES
who have one eye and a hundred hands respectively
who Uranus had ESPECIALLY HATED
And part of the whole reason Cronus killed his dad was to free those dudes
but no sooner is he king then he goes PSYCHE and stuffs them right back into gaia’s cooch AGAIN
So obviously this pisses off Gaia
and it makes Cronus out to be a huge dick
even though he presides over the golden age of man
where dudes pop fully formed out of the earth and there is milk and honey everywhere and it is illegal to eat cows
Basically it comes to pass that an oracle tells cronus that his kid is gonna kill him
Just like he killed his dad
so he freaks the fuck out and is like SHIT I HAVE SO MANY KIDS I NEED TO CUT DOWN
MAYBE I SHOULD STUFF THEM INTO MY WIFE-waaaaaait a second
i’m becoming my father.
nobody wants that.
So instead cronus comes up with the sensible alternative of personally devouring all his kids
so he just goes around stuffing them all in his mouth
but the fact that he is eating his kids apparently does nothing to stop him from banging his wife Rhea
Because he is the king of the gods after all
so she keeps having kids
and he keeps demanding to eat them
but after a while she catches on to his crafty prank
and when she gives birth to Poseidon
and Cronos is all WHERE THE KID AT IM HUNGRY
she’s like oh that’s weird i gave birth to a horse instead of a kid whoops
and Cronos had no reason to disbelieve her because hey if Aphrodite can come from dickfoam then why can’t Rhea pop out a horse
So he eats the horse instead of poseidon
and then he gets Rhea preggers AGAIN
and this time she is pregnant with ZEUS
and CRONOS is all HEY WIFE STILL HUNGRY YOU GOT ANY MORE CHILDREN I CAN EAT
and Rhea is crafty as fuck and just takes a bigass rock
and dresses it up like a baby
and then feeds it to Cronos
but he catches onto that prank pretty fast
and starts running around probably just putting random parts of the world in his mouth
until he finds the one that has his son in it
so Rhea tells Zeus
you know what you should do is you should go free the CYCLOPES and the HECATONCHEIRES
and go murder your dad
and Zeus says I’ll do you one better
how bout instead of killing him
i make him vomit up all my siblings
and then i imprison him somewhere
and Rhea says we can work with that
So Zeus and those ugly one eyed dudes and the really ugly hundred-handed dudes
all siege the shit out of cronos
and then they stick their fingers down his throat
and he barfs up all the gods and goddesses, or at least a lot of them
and then Zeus is the king of the gods
I don’t know about you, but this had me rolling and laughing until tears rolled down my cheeks. You need a copy of this book and, if you think “you know what, I don’t need this book”, you know someone who does need this book. Seriously, check it out.
So… what are you reading?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)