...THIS IS HEAVEN available for pre-order on Amazon, here...

Jun 30, 2015

"How I tried to seduce Socrates" --- Plato's Symposium (1)

Michael is working on the text side of a comic strip/graphic novel about Plato's Symposium. Yes, the philosopher, and, yes, the canonical text on male homosexuality since more than 2,000 years. 


Not easy, actually, the work. You have to condense the text ruthlessly (19 k words in English translations) and somehow maintain authenticity. Deep thoughts are occasionally expressed and need to be conveyed---the text also provides, ironically, the basis (or pretext) for the Renaissance-idea of Platonic love.

You know about the Symposium ("banquet"), right? A choice of Athenian characters---including Aristophanes (the leading antique writer of comedy), Agathon (a writer of tragedies) Alcibiades (the city's leading bad boy cum politician at the time), and Socrates---gather to celebrate Agathon's victory in the drama competition of 416 BC two days ago. They had partied all night the previous day, they are laboring under a serious hangover, and somebody thinks it would be wise to drink less. How do you do that? Eyximachus, the attending physician, has the idea that you should praise Eros; everybody should give and encomium about the God of Love. And so they do.


Anselm Feuerbach: Alcibiades arrives at the banquet, Agathon welcoming him (click for a larger image, please)

Here's our condensed rendering of the arrival of Alcibiades, Socrates is about to finish his speech (this is done per panel, so the same speaker may appear sequentially): 


Socrates: This is what I wanted to say, O Phaedrus; call it an encomium of love, or anything else. (Applause)

Aristophanes gets up, wants to say something, is interrupted by…

WHERE IS AGATHON! 
(Big EXPANDING letters (voice)):

Alcibiades (appears in door): Hail friends.

Alcibiades: I’m excessively drunk already, but I’ll drink with you, if you will.


Alcibiades (removing ribands from his hair fillet): If not, I’ll leave after I crowned Agathon, for which purpose I came.

(Everybody): Stay, stay.

Jun 26, 2015

Why conservatives are wrong...


...because they are always wrong.




Viz:

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) People of African descent that are slaves or were slaves and subsequently freed, along with their descendants, cannot be United States citizens. Consequently, they cannot sue in federal court. Also, slavery cannot be outlawed in the western territories before they access statehood.

Which side do you think the Conservatives took?


Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) Segregated facilities for blacks and whites are constitutional under the doctrine of separate but equal.

Which side do you think the Conservatives took?


Self-explanatory




And here are a few words from today's decision, composed by Justice Anthony Kennedy:

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

"From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations."

"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed."

Jun 11, 2015

Christopher Lee (1922 - 2015)

(This is a deep post in a literal sense, so don't hesitate to scroll down:)

“To be a legend, you’ve either got to be dead or excessively old!” 


Anything the Green Eyes have to add to this? They usually do. So, just for starters, John's last name, Lee, is not a coincidence, as we'll learn early on in Part II ("This is heaven"):


(Chapter 3, John narrating): Let me get this in before the plot thickens: it’s a good thing that Alice (“Dr. Dyke”) heads an emergency room, since only people who’ve seen it all are able to sit as if nothing has happened next to a forty-five year old man—slight, Caucasian, symmetrical features except for the nose—who’s wearing a pair of Bavarian leather shorts with an image of an aroused Christopher Lee (the actor, fangs) emblazoned on the crotch part of said garment. (I’m a bit disingenuous here. These shorts, I’ve seen them before with the image of Richard Wagner in place of Christopher Lee. They are part of a Richard-Wagner-themed merchandize line, Godehart’s business; he’s from Germany and family of the composer, somehow).

Godehart has noticed my glance, points with one index finger in the direction of his adult parts, and asks “Family?”

Never thought about it (Glenn)



Jun 10, 2015

Frennch for beginners





Deux vieilles dames [dames], les voyant passer [passing] dans la rue principale du village : Tu vois, Jeanne, ces jeunes, ils s'achètent des motos [motor bikes] hors de prix [price], et après ça [after], ils n'ont [no] même plus de quoi [means] s'habiller [to dress]!    

Jun 8, 2015

The view yesterday evening around 21:20 hours...

(scroll down a bit)

The Valais in north-western perspective

...and the view now of...


Athens, 416 BC 

...our view, because we are working on a comic strip version of Plato's Symposium, and this beautiful picture by Leo v. Klenze would provide the perfect opening shot. I'm trying to blend three translations, Percy Shelley's, Benjamin Jowett's, and Seth Bernadete's, whittling them down to 10% or less of their original length so that the result fits into the balloons and captions of a 48 page graphic book.

Jun 7, 2015

Sunday matinée


The grass is always greener on the other side...

You'll figure this out yourself


And while we are at it, behold this:



And you know what? Chris Christie had been Roger Ailes' dream candidate for the US presidential election. Roger Ailes? Yes, the founding CEO of FOX News.

And the corresponding fragment from the Green Eyes? We don't have much there, but here it is (Ch. 9 Part II):

The fifth candidate is also blond, but female, with a horsy, consent-demanding face that stares right at you, and a lot of hands and fingernails attached to her extremities, hot in a fashioned way (she), pure anchor nouveau, she could host any show, especially on FOX, especially about Christmas decoration (I have to explain to Maurice about FOX’s War on Christmas). She survives while casting a malevolent regard at the defeated fish underneath, it’s so subtle.


More of this, context? We'll here's a teaser for the corresponding chapter in part II of the Green eyes.

Jun 1, 2015

The pitcher goes to the well until it breaks

Westboro Baptist Church
The hate group, normally obsessed with homosexuality, has accepted the offer of free tickets to Irak and stage their show in ISIS territory. That should solve a few problems.