January 25, 2005

Facing facts of new blogging semester

Back to SHU means back to academic blogging...So what does that mean for you, my lovely audience? You may become irritated with me, my subject matter, or the occasional six-syllable word I insert, but the new design of my page will make up for it, right? RIGHT?!

No, really, this semester, though I will be dealing with academic infamous forced blogs, I hope to write with the same voice that I have in blogs mentioning adventures an/or bats. I am faced with an all-too common dilemma on the blogosphere, but hopefully I can overcome those pesky barriers, and create blogs that people actually want to read. I said hopefully.

Keep reading if you are ready for my reading challenge:

As for my first trick, I just read "Pygmalion" in the several formats listed.

I know I just said Pygmalion. Don't run away. I will give very abridged version.

In short, a guy (Pygmalion) doesn't want wife, but he loves to sculpt, so he does, and he makes a beautiful maiden, which he lavishes both gifts and physical affection upon. In doing so, he falls in love and then asks the goddess (Miss Venus) to give him the likeness of his sculpture, not wanting to say that he wants her. When he gets home, he kisses the statue and touches it, and it feels warm and alive, he continues to touch it and finds that it is alive. They have a child together.

I would have to say my favorite representation is in feminist prose. I mean, I can really relate to this viewpoint. Working at a library where primarily guys (at least on my watch) look up pornography, I was repulsed. The traditional versions of the story, with images like this one:
"The flesh, or what so seems, he touches oft,
Which feels so smooth, that he believes it soft.
Fir'd with this thought, at once he strain'd the breast,
And on the lips a burning kiss impress'd"

made me a bit queasy. The poetic language is appealing, but the scene taking place reminds me more of the "balding pate,... weak, petulant mouth[ed],...soft second chin[ned],...dirty hands,... greedy eyes and...stained pants" type that I sometimes deal with at work. This version sort of mimics my interpretation of the events.
As the Jerz-described "feminist" version, which I think is more aptly described as modern, plot and descriptions are indeed altered by the writer of 2001.

I especially enjoyed the reference to the gods "as giv[ing] in to his pleas, one of them [finally] descend[ing] from the heavens (where he had been losing at his poker game." This gods reference, in addition to the earlier reference of divinity as "actually listen[ing] to their people" indicate a difference in the way humans perceive the divine. In the classic interpretation of the text, Venus is benevolent and kind, whereas in the modern version, the goddess image is replaced by a "he" playing poker.

But isn't that the modern way of looking at religion? As a guy with a beard that you go to when you need something, and when "he" is finally fed up with hearing your pleas, he gives in? Such a narrow-minded and limiting perception of the divine, but nevertheless true of our culture. In addition, feminine images in relationship to divinity are void in some faiths. Through this absence of a female goddess, as in thee classic telling, the author reinforces the power of men in both heaven and earth, and the effect is brutish--the gods being "annoyed enough."

Okay, I concede. This is predominantly a feminist retelling, but there are more things at work in this version than the standard bra-burner's male bashing.

With the reference to Pygmalion's fame, which earned him praise all over the world "(except for the areas that hadn't been "discovered" by white people yet,"
Modi is making a statement about the western world and what we thought, and still perhaps think, as the civilized world. This statement goes beyond the feminist fray of insults upon a masculine world, and looks more closely at what we believe is good and acceptable.

Some other mentionable differences that I hope to expand upon in class are:

  • Historical references: "his buggy or chariot (whatever vehicle they had back then)"--the lack of historical reverence in current culture

  • Sarcastic approach: "For weeks, he didn't move from that position (not even to go to the bathroom.)"--differs from the respectful classic view of Pygmalion

  • Ending: She doesn't accept him. "Moral of the story: Be sure you are worthy of your own ideals."

Posted by Amanda Cochran at January 25, 2005 10:06 PM

Well, I guess my readers (except profs) will have to be bored. I have to get the grades, after all.

Posted by: Amanda at January 28, 2005 12:08 PM

The design makes up for everything ;-) Well, in my opinion it does...! Hehe. And I don't mind your six-syllable-ness. I tend to lean towards that, too. For my blog, it's been flabby in the academic area for about nine months--I have to spend some time working it back into shape!

Posted by: Karissa at January 29, 2005 10:33 PM
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