Eupheresthai

Tartarous Tantalizations

15 posts in this topic

I'm really surprised no one posted about Aristotle's supposed tomb. It was news to me when it came up on Facebook. Maybe it's old news to some. I feel bad for the people working on it. It must be very frustrating to have all the indications, but no smoking gun.

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This is from the NYTimes: “We’ve now also found the altar referred to in ancient texts, as well as the road leading to the tomb, which was very close to the city’s ancient marketplace within the city settlement.”

I've just heard about it as well, let's hope there's more info upcoming. It's really quite amazing if it's true.

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Archeology has a problem with sensationalism. This is due – I believe – to several factors, some theoretical and some practical: among the theoretical ones I count the general lack of awareness in historical method that characterizes archeology as a discipline, and the circumstance that archeology has been built as a discipline and has flourished as a mean of building and reinforcing national identities. If you add up the fact that any John Doe can run across some sort of ruins and claim their relevance (I cannot simply 'run across' an evidently good historical research, but I can go and escavate one of the many Bronze Age tombs in Calabria and claim that I finally found the tomb of Alcinous), that's why I'm usually cold when I hear that some may have found Jesus' clippers or Aristotle's bidet or whatever.

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The medical sciences have a similar issue, there's the press sensationalizing a study by claiming x curies cancer, causes cancer or fill-in-the-blank. I have a couple of friends who work in cancer research who always roll their eyes when I mention the latest article.

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Yes, the sensationalism in a lot of fields leads to destructive hopes and speculations. Still, if you have the time you can weed through the information and find a picture which is more accurate than the predominant paradigm wants you to know. Archaeologists often jump to unjustifiable conclusions, no doubt in the service of getting funding, yet even baseline interpretations of their findings can considerably fill out and adjust those interpretations of the past which have been handed down merely by tradition.

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On 7/16/2016 at 4:59 AM, Eupheresthai said:

Yes, the sensationalism in a lot of fields leads to destructive hopes and speculations. Still, if you have the time you can weed through the information and find a picture which is more accurate than the predominant paradigm wants you to know. Archaeologists often jump to unjustifiable conclusions, no doubt in the service of getting funding, yet even baseline interpretations of their findings can considerably fill out and adjust those interpretations of the past which have been handed down merely by tradition.

It's not going to get better in an age of social media. The problem of course is too few people want to take the time to weed through to clarify information.

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I've learned while on Facebook that you can help them by asking frank, direct, and obvious questions, the ones the disinformers specifically avoid answering or addressing in what they write.

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Some many people I now know use Facebook, that it seems impossible to do without it. I know what you mean though. I just stopped responding to anyone who made an ad hominem remark. The election season on Facebook has actually proven to me how prophetic George Orwell was, both in his novels, and his essays.

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I don't want to cramp anyone's style, but I stayed on Facebook during the election season because I felt it was an obligation for me to do so as someone who has studied classical democracy and classical philology. It just seems like that's one of the things I'm supposed to do with my degree. I'm not alone. There is a young man with  first rank academic credentials in classical studies running for state rep in Michigan this year as an independent. I forget his first name, but the family name is Arnold.

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I recently read an article where the phrase "we live in a post-factual democracy" was used to describe the phenomenon of how those on social and other media simply shrug off factual data with their own 'facts'. I increasingly find it useless to engage with those people on issues of politics. A pity really, they include a lot of friends, mostly ex-army. You are certainly more patient than I am, I stay away from those FB posts just to preserve my emotional balance! I know I can unfollow and I have, but it seems a shame.

I love Orwell's essays they're more important to me than his novels and unfortunately seldom read nowadays.  For years I've had the four volume set of his collected essays edited by his then very young widow: An Age Like This, My Country Right or Left, As I Please and In Front of Your Nose.  This might be a good time to dig them up and revisit them. 

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I have a volume put out by Penguin before the use of the ISBN called Selected Essays by George Orwell. I realized, after reading those, how key he was to the intellectual developement of several of my high school teachers. I'll have to google the ones you mention. I'd love to read more. Some author's pieces from that era haven't been reprinted in decades. I'm thinking specifically of Evelyn Waugh's Life of Edmund Campion and his satirical novel about Helen the mother of Constantine. It seems strange that Black Mischief is still in print, but not those two.

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Boy we must be on the same wavelength. The last month has been an Evelyn Waugh marathon. I finished Decline and Fall, Put Out More Flags & started Black Mischief but put it away to read Vile Bodies for a book club. Now I'm almost done with The Aerodrome by Rex Warner--recommended by Anthony Burgess--and I'll probably pick up Black Mischief again. I read Scoop and Brideshead Revisited last year and recently saw the book on Helen at a used book store. I'm looking forward to the Sword of Honour trilogy. I also beefed up my Anthony Burgess and Graham Greene collections to fill out my cranky-English-Catholic authors reading list.

The Brideshead Revisited miniseries was outstanding. I'd never watched it before I read the novel. 

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I've been an Evelyn Waugh fan since my late teens. I thought I'd read everything when about a year ago I came across a volume about his African trips. It's not the well known When The Going Was Good, but a more journalistic report about the British African colonies, complete with photos. It must have been published in the Fifties.

The Aerodrome sounds interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for a copy. I highly recommend an occult author named Henry Green. I call him occult because he's never taken up by the academics, but he's reprinted every twenty years or so. He wrote about the Thirties and Forties and was part of the Waugh Generation, but lived a life removed from the literary scene. I think his output was only nine or ten, but he never repeated himself thematically. His first work has a number of stylistic affectations, but he drops thems. His writing is crystalline. Loving, Living, and Party Going are the most popular of his novellas. He wasn't Catholic, but he was a borderline eccentric. One of his novels is exclusively about a very poor industrial worker family, no rich people in it at all. Another is about London firemen during the Blitz.

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