Friday, May 02, 2008

That Darn Blog!

Bad for me, good for you!
This piece was rejected by the producers of Philosophy Talk, because they (well, okay, HE) didn’t get it.

Keep in mind I love them (him), but I thought this was pretty good. The particular Philosophy Talk episode is about promises. What do they mean?

For those of you who don’t know Philosophy Talk (and there are legions, I’m sure), check out, for streaming audio, links to shows, yadda yadda.

Anyway, I occupy the Andy Rooney seat on this program. Rather than complaining about, say, the thread count of tissues, however, I try to bring some kind of button (dessert!) to the meat of what has gone before.

So anyway, on PROMISES, I wrote this:

Promise me….
Before he succumbs to hemlock poisoning, Socrates’ final words are something like “Crito we owe a cock to Asclepius. Do pay it. Don’t forget.”

Crito was Socrates’ best friend, a rich man, around the same age as Socrates, and a good listener. You had to be to hang out with Socrates. Crito didn’t do much philosophical discussion in PHAEDO, Plato’s dialogue about Socrates’ final hours. Instead, Crito made sure that Socrates’ wife and kids got home safely. He kept the other guys away when Socrates bathed himself before taking the hemlock. He was the liaison between Socrates and the poisoner. After Socrates’ mysterious last words, Crito asked if there was anything else, and got no reply. It was Crito who closed his dead friend’s eyes. And then supposedly got a rooster for Asclepius, because Crito had made a promise to a dying man.

As for Socrates’ strange last words, well, who was Asclepius? He was the son of Apollo and a nymph, Coronis. When Coronis was pregnant with Asclepius she had an affair with some other guy, a mortal. Apollo found out about it, got mad and sent his sister Artemis to kill her. Which she did, but Apollo rescued the baby by performing the first caesarean section, then gave the baby to the centaur Chiron to raise. –You following this?-- Chiron taught Asclepius the art of surgery, and eventually Asclepius became very good. It helped that Athena had given Asclepius Gorgon blood, which can bring the dead back to life, apparently.

Some say Asclepius took money in exchange for resurrection. Others say that Asclepius could actually make people immortal. Whatever it was, Hades got upset, because as god of the underworld he considered dead souls his rightful property. So he talked Zeus into striking Asclepius down with a thunderbolt.
This enraged Apollo, who killed the cyclopses who made the thunderbolt. Then Zeus, saddened at the loss of his cyclopses, decided to return them from Hades, and Apollo begged him to bring Asclepius as well. Zeus agreed. But Zeus made Asclepius promise not to bring people back from the dead any more. Reassured, Zeus placed Asclepius in the sky as a constellation.

The traditional interpretation of Socrates’ final words – We owe a cock to Asclepius, pay it, don’t forget - is that Asclepius was the god of health and the body, and since death is a kind of healing, sort of, Asclepius was owed gratitude. Well, maybe. But if Asclepius wasn’t resurrecting any more, what was the point of that? In the context of Socrates’ dying, couldn’t it have been just a last minute thing Socrates remembered, like “Make sure the lights are turned off,” or “Check to see if the doors are locked?” or “We gotta give a chicken to Asclepius.” Socrates and Crito were both old men, and subject to the pains of the flesh. Couldn’t this chicken have been an old promise unkept for the healing of old wounds? Or even just some guy in Athens, also named Asclepius, that they once borrowed a chicken from? A promise is a promise is the message I get. Unless gods make them to us. In which case, aside from the certain promise of death, don’t count on it, kids.

The New York Times, ladies and gentlemen!
“In Ohio, Holly Levitsky is replacing the Lucky Charms cereal in her kitchen with Millville Marshmallows and Stars, a less expensive store brand.”

In other news….
The DC Madam has apparently killed herself. Hm.

In other news….
Mariah Carey is now officially more popular than Elvis.

A response on Twitter is called a Tweet. Fuck y’all, fuck all of y’all.

You motherfuckers act like you’ve forgot about Dre.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New York Times wrote:
“In Ohio, Holly Levitsky is replacing the Lucky Charms cereal in her kitchen with Millville Marshmallows and Stars, a less expensive store brand.”

Oh, Millville, that's one of those interestingly-named Aldi's brands. It's as though someone thought them all up in an afternoon. "Millville": It's a town with a mill in it, where one might make cereal!


1:41 PM  
Blogger BonzoGal said...

Any person who eats marshmallows in cereal is a person to be watched.

4:41 PM  

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