April 09, 2009

The fog of war

There are plenty of good reasons for reading the classics, such as the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid. One of the best I've found is that it's a pretty good description of real life.

El Cabrero doesn't spend a lot of time at the legislature of my beloved state of West Virginia, but I was there enough this time to have a little mock Homeric deja vu.

In the Iliad, the tide of battle often switches back and forth, as various humans fight away and as various gods intervene here and there. No one really knows everything that is going on. As in the Aeneid, Rumor is the swiftest of the gods.

In the case of WV, the great god Randomness seems to have a lot of clout as well. Also prominent deities are Hades, god of wealth, Hermes, god of merchants and thieves, not to mention the great god Biscuit, patron of those who oppose menu labels with calorie information and the god of the gutless whose name escapes me at the moment.

At crucial times, Zeus weighs the fates of the combatants on his golden scales, which tip one way or another.

Of the many skirmishes this time, one of the most important ones had to do with the fate of WV's unemployment compensation fund, which is heading towards emptiness in the non-Buddhist sense.

A decent version passed the state senate, which included things that neither labor nor business was all that happy with. Then things hit the house side and everything was on again. In the end, a decent bill seemed to pass after some amendments.

The tide went one way and then another and even people I usually turn to find out what is really going on wasn't all that sure what was happening.

It can be quite a show but, alas, it is an epic without a bard.

AFTER THE BUST, a boom in bankruptcies.

WHAT'S NEXT? How bout doga, or yoga with dogs? While we're at it...

BETTER THAN A DOG? That may have been a factor in Charles Darwin's decision to marry. I could think of any number of things to say but will relinquish the opportunity.



Anonymous said...

The bards wrote the epics AFTER the battle. So there's plenty of time for you to channel Arlo Guthrie and come up with the next meandering classic that will be played from coast to coast on Thanksgiving.

I think the Greek name for the God of the Gutless is Wimperion.


ACCC Forum said...

I like this language from an earlier post , because it uses the word "tragic" in its proper technical sense, something you dpon't see very often:

"I've argued this week that whatever happens, the situation will be tragic for many coalfield communities."

Dean/Judge Guido Calabresi, a legal scholar, wrote a great book, "Tragic Choices" about social decisions that are "lose-lose," like the dilemmas of rationing medical treatment.

And wikipedia on "Tragedy" points out the "lose-lose" nature and special characteristics of classical tragic drama. Which of course came from an ancient Greek Dyonisian ceremony involving goats.

And here we are on the "goat rope" -- well, it's all starting to come clear . . .

El Cabrero said...

This one would take the full 24 books, just like the original. I don't know too many people up for that unless the Muses really kick in.

Yep. It's all goat songs all the time in sunny WV.

Thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Sometimes I think that true epic heroes are those willing to make a decision, take action, and sticky by it. We have had too many Achilles who throw temper tantrums and retreat to their tents and mope.

Perhaps the advice that supposedly came from Davey Crockett is on target: "Be sure you're right and then go ahead."