These myths you like so much are a goddamn horrorshow, Benito.
This is why I absolutely forbade my mom from sitting in on any of my mythology lectures. Because my Power Points were full of paintings of ladies getting raped by swans and I used phrases like “junk blood” on multiple occasions.
What is your favorite ghost story? Or, if you can't choose a favorite, what's one that you like a lot?
Tough question. I like so many. My preferred style of “this really happened” story is one that’s about the person who becomes the ghost and why they’re haunting where they are. These are the kind I like to adapt into Hector stories: the girl who hangs herself in the sorority house for getting rejected, the lovers separated by death, and so on.
Historically based ghost stories I really enjoy include the Winchester Mystery House and the Bell Witch.
Literary ghost stories? Hmm, probably Turn of the Screw? The Carnacki stories?
The story that probably scared me most as a kid was Bloody Mary, though that’s barely a story. I can attest, however, that every Halloween I tell the kids I work with ghost stories, and nothing has scared them more than Bloody Mary.
Favorite ghost story that happened to me personally? This:
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind? What do you do if you have Writer's Block?
Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I don’t. It depends on how clear a given project is in my head. The less fully formed a story is, the more likely I am to need silence and an absence of other distractions.
When I have a good grip on a story, I might play music to help attain a mood I’m aiming for. For example, when I’m writing Hector Plasm, I might put on Tom Waits, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Decemberists, Iron and Wine, or something similar. When I’m writing Santa comics, I’ll for sure listen to Christmas music, even if it is seasonally inappropriate. Or I’ll listen to Joanna Newsom at any time, because I ALWAYS feel like listening to Joanna Newsom.
As for writer’s block, when inreally need to beat it, I’ll try to do something to remove all distractions and let my mind wander, like taking a walk, going for a drive, taking a shower or anything where I’m by myself and there’s no Internet. Listening to music can help sometimes, as occasionally there will be just the perfect word that triggers a flood of ideas.
Are you a podcast listener? If so, What's you fav'rit?
I listen to War Rocket Ajax every week just in case they mention my name.
Otherwise, I mostly listen to podcasts of NPR shows: This American Life, RadioLab (the best), and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.
I also listen to The Moth on occasion, and if I’m going on a long drive, I’ll load up on the Savage Lovecast. WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour if there’s a guest I’m interested in.
I know there are a million comedy podcasts people like, and I listen to those sometimes, but I really only listen to podcasts when I’m driving or washing dishes, so I have a limited amount of time to devote to listening to them.
I really wanted to think of a cool mythological thing to ask you about, but unfortunately all I have is this one about punctuation. Okay. So. When I was in school, some twenty years ago, I was taught that the correct way to type a list of things was like this: "peaches, pears, plums and tangerines." But now, apparently, all of that has changed. Now I'm supposed to say "peaches, pears, plums, and tangerines." Whence the extra comma, Benito? Whence?
Ah, the much ballyhooed Oxford comma. (I know you are unaware of any pop culture that has arisen since the death of Douglas Adams, so you may not know this: there was a popular song called “Oxford Comma.”)
Anyway, the Oxford comma is also known as a serial comma and is that last comma before the conjunction in a series of three or more items. It’s strange that you were taught not to use one, as it is considered conventional in American English outside of journalism. The Chicago Manual of Style endorses its use; the AP Stylebook (used by journalists) advocates against it. Additionally, it is not conventional in British English and some other European languages.
One of the prime arguments for its use is to avoid ambiguity:
"I’d like to give a shout-out to my parents, Jesus and Kobe Bryant"
means something quite different from
"I’d like to give a shout-out to my parents, Jesus, and Kobe Bryant."
(Although in some cases it might actually add ambiguity: “to my father, Jesus, and Kobe Bryant.”)
Additionally, the Oxford comma more closely resembles the cadences of a spoken sentence in terms of pauses.
Arguments against the Oxford comma are: it adds clutter; it is redundant as the conjunction makes the comma unnecessary; I want Vampire Weekend to think I’m cool.
It is, in fact, an issue that may never be resolved. The pretty deece punctuation book Eats, Shoots & Leaves says, “There are people who embrace the Oxford comma, and people who don’t, and I’ll just say this: never get between these people when drink has been taken.”
In short: do what you want, and don’t begrudge another person his or her choice.
So am I the only one shipping the piano playing guy and all of the chairs in the music room... I mean are there any cases of mythology getting cleaned the same way a lot of the Bible did like when some translators replaced references to genital being cut off with feet or other limbs getting cut off?
Classically? Not that I’m immediately aware of. Myths change for all sorts of reasons, primarily sucking up to patrons or one’s hometown, but I can’t think of an example from classical antiquity of a bowdlerized myth. Let’s be honest: the culture that brought us Priapus as a divinity (don’t wiki at work) was not super concerned about wieners in their stories. If anything, Ovid was likely to add MORE lurid stuff to his versions.
Anyone who knows a counter-example, please let me know.
Myths were DEFINITELY expurgated post-classically, even up to today. I mean, there are definitely students who are being told that Achilles was mad when Patroclus was killed because they were, you know, SUPER good friends. Any well-known collection of myths was likely put together by a stuffy Edwardian British person, so is probably euphemized at the least.
My favorite example is d’Aulaire’s Greek Myths (in fairness, a book for children), which has Zeus wandering the world just marrying the shit out of some ladies. Polygamy is better than extra-marital sex, I suppose.
ellenigor said: “As I kid I thought it was so mean to steal her away, but then it felt like they slowly learned to get along. In my mythological canon they’re the stablest couple among the gods. Once Persephone made Minthe…umm, minty, Hades got the picture.”
I wrote a poem referencing Persephone "coupling" with her captor. A friend insists classical sources do not support such behavior, and that P "ate some pomegranate seeds" but "never had relations with that god", and this sex nonsense is the fault of teenagers on the internets. My counter-argument was mostly "she is a lady in GrecoRoman myth, come on", but I would like to defer to you, "Judge John Hodgeman" style. Your verdict would be, if not in my favor, at least informed and entertaining. -gil
"Never had relations with that god" is almost certainly false. The outcome of Persephone’s abduction is her official marriage to Hades. However, I have seen enough sitcoms to know that once a couple is married, they never have sex again. On the other hand, the Twilight novels of Stephenie Meyer seem to indicate that sex occurs only after marriage, so I don’t know WHO to believe. Classically, at least, theirs was a childless marriage, so…maybe they didn’t? But probably they did, get real. However, your question seems to be more specifically, "Did they have sex during Persephone’s captivity?" The answer to which is a resounding "Who fucking knows?" The main literary source for the rape of Persephone (which means abduction in this instance rather than necessarily sexual assault, though I guess that’s what we’re discussing) is the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and the focus there is Demeter’s search for her daughter rather than what was going on in the underworld. If anyone was going to be keen on writing a poem in which a god looks like a drooling rapist, it’s Ovid, and his retellings in the Metamorphoses and the Fasti also tell us zero about what happened between the abduction and the eating of the pomegranate seeds. But Demeter was searching a pretty significant amount of time for Persephone, so SOMETHING had to be happening. It is a mystery akin to those eighteen minutes of dead air on the Watergate tapes, by which I mean I assume Hades and Persephone were listening to Alice’s Restaurant over and over. The fact is this: nobody of any mythographical authority mentions what was going on during Persephone’s captivity, so it is completely up to your interpretation of Hades’ character whether or not they were knocking sandals at this time. Personally, I have always viewed Hades as the Strong Sad of the three sons of Cronus, so in my opinion, Hades probably spent that time trying to woo her with his poetry about storm clouds as a metaphor for his dickish older brothers or impress her with his collection of Smiths records. Your mileage may vary. Anyway, my point is this: this stuff was always changing to fit the author’s purpose; do what is thematically appropriate to your work; fuck haters.
Quoting from H.W. Janson’sApes and Ape Lore in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance:
The ape’s lack of tail had, of course, been noted in classical times, but it was not until the advent of Christianity that this member—or the absence of it—achieved metaphysical significance. Had not the Lord…
Really interesting topic, but I find myself distracted by the fact that ἄπνγος is not in any way a word. Trying to figure out what might be intended, but mostly thinking someone thought they could look smarter by throwing nonsense Greek letters in and hoping no one would catch it (this is the basic philosophy of my career).