Author Topic: Music & Ancient Literature  (Read 1099 times)

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Offline JamesR

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Music & Ancient Literature
« on: December 28, 2013, 07:13:37 PM »
This is a bit of a rant, but bear with me.

You know what I don't understand?

How come music--in particular, hip-hop and rock/metal--is considered trash when it contains profane lyrics involving sex and violence, and all of the puritan media groups and religious organizations--even many Orthodox people and clergy--advise against listening to it because it's considered a blasphemy before God to fill your head with sinful behavior.

Yet,

Ancient works of literature like The Odyssey and Beowulf are just as full of profanity, violence, and sex, and yet they are hailed as classic works of art and virtually every Greek person alive has some type of fetish for The Odyssey and compares Odysseus to Christ?

Why are so many people telling their children to read books like the aforementioned epics instead of listening to profane music even though the books are often just as bad--if not worse?

I think that Beowulf tearing a guy's arms off (Book 13) is a lot more violent than Ice Cube screaming "**** the Police!" or Marilyn Manson wearing black clothing and white face paint. I think that Odysseus committing adultery on his wife with a god and sexually enslaving "the captive women in their low-girdled dresses" (3:154) is a lot more inappropriate than "The way she's grinding that pole/I think I'm losing control" or "I'm not a player I just **** a lot."

Just saying...

/rant
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline quietmorning

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 04:55:01 PM »
James, in any writing, every word should have meaning and should be necessary to the story.  If I am writing a character and the character uses profanity, then it must be necessary to the story and to the building of that character.  

Unnecessary profanity, sex just for the sake of sale, violence for the sake of pulling listeners doesn't do anything but bring the soul to a place of numbness.  These are classics because 1) they are the first of their kind to use the writing format used.  2) the words, events are all necessary for the character and the building of the story.  

I love to listen to Eminem.  He's a phenomenal writer.  He uses profanity - and if you took one word out of what he is writing, then you lose the whole meaning of the song.  There are some songs I don't like to listen to - the ones where he rages on someone in a personal way. . .

So try to look at it from a writer's point of view. . .is it the lyrics you're after or the music / sound behind the lyrics?  Are they saying something of value . . .and as in an argument, is their statement of value weakened by the use of profanity, sex or violence?

« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 05:01:37 PM by quietmorning »
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Offline quietmorning

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2013, 05:00:41 PM »
dup post, sorry folks.


« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 05:01:09 PM by quietmorning »
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 05:05:14 PM »
You do realize that the violence in Beowulf is directed against a creature of evil for the defense of others who are in the hall of Hrothgar praising the creator of the universe. Just sayin'.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 05:18:43 PM »
Why is this in the Non-Religious Topics subforum?

It surely seems like some self-righteous, moralistic opinion based on offending some religious (and thin) standard. If not that, bored Sunday trolling.
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Offline Romaios

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2013, 05:26:25 PM »
virtually every Greek person alive has some type of fetish for The Odyssey and compares Odysseus to Christ

 :laugh:

Polymeros kai polytropos palai ho Theos lalesas... (Hebrews 1:1)

Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, polytropon... (Odyssey 1:1)

That's the best I can come up with...

Maybe you meant to say "compares Orpheus to Christ". You'd have much better luck with that.

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 05:35:58 PM »
Maybe you meant to say "compares Orpheus to Christ". You'd have much better luck with that.

Or, even better, Socrates.
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Offline Gamliel

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2013, 05:37:38 PM »
^ Did you win a novel writing award recently?

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2013, 05:42:40 PM »
Why is this in the Non-Religious Topics subforum?

It surely seems like some self-righteous, moralistic opinion based on offending some religious (and thin) standard. If not that, bored Sunday trolling.
+1.  My sentiments exactly.

As a professor of the Greek and Latin languages, I would normally welcome and be glad to engage you on such a topic, but since you assert such blatantly false premises as this doosey:


Ancient works of literature like The Odyssey and Beowulf are just as full of profanity, violence, and sex, and yet they are hailed as classic works of art and virtually every Greek person alive has some type of fetish for The Odyssey and compares Odysseus to Christ?

I refuse to honor your request.  BTW, can you point me to these Greeks who have a fetish for the Odyssey and compare Odysseus to Christ?  The Greeks honor and revere the Odyssey as part of their heritage just as the British honor and revere Shakespeare's works or as the Finns revere and honor the Kalevala.  I think you need to clarify what the definition of "fetish" is.
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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2013, 05:44:23 PM »
^ Did you win a novel writing award recently?

I completed a challenge to draft a novel in 30 days. Still not sure if I'm going to polish it for publication.
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2013, 05:46:51 PM »
Compared to some parts of the Greek Anthology those rappers seem to be decent yet puritanic old ladies.

Maybe you meant to say "compares Orpheus to Christ". You'd have much better luck with that.

St. Clement would disagree :)

Quote
In my opinion, therefore, our Thracian, Orpheus and the Theban [Amphion] and the Methymnian [Arion] too, are not worthy of the name of man, since they were deceivers. Under cover of music they have outraged human life, being influenced by daemons, through some artful sorcery, to compass man’s ruin. By commemorating deeds of violence in their religious rites, and by bringing stories of sorrow into worship, they were the first to lead men by the hand to idolatory; yes, and with stocks and stones, that is to say, statues and pictures, to build up the stupid custom. By their chants and enchantments they have held captive in the lowest slavery that truly noble freedom which belongs to those who are citizens under heaven.

-St. Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus, 1

« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 05:52:41 PM by Cyrillic »
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2013, 05:53:17 PM »
^ Did you win a novel writing award recently?

I completed a challenge to draft a novel in 30 days. Still not sure if I'm going to polish it for publication.

What was the plot? You should've told us more about it.
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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 06:00:40 PM »
^ Did you win a novel writing award recently?

I completed a challenge to draft a novel in 30 days. Still not sure if I'm going to polish it for publication.

What was the plot? You should've told us more about it.

It's full of plotholes, but the main idea involves a turf war between Hel and Hekate. Spheres of influence, and all that. It may or may not go the comedy route.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2013, 07:03:00 PM »
I think you need to clarify what the definition of "fetish" is.

I really wish you didn't ask him to do this...
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2013, 08:00:31 PM »
I think you need to clarify what the definition of "fetish" is.

I really wish you didn't ask him to do this...

Sorry.  I should have thought that through.  Mea culpa! :angel:
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2013, 08:08:46 PM »
As a professor of the Greek and Latin languages

When did you get your raise?

First as a Latinist.

Really didn't think you could top that. Well done.

Seriously, I really do hope you were trying to get me to laugh.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2013, 08:09:28 PM »
^ Did you win a novel writing award recently?

As always, JamesR's threads generate pure win.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2013, 08:11:25 PM »
I think you need to clarify what the definition of "fetish" is.

I really wish you didn't ask him to do this...

I don't care if Scam if a self described Professor of Latinism, I would bet JamesR would hit closer to what a fetish is than he.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 08:12:22 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2013, 08:56:54 PM »
Ancient works of literature like The Odyssey and Beowulf are just as full of profanity, violence, and sex, and yet they are hailed as classic works of art

May I ask what translation of Beowulf you have read that has profanity or sex?  Yes, there are descriptions of violence such as the sea beasts dragging the young hero down in the sea such that he slays them such that sailors will no longer have to fear being attacked.
  "From now on/ sailors would be safe, the deep-sea raids/ were over for good" (lines 567-569, Seamus Heaney translation)

The "guy" you refer to was Grendel a supernatural monster who has been killing people in King Hrothgar's hall for some time. Beowulf and his companions come to the king's court to put an end to the terror and destruction.  The other characters Beowulf confronts are Grendel's mother, equally supernatural and evil and a dragon that is attacking Beowulf's own subjects.  He is not engaged in such acts to be a thug but to be a hero for others.

Have you read all of the poem? 
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2013, 09:07:41 PM »
Ancient works of literature like The Odyssey and Beowulf are just as full of profanity, violence, and sex, and yet they are hailed as classic works of art
The "guy" you refer to was Grendel a supernatural monster who has been killing people in King Hrothgar's hall for some time.

The apologies for the violence of Beowulf here demonstrate quite clearly the role of the fetish, if nearly every post around here about icons didn't already, or pretty much every post in the private forums.

And James, stop reading Beowulf. It's garbage and pointless. Much like the fans of the work it remains forever unproductive.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2013, 09:11:30 PM »
As a professor of the Greek and Latin languages

When did you get your raise?

First as a Latinist.

Really didn't think you could top that. Well done.

Seriously, I really do hope you were trying to get me to laugh.

Yeah, my whole reason for my continued participation on this board is to tickle your funny bone since it's always about you, isn't it?
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Offline biro

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2013, 09:12:48 PM »
'Beowulf' is good. Who was apologizing for it?
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2013, 09:14:54 PM »
I think you need to clarify what the definition of "fetish" is.

I really wish you didn't ask him to do this...

I don't care if Scam if a self described Professor of Latinism Latin,

Fixed it for you.  No charge.  But, hardly self-described. I have credentials.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2013, 09:36:37 PM »
I think you need to clarify what the definition of "fetish" is.

I really wish you didn't ask him to do this...

I don't care if Scam if a self described Professor of Latinism Latin,

Fixed it for you.  No charge.  But, hardly self-described. I have credentials.

You are a high school teacher, so did that change?

I gotta bail. Maybe after the next holiday. I am getting weird redirects back to google from this site ATM.

If this manages to go through . . .
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2013, 09:42:27 PM »
Ancient works of literature like The Odyssey and Beowulf are just as full of profanity, violence, and sex, and yet they are hailed as classic works of art
The "guy" you refer to was Grendel a supernatural monster who has been killing people in King Hrothgar's hall for some time.

The apologies for the violence of Beowulf here demonstrate quite clearly the role of the fetish, if nearly every post around here about icons didn't already, or pretty much every post in the private forums.

And James, stop reading Beowulf. It's garbage and pointless. Much like the fans of the work it remains forever unproductive.

And what would do you like to read?
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2013, 09:44:19 PM »
I suppose Beowulf with added sex would be more reproductive.
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2013, 09:51:10 PM »
'Beowulf' is good. Who was apologizing for it?

Perhaps my stating what the situation is in the poem, with quote, was somehow oddly construed as some form of "apology".   Rather understanding the characters, plot and general situation of a work can be most helpful in understanding it. 

If a person does not care for it, that is her/his personal opinion though one might wonder why it is held if no other information is given in explanation.

Do you have a favourite translation?  Have you read other works of Old English and/or Norse literature?
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2013, 09:52:28 PM »
I suppose Beowulf with added sex would be more reproductive.


But it would hardly fit in the narrative....  ;)
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2013, 10:00:17 PM »
I suppose Beowulf with added sex would be more reproductive.


But it would hardly fit in the narrative....  ;)

That's not stopped Hollywood before. :)
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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2013, 10:01:33 PM »
I used to have the DVD movie.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 10:01:43 PM by WPM »

Offline Ebor

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2013, 10:04:37 PM »
I suppose Beowulf with added sex would be more reproductive.


But it would hardly fit in the narrative....  ;)

That's not stopped Hollywood before. :)

I'll stick to the original work, thanks.   :)

I have seen part of the cg movie and there has been some ummmm wild embroidering might one say. 
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2013, 10:06:36 PM »
I suppose Beowulf with added sex would be more reproductive.


But it would hardly fit in the narrative....  ;)

That's not stopped Hollywood before. :)

I'll stick to the original work, thanks.   :)

I have seen part of the cg movie and there has been some ummmm wild embroidering might one say. 

You haven't seen anything until you see the version with Christoper Lambert.  Horrible, absolutely horrible!
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2013, 10:15:21 PM »
I suppose Beowulf with added sex would be more reproductive.


But it would hardly fit in the narrative....  ;)

That's not stopped Hollywood before. :)

I'll stick to the original work, thanks.   :)

I have seen part of the cg movie and there has been some ummmm wild embroidering might one say.  

You haven't seen anything until you see the version with Christoper Lambert.  Horrible, absolutely horrible!

I just looked it up.  Oh,dear....  Talk about a movie 'loosely based on a title"....

To quote another literary work  "I would prefer not to." if it's all the same to you.   :D
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 10:16:51 PM by Ebor »
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2013, 01:46:57 AM »
He is not engaged in such acts to be a thug but to be a hero for others.

"Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?"

The same thing can be said about "violent" and "profane" forms of music such as hip-hop, where the violence and profanity is often used and interpreted as a way of rebelling against what the artist perceives as an oppressive society--such as NWA and police brutality, etc. Many of these rappers and rock stars are heroes for others. Ice Cube is a hero to Blacks; Eminem to Whites with crazy mothers, Marilyn Manson to depressed gothic kids.

The issue here is simply a double-standard. All the old farts in the world want to acknowledge their garbage as works of art and will go through great lengths to articulate lousily-crafted apologetics for these fetishes, but they won't do the same for modern garbage.

And I'd much rather listen to modern garbage that's at least relevant to my generation than to read ancient, irrelevant garbage that's been overly praised and fetishized by old farts who want to make their generation or culture or whatever seem more artistic or grand than it really was.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 01:51:17 AM by JamesR »
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline JamesR

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2013, 01:59:09 AM »
And James, stop reading Beowulf. It's garbage and pointless.

Yeah it is. I thought that the excessive alliteration was cool at first, but for the most part, it just seems like a cheesy action movie put in writing, except, at least in the case of the former, there are cool visual graphics to occasionally make it interesting, whereas in the case of the latter, I have to waste my effort visualizing what I read.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
In the infinite wisdom of God, James can be all three.

Offline KostaC

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #35 on: December 30, 2013, 02:26:48 AM »
Ancient works of literature like The Odyssey and Beowulf are just as full of profanity, violence, and sex, and yet they are hailed as classic works of art and virtually every Greek person alive has some type of fetish for The Odyssey and compares Odysseus to Christ?

The Hell'd you get that from? I couldn't care less about the Odyssey, the Iliad, or any other Archaic Greek work. Of the top of my head, I don't even know who wrote the Odyssey. Not every Greek cares at all about Ancient Greek history or culture, and the stereotype gets real old real fast. This is coming from someone who's minoring in Modern Greek (what can I say, I'm about that vernacular life); come back to me when you say every Greek loves Digenes Akritas: the Two-Blood Border-Lord and why it sucks, and then we can have an argument.

And where have you ever heard of anyone compare Odysseos to Jesus? That's an anachronism if I've ever heard one.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 02:29:12 AM by KostaC »
«Μὴ μεριμνᾶτε λοιπὸν διὰ τὴν αὔριον, διὀτι ἡ αὐριανὴ ἡμέρα θὰ φροντίσῃ διὰ τὰ δικά της πράγματα. Φθάνει ἡ στεναχώρια τῆς ἡμέρας». Κατά Ματθαίον 6:34

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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2013, 06:17:33 AM »
All the old farts in the world want to acknowledge their garbage as works of art and will go through great lengths to articulate lousily-crafted apologetics for these fetishes, but they won't do the same for modern garbage.

Epics like the Odyssey are works of art, unlike rap.  Everyone can string together some profanities and wear golden chains, but I would be surprised to see those rappers rap their raps, comprising 24 books, in the dactylic hexameter.

Yes, there's also bad ancient literature. The Satyricon of Petronius is pretty bad.

Most of the bad literature from antiquity didn't survive. Rap probably won't survive the revolution of twenty centuries either.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 06:27:15 AM by Cyrillic »
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Offline IoanC

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #37 on: December 30, 2013, 06:20:06 AM »
Don't listen to puritans when it comes to emancipation and don't listen to progressists when it comes to human values.

Offline Ebor

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2013, 06:08:05 PM »
He is not engaged in such acts to be a thug but to be a hero for others.

"Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?"

I'm sorry, could you explain what that line has to do with what I wrote, please?  Are you calling me a fool because I offered some information about the poem?  I do not recall ever making declarations against hip-hop or other recent forms of music, (though you might be surprised by some of what I have listened to and enjoyed).  

Also, you wrote that there was sex and profanity in Beowulf. What are you referring to, please and what translation?

Quote
The same thing can be said about "violent" and "profane" forms of music such as hip-hop, where the violence and profanity is often used and interpreted as a way of rebelling against what the artist perceives as an oppressive society--such as NWA and police brutality, etc. Many of these rappers and rock stars are heroes for others. Ice Cube is a hero to Blacks; Eminem to Whites with crazy mothers, Marilyn Manson to depressed gothic kids.

Thank you for giving some of your thoughts. This helps in understanding your point of view.  

Quote
The issue here is simply a double-standard. All the old farts in the world want to acknowledge their garbage as works of art and will go through great lengths to articulate lousily-crafted apologetics for these fetishes, but they won't do the same for modern garbage.

And I'd much rather listen to modern garbage that's at least relevant to my generation than to read ancient, irrelevant garbage that's been overly praised and fetishized by old farts who want to make their generation or culture or whatever seem more artistic or grand than it really was.

Would you please now explain what you mean by apologetics (which I do not think that explaining a particular character or situation is) and "fetish"?  

I certainly read a lot of different works and listen to a variety of music. There are some forms that I personally don't care for and that's all it is, my personal preference. I do not expect everyone to be like me.  So I do not have any "double-standard" in that regard.

What have you been exposed to that leads to such vehemence and name-calling?   Why call music or literature "garbage" at all?  

With respect,

Ebor

« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 06:08:42 PM by Ebor »
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2013, 12:07:43 AM »
He is not engaged in such acts to be a thug but to be a hero for others.

"Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?"

The same thing can be said about "violent" and "profane" forms of music such as hip-hop, where the violence and profanity is often used and interpreted as a way of rebelling against what the artist perceives as an oppressive society--such as NWA and police brutality, etc. Many of these rappers and rock stars are heroes for others. Ice Cube is a hero to Blacks; Eminem to Whites with crazy mothers, Marilyn Manson to depressed gothic kids.

The issue here is simply a double-standard. All the old farts in the world want to acknowledge their garbage as works of art and will go through great lengths to articulate lousily-crafted apologetics for these fetishes, but they won't do the same for modern garbage.

And I'd much rather listen to modern garbage that's at least relevant to my generation than to read ancient, irrelevant garbage that's been overly praised and fetishized by old farts who want to make their generation or culture or whatever seem more artistic or grand than it really was.

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Offline Keble

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #40 on: January 01, 2014, 11:46:29 AM »
JamesR, to paraphrase a famous line about the art at the Louvre: Beowulf isn't on trial; you are.

Offline vamrat

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Re: Music & Ancient Literature
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2014, 10:55:56 AM »
The 13th Warrior was art.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.