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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bah!

Americans embarass me. As a people, we are ignorant and self-righteous. This is an extraordinarily bad combination.

A month or so ago, I heard that there was a complaint filed with the FCC about the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. When I first heard this, I was stunned. Apparently, those complaints have not gone away or been shelved as pure poppycock. Now the chairman of the Olympic Committee has gotten wind of this, and she's fuming. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is laughing at as, as usual. As a student of Greek Art and Archaelogy, I was awestruck by the opening ceremonies. There, in living flesh were some of the greatest extant works of greek art from the most ancient through the classical period and into the Byzantine and modern eras. Seeing the bull jumpers come to life is extraordinary. Seeing the rows of Kouroi with their hair plaited was magical. Seeing the Minoan Snake Goddess in motion was an astonishing joy. To imply that these were "lewd" or "indecent" is offensive to the core. These are some of the greatest works of art of all time. The transition in greek art to statuary that was individual and had individual faces was a historic moment. As the Greeks broke away from the postures of the Egypian statuary, and started to sculpt figures in motion, as the statuary moved from the columnar Hera of Samos into individual arms and legs and faces, that progression also coincides with the development of the world's greatest cultures - cultures that are still a model for our society today. To say that that is lewd and indecent and shouldn't be shown makes us no better than the people hundreds of years ago who bashed the penises of the statues because they felt them to be indecent. The only indecency is to destroy some of the most important works of art in history - or to ask the world to deny their existence. This is not ancient pornography. The ancient Greeks revered the human form, and I think we still have a lot to learn from them.

In case you haven't seen the opening ceremonies, the only thing indecent about it was the voice overs by the NBC announcers. It was the history of greek art come to life. It was a guy on a spinning cube. It was Bjork in a dress that covered not only herself, but all of the atheletes. It was a little greek boy in a boat. The only way to find something lewd in that presentation is to enter into watching it with a dirty mind.

2 Comments:

  • I so agree with you. But then, you knew that.

    By Blogger Zhaneel, at 2:20 PM  

  • I too adored the living depictions of the art - I thought it was magical.

    I really don't understand how people can be so ashamed of the human form.

    Sigh.

    By Blogger BlackSheep, at 9:18 PM  

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