Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hey There, Want to Hear a Story?

Hello my lovely subscribers, this is me... or at least I think it is. As usual, it’s time for announcements and questions... always questions... always seeking something which sometimes turns out to be nothing more important than a park bench. SaltyOreo asked me why I choose to blog. Well Salty, I blog because it gives me a connection... or at least I like to think it does, to other people. Granted, it’s pixels on a screen in my mind, talking through data being transferred around the world, but it is some kind of connection nonetheless. Do you know why connections are important? I’ll tell you why connections are important, but first let me tell you what UtopiaDreamer has asked me to do my blog on this time... oh it’s a doozy, you can be sure of that. She asked me this time if I would do a blog on Jersey Shore... you want to know something Utopia? You have some of the worst ideas that I have ever heard... and I have heard many many bad ideas. I’m going to guess that you have an IQ to match theirs? I’m going to guess that your fake tan also matches and that you write to this blog committedly, despite my obvious attempts to dissuade you, because I actually acknowledge your existence, because I actually connect with you in some way rather than feigning disinterest. Connections... I was supposed to tell you about connections... but first I need to tell you a story. That’s why you are here isn’t it, a story?

As usual, I sat down with my drink and snack, I hooked myself up to the VR machine, and I experienced a story. This story was written by Edward Albee, and is called “the zoo story.” The story is about a man talking to another man. Simple yet eloquent in it’s own way. You see, one of the men had everything figured out, the other thought that he did... the poor guy. Jerry, the guy that had everything figured out, knew that connections were key. He didn’t have the best of lives, living in a run down place with assorted neighbors, a disgusting landlady that wanted him in a … let us say, carnal, way, and I truly didn’t have a friend in the world. I will say again for my point’s sake, that he knew that connections were key. What Jerry did not have though, was connections to people. The other man, however, had many connections. He lived a good life with a wife, children, cats and parakeets. The man had connections with his family and doubtlessly he had many a friend to talk to. The thing that this other man did not have was the knowledge that connections were key... are you seeing the theme here? Desperate for connections, I went to the zoo, looking for that spark between humans and animals to study so that Jerry might find that spark between people as well. While at the zoo, I figured out how to get that spark, that connection, so he walked north until he come to the other man, sitting, reading, thinking about nothing as far as I could tell. That is where the connection started you see? The man had his bench and was enjoying his day, oblivious to the blessings of connections that he had. Being a man with such good connections, I asked him if he wanted to know what happened to me at the zoo. I sparked a conversation you see, I sparked a conversation about random things. About the birds, and cats, and dogs and garbage scented landladies. He didn’t understand at first, but I’m sure that in the end, he understood me well enough. If not it’s his loss for I found what I needed in that connection we made. Yes, we made a connection alright. Perhaps it was more physical than I intended, but a connection was made and I know that value of that. Did I ever tell you what I did at the zoo? What I learned? I’ll tell you that later. For now I need to ask you something my ethereal connections. I know that you are no more tangible than the hologram figures that line my bedroom wall, but you are some sort of connections to me. What am I to you? Tell me, I want to understand... I’m afraid that I don’t have much time left...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fate, or Decision, That 'Tis the Question.

Hello my lovely subscribers, this is Salvic, back with another commentary of ancient texts... okay, maybe not ancient, but old as dirt I think is still applicable. Before I get to that though, you guys (and gals, I wouldn’t want to forget the lovely ladies out there) know the drill. It’s Q&A time as well as a few announcements. First off, I want to congratulate the user UntamedMage for his correct guess of Breaking Benjamin, and the song was “I Will Not Bow”. Oddly enough, it seems that the song title has a little to do with our story today, but I’m skipping ahead... we will just call that a little spoiler. UntamedMage, your mental album should be available to you whenever you want it; it’s a great album, I hope you enjoy it. DelilahTruth asked me what my real name is. She seems to assume that it is not really Salvic. Well Delilah, you know what they say about assumptions... they make an ass out of you and me (I’m joking). Unfortunately Salvic is not my real name. I will not tell you my real name because quite frankly, it’s not important, nor do I care for it overly much. Please, simply call me Salvic. Now, UtopiaDreamer, I love your enthusiasm and persistence, but I’m not going to do a blog on My Little Ponies... was there even a book written about them? Not that I would be surprised if there was, but...  just... no. Now that we have settled that, shall we get onto the story?

Spork4Hire suggested to me that Shakespeare's Hamlet would be an interesting story to cover. Not two seconds later, I received a message from FlowStoneMarble suggesting Sophocles’ Oedipus. I was fairly familiar with the two stories and thought to myself... why not do both of them? Well my followers, that is precisely what I did. I got my customary drink and snack, sat down, and hooked myself up for roughly seven hours of VR. Rather than comment on the stories themselves, I’ll highlight the main points, and I’ll tell you about a related theme that I noticed the two shared.

The story of Hamlet is about a prince whose father died. The prince was told by his ghost father that it was his uncle that killed him and that he must avenge the father. Knowing that the murdering uncle married his widowed mother made the deceased king’s request all the more desirable. From here on out the story is full of political intrigue, plots of murder and backstabbing, even amongst best of friends. At the end, most of the main characters lie dead, either by suicide, or murder. It’s a tragic tale really. Only the epic soap-opera’s of the 90’s match the drama that is tossed around in this story.

Oedipus is a tragic tale as well. While running away from a prophecy foretelling the murder of his father and the incest with his mother, Oedipus was met on the road by a group of men. They got into a fight and he ended up killing them in self defense. When Oedipus reached the city of Thebes, he solved a sphinx’s riddle which in turn freed the city of her tyranny. As reward, they made Oedipus their king. Oedipus married the former, deceased king’s wife and they ended up having children. Many years later, the town is beset by a terrible plague of infertility. An oracle tells the king that the person that killed the old king is the reason for the plague and that until that individual is either banished, or killed, the plague would continue to torment the town. After an eye witness of the event is brought forward, Oedipus discovers that he is the murderer of the former king, that the king was one of the men that he had met on the road while running away from the family that had raised him. To top it off, he found out that the people that had raised him were not his real parents but that his father was the very man that he had killed on the road in self defense, and that his mother was none other than his wife. Upon this revelation, his mother/wife hung herself, and Oedipus, upon discovering this, gouged his eyes out in shame and sorrow... lovely tale.

Now, my readers, I come to the point that I saw the two shared. Chances are that you might be wondering what it is I saw that these two stories have in common other than the tragic nature; if so, consider this. When you look at both stories, to me, there is an overwhelming theme of how greed atrophies all good things. In the case of Hamlet the uncles greed for power, and lust for the king’s wife, prompts him to murder his own brother in cold blood. From there it all spirals down, siring hate, vengeance, sorrow, deceit, and death to everyone around him. You might be saying at this point that sure, greed permeates Hamlet, but how was Oedipus greedy? Well, as far as I can tell, fate had a plan for Oedipus. Oedipus was running away from a prophesy and in doing so, caused it to happen. His transgression of sin was wanting to live life, and do things, his way. When fate dictates that you do something, it is going to happen anyway; If you try to fight against it, you usually only end up hurting yourself, and others, in the process. He wanted to take control of his life and was greedy for that control. He determined that he could avoid the whole thing if he “outsmarted” the gods. The gods had other plans for him.

That raises a question to me though... Do you feel that either Hamlet or Oedipus had a choice with what they did? Hamlet was haunted by his father’s ghost, imploring him to end his uncle. Oedipus was being pawn to the gods’ game of chess. To me Oedipus had no say in what happened, no choice in the matter because he had a distinct lack of information. The only real choice that I could see was his decision to try to run away from his fate. Hamlet, on the other hand, was haunted by his father, true, but made a calculated effort to kill his uncle, and to do so in a way that would ensure that the uncle would go to hell. My question to you, readers, and one that I hope you share with us, is this: did either of them really have any choice in the matter; was either of them blameless in the end? Also I’ll give you something else to consider for yourself: Have you ever tried to run away from fate/God/karma/whatever else you might believe in? How did that go for you? Was it pointless? Was the decision based out of the greed of wanting to live life on your terms rather than what fate decreed? If so, I guess that you are reading this which leads me to believe that it’s safe to assume that your life turned out better than the poor unfortunate souls that we discussed. As always, look for the underlined letters if you want a chance to win some cool, vintage music. This has been Salvic Rodvic, and I’m out.