Tuesday, 29 June 2010

In Defence of Angry Women Pt 3

And they all think Maryanne is such a bitch. Well gorram but so do I. And its not fair.
Ever since the Middle Ages the gorram christians have been trying to conflate the horned god and Beelzebub, and its just not right. Its not right because its not accurate.
So the nice people that write True Blood and god bless them, really, god bless them – they are up to something. And I am not a cheat enough to fast forward through, watch the rest of Series Two and go “Good grief yes, that's it”. Because I am just human enough to want to work it out.
But right now I'm a might confused. I like chaos. I like the idea of communing with my god in a rampant rutting of confused love, lust. hate and physical violence. And I'm having one hell of a lot of trouble working out what's wrong with that.
Alright. So its a little messed up. But then so is ripping people's throats out for fun and we're not spending too long worrying about the morality of that.
Which is, I would have to say, what I like and do not like about Season Two. I want my amorality without any morality, thank you very much. I like my Eric nasty. And yes I like him vulnerable. But I'd like him vulnerable AND dripping in someone else's blood.
Which beings me back to maenads.
The Greek religion, the ancient Greek religion as opposed to Greek Orthodox Christianity which is its own all kinds of odd – does not have any ghosts or ghoulies. All the ghosts reside happily, or more to the point, not so, in Hades. If you want to talk to them, you have to go there. They don't just appear conveniently beside your bed, or on your ramparts or wherever Anglos prefer to meet their ghosts.
There are monsters, certainly. And very frightening ones. The Chimera - “all lion in front, all snake behind, all goat between”, or Medusa or the Minotaur. But these are not critters with which to scare children to sleep. These are fearful creatures of legend, who heroes fought and heroes slew.
And the things of Greek myth that truly did terrible things to humans, why, those are other people. Agamemnon who sacrificed his own daughter in her bridal robes; the Greek heroes who raped Cassandra at the altar of Apollo; Clytemnestra who murdered her child-killing husband; Medea who put her own children to the sword.
In that world; the world from which we borrow all our most lasting metaphors; our most vibrant images; horror is other people.
Maenads, the real maenads; are indeed the followers of Dionysius. But they are not eternal. They are ordinary Athenian housewives. Women who spent most of their lives confined to the dark upper stories of their homes, weaving and gossiping and wishing they were Penelope because at least maybe at the end of a long ten years not just would they have fended off some handsome suitors but they'd have a man like Odysesus to take to their beds.
These women; bored and frustrated. Women who spent the rest of the year listening to their men in the garden with their dancing girls and their clever chat and their beautiful boy lovers. These women were the ones who took part in the rituals of drinking and dancing. Of drum music and ecstatic performance. Wild on wine and dance they ran through the barren hills above Athens and when they found another living thing they rent it limb from limb – child, man, beast, tree. And after all they'd had to put up with; who can blame them.
That they sometimes ate the raw, dripping flesh – well all the better for them. Stuck in the upper rooms they'd have been lucky to have got some of the fish, let alone the red meat.
So I will not hear a word against maenads. Let them rend and tear; they no more do the devil's work than any others who reach out beyond themselves to touch a world of freedom that is denied them.

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