Tag Archives: shakespeare

‘Major Dundee’ (1965) – film essay

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Ambition, made of sterner stuff, is the solder’s virtue that chooses gain, which darkens him. Bravery, comprised of nobler spirit, is the solder’s honor that elevates the soldier’s merit to the echelon of Homeric virtue of arete, the excellence of man leading to achieving a supernatural feat of heroism. An excellent soldier with arete knows no boundary of political, religious, social, or racial division and transcends the subjectivity of time. Major Dundee (1965), an American western film directed by Sam Peckinpah, cogently translates a balanced, objective equilibrium to test the validity of the soldiers’ virtues on the continuum of the Homeric arete in the background setting of the American Civil War.

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Major Amos Charles Dundee of the Union Army (played by Charlton Heston) is a man of primitive ambition of glory sent to head a squalid prisoner-of-war camp in the New Mexico Territory. There he meets his former friend turned foe Confederate Captain Benjamin Tyreen (played by Richard Harris), who bears a grudge against Major Dundee for his betrayal of friendship. The notable tension between the two always remains even after their uneasy but necessary collaboration. Still, the esprit de corps consisting of unlikely but able-bodied characters sets to take out the Apache War Party in the new territories. Major Dundee sets out for the campaign not of pure divine patriotism but his glory despite his contentions with Captain Tyreen, who is more morally honorable and culturally sophisticated than himself.

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It is Captain Tyreen, the renegade leader of the southern rebels who embodies the model of the arete, combined with moral integrity and soldierly fitness fabulously demonstrated in his effortlessly stylish habiliment. He is a dandy gentleman with decency and learning and an exemplary soldier and leader with justice and bravery. The refinement of civility as incarnate in the figure of Captain Tyreen is vividly contrasted with the rough intransigence of Major Dundee through the exterior appearances and actions of the two opposite characters. Even Captain Tyreen’s attitude toward the colored Union soldiers surpasses Major Dundee’s languid attitude toward his colored soldiers fighting for the same cause.

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“Major Dundee” is a new type of western that abandons its common thematic elements consisting of noble savages, self-righteous lone gunslingers, the arch-villains, and beautiful women in pursuit. It is a new type of western that begins to be aware of the societal changes in the reflection of the nature of humanity with bold actions of likable bravado and admiring characters that are not circumscribed in the extreme ambit of norms and conventions with an artistic touch of vivid realism. Despite the rather unsatisfying commercial success of the film when it first came out, I find this film both entertaining and thoughtful in the historical background of the Civil War, showing true bravery equipped with respectful integrity of a person, friend or foe. There is no better sign of excellence in man than the bare demonstration of the act.

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Beautiful Santa Barbara

 

 

To see the pretty summer sky is poetry breathing life. The world outside books provide the optical pleasure that sparks up otherwise monotonous landscapes of everyday life. Indeed, it was such a beautiful morning that would make you forgive your persona non-grate with the love of mankind. It was a kind of jolly morning that made the whole world seem kin.  So Tuco took a lovely jaunt in the beautiful historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse this morning. He went there alone in the bliss of solitude that always flashed upon his inward eye for creative inspiration. One casual glimpse at Tuco might give you an impression of an ordinary guy with beer-belly spending his evening time and Sundays in front of a TV set. Contrary to his embonpoint, avuncular physiognomy, Tuco is an artist, a poet, a thinker. He is, what Edgar Allam Poe would call without hesitation, an intellect with passion.

 

Tuco chose the Santa Barbara Country because its Spanish colonial architectural style reminds him of the familiar civic landscapes of his childhood hometown. The Courthouse, located at 1100 Anacapa Street, in downtown Santa Barbara, California, is famous for the Spanish Colonial Revival Style building designed by Charles Willard Moore and completed in 1929. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005 for its beautifully distinctive colonial-style respective of the Spanish cultural heritage harmoniously attributing to the aesthetic character and history of California.

img_1982While strolling around the Courthouse, Tuco’s eyes were suddenly fixed on a white doll attached to the palm tree. It was a tawdry but scary-looking doll that gave him the creep down on his spine. ‘Did someone who had a beef with the court’s decision put this voodoo doll here as a curse to the Courthouse?’ Trepidation for the unknown terror began to spring from his tactile sensory organs, making him momentarily delirious. He was becoming unsure of whether it was a wise decision to take a picture of the evil doll or even to come to the Courthouse. Was it an omen? ‘Oh, come on. Are you kidding me? It’s just a doll, more or less. No need to waste your energy on contriving meaning to the ugly voodoo doll.’ With this sudden forceful exercise of affirmation, Tuco wended his way toward the beautiful scenes of the earth, the sky, and the view of the world.

 

Tuco exclaimed, “How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature!” The sky was high and blue, the lawn was full and green, and his eyes filled with pleasure. Today was the end of his vacation, and he lamented about returning to work for livelihood. However, the beauty of the scenery made his otherwise grim and dreary Sunday lovely, and Tuco thought life was not supposed to be all that hard and unbearable.

 

 

 

the journal of cat writer #1

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The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, ” Don’t feel harmed, and you won’t be, and you haven’t been.” Centuries later the emperor’s medieval Christian heathen Thomas Aquinas corroborated that no words should do harm on the soul of the heard. Well, it’s easier to say than to be done, especially from the high chairs of big wigs. So much so that none of those self- hypnosis of affirmation prescribed by the privileged rings true to me as I am trying to put together pieces of my heart.

The cause of the malady of the heart ensues from my twitter correspondence with a literary man over my prescient knowledge of Theodora, a former comedian turned the wife of emperor Justian of East Roman Empire in the 6th century A.D. She was later canonized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and her feast day is November 14, which he had denied. As it is my nature to strike up a meaningful conversation based on knowledge with an intelligent person with seeming affability, I commented on his tweet politely in bona fide intention to inform him of ill-conceived intelligence. However, the response felt heartbreaking with a blunt inflection that froze my heart instantly.

By the spirit of utilitarian knowledge, I guided him to Wikipedia source that corroborated the fact. Despite his gratitude for the rectification, the disheartening incident has only cemented my long-term speculation that it’s either I was born luckless to have a seamless casual conversation with a stranger or I am hexed to be kept from anything nice even to the simplest and smallest degree happening to me – ever. Methinks, everything I think and touch turns useless gold with a feckless Midas touch.

As Shakespeare aptly described, my nature is modulated by what it works in, like the dyer’s hand. I have also found that these flaunty intellectual men and women in the habiliment of affable erudition often turn out to be a superficiality of knowledge and disappointment of heart, floundering me ever in the lurch of disillusion. Moreover, although they seem so dazzlingly smart, they are not always omniscient. Maybe, I think, unless you are educated under the tutelage of kindly Chiron, the wise elderly centaur to whom Achilles, the son of Thetis, and Asclepius were entrusted, the immaculate acquisitions of knowledge and cultural finesse require divine intervention.

‘Fairies: A Dangerous History’, by Richard Sugg – review

Fairies: A Dangerous HistoryFairies: A Dangerous History by Richard Sugg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are classes of spiritual beings according to the races of the supernatural world that humans have arbitrarily defined with ostentatious pedanticism. For we treat the otherworldly guests of honors, such as archangels, angels, principalities, vampires, werewolves, trolls, big-foots, and even extraterrestrial aliens with awe-inspiring reverence. In contrast, fairies are regarded as sort of the underclass, juvenile guests reluctantly invited to a terrific festival of supernatural beliefs. Such spectral discrimination, argues author Richard Sugg in his Fairies: A Dangerous History, results from the fact that unlike demons, angels, and other ethereal beings of educated Christianity, fairies are in want of respectful scholarship codifying their existence and nature, cultural influence on arts and literature, and spiritual elements of faith/belief traditions in lettered authority.

The book is a meta treatise on why the author himself believes in the existence of the belittled mystical beings. Sugg takes us to the remotest area in Shetland to listen to a nonagenarian man whose vivid memories about fairy sights are amusing. Thenceforth, the author brings the readers to the fantastic feasts of fairies as seen and described by William Shakespeare and Edmund Spencer as the rulers of the Vegetable Kingdom in their Elysium of poetic fancy,. Sugg keeps us hooked on pages after pages filled with his magic spells of words because he sees and believes in fairies with their own dangerous history. It is dangerous because the truth about them is theologically reasonable, spiritually potent, culturally dominant, and physically palpable.

In sum, this book is one fascinating account of fairies that serves the author’s purpose of educating and entertaining readers. The book is filled with the glamour spells of the erudition of the author. This book is something of the authorial account of the Fairy Folk.

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Moonstruck

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Up in the misty airy mountain yonder

Where trees and flowers never wither

The lunar beauty comes upon her

and covers her with a veil of silver

with a wreath of stars on her hair

In the luster of amaranthine glamor;

 

Then her eyes gather light and fire

Burning with felicity, rapture, or desire

Like a condensed colossal meteor

Wrapped in mystic eternal camphor

in serene brilliance of Moon’s Sphere

growing bright and glowing brighter;

 

Nymphs and fairies weave into the ether

The melodies of Aeolian harps sweeter

Softer than the milky way’s gossamer

Allaying the wild untamed waves of dander –

Her heart entranced with elevated Passion

Forgetting the nobility of exalted Reason.

 

P.S.: Fairie-tale is a fantastic means of translating an Author’s inmost feelings, deep-set emotions, and solipsistic philosophy smothered under the necessity of fulfilling demands placed upon daily tasks in existential life in the safest and, therefore, the most eloquent fashion the Author can rely on. As Edmund Spencer, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, and John Keats all used faeries as their faithful and wonderful subjects of their imaginative kingdoms, so do I take the liberty of doing the same as a way of escapism to the Otherworld where I can become all I want to morph into and enjoy what I covet without a moral qualm in the reign of religiosity. Here the subject of the poem is a maiden desiring of beauty which she believes to have been forfeited or deprived of by the callously whimsical play with her fate by the supernatural powers-that-be on a lark.