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Author Topic: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon  (Read 2763 times)

Faemon

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2015, 02:24:13 am »
Quote from: Freesia;170299
My high school Latin teacher said that Heaven and Hell were taken from the Roman Bathhouse imagery. Heaven was the luxury of the Roman bath, while Hell was furnace below that the slaves toiled. When the Christians took over Rome they kept the Bathhouse imagery even though they saw the bathers as sinners and bathing as indulgence.


That's very interesting. I'd figured it was something like Christianity originating in some desert climate where burning the garbage or cooking was the worst necessary thing to do during the day and people maybe liked to imagine that other people they didn't like would be punished by doing that for ever and all time… but then I heard it does actually get pretty cold at night in the desert, so you'd think someone would notice that fire wasn't actually the worst thing in the world and frostbite can be a torment, too.
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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2015, 03:23:04 am »
Quote from: Faemon;170313
That's very interesting. I'd figured it was something like Christianity originating in some desert climate where burning the garbage or cooking was the worst necessary thing to do during the day and people maybe liked to imagine that other people they didn't like would be punished by doing that for ever and all time… but then I heard it does actually get pretty cold at night in the desert, so you'd think someone would notice that fire wasn't actually the worst thing in the world and frostbite can be a torment, too.
It was, to some extent. The word that Jesus uses for Hell, in the gospels, is Gehenna. That was a rubbish dump in the area where he and his followers lived. That's the problem with translations. What we think of as 'hell' today has many influences and inspirations, not all of which would have been shared by the writers of the Bible.
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carillion

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2015, 10:08:39 pm »
Quote from: Riverwolf;170290
Indeed. Even in the larger Christian mythology, I feel more sympathy for the character of Satan/Lucifer, and very much agree with his declaration in Paradise Lost, "Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven."

Heh. Funny thing is, Paradise Lost, Divine Comedy, and all those others could easily be considered a type of fan-fiction in their own rights. I certainly do.

I think a large reason why I'm generally sympathetic to pop culture interpretations of the Old Stories, even if they're watered down, is similar to why I'm sympathetic to fan-fiction as a concept. Stories live on by retelling and re-imagining. Trying to lock them to a specific time period or culture keeps them there indefinitely, only to gather dust except when scholars look at them.

Meanwhile the Gods live on, with the ones in charge of inspiration giving rise to new stories and retellings of old ones. I fully believe that all works of art and story, from the most sophisticated, profane, and mediocre, come from the Gods, the very Mead of Poetry. It's there, even when it's not fully recognized.

While I agree that stories and myths live on and grow with re-telling, I often think it's a shame about the way Frankenstein came to be seen and understood.
Shelley was positing a profound question and one which, if you think about it, has or *should have* great resonance in a world where AI is thought about in ethical terms.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 10:10:02 pm by carillion »

Riverwolf

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2015, 11:11:13 pm »
Quote from: carillion;170363
While I agree that stories and myths live on and grow with re-telling, I often think it's a shame about the way Frankenstein came to be seen and understood.
Shelley was positing a profound question and one which, if you think about it, has or *should have* great resonance in a world where AI is thought about in ethical terms.

 
No argument from me.

That it's an inevitability doesn't necessarily mean I'm happy with the various ways popular conception turns out.
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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2015, 10:11:38 am »
Quote from: Faemon;170247
Those are all fascinating insights. Why does media trend towards the cheap ideas? Is the collective consciousness just that much more uncomfortable with death than natural disaster or women? Or is there some author-audience continuum weirdness where whoever churns out Hades-related media thinks a syncretism with Satan is what sells and people will watch because they like it, but the audience really doesn't care or mind for the most part or it doesn't bother them(us) enough to complain too loudly about getting the mythology wrong or uncreatively done, a sentiment that doesn't get by in a way that translates through ticket sales or whatever…hence the strange trend based on a mistranslation of an appropriated bit of culture?

 
Because these people are unaware that there are models of the meaning and significance of death that aren't horrifying, basically.  It's a subject that the surrounding culture actively denies exists to the best of its knowledge, and refuses to construct models for healthy dealing with, which means that any figure even remotely associated with death and dying promptly becomes monster-fied.

(I am sure that Val would have things to say if she weren't having life eating her head.)
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Juniperberry

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2015, 10:21:22 am »
Quote from: Faemon;170313
That's very interesting. I'd figured it was something like Christianity originating in some desert climate where burning the garbage or cooking was the worst necessary thing to do during the day and people maybe liked to imagine that other people they didn't like would be punished by doing that for ever and all time… but then I heard it does actually get pretty cold at night in the desert, so you'd think someone would notice that fire wasn't actually the worst thing in the world and frostbite can be a torment, too.

 
I don't remember where I got this from, but I'd heard that Middle Eastern criminals, sinners and outlaws were unceremoniously burned in 'garbage' pits upon death and that its that cultural imagery that contributed to our conception of hell.
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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2015, 07:20:25 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;170394
Because these people are unaware that there are models of the meaning and significance of death that aren't horrifying, basically.  It's a subject that the surrounding culture actively denies exists to the best of its knowledge, and refuses to construct models for healthy dealing with, which means that any figure even remotely associated with death and dying promptly becomes monster-fied.

(I am sure that Val would have things to say if she weren't having life eating her head.)

 
Now I am pondering how Death from The Sandman fits into this, what with being the least scary/most relatable of the Endless. A deliberate inversion? Based on concepts from other cultures? Though I suppose the real comparison would be to see how fanfic writers depict this version of Death.

Freesia

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2015, 10:22:13 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;170397
I don't remember where I got this from, but I'd heard that Middle Eastern criminals, sinners and outlaws were unceremoniously burned in 'garbage' pits upon death and that its that cultural imagery that contributed to our conception of hell.

 
Regular people were not allowed to read the Bible until the Protestant Reformation so I'm sure Western Civ's Hell concept has multiple origins from many cultures and imaginations of monks. Early monastic life must have driven many intelligent men completely insane. Back when I was younger and enjoyed arguing with Christians I would say something along the lines off: I'm not letting some sexually repressed All Boy's club from the Dark Ages mutilated existence scare me enough that I must believe in their structure of the Multiverse. Not many could argue after that.

Marjie

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2015, 09:21:20 pm »
Quote from: Freesia;170299
As a substitute teacher I used the Monster High characters in a Humanities lesson.

Ha ha, I'm super into customized monster high dolls right now, a bit obsessive actually, so I get very excited when they are mentioned.

Quote from: Riverwolf;170189
I suspect that it's such syncreticism that gives us many of the mythic images we develop. Images for various archetypes shift from time to time, culture to culture, and art feeds back into itself.

I, personally, don't really see a problem with it. I think that even though Hades seems to show no interest in taking over Olympus in the surviving myths, the concept does have strong thematic potential. I think it's fine to adapt, and add to, the Old Stories for personal taste or modern expression. Heck, it's something I do all the time. The problem is that the stories that NC cited... don't really appear to take full thematic advantage of the idea. Like she heavily implies, most of them seem to do it for no other reason than Disney did it.

That's what I find most frustrating. I'm not as interested in "accuracy", because even in the surviving stories, there's numerous variations that contradict each other. But I am frustrated by wasted potential.

I agree on this point, I think. The concept is similar to the way language changes over time: some people are always going to cling to how it used to be as the correct way to speak, but the language is constantly changing, so who's to say at which point in time it was spoken "correctly".  The characters of the gods changed over time in ancient Greece too.

Then again, Satanizing specifically has been a recurring and harmful phenomenon elsewhere, often used to stomp out the religions of conquered peoples.

carillion

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2015, 10:36:08 pm »
Quote from: Freesia;170482
Regular people were not allowed to read the Bible until the Protestant Reformation so I'm sure Western Civ's Hell concept has multiple origins from many cultures and imaginations of monks. Early monastic life must have driven many intelligent men completely insane. Back when I was younger and enjoyed arguing with Christians I would say something along the lines off: I'm not letting some sexually repressed All Boy's club from the Dark Ages mutilated existence scare me enough that I must believe in their structure of the Multiverse. Not many could argue after that.


I think you'll find that just about anyone was *allowed* to read the bible and certainly the ones who could read were doing so long before the Protestant Reformation. As for early monastic life, depends on your time line. Even some Popes had wives and children. Early on, celibacy (if that is what you are referring to) meant *not married*, not *not sexually active*.  And given the early church were often the educators as well, a young person could at least get food, shelter and a good education . I'm pretty sure the reason there were so many in holy orders had less to do with piety and more to do with dinner and literacy:)

EJay

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Re: Pop Culture Paganism: Loose Canon
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2015, 03:41:16 am »
Quote from: Scent of Pine;169683


Here's the link to the Disney 1934 "The Goddess of Eternal Spring".  I'd never seen that.  Thanks for sharing it.

It's bizarre that Hades is combined with the more modern image of Satan.  I think that there is a tendency for us modern westerners to lump all "underworld" or "land of the dead" into Heaven/Hell.  Most people never think any deeper than that.  Maybe it's mental laziness, or maybe people just don't question their thoughts.

 
Thanks for sharing the link!  Had never seen that before.  And I agree about lumping everything into Heaven/Hell.  (I liked the music and party atmosphere down in Hades much better than the creepy springtime music above and the scary flowers with big eyes!!)
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