Time for another melodramatic post from yours truly. Currently listening to the Rogue Wave single "Eyes" first featured in the movie Just Friends, with the lovably affable Ryan Reynolds, arguably (at least to me) one of the best comic actors today. His timing is impeccable.
Oh, and this song has also lent itself to the hit show Heroes on NBC mondays...if you aren't watching this show, then you can't even begin to understand that something is actually missing in your life.
Anyway, I thought it prudent, what with the worst smog I have ever seen in LA today, to write a little bit about what comes next. No, I don't mean the eventual rise to success we all crave, or even its eventual downfall, compelling many 'garden variety' liberal arts kids of today to procliam, "My life is a tragedy." In other words, a mid life crisis.
The sad thing is that using the word tragedy so freely is a major misconception of that word's meaning. Those of you not versed in theatre history, buckle in- a lesson begins here.
So of course we all know that essentially all that really old theatre (thousands of years old) can be broken into 2 categories before we homogenized them and eventually found its modern manifestation. Those two time periods are loosley coupled into Greek and Roman theatre.
These two eras were vastly different, one aligning itself with nature and the world of polytheism, the latter putting its faith in a sort of pre-humanism, a faith in man, not in god. A verdict from a democratic unbiased council, not a predestined fate from the gods.
From the Greeks, the earlier of the two by a long shot, came several concepts still employed today. Ever been to the Hollywood Bowl? How bout Deer Creek or Riverport? All of these theatres employ terraforming as their main basis. You sit in the naturally land-formed bowl, and the sound fills in around you, 9 times out of 10, with better acoustics than are even seemingly possible.
That's just one of em. But also from this time comes the classic Sophoclean work Oedipus Rex. This was, and will always be, the original defining tragedy.
We have formed a definition of the word tragedy through the course of events in that work*, using that play as our boundaries for what tragedy is, or forever will be. What did we find? Tragedy isn't just something tragic. No, in fact the adjective tragic is a derivitive of the word tragedy, obviously, but if you can ever track down a good dictionary, it should have them listed seperately. Why? allow me to define tragedy, in my own words.
tragedy:noun; of or pertaining to (hey, all definitions start with that mumbo jumbo) a course of events where someone successful and in power falls from their 'throne' through an error in their ways, only to find a lesson or meaning behind what went wrong. Often times the realization of this lesson results in the taking of ones own life.
Now, that is a definition almost strictly applied to the Sophoclean work. As I mentioned, dictionaries of today will say something vastly different.
The short long of all this crap is that none of our lives are tragedies. None of us have fallen from power, so applying that word will always be incorrect.
And why did I take all this time to say that? Because the life, the career I've chosen often thrusts me into rooms of people who don't know the words they are speaking, and really only care about name dropping. Hand in hand with that comes the coastal mentality that they are too smart to watch TV.
Now, I'll admit, I watch more TV than most, as it is my trade, and thus a form of work...that doesn't mean I class myself out of the medium. Its like someone saying to me, "well I loved Pointulisim, and most of Seraut's work, but the world art scene that was running concurrently- the picassos, that's not for me.
Its all art people. Even if TV is funded by the commercials between the actual show, it is art. So many people say they loved Arrested Development, and that it was too funny for TV. HBO's slogan is, "Its not TV, its HBO." Everywhere people think that if they watch TV it will lower their social status or make them dumber than before.
And for ages that plagued me, because I thought that made what I do, and what I've done with my life, completely trivial. But you know what? Life is about letting go.
So my annoyance and short fuse on that matter ceases here.
Long live madam Television!
*In case you've never read Oedipus Rex, here's essentially what happens:
A prophet tells Oed's dad that Oed will someday kill him, and marry his mother. Thinking it would undo the prophecy, he tells his right hand man to take Oed away and have him killed. The man takes Oed far away from the city, not having the heart to kill him, and leaves him there thinking so long as he is away, no bad can come. Instead, Oedipus encounters his father on the road one day and slays him. He returns to Thebes, his home, and marries the queen, his mother. When it is revealed that the prophecy was in fact true, his mother err wife goes and hangs herself. Oedipus gouges out his eyes, and is exiled away.
There's more to it than that, but it really is the original soap opera. Read it if you haven't, it's one of the most referenced dramatic works of all time.