Tuesday, November 4, 2008


If you think there's going to be a serious post today, you're out of your mind. Rhian is a poll worker and will be spending her day at the Varna Community Center (pictured) making sure all goes smoothly on what may be the last year for New York's wonderful mechanical voting machines. (As a lover of vintage technology, I will be sad to see them go, if they every really do.) We live on the end of town where things begin getting a little bit conservative, but I was shocked, on a Sunday drive up through Genoa and Aurora, to see how many Obama-Biden signs festooned the edges of farms. About half. Anyway, as for me, I'll be teaching my classes, hanging out with the kids, and gnawing my fingernails until they bleed.

You'll need something to keep your mind occupied while you wait for the results to come in, so let me recommend this movie, Protagonist, a 2007 documentary about four men, and the ways in which their life stories resemble the ideals of Euripidean drama. The movie consists mostly of interviews with the men--a gay ex-preacher, a kung-fu-teenager-turned-writer, a bank robber, and a German former terrorist--interspersed with bits of actual Euripidean drama, acted out by large wooden puppets. If this sounds strange, it is. The four men are extremely articulate and engaging, though, and their stories are weirdly similar, implying some universality in our experiences of control, violence, and catharsis. Good writerly food for thought on this very distracting day.


AC said...

Euripides was always my favorite Greek tragedian. It's been awhile, so I may not be entirely accurate when I say this, but my memory is that in his plays the seeds of the tragedy were always clearly in the personalities rather than, say, the will of the gods, or fate, or whatever.

/nd if you've never read Aristophanes' comedy The Frogs, election day is the time to do it. It's a poetry smackdown between Euripides and Aeschylus in hell. Which one of them will be brought back from the dead to save Athens from corrupt politicians and costly futile wars?

jrlennon said...

Yeah, I am not up on my Greek drama, but the seeds of tragedy here are definitely in the personalities, but are germinated by events--generally physical or mental abuse.

Poetry smackdown in hell! I like it.

ed said...

When I read your post I first thought you were recommending the film Poltergeist.

jrlennon said...

Well, I certainly am now!

rmellis said...

In case anyone is interested, Varna kicked ass. Obama 480 to McCain 180. We had over 80% turnout. We had many, many first time voters, including new citizens and young people.

I think my head is going to explode.