Friday, October 1, 2010

Playful Plautus

The gods play games with men as balls.

-Titus Maccius Plautus (254?-184 B.C.)

Plautus was a Roman playwright who wrote many comedies and has about 20 surviving works. How's that for being a published author?

Apparently, he often made jests at the gods in his plays, and even stooped so low as to have people compare their own filthy mortal selves with various gods. My sources say that the state was in control of all plays at this time (as they would be for many, many centuries to come) and would have censored these jests if they went too far. Thus, Plautus was probably just including feelings that were becoming shared amongst the people.

The gods, so it seems, were falling out of favor with the people who created them.

I'm married to a guy that knows the ins and outs of almost every god-myth of Greek or Roman culture. He even knows some of the Norse gods, and who knows where Norse is? Maybe it along with Holland, is in The Netherlands. I jest. But, Austin does know all this stuff, and delights on sharing the information with any and all who want to hear, and some that don't.

Personally, and luckily for me, I have always found these myths to be interesting. I love how they interweave and become so complicated. The gods, by and large, were angry, impetuous, self-centered whores. Celebrities of the ancient world.

I've always been too interested in the celebrities of my own world. I used to drool over the newest US Weekly magazine, get updates from People magazine, and yes...even looked at a few celebrity gossip websites when I couldn't whet my appetite for information. Austin is always confused when I know which celebrity has a daughter named Ramona, where so-and-so got their cool scarf, and why what's-his-face is getting a divorce. When a celebrity gets married or has a baby, shoot...forget about it. I would have my nose in any and every piece of paper or website out there, just to see what her dress looked like or if she was as fat as me at 9 months.

It has been maybe a year or more since I last knew who was sleeping with whom, or where they ate on their recent trip to Vienna. I just sort of....fell out with the celebs. I just don't really care as much anymore, and I think Plautus helped me understand why.

The people I read about in my gossip magazines weren't really people. Flesh and blood and plastic, perhaps. But many of them didn't seem to have any idea what life is like for most of the people in their own country, let alone the world. We've all read that quote attributed to Mariah Carey in which she says she would like to be as thin as those people in Ethiopia, but without all the flies and stuff. GROSS. Whether or not she actually said this, it gets my point across. No, not all famous or wealthy people are out of touch with the world. But many of them are, and the rest of the world keeps moving while the angry, impetuous, self-centered whores keep playing.

I don't remember exactly when I stopped wanting to know who did what with whom on which company's dime. But I remember feeling gross. The gods are just playing at life while I'm trying to live mine. They drop 20 grand on a birthday fete, and I hope I have 20 dollars for a birthday party I'm going to tomorrow.

Plautus and his fellows were growing tired of the influence, the power, the importance of the gods. They were realizing that they didn't have to show them the deference of yore. The gods are what we make them, after all, and not the other way around.

Play ball, Plautus!


Anonymous said...

I agree, Tiffany. It's always a temptation for me to check out the latest celebrity gossip, but I also know it's so dumb. Such a waste of time. And yet, wasn't Carrie Underwood's wedding dress interesting? Could've been a little more flatter... Ha! I stopped watching TV earlier this year. I didn't really mean to (for once in my life). It just happened. I don't even miss it. Maybe my own life became more interesting? :-)

Anonymous said...

Um, I meant to write "flattering". Also, with the birth of your precious Isla, I think your life got a little more interesting too. :-) Who needs celebriteis when you have 3 gorgeous girls to keep up with?

Anonymous said...


I'm fired from typing today...

But hey, look, your latest blog post already has 3 comments! :-)

Tanya said...

Don't fret Kimberly, I thought the title of the post was "Playful Platypus," apparently, you can't type, I can't read.

Well done Tiffany, as always. I just want to know why you tagged me in this???? Who ratted me out? Have you been snooping around my web browser?


ReflectionsByPj said...

I'm currently reading, for fun - why not, Dante's 'The Divine Comdey - Inferno'. He was an Italian author during the Middle Ages (late 13th Century, early 14th century). This particular writing is known as the greatest poem written in that time. He fills his writing with an immense amount of symbolism, crowding the page with so much action. It is a supreme peice of medieval European imaginative literature. Over all it has three divisions; Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. He goes to Hell, fainting along the way, repeatidly, at the sights he beholds. I find it funny that he places all of his 'mentors/heros' (those he aspires to be) in the midst of hell; Virgil, Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan. I find it ironic that he places himself not only in the midst of hell but he thinks so highly of himself to put himself in the same category as "the greats"... indeed a self-centered whore. Wonder if that phrasing will be considered acceptable word usage in my review paper for World Literature?