Towards the end of the spring semester, students at Messiah discover how talented they are at:
- Walloping each other with duct tape weapons.
- Avoiding spontaneous bear attacks (really, there was a random bear walking around campus the other day).
- Juggling academics, extracurricular activities, relationships, and sleep.
I have discovered that I am talented at two of these things – and only then because I like pretending I’m Braveheart and because I always keep some honey and salmon on me in case of emergencies. I still need to work on the whole juggling part, so this is going to be a blitz blog.
Here are 3 things that have been floating around my head lately:
- The Golden Ass
Also known as Metamorphoses Apuleius’ The Golden Ass is the only surviving Roman novel we have in its entirety. I read this 1900 year old text for my Roman History class, and it was pretty darn bawdy and bizarre (at times I felt like I was reading Game of Thrones). However, once I got the point of this novel I was thoroughly impressed. Fable, satire, and entertainment: The Golden Ass is a strong critique of Roman materialism. Writing a 6 page source analysis of this text made me think about the powerful influence Platonic thought had not only on Rome itself, but also on the most influential religion of the late Roman Empire: Christianity.
- NEW STAR WARS TRAILER AHHHHHHHHSOFREAKINGPUMPED!
JJ, you done good.
When I put on my historian glasses, one of the first things I notice about this trailer is the way JJ Abrams masterfully employs the medium of time. The crashed X-Wing and the downed Star Destroyer, Luke’s famous monologue from Return of the Jedi, the clip of the grizzled Han Solo and his trusty fury friend: all of these things evoke memories from a powerful past. And not just the past of the Star Wars universe either; Abrams’ references to the older films allow the fans who have grown up watching them to reconnect with a nostalgic part of their own, personal past. It’s a crazy (and beautiful) thing to see grown men cry when they watch this trailer. The past is important peeps.
When I saw BB8 (a working robot used for the new Star Wars films) on stage during the Star Wars celebration, it made me wonder about the role these films will play in human history. We live in an age of booming technological advances. It’s highly likely that the people who will begin colonizing our own solar system have already been born. If one day we inhabit the stars or utilize highly sophisticated, space-faring technology, will people look back at these films and say, “Look! This is when we first started dreaming; this is what helped make all this a reality”? Perhaps one day our progeny will look at the opening line of A New Hope (“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”) and for the first time be able to take that message literally. Whoa.
- Stuart stupidity
Charles, Charles, Charles – you’re so misunderstood.
Tudor Stuart England has been a fun and informative course. We’re just now getting to the 17the century transition from the Tudor to the Stuart dynasty, and things are kicking off! Traditionally, historians have accused the Stuarts (kings James and Charles) of being incompetent oafs who plunged England into a state of political crisis. This morning I just finished a paper which defends Stuart competency and looks at some of the dysfunctional social structures (an empowered and agitated Parliament, fierce anti-Catholic religious paranoia, and a severely kinked Great Chain of Being, to name a few) they inherited from their Tudor predecessors. Never before have I felt so social sciency. Yet, after doing my analysis, social forces do seem to have a large part to play in the English Civil War. What happened to the good old humanist historian in me?
Consider yourselves blitzed, folks. Have a lovely, and more organized day.
James Mueller is a sophomore history major with a minor in French Language. He is a Student Fellow for Messiah’s Center for the Public Humanities, Member of the Digital Harrisburg team, level 34 Dark Elf Sorcerer, and contributor for History on the Bridge.