Three hundred dollars per jab?
Laughable stuff! Laughable, Albo!
Get with the program mate and do what Aristophanes says you should do for Zeus’ sake and get some results! This pussy-footing around with dollars and cents is meaningless and inconsequential! It bares no fruit!
Try something that has worked and is guaranteed will work again and again and always!
Try sex, for example. Yea, try sex!
Aristophanes (ca446 BC Athens –ca 386, aka “Prince of Comedy and Maestro of Satire,”) was a man who knew all about men and what they wanted most out of life. He also knew a lot -but not all (does any man?) about women. His country was suffering, almost constantly, throughout her history and almost half his life, from the ravages of war, some of which was self-inflicted, some which was caused by various wannaby-colonising barbarians.
The two major ones, the Persian Invasions of 490BCE by Darius and a decade later by his son, Xerxes, (which over two-and-a-half thousand years later were repeated by Bush 1 and Bush 2, of the USA, consecutively, in Iraq,) was handled excellently by Athens and her allies, all working together and using their collective brain and brawn. That glorious synergy turned the two huge invading forces running back home with their tails between their legs.
But this the new one, this Peloponnesian War, the one which opened up deep scars all over the whole of Greece, and which was a war of Greek against Greek was turning into a protracted disaster, distinguished by the ever-increasing and ever-peaking mountains of blood and gore and an unstopable proliferation in Parliament, of war mongers. The Peloponnesian War lasted almost thirty years and it looked like it would last till the ends of time, had Lysistrata not intervene with her special form of Peace Treaty -as we shall shortly see.
Internecine wars diminished and weakened one’s own country and made it ripe for an invasion by your enemy. They weakened your country and diminished them most gravely. Wars are all the fiercer when they are between family members.
After the two losses suffered in the arms of these diminutive Greeks, the Persians were seething and gearing up for a third invasion. Luckily Alexander (The Child) kept them otherwise occupied!
The Persians were watching at the weird and bloody machinations of the two sides, the Athenians and the Spartans. The Delian League and the Spartan (Peloponnesian) League.
Men were thinning out on the ground, at home, in bed and at the festivals especially the Dionysian one where, the sanctum sanctorumexhibit of the ceremony was a giant wooden phallus, gaudily painted red to show the vital role it played in human life.
No phallus, no fertility!
During these six days, humans decapitated themselves with -well, with whatever they fancied or could get their hands on such as wine, ouzo, gin -no, not gin, but wine, cute mushrooms, herbs of a peculiar type and so on, and so on. They did this, this decapitation, so as to remove Apollo’s nagging insistence that we must think, we must work in the light, we must intellectualise things before we acted on anything. Damn Apollo! No, during the Dionysian festival, it was all about praising Dionysius’ gift, that of the phallus, that of the desire, that of the freedom to do as your instincts and your bowels and all that dark stuff hidden in your belly told you to do. To be a husband, a sower, a planter of the seed. Nine months later, of course the maidens around Athens would protest, “no, no, father, this is no child of a mortal but of the god of fertility, of Dionysus himself. I am still a virgin!” And so the maiden was still able to marry as if she were still an undefiled virgin.
Where was I? Oh, yes, forgive me, the phallus!
If any man understood humans, around the 5th century BCE, that man was unequivocally, Aristophanes. Plato was once asked by Dionysius I, a tyrant of Syracuse, what were the Athenians like. Plato smiled a wide yet a bewilderingly philosophical smile and said, words to the effect, “go to Athens, my King and when you’re there, see the comedies of Aristophanes. No man knows those people better than he! Those plays will tell you all about the Athenians.”
Being a depraved, debauched and, of more suchlike characteristics that describe wanton men and a man unwilling to be educated, the tyrant of Syracuse didn’t bother to go to Athens but Plato, who knew Aristophanes very well (they frequented the same symposia) was, of course, correct. Aristophanes described the Athenians to perfection. Pity about his description of Socrates, a description which helped get the philosopher a death sentence -but that’s another story.
Aristophanes understood mortals better than any other mortal and had little time for the immortals; He knew what it was made all men tick and what made them all who they were: Sex!
If you wanted to get anything done, the comedian thought, you invoked their intense and relentless urgings for sex. After all, was not the god of gods, the king and father of all the gods a sex machine, or, rather an incessant rape machine? A machine which was switched on not much after he, himself was born. That was when he took to chasing his wet nurse around the mountains and valleys of Crete, one lovely lady, called Metis. He eventually managed to mate with her, not during his suckling period but a little later, during -of all occasions- his wedding with his sister Hera. (Don’t ask!)
Out of that copulation, Athena, the meticulous one (read circumspect, wise, thoughtful) was born, a fully grown adult and dressed in her full war armour, spear, helmet, sword, shield etc., grey eyes, the works! Inside Zeus’ head which gave Zeus a hell of a screaming headache. Luckily his son, Hephaistus was there and with a crunch of an ex on Zeus’ head, he split it open and Athena hopped out, fully armed as I said before. Headache eased but the sexual appetite did not.
The Athenians loved sex but they also loved war! As did the Spartans.
For every plus, there is a minus as they say, to temper the hubris of too great a plus. So the love for war came to counter the love for sex. We don’t want an overabundance of children crawling all over the planet… In fact! Earth was at one stage groaning with pain from the weight of all these huge numbers of people. She groaned and she complained to Zeus and Zeus brought on the Trojan War. That one managed to get rid of the people on half the planet, a considerable easing of the weight problem but not an altogether one.
What to do?
Back to the Dionysian Festival. What was it about? It was about healing, rebalancing the urges.
During the Dionysian Festival, the Athenians walked over to the newly built theatre to be healed. It wasn’t a mere theatrical stage, where fictional or mythological stories were performed but a medical, surgical theatre and psychological, moral clinic where Athens’ illnesses were diagnosed and healed.
The diagnosis would be given by the tragedy writers and the remedy, the medicine, the script, or the prognosis, if the illness was fatal, from those who wrote comedy. Like Aristophanes, for example.
“The problem with you Athenians, is that you think that War is good. It’s not. Watch my ‘Trojan Women,’ my ‘Iphigeneia in Aulis’ and see just how nasty it is,” Euripides would tell them. And for the duration, the Athenians would watch, would listen and would cry. The crying was vital, as Aristotle pointed out in his “Poetics.”
The tragedies would be shown for, most probably, three days and then the comedies would be staged on the fourth day. That’s when the Athenians would be handed the healing script, the instructions on what steps to take to heal themselves of that war-loving illness.
The healing medicine, Aristophanes would declare was with the women. “Include more of them!” he would shout between the bellowing guffaws of hilarity! “Include more women in your decision-making processes, you bastards!”
In his Lysistrata, the women go on strike. They… abstain from sex! “Give them nothing until they sign a Peace Treaty!” his Lysistrata requested fervently of her sisters, women from all over the Greek world. The women protested. “That would be tragic,” they said, what if we get horny too?”
But, in the end, they obeyed and with much tragic hilarity, the action was successful. Read the exchange between Myrrhini and Cinesias (or “Shaggy” as I’ve called him in my translation), ll. 840-965, to see tragedy and comedy both wrapped up in one. Elsewhere I call it the “comic pain” but I won’t go there for now.
In his Women in Parliament, the women dress up as men and take over the Parliament where they introduce new, socialist, if not communist ideas with the overarching condition that the women are the rulers and organisers of the Athenian politics.
Aristophanes knows all there is to know about mortals and all there is to know about comedy. Both of these plays are truly curative. Not only because of its advice but also because laughter is a damned good medicine. Laughter cures.
The Athenians however, though they loved these plays, they did not take them seriously enough and the war went on interminably until they lost it and the Spartans very nearly burned the city to the ground. What saved Athens was a last minute request by an Athenian, that the victorious Spartans should watch one of these plays before they put the city to the torch. The name of the play is lost but we do know that it was one by Euripides’ plays. After the show, the Spartans, very uncharacteristically, I’m tempted to say, said, words to the effect, “a city that can produce a writer so talented must not be burned.”
The trick and the cure suggested by Lysistrata (her name is hugely pregnant with meaning -multiple babies in there, from “disbander of armies,” to “deranged”) was that the men would get no sex until all the main warring parties signed a peace treaty. In the play, they did so and it ends with great merriment, a true Peace party.
Unfortunately, the reality was not so joyous. In reality the war mongers ran the city and so no peace was signed, no sex strike happened and the war went on. War is much more powerful than Peace.
But sex, or the promise of sex, or the deprivation of sex are powerful forces so what we may wish to forget Labor’s dollars and cents and start thinking about sex.
Man to vax-resisting woman: No jab no poke!
Woman to vax-resisting man: No jab no poke!
Gays and those with other sexual proclivities do same.
No jab, no poke!
I think the resisters will evaporate!
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