Daily mythology: Aristocracy and Inbreed

Fuck like an Egyptian (Pharaoh). There it already started (if not earlier: who should the daughters and sons of Adam and Eve chose?): Not very few pharaos married their sisters. It changed to cousins later on…but still now the western queens and kings are like one big family. The queen of England is a German, Victoria and Wilhelm II. were related, Fabiola from Spain and former Greek king too (anyway the first two kings of Greece were from Great Britain and from Germany), German TV-adepts take much fun finding out the relations in between the Scandinavian royals, Prince William or Harry, Ernst-August of Hannover and Lord Mountbatten…
Go back to the middle-ages: Many sons and daughters of Eleonore of Aquitania (who was first queen of France and after that of England) found their place on European thrones. Many wars were fought out only to design future kings (for example the war of Spanish succession 1702-14). Even that parvenu of Napoleon Bonaparte (Parvenu? Excuse me: His talents outmatched those of Louis XVI. by far!) had to marry poor Marie Luise of Austria (they had a saying in Vienna – “et tu, felix Austria, nube!” – dont conquer with troops, marry! – but this saying began to be worn out then, and Marie Luises relative Marie Antoinette already lost her life in Paris…)
For aristocrats in all ranks to foresee the marriages of their offsprings was a must (only the youngest ones had to be priests 
For the Sultan in İstanbul it was easier: he had a whole harem and often the Padishahs took their wives from far away – f.e. Hürrem from Lituania… So here inbreed was avoided.
But in east and west murdering family members had good tradition in ruling families…

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Daily mythology: Antique

fauteuil

Formerly the word “antique” referred only to the classical ancient ages, but today it is used (along the definition) for things more than 100 years old. Along this definition, our buffet is antique, but a 45 vinyl disc “Ich tanze mit Dir in den Himmel hinein” is not. I guess America (at least its modern invaders) contributed much to that definition, as in the “New world” no (European) artefacts are from before the 18th or 17th century.
Today we have industries of antiquing things, this means the craft of making an object appear antique through distressing or applying an antique-looking paint applications. Funny. Do we also try to make things newer?
Most of the 19th century has been busy to repeat old things. This has assets as well as drawbacks. One of the pros: everybody knows a jonian capital, the cons: do we need stock-exchanges, railway stations, parliament buildings and malls in Perikles’ style (and “gothic” churches from 1889?)?

Daily mythology: Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

-Heraclito: Everything changes and everything moves, the opposites follow one another in a perpetual cycle and cycles, of which the fire is responsible. “You can not bathe twice in the same river”.

Androgyny

How we are used to the common roles of women and men! The women’s everlasting feelings, the male exemplars of us stuck inside ourselves and inapt to express any emotions… It could remind us of Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo, couldn’t it? It is about time to aproach sex and gender with a fresh mind. It did begin though! Don’t we love the appearance of David Bowie, Brian Molko (the frontman of “Placebo”), Boy George, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stipe, Tanita Tikaram, k.d.lang, Marla Glen, Annie Lennox, Michael Jackson and meanwhile many other singers and actors playing deliberately with genders? Anything seems possible like in the antiques, where nobody was wondering about Hermaphrodites. They were even worshipped as holy people and prophets – see Tiresias, being first a men and changing into woman.

Jeffrey Eugenides’ book is all about this matter. Even the title, “Middlesex”, though mainly an adress of Detroits suburb Grosse Pointe, can be an allusion to the third sex, the gender in the middle of female and male.
Callie Stephanides, our hero, is expieriencing this in her own body, being born as a girl and turning into a boy with 14 years…
She is the teller of our book, sometimes omniscient narrator too, beginning the story even before her birth or conception, telling us about far away Anatolia, the burning inferno of Smyrna, the doings of her parents while away in California or even going inside Father Mike’s head. Actually she/he is 41 years old, living in Berlin, just finding a new girlfriend, doing big flashbacks into the story of her family, her grandparents Desdemona and Lefty, her parents Tessie and Milton, her brother Chapter Eleven, her aunts and uncles.

“Grow up in Detroit and you understand the way of all things. Early on, you are put on close relations with entropy.”

There is but a big life space in between Bursa in Anatolia and Detroit. The unifying motive is the silkworm, doing it’s metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly and doing this by spinning itself into cocoons…. In my opinion this is the hidden motive of the whole book.
The main theme though is sex and gender, and we get aware again, how fluent the borders in between sexes are. At one point it even is said about hermaphrodites: we are the new gender, the one of the future. But even samples of the past are cited: The Oracle of Delphi, Tiresias, Homeros, Heraklit with his “panta rhei”, the nymph Salmakis (whose pool,by the way, is to be found in Bodrum!) turning to Hermaphroditos, the poet Sappho…

Eugenides though is very less didactic but always good for a joke. I like his wry sense of humor:
“She didn’t surrender until after Japan had.”
“The days of the harem were over. Bring on the era of the backseat! Automobiles were the new pleasure domes. They turned the common man into a sultan of the open road.”
“I crossed to the intercom and put my mouth against the speaker and said in a deep voice, ‘I’m not going into that church.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Have you seen what they charge for those goddamn candles?’”
“The slight gracelessness of my walk, which Dr. Luce had commented on, predisposed me to join the graceless sex.”
“Sing, Muse, of Greek ladies and their battle against unsightly hair! Sing of depilatory creams and tweezers! Of bleach and beeswax!”
“On sunny days the lake still managed to look blue. Most of the time, however, it was the color of cold pea soup.”
“By April of 1972, Desdemona’s application to join her husband in heaven was still working its way though a vast celestial bureaucracy.”

1st Encore:

Some have the opinion, only the initial story of the village near Bursa, the war in between Turcs and Greeks, the terrible end of Smyrna and the escape of sister and brother to the New World and finally to Detroit is catching, the rest of the book rather boring. I am not in that opinion: I red this thick book until the last page like a police-novel.

2nd Encore:

The figures emerging all along the plot are quite interesting: Peter Tatakis, Jackie Halas, Father Mike, Sourmelina, Aunt Zo, Dr. Philobosian (“Dr. Philobosian smelled like an old couch, of hair oil and spilled soup, of unscheduled naps. His medical diploma looked as if it were written on parchment.”), the prostitute Irini, Captain Kontoulis, Jimmy Zizmo, Sophie Sassoon, Marius Wyxzewixard Challouehliczilczese Grimes, the Charm Bracelets, the Obscure Object, Maxine Grossinger, Mr. Da Silva, Zora, who doesn’t want to be a woman, Bob Presto, Julie Kikuchi and many others.

3rd Encore

All along the book the thesis of the surroundings, the education being important for the gender of someone against that of the genes (“I try to go back in my mind to a time before genetics, before everyone was in the habit of saying about everything, ‘It’s in the genes.”) are elaborated. But finally the author solves the opposite theories by stating, that everybody has her/his own will.
What’s the reason for studying history? To understand the present or avoid it?”

Lets end with the motto on the flag of Detroit: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus. ‘We hope for better things; it will rise from the ashes.’”

Daily mythology: All that is

Breakfast is done, in an unconscient moment I am standing front of the windows, arms bent in triangles, hands in the hips. As I contemplate the shining white buildings vis-a-vis, their sharp contrast against the blue morning sky, the green green leaves of the ficus which will be cut in some days, the lost house of Hayali and Bingöl inmidst the dry prairy, I suddenly think of the state of things. World going to be shreddered, earthquake every few days, a reigning party contradicting all the promises of its early days: democratic reforms, protection of minorities, implicit fight against bans, corruption and criminality, for sure a pair of overriden dead shoes on the road beneath us, the change of the climate leaving us in a desert, the dripping of the hot-water-tank on our rooftop…
Another day starting….

Daily mythology: Gulet

gulet

A gulet is a Turkish sailing ship, mainly “sailing” with motor , two or three masts are still surviving. It is a schooner type ship, wide and cumbersome, the ribs elegantly curbed and mainly made out of wood. The etymology of “gulet” is controversial, it refers to (Italian) “goletta” as well as to (French) “goélette” or to (Celtic) “gull”. I like the connection to seagull 
In Bodrum once upon a time a gulet named “Dilaynur” was anchoring near the coast and we used to swim around it. But after some years it left…. (See: most of the gulets are anchoring – in harbours. But as an encouragement they might be playing Rod Stewart’s “I am sailing”).

Daily mythology: Absinthe

féeverte

(pronounced /ˈæbsɪnθ/ AB-sinth) is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic (45–74% ABV) beverage. It is an anise-flavored spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, commonly referred to as “grande wormwood”, together with green anise and sweet fennel. Absinthe traditionally has a natural green color but can also be colorless. It is commonly referred to in historical literature as la fée verte (the Green Fairy, Yeşil Peri).
Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. It achieved great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. Owing in part to its association with bohemian culture, Absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists. Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, and Alfred Jarry were all notorious “bad men” of that day who were (or were thought to be) devotees of the Green Fairy.
For long time, Absinthe was forbidden or unavailable, because it was said to cause infertility. Nowadays it is available again.

Daily mythology: The White Sea

Some time ago I reported, that the Black Sea had been arrested. In spite of its name it dared to be blue! (but blue is the color of the AKP-flag). In contrary, the Yellow Sea has been praised (ampul), even more the Mediterranean (AK-deniz): it was honored by the PM himself with the name ”White Sea”. Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are in contrary booed for their marginality. Especially the Pacific (”for sure named by the international interest-lobby”) was blamed for its title (out! war is in!)
Our Prime-minister made a surprise visit to America. He took the honor-name of ”Crazy Water” from the tribe of Standing-Men (a sub tribe of the Firewater-Dakotas) not only for these oceanities, but for his management of water-cannons too.