Kardashian (not that one) Quotes Socrates (not that one)

I think the gossip press gets all excited when one of their regular targets surprises them by quoting some famous dead white male. In this case, It’s Kourtney Kardashian commenting on Scott Disick’s recent hospitalization. Contact music was there and, inter alia we read:

[…] Although there have been reports that his relationship with 35-year-old Kardashian may be going through a rocky patch recently, Kardashian is apparently supporting her partner through his difficult time. It may not have been a coincidence that Kardashian posted a picture on Instagram, with a quotation from Socrates about change, on the same day the news of Disick’s hospitalisation broke. The quotation reads: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Right now I know there are thousands of Classicists in the wild saying to themselves, “That doesn’t sound like Socrates.” They’re right, of course, and even better, this is one of the quotes which one of our favourite blogs — Quote Investigator — dealt with ages ago in another context.  Here’s the relevant chunk (again, inter alia):

[…]In 1980 the first edition of “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by the world-class gymnast Dan Millman was released. The book was a fictionalized memoir that explored the physical and mental challenges Millman faced in his early life and the spiritual growth he experienced. The main catalyst of his spiritual journey was an attendant at an all-night gas station who became his mentor in 1966. Millman gave this enlightened counselor the nickname “Socrates”, and the quotation above was spoken by the modern fictionalized character and not the ancient Socrates.

 

Read the Contact Music piece to find out who these ‘celebrities’ are, but more importantly, read the Quote Investigator item (which cites other uses of the quotation), because this will probably be important to know for the next fifteen minutes or so.

The 300 Workout Redux

Interesting that the Telegraph has a post about 300izing yourself (300: how to get a body like a Greek warrior)… it seems to have forgotten that the ‘prequel’ spawned a 300 Workout and a Spartan Diet … read the Telegraph article if you must (or if you just like the abs), and then reminisce about situps past at The Spartafication Continues

Also Seen: JFK as Greek Hero?

Over at the New Yorker, Daniel Mendelsohn has penned a piece comparing JFK (and family) to various Greek heroes … here’s a bit from the middle, the ideas of which have probably crossed your mind every now and then:

[…]

The family-curse theme, especially, is one we like to invoke in thinking about the Kennedys. The motif is nowhere stronger than in the “Oresteia” itself, the text that Robert Kennedy quoted that April evening forty-five years ago. When the Chorus speaks of suffering and pain, it looks as if they’re referring to current events: the queen Clytemnestra’s plot to murder her husband, Agamemnon, in revenge for his decision to sacrifice their virgin daughter Iphigenia to win from the gods favorable winds for his fleet to sail to Troy. But this act, it turns out, is merely a grim continuation of a cycle of carnage that goes back generations, as the Chorus knows only too well: to Agamemnon’s father, Atreus, who murdered his brother’s children; to Atreus’s father, Pelops, who won his bride by violence and betrayal, and was cursed by the man he betrayed; to Pelops’ father, Tantalus, a king so favored by the gods that he used to dine with them, until he murdered his own son and fed his flesh to his divine hosts to test whether they were, in fact, all-knowing.

In many tragedies—certainly in the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles—the gods are indeed all-knowing, are pulling the strings unbeknownst to the mortals whose lives they control: works like the “Oresteia” or the “Oedipus” (whose hero learns, to his horror, that he cannot escape the “plot” the gods have written for him) seem to confirm an invisible but palpable order in things. We, too, often seek to discern a kind of order—to find a plot—in the hodgepodge of events we call history. When people talk about the harrowing catalogue of sorrow and violent death in the Kennedy family—not only the uncannily twinned assassinations but the wartime mid-air explosion that killed J.F.K.’s older brother, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.; the two airplane crashes, his sister Kathleen and his son, J.F.K., Jr.; the lobotomy and institutionalization of a sister; Chappaquiddick; the murder scandal involving a nephew of Ethel Kennedy; the drug addictions and early deaths of some of R.F.K.’s children—they often mention, in the same breath, the alleged crimes of the family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy. (The bootlegging, the election-fixing, the Mob connections, Gloria Swanson.) In referring to a “Kennedy Curse,” they are, essentially, thinking “tragically”: thinking the way Aeschylus thought, assuming that there is a dark pattern in the way things happen, a connection between the sins of the fathers and the sufferings of the children and their children afterward.
[…]