April 13, 2009

gods behaving badly by Marie Phillips

Well I think I have finally got the Greek gods sorted out. Marie Phillips has cleverly lodged them in a decrepit home in London where they quarrel amongst themselves, idle and unheeded. Then Ms. Phillips was nice enough to keep an eye on them and jot down their comings-and-goings and share them all in Gods Behaving Badly

The mighty have indeed fallen and are short on funds, short on vim & vigor, and not at all prepared when Apollo -- in a fit of pique -- puts out the sun. A quick trip to the underworld should set things aright, or maybe not. I'm certainly not going to tell.

Gods Behaving Badly is a bit risque, after all it features Aphrodite and Apollo and all their assorted cousin/siblings, and is very very amusing. The mortals we meet are all much nicer than most of the gods, as illustrated here in one of my favorite passages, an exchange between the morally vacuous Apollo and Neil, a basic dude:
"You do not apologize because you feel guilty and you want the feeling to go away," said Neil.
"You don't?" said Apollo.
"No, You apologize because you feel guilty and that guilt is how you know that you that you've done something wrong. And then you want to make amends. You don't apologize because you want to make yourself feel better. You apologize because you want to make the other person feel better."
"But why should I want to make you feel better?" said Apollo [ . . . ] "I couldn't care less how you feel."
"Yes, I think I gathered that."
The book is heretical on many levels, so should not be read as a source of religious instruction but if you have never straightened out the Greek pantheon, this is a fun way to go about it. However, if you tend towards primness, you will want to skip chapter 2. It's not THAT bad, but it is, well, it is Apollo and Aphrodite, doing what they do best.


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