Thursday, March 10, 2011


There are some things going on in the media these days that made me think back to ancient times.  In Greece, one of the popular gods was Dionysos, god of wine, madness and vegetation.  He was also god of the theatre.  Dionysos has a dual nature: bright and joyous, but also dark, mysterious and deadly.  He is the god of wine and therefore should be pleasant and beneficial, but wine has its negative aspects too, making people drunk and behave in strange ways.  The Greeks were aware of the dual nature of wine mirrored by the dual natures of this god.

Dionysos is a male god, always surrounded by women, his chief worshippers.  His worship involved transvestism and blurring of sex roles.  Both men and women worshipped dressed in long robes covered by fawn skins.  The women, known as bacchants, left their homes and revelled on mountainsides.  Their name (in ancient Greek maenaeds) literally means "raving ones". Through dancing and drunken intoxication they went into a state of ecstatic frenzy, lost all self-control, began to shout excitedly, engaged in uncontrolled sexual behavior and ritualistically hunted down and tore into pieces animals (and in myth, sometimes men and children) devouring the raw flesh.

Death forms a major part in the worship Dionysos.  He revels in human sacrifice.  It was suggested that every tragic hero who suffers and dies on stage at the Dionysia, a great drama festival in Athens, is in fact Dionysos being killed.  It was said that the sacrifice plot was the original plot of the tragedy.

Sadly, we are seeing signs of this mad, erratic behavior relating to people in today's entertainment business.  In my opinion, the media has gone too far in their quest to sell news by dwelling too much on the antics of these out-of-control, misbehaving, addictive individuals.  These actors/entertainers who make public spectacles of themselves -- using all forms of media to flaunt their unacceptable and crazed behavior to the world -- do not deserve a minute of press time.  Anyone who has dealt with people with addictions knows there comes a time when tough love is the only solution. (Firing this actor from his TV show was a step in the right direction, so is laying charges of theft against one who 'borrows' an expensive piece of jewerly and refuses to return it and continually breaks their terms of probation.)  If the user (alcoholic or drug addict) continues on their path of self destruction, refuses rehab (or makes a joke of it by checking in and out like they're at a luxury resort), refuses to admit they have a problem, endangers themselves and loved ones (especially their children) by their out-of-control, crazed behavior and refusal to seek proper treatment, they do not deserve the publicity the press is giving them.  Yet we continue to condone this negative behavior by listening to their manic tirades, giving them a voice on radio, TV and Internet, and watch with fascinating as they self destruct.

It's time to quit giving all this attention to these sick individuals and focus more on people who are contributing their talents in a positive way.   Oh, I know, bad behavior sells newspapers.  But have we all resorted back to the days of the ancients, worshipping Dionysos and condoning this madness, following along like the raving maenaeds?


Ernesto Salvador Dominguez said...

I agree that we are interested in the drama. This, I believe has the history and today we enjoy the drama in TV. The more current the better. We seam to get less and less impresed with ir requiring more dramatic stuff ti feed our insatiable thirst for it. Charlie is now forgotten. We are looking for the next war, serial killer or rapist. Sometimes I wonder who us going to read this?

Wynn Bexton said...

Thanks for your comments Ernesto. Jeez, I couldn't even go to my favorite coffee shop today for a relaxing cup of coffee and a sandwich without listening to the guys at the next table discussing Charlie Sheen! It's just crazy stuff.