Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bloomberg ought to read Longinus

It is difficult to trust politicians, especially wealthy ones who have very deep pockets. This is why I liked the following clip because it shows a clear contrast between both the physical and emotional energy and clearly represents polar opposites. We have a billionaire giving a speech on economic issues juxtaposed with "low-income and immigrant city residents" (The New York Times) The beginning of the clip shows Mayor Bloomberg droning on about affordable housing; what he is saying itself politically sounds good - affordable housing is a good thing- but amid the clatter of cutlery against plates mixed with barely any inflection in his voice and one crack at a joke, the protesters have an unrivaled energy. If Longinus states that what makes a piece sublime partly is given by a "stimulus of powerful and inspired emotions" (Longinus 121) and another part is the visualization where the viewer actually is "sharing (the boy's) danger and joining the horses in their flight" (Longinus 134), then the protesters have the upper hand. True, Longinus speaks of actual words on paper, and neither Bloomberg nor the protesters say much, but as the video shows the attention and vitality is markedly different. I deeply feel empathy for the protesters, they seem to have a much greater urgency and they certainly revitalize the audience.

So, I come to another point and that is, how do these people get elected? I think mainly it has to be money. Thus, the last chapter titled "The Decay of Eloquence" speaks directly to the effect of money on the soul. He states that the wealthy "breed in our hearts implacable masters, insolence, and lawlessness and shamelessness" (Longinus 165). It seems that Bloomberg reflects this "decay of eloquence" for what does he have to show for future generations besides great wealth and tangible things? And then what happens when he, as Longinus puts it "neglects to develop the immortal" (Longinus 165), and if nothing that can stand the test of time, like eloquent and sublime phrases, is put forth by Bloomberg, what happens when property ceases to contain importance? I guess that is for him to worry about and not I.

Works Cited

Azinyc. "Bloomberg and His Protesters." YouTube. 3 Feb. 2009. 4 Feb. 2009 .

Murray, Penelope, and Penelope Murray. Classical Literary Criticism. Trans. Penelope Murray. New York: Penguin Classics, 2000.

Santos, Fernanda. "Boisterous Protest Interrupts Bloomberg." Boisterous Protest Interrupts Bloomberg 3 Feb. 2009. The New York Times. 4 Feb. 2009 .


Andrew Belinfante said...

I like your argument. I know you were commenting on Longinus' theories, but I think you were quite clear in your explanation of what is going on in this scene. YOU MAKE LONGINUS FUN!
By the way, thanks for commenting...


P.S. - Great group project! I really enjoyed it!

Andrew Belinfante said...

...I guess I am the only fan of your blog...

I revised my post...let me know what you think, I could use the feedback; better, worse? No difference?