1 Hector and Achilles Part Two
In part 1 of Hector and Achilles, Iram asked me if I loved the movie Troy and Greek mythology. Iram was half right. I’ve never seen the movie Troy (I saw a few scenes on TV once) but I do love Greek Mythology. I tried to read the Iliad about 5 years ago, but I gave up halfway through the epic poem. The poem is so violent, and it’s incredibly gory, to the point where it actually became boring, so I never actually read the account of Achilles’ battle with Hector. I decided to change that last night. As I read, my thoughts once again turned to the Australian Open Final.
First of all, I was struck by Hector’s attitude as he faced death. When he realizes that his death is upon him, he cries out.
“So now I meet my doom. Well let me die-
but not without struggle, not without glory, no,
in some great clash of arms that even men to come
will hear of down the years!”
Does that remind you of anyone?
The second thought was about Achilles’ reaction to his victory. Achilles knew (can’t remember why, probably due to an oracle) that he would not survive the Trojan War. Moreover, he knew that he would die shortly after the death of Hector. As a result Achilles, by killing Hector, is not only slaying the great Trojan warrior, he is sealing his own doom. Achilles’ speech following the death of Hector is both a speech of triumph or personal exhaultation, tanting Hector’s corpse, but Achilles also references his own coming death, and his willingness to meet it. He knows that his own death will come soon.
The last thought I had was that perhaps I should cut Nole some slack for his post-match behavior. I don’t approve of him tearing off his shirt, beating his chest and the like. That being said, when Achilles defeated the noble Hector, “the breaker of horses,” Achilles attached Hector’s lifeless body to the back of his chariott and rode off, dragging Hector’s corspe behind him. I prefer the shirt tearing approach.
2 Liking Nole
As I said before, I am a Rafa fan, and have been ever since the 2006 French Open, so even though I don’t hate Nole, it’s been increasingly difficult to like Nole over the past year. And yet, even though I don’t necessarily want to be a Nole fan, I want to like Nole. I was thinking, and writing about this, on Arienna Lee’s Extreme Western Grip blog. We are both trying to like Nole, and it’s funny the kind of mental tricks that we employ to like him.
You’ll notice that I refer to Novak Djokovic as Nole, and that’s a deliberate choice. I never really called him that until after Wimbledon, when I realized that I could easily start hating Nole, if I wasn’t careful. In order to counteract that, I began calling him Nole instead of Novak or Djokovic. I figured that nicknames at least give the illusion of a kind of affection, so perhaps if I spoke about him with a nickname, I could trick myself into liking him, or at least not hating him.
Another thing that helped was seeing the footage of him crying after the Davis Cup last year. No, it wasn’t a sadistic joy, but at that moment Nole, for the first time in months, seemed vulnerable human being. I felt compassion for him, and wanted to console him.I also defended Nole against a blogger who called him “a dangerous Serbian nationalist” and this helped as well.
Arienna Lee felt that Jelena, Nole’s girlfriend, gave a softer side to Nole’s team, and the fact that she liked Nole helped Arienna to like Nole a little bit.
Liking Nole, when you’re a Rafa fan, is a tricky proposition, and involes a kind of trickery, tricking yourself and playing mind games with yourself. It’s certainly not easy, under present circumstances.
Not to mention, the best way to punish Nole is to ignore him.
3 Rafa is not Hamlet
I wanted to write this earlier, but I wanted to comment on Pete Bodo’s observation that Rafa was being “Hamlety.” I don’t think that Rafa was being “Hamlety” at all, certainly not in the later rounds of the Australian Open. It’s also hard to find a man wearing a blindingly lime green shirt acting “Hamlety.”
Not only that but, much as I love Rafa, I don’t think he has it in him to be “Hamlety.” Yes, Hamlet can be melancholy and morose, but Hamlet also has tremendous insight into himself and into all of those around him. Throughout the play he spends precious time that he could be using to kill his uncle analyzing himself and criticizing himself, and seeing through the illusions of others. I’m not sure Rafa lives on such a cerebral plane. Indeed, if his autobiography is any indication, he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking or feeling very deeply.
In other words, I very much doubt that we will read a post-match press conference with Rafa that will sound anything like this.
Q: Rafa after you went down a break, you seemed to serve a lot more timidly for the rest of the set. Do you care to comment about that?
Rafa: Am I a coward?
Who calls me “villian?” breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i’ th’ throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha! ‘Swounds, I should take it! For it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter or ere this
I should have fatted all the regions kites
with this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villian!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villian.
Nope, can’t see it.
That being said, if Rafa is Hamlet, who are the other characters? It’s not easy to see. Is Novak Claudius, or Laertes? Is Roger Old Hamlet? And I certainly can’t see Xisca as Ophelia.
Definitely not Hamlet.
4 Oh Caroline…
Speaking of Danes, let’s turn again to Caroline Wozniacki. Caroline, following her loss in the Quarter Finals at the Australian Open, has fired her coach after two months, and will once again be coached by her dad.
This is one thing that bothers me about Caroline; her father’s omnipresence. I thought about this a few months ago when I wrote my Caroline Wozniacki post. The post said that her coach felt that majors were important, and her father felt that being number 1 was more important. At no point in the article did the reporter say what Caroline thought was more important.
I thought about this in her recent coaching decision. Who fired her coach, Caroline, or her father? Where does Caroline want to take her game and her career?
Caroline, it’s Emma. I’m curious, what do you want? No, don’t look over at your fath…Hey! Mr. Wozniacki, your daughter is not a ventriloquist dummy so take your hand off the back of her neck! In fact, why don’t you just leave the room? Ok, much better. Caroline, what do you want?
You know, the last time I posted on Caroline Wozniacki, I posted this song as a palate cleanser. But I think that this song might help Caroline, so Caroline, I’m posting this song for you. Please, put this song on your I-Pod, sing it in the shower, let it sink into your very bone marrow. I think it will do you good. And even if it doesn’t, it’s still a great song.