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OfflineViveka
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Tragedy
    #1273244 - 02/03/03 08:38 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Ok, I've gotta comment on something that's been bothering me for a long time. I quoted the Landlotter here from the "Shuttle disaster and the Timewave" thread to get the topic rolling.

Quote:

People die in vehicle accidents worldwide all the time. This particular accident was spectacular and tragic but all such events share those qualities.




My gripe here is with the use of the word "tragedy". Now call me picky, but i think this is one of the most overused words in the English language. It has completely lost any hint of its original (Shakespearian) meaning.

Most of the misfortunate events these days, vehicle accidents and such, are nothing more than that : misfortune. A couple of drifters are crusing down the freeway, get taken out by a Mac truck. Well, that was unfortunate. But think long and hard before you label it tragic. Did the people who died have any tragic potential? Of course, I'm looking at this in the classical sense, but that is appropriate since the concept of tragedy is a classical idea.

I would argue that there is little to no potential for real tragedy in this day. Anything unfortunate that happens is usually little more than a casualty of a hectic modern lifestyle.

Columbine: tragedy? Perhaps this event had the potential to be. But not the people involved. Instead, it became an opportunity to scapegoat artistic expression. The only element that filtered down through the media that suggested any hint of tragic potential was the account of the girl who said SHE BELIEVED and was killed for it. Well, that probably never happened, and if it did, her friends and family decided to make a website selling tshirts, greeting cards and other merchandise emblazoned with the words "Cassy said she believed" or whatever, thus shitting all over any tragic potential the event may have held.

Space shuttle Columbia. Tragedy? Why are we even going back and forth to space? To advance science? Do we even know why we are so obsessed with advancing science, or are we just playing out some ego driven game?

9/11: tragedy? Two sides, one a giant hive carrying out the work of the "Greed is Good" establishment , the other, a team of murderers with a divine excuse. Tragic?

The starvation of thousands or Iraqi citizens. Tragic? The result of a blockade by a wanna-be-world governing body (sic) caused by the actions of a selfish madman. Any potential for self-awareness and realization held by these people is destroyed by a cold diplomatic machine. But then, you might say, it didn't have to happen! The U.S. could have lobbied to save these people! Well, now i'd like to remind the english-speaking populace that "It didn't have to happen" does not equal "tragedy".

Perhaps it's helpful to go back to the Shakespearian tragedies to understand what this is all about and maybe discover what went wrong. I have been smitten by Hamlet ever since I first read it in ninth grade. It was a time of epiphany for me, but i still can't pinpoint exactly why the story was a tragedy. Although i know that it was a combination of several conditions. Read it yourself, again, for the first time, and let's discuss this.

One thing I am sure of is that tragic potential is fleeting. You may have it at one moment and if conditions are right, events can make a tragic character out of you. Unfortunatley, both the rightness of mind and the social conditions that produce tragedy rarely, if ever, manifest today.






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Offlinekosmic_charlie
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Re: Tragedy [Re: Viveka]
    #1273481 - 02/03/03 09:41 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

I see what you're saying but there are several definitions of tragedy. It's not like Shakespeare invented the word "tragedy" to specify a certain genre within his body of plays. Shakespeare and other writers of his time simply gave new meaning to the word tragedy.

From dictionary.com:

Tragedy

1. A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.

2 A disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life: an expedition that ended in tragedy, with all hands lost at sea.

The word tragedy is not overused It just has several meanings. According to the second definition Columbine, 9-11 and Space Shuttle Columbia are all tragedies.


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InvisibleRebelSteve33
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Re: Tragedy [Re: Viveka]
    #1273621 - 02/03/03 10:12 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Everyone has their own connotation of what different words mean.  What is the point in arguing whether something is really a tragedy or not?  Let's do something productive with our brains instead.

:smile:

-RebelSteve


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OfflineSnuffelzFurever
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Re: Tragedy [Re: Viveka]
    #1273709 - 02/03/03 10:33 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

just because you had no personal relations with the peopl who died during these tragedies doesnt mean nobody else did. the real tragedy comes from the pain that the living must endure. and if its tragic for even one person, then its tragedy


--------------------
"I think it's time we stop
Children, What's the sound,
Everybody look what's going down"


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Offlinekosmic_charlie
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Re: Tragedy [Re: SnuffelzFurever]
    #1273871 - 02/03/03 11:27 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Good point. Evileye, what if your best friend got his head blown off at Columbine? What if your father/brother died in the space shuttle? Would these events STILL not be tragic?


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Goin' where the water tastes like wine.


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Offlinejohnnyfive
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Re: Tragedy [Re: Viveka]
    #1273916 - 02/03/03 11:39 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

great post man

i agree with most of what you said, i can't stand how the media likes to pick what a tragedy is!


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And the gameshow host rings the buzzer (brrnnntt) oh and now you get a face full of face!


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OfflineShrewDigsby
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Re: Tragedy [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1273980 - 02/03/03 11:55 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Everyone has their own connotation of what different words mean.  What is the point in arguing whether something is really a tragedy or not?  Let's do something productive with our brains instead.
 




I agree, we all do interpret everything quite differently from each other so such arguments are based no symantics.  :grin:

On the other hand philosophy is rooted in defining terms and definitions (finding common understanding).  In this particular instance it may seem unproductive to determining what is or isn't tragic, but the process itself is typically deemed quite important (valid), thus important. :grin: 


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OfflineShrewDigsby
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Re: Tragedy [Re: johnnyfive]
    #1273995 - 02/03/03 11:59 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

great post man

i agree with most of what you said, i can't stand how the media likes to pick what a tragedy is! 




I don't think EvilEye made any connections w/ the U.S. Media's historical usage of the word Tragedy in his open post.  You make a very good point though, one that could use its own thread. :laugh: 


--------------------
Marijuana is a horticultural plant.  Hemp is an industrial weed.  I believe they were both provided to us by GOD to use and enjoy.


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OfflineViveka
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Re: Tragedy [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1281050 - 02/05/03 10:00 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

"What is the point in arguing whether something is really a tragedy or not? Let's do something productive with our brains instead."

I was attempting to start a discussion on the classical concept of tragedy, and the very powerful realizations about self and life that people can have studying it. Not to mention how the popular connotation of the word tragedy reflects the current state of human affairs.

But in lieu of that, I will wait for you to take the first step in doing "something productive with our brains instead".


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Tragedy [Re: Viveka]
    #1281254 - 02/05/03 10:57 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

"Tragedy" was a type of ancient greek play. Looooong before Shakespeare.


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflineShrewDigsby
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Re: Tragedy [Re: Phluck]
    #1281542 - 02/05/03 12:20 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Hell, it's all Greek to me anyhow :grin: 


--------------------
Marijuana is a horticultural plant.  Hemp is an industrial weed.  I believe they were both provided to us by GOD to use and enjoy.


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Offlinedawn of a new day
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Re: Tragedy [Re: SnuffelzFurever]
    #1282529 - 02/05/03 05:14 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

If we use the logic that one person interpreting an event as a tragedy makes it so, then nearly every event in the history of modern man could be considered a tragedy. I agree that the "tragedy" label is often misplaced and overused.


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"Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?"
- Bill Hicks


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