Rites of May

No doubt they rose up early to observe
The rite of May, and hearing our intent,
Came here in grace our solemnity. […]
Good morrow, friends. Saint Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (IV, 1)

Today is the first day of May. On this day, Americans join together like good Communists from other countries to affirm their commitment to an ideology of Authority. Gaelic pagans of old (and wiki-pagans of the modern age) celebrate the day as Beltane, and indeed, the attitude of begging personal intercession from nature spirits intimately concerned with human reproductive business has not entirely left the occasion.

It is a day for scratching a spiritual itch.

And what could be more spiritual or more sublime than geeking out with a crowd of like- but not identical-minded folk about the difference between book and film, the interplay of text and subtext, about science fiction as art? It’s a fitting time to explore, with Jeremy Bruno, why Jurassic Park is not a pro-science movie. How better to sharpen the joy of æsthetic contemplation than to indulge our primate appetites and join together against a common enemy? We are gyptians, meeting in the hall of the Gyptian King — otherwise known as a blog comment thread — to test the weaknesses of the Magisterium, who stand against freedom and reason, and who are played in this episode by Michael Crichton.

Come, join us!

6 thoughts on “Rites of May”

  1. Yes, any celebration which involves things other than witches being set on fire has a definite cachet to it. (When I go to the great science blog in the sky, I want a secular funeral. A secular Viking funeral.)

  2. I think it’s actually pretty obvious that Jurassic Park is an anti-science book and movie. I mean, at the time I first read/watched, I either didn’t notice or didn’t care (because, hey, dinosaurs), but in retrospect it’s really obvious. In a way, I think the book is more anti-science than the book… if only because the movie dilutes Ian Malcolm’s author surrogate role. As much as I enjoy the character (he’s a smug bastard; I can relate), he’s really the font of science-hating in the story. Also, Jeff Goldblum’s portrayal was almost too pretentious to take seriously, so there’s that, too.

  3. I am glad I am not the only one who wants a Viking funeral.

    Viking long boats are a bit hard to come by but I am working on it.

    In a pinch I told my family to cremate me, stick the ashes on a remote control boat, and blow it up with some firworks.

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