And welcome to PaganFM!, here on WSCA-LP, 106.1 FM.
I’m Dee, your Trans-Sister DJ, and I’ll be here with you until 2:00 AM
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So I was on my way to the office this morning to start getting my show ready, and a large portion of Downtown Dover was shut down. Being part of the News Team (Yup, we’ve got a news team here at Portsmouth Community Radio, and we currently have a very short program on Friday nights at 6:00, but we have high hopes) my reporter’s instincts took hold, and I found the officer in charge of the scene.
I spoke to Captain Raiche, and apparently a gentleman was leaving Ocean Bank on Central Avenue in Dover. Entering his car, he opened his glove box to get something and saw an unfamiliar object.
He called the Dover Police department, and the police determined that the object looked suspicious. The blocked off an area of the downtown section and called in the State Police Bomb Squad.
The Bomb squad arrived, and their disposal robot further examined the object, retrieved it from the car, took it to a sand-bagged area and detonated it. We’re still waiting to hear from the Dover PD Special Investigations unit as to whether the object was actually a bomb.
So, in my little home town, it was somewhat of an eventful morning.
The Olympics are now going on, and lots of athletes are exerting themselves physically, countries are striving to be called the “best”, and on web sites all over the world, you can see “medal rankings”, trying to decide who’s the best. It’s interesting to note that so many people will be speaking out against the “politicization” of the Olympic games yet the governments gain some sort of vicarious status (or perhaps not so vicarious) because they have the largest number of medal-winners.
Somehow the nature of the games is not what it was originally meant to be. Few, if any athletes are performing heroic feats in the presence of their gods, and the gods are really not part of the games today.
Originally, the Olympic games, beginning on the 2nd or 3rd full moon after the Summer Solstice were somewhat of a fertility rite, with the prize being a garland of wild olive cut from a sacred tree on the site, by a boy whose parents were both still living.
The games were abolished in 393 CE by the Christian Emperor Theodosius, along with other festivals, celebrations and events that were deemed “too Pagan”. It seems that the world today has brought back the games in a way that might be acceptable – fairly devoid of any religious or spiritual significance, but not at all without nationalism or nationalistic pride.
I wonder though, if the games were more of a religious event, and less than a national status event, as they were for the first 1168 years in which they were held, if the subjects of doping or any other form of cheating would still come up. Or perhaps part of the problem is that there is much more money and fame involved than there used to be. There seems to be a compelling push on our children to not simply be the best that they can be, but to be better than everyone else. I know one woman who was chastised for graduating 3rd or 4th in a class of more than 400 for allowing that many other children to do better than her in High School.
In any case, there will be lots of people watching the games, on a single network, gaining some sort of vicarious pleasure when an American beats a foreign team. I wonder just how different the games will seem if we simply watch thousands of athletes, each doing their best, and gaining that vicarious excitement that comes from watching human beings at their best, and leaving the nations out of it?
Certainly, watching 2008 martial artists forming perfect circles and rows, all perfectly synchronized impressed me and made me wish I was there. Having been a martial artist, and having done kata or forms with groups of artists, I can appreciate the level of training and practice that it took to have that many people all working in unison. That certainly made me think about what we, as humans, as a group are capable of.
On the other hand, when I consider some of what’s going on in China to make the Olympic Games possible, I can’t help but have some feelings for the people involved. I’d like to think that in the United States we probably wouldn’t shut down all the factories in a city just to make the air quality decent enough to compete in, but I remember standing on a hillside outside Phoenix and seeing this brown haze surrounding the city. The difference is hopefully that here, we wouldn’t simply tell factories to go off-line for the duration of the games, then to foul the air as soon as “the important people” are gone.
Still, who knows … perhaps the people in Beijing will see the stars for a few nights, perhaps they’ll get to like that sight and maybe it will give incentive to clean their air. But then again, Beijing isn’t the only city that has such a problem.
So, I’ll be watching, wishing I was there, trying not to buy into the nationalism, and hoping that as athletes compete with themselves and others, as athletes, that the games will help to bring a bit of unity rather than further division.
So, coming up tonight, we’ll have our PaganFM! Almanac, episode 23 of our Pagan Primer, I’ll offer up a review of The Joy of Ritual by Barbara Biziou, and I actually managed to spend a bit of time on the phone with Adrienne of Spiral Dance this week, so we’ll be playing that interview as well.
With the goings-on in Dover this morning, I didn’t have much of a chance to get the text content on the web, but that will be on there in the next day or so.