Athenapallas's Blog

June 17, 2010

HOW ATHENA CAME TO ASK A QUESTION ON NATIONAL TV

 

On Monday 14th June 2010 Athena was in the audience of the Australian TV show Q&A

‘the show where you get to ask the questions’.                                                                                                                                                      

DEMOCRACY IS FUN 

She was amongst the citizens  waiting outside the ABC Assembly being entertained by minstrels playing stringed instruments that she thought were large lutes. 

She watched the Messenger of the Gods, Tony ‘Hermes’ Jones arrive full of charm and enthusiasm as  he delivered his important message that Democracy is fun. 

As they waited the citizens watched a movie about a big new tax on the Finance Gods to benefit the poor and the planet, and then the crowd of young, middle-aged and ancient citizens were ushered in orderly groups into the Assembly. 

Athena, borrowing Hermes’ winged feet, flew ahead to place herself in the first row behind the camera where she could plan her attack.                                                                                                                       

Victorious Greek Charioteer

 

HOMER IN OZ                                                                                                                

A wandering long-haired Homer greeted the crowd and told stories of the recent disastrous national ball game defeat of Australia by Germany,  apparently so humiliating  as to rival the famous defeat by the Greeks  of the vast Persian forces at Marathon 2600 years ago. 

Soon five esteemed elders of the nation arrived to be fussed over by ABC slaves to ensure no speck of dirt or hair was visible on shoulders or heads. 

One government minister’s large naked head proved challenging and powder was needed to dull its shine. 

Homer kept the citizens and elders laughing so  that by the time countdown began the excitement was escalating as the Democratic Assembly was about to begin. 

Back and forth the well-formed questions and answers came. 

 THE ELDERS 

The political elders, Coonan and Garrett vied for attention with too many words but were well restrained by Hermes Jones. Minister Garrett maintained a calm dignity throughout despite some difficult questions. Senator Coonan only became interesting when discussing her  Golden Retrievers’ ears. 

The Aussie Philosopher Singer, was popular, erudite and without guile. 

The Commentator and Biographer Marr was eloquent and cheeky. 

The Psychiatrist and Professor Kulkarni was forceful and elegant. 

CITIZEN POWER 

Citizens all over the country watched and sent their comments and questions via a strange tweeting mechanism. Amazingly citizens were concerned not only for themselves but for the wretched poor all over the world, the health of the planet and even the well-being of domesticated and wild animals. 

WHOSE PATCH IS IT? 

The debate around what was permissable to report about the nation’s leaders was strong with the Psychiatrist Kulkarni declaring that diagnosis of their character was her patch and not the province of a biographer or political commentator.  Biographer Marr took issue and the citizens agreed that  they were all curious about the character of their leaders. 

ANCIENT DEMOCRACY                                                                          

Athena remembered how such things were only discussed outside the Assembly in Athens in  400 BC. 

At every such Assembly the herald would summon  the people from the city streets to take part in the government, with the words: 

‘Who here will give wise counsel to the state? When every man is free to speak or not, and equal to each other. 

THE QUESTION 

 In 2010  the concept of a free and equal ‘man’ includes all people although it was still noticable that the majority of questioners here were men. 

Athena was determined to rectify that, but there was no other way except to hold her spear high in the air and stare down Hermes until he took pity on her and finally said: 

‘There’s a woman over here who has been patiently waiting to ask a question for a long time.’ 

He had  no idea she was not just any woman but was the immortal Pallas Athena Goddess of Justice, Weaving and Spinning.  At last Athena had the opportunity to ask her question: 

‘Professor Kulkarni, how can we the citizens decently assess our leaders and in particular our Prime Minister Rudd?’ 

THE ANSWER 

Kulkarni replied in part: ‘ We are all voters and we want to be able to vote in an informed way about which party has policies that make sense, strategies to get them to fruition, and to be able to trust people to do that. What I have a problem with is bringing things up that are very personal and then somehow putting this into the political system….’ 

THE MEANING 

 Athena  knew that the Greek concept of freedom from which all democracies have sprung was expressed by the ancient Greek word sophrosune which means self-control or self-mastery. It was the spirit behind the two great Delphic sayings: 

‘Know thyself’ and ‘Nothing in Excess’.          

The Oracle at Delphi

 

She understood that Professor Kulkarni, a modern oracle in the art/science of knowing thyself, was wisely cautioning the citizens against the modern excess of voyeurism and prurient gossip. 

But no-one can stop the citizens demanding of their leaders this ancient quality of self-control and self-mastery. And when their leaders display the opposite, it is the right of the citizens to know this, and then to decide such leaders’ suitability to lead the nation. 

THE RESULT 

Athena was pleased to have participated in this modern democratic assembly and urges all citizens of this new laid back democracy to do the same either here on Q &A. or in the many others forums for discussion and voting that are freely open to all. 

Maybe the mortals are not doomed and she might be able to persuade her mighty father Zeus, to save them and their dying world.

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