Category Archives: Blog Ideas

Pan’s Labyrinth, Goya, and Greek Myth

Goya, "Saturn Devouring His Son" (1819-1823)

Goya, “Saturn Devouring His Son” (1819-1823)

Here are a few links that will aid you as you follow up on some of the mythological references in Pan’s Labyrinth. For a very detailed analysis, see the discussion of the movie here and here.

The image on the left is Francisco Goya‘s Saturn Devouring His Son. Saturn was the Roman name for the Greek god Cronos, father of Zeus. He ate his children for fear of being overthrown by them. (Question: how does this connect to the plot and themes of the movie?) A lengthy and interesting discussion of Goya and this painting can be read here.

The young heroine of Pan’s Labyrinth is named Ofelia, and Ophelia is also, famously, a major character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Given the translation of the title, we can infer that the Faun character is a version of Pan, who was another character from Greek myth (though Pan was not the only faun). There are also certain similarities between Ofelia and Persephone, who was stolen by Hades, Greek god of the underworld.

For some additional discussions of the movie, here are a few reviews and articles from the New York Times, Roger Ebert, and Wired magazine.

Blog Post Ideas, 3/28/13

NPR had an interesting story this morning about women in India trying to make their journeys safer by riding in a women-only compartment on the metro. Relatedly, here is a story from the New York Times about the new laws concerning crimes against women in India. Also, today marks the beginning of one Indian woman’s journey up Mount Everest. The former volleyball player had to have her leg amputated two years ago, after she resisted a robbery on a train and was thrown from it.

And in news from India’s next-door neighbor, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head last year by the Taliban, is going to publish a memoir this fall entitled, I Am Malala.

Blog Post Ideas, 2/11/13

Pope Benedict XVI is resigning, citing his advanced age. He is the first Pope to resign in six hundred years. 

More on the war inside Syria.

A map from reveals a surprising fact about which countries don’t require employers to offer paid sick leave.

And for those studying Hinduism right now, the New York Times has a video up showing the festival of Kumbh Mela, “one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.”

Ideas for Blog Posts

Some of you might be interested in doing some research into the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. It’s worth noting that when reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s hard to be sure that you’re getting unbiased information. Robert Wright, for example, complains here that mainstream coverage is hopelessly biased against the Palestinian side. (I like Wright’s work, but I’m not sure I agree with this.) In class sometime, I’ll talk about why that is; until then, here are some people who are well-informed and fair-minded. Jeffrey Goldberg, who I’ve linked to before; Walter Russell Mead had what I thought was an interesting analysis of why Americans tend to side with Israel in this conflict, despite what many consider to be a disproportionate response; and Glenn Greenwald complains that although many Americans might want to wash our hands of the conflict, the U.S. is “the central enabling force driving this endless conflict.”

In somewhat related and extremely disturbing news, a right-wing politician in Hungary has encouraged the government to draw up “a list of Jews,” according to Reuters.

Also: Did you know there was a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo? They are apparently backed by Rwanda, and last week they took the city of Goma. There are many interesting opinions on the excellent site, including this one, which is critical of the UN’s ineffectiveness:

What is the United Nations doing in DRC if it cannot defend a small African city like Goma, women and children?

UPDATE, 11/29/12: Here’s another story about what’s going on in Goma.

More Links on Turkey and Syria




Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast, here are a few more links about the developing conflict between Turkey and Syria.

Will the West have to get involved?

A warning for Turkey: Syria could be a quagmire.

And at least one blogger thinks there won’t be war between the two countries.

World News of the Morning

The biggest world news of the morning might be this: Turkey has approved military action across the border into Syria.

At the Daily Beast, Hussein Ibish discusses blasphemy laws in the Middle East. This time, the discussion is sparked by developments in Egypt, where two Coptic Christian children have been arrested for “insulting religion.”