Friday, 26 August 2011

Iggy Pop and Ancient History

I have to admit that the two do not seem like they should go together...but... it came up as an assignment from my college history course this week, so I thought I'd share, since I found it very intriguing and maybe some of you might also.

Iggy Pop is a very disturbed, and disturbing, individual, I'm sure most of us will agree on that one.

This is what I wrote for a part of my assignment, it includes a link for the article which our instructor for this course referenced for this assignment:

This was the article that we were to read prior to giving our thoughts/opinions about Iggy's thoughts:

and these are my thoughts on:

Iggy's Commentary on Ancient History
Before tonight I'd heard of Iggy Pop but I had never heard his "music" and I didn't know anything at all about him. After reading Iggy's thoughts about The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by the British historian Edward Gibbon, I felt I should familiarize myself a bit more with this Iggy. I found a few Youtube interviews:

Interview with Iggy
Iggy Pop and David Bowie on Dinah Shore part 1
Iggy Pop and David Bowie on Dinah Shore part 2
and his recording of:
American Caesar
To be honest, after seeing him in the above video clips, I am very surprised that Iggy can even read and retain any information he might encounter anywhere. He seems like a very likeable person, but the drugs he's abused have definitely done alot of damage. So it is very surprising to me that I found his thoughts about "Decline and Fall" to be very good, and similar to my own reasons for why I too enjoy looking back into the past.
In the article we had to read for this assignment, Iggy said:
"I feel a great comfort and relief knowing that there were others who lived and died and thought and fought so long ago; I feel less tyrannized by the present day."

I too find comfort in knowing that others who have lived before me have experienced challenges and had to fight for their existence.  Sometimes when I feel life too difficult, I realize that the Christians under Nero had it much worse than I do, and it makes me realize I'm being a wimp and it gives me a kick in the butt to get on with my life and quit sniveling.
Iggy also said:
"I would read with pleasure around 4 am, with my drugs and whisky in cheap motels, savoring the clash of beliefs, personalities and values, played out on antiquity's stage by crowds of the vulgar, led by huge archetypal characters."
Reading the above only makes me wonder what a genius Iggy might have been if he didn't pickle his brain with all those drugs and alcohol. It makes me very sad to think how much he has stunted any true abilities from developing as a result of the abuse he has inflicted on himself.
When Iggy said:
"America is Rome. Of course, why shouldn't it be? All of Western life and institutions today are traceable to the Romans and their world. We are all Roman children for better or worse."
I found myself in full agreement with Iggy. Our nation has borrowed much from the cultures of our past, particularly ancient Rome. It seems that our textbook also agrees with Iggy:
"Their (Roman's) efforts at romanization succeeded in making diverse peoples loyal to the empire. Likewise, they absorbed much from those they ruled over, laying the foundation of culture that has inspired us ever since. Through the Middle Ages, into the Renaissance of the fifteenth century, through the Enlightenment, and even into the twenty-first century, the culture of classical antiquity fostered by Rome can teach us about ourselves." (A Concise Survey of Western Civilization; Pavlac; Ch 5, page 87)
 I found watching Iggy "perform" very disturbing, but I have to admit that I like the way he thinks.

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