Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cleopatra #2, Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor is the face most people think of when they think of Cleopatra
There's just nothing like a Cecil B. Demille epic scene with thousands of extras.

Fifth Degree: Elizabeth Taylor
Famous for her violet eyes and many husbands, Ms Taylor is an icon of the American cinema.  Her career was at its height in the 1960s when she appeared with.....
Fourth Degree: Burl Ives,
in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."  We already reckonned Burl Ives at 4 degrees from John Paul II in the post on Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Here's the trailer to "Cat".

"From the 1940s through 1960, Burl Ives was considered America’s most authoritative interpreter of American folk songs. A mainstream figure (better known than Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie), his penetrating, tenor voice with its unique timbre was recognized by millions." -Ellen Harold and Peter Stone
Ives is remembered for his novelty songs from the 1960s, but his impact on American music is much deeper than that.  For a great article on Ives, go to the Association for Cultural Equality site.  This Alan Lomax site is dedicated to Lomax' lifetime passion, folkmusic.  While I'm sure that Ives and Lomax met, I cannot find a picture of it or any quotes from a meeting.  So I'm going to link Ives to Lomax via...

Third Degree: Woody Guthrie
Guthrie and Lomax collected folksong together as we see in this photograph from the American South.
Woody Guthrie on left, Alan Lomax at the right
children unknown
Second Degree: Alan Lomax 
received the National Medal of Arts from President Ronald Reagan.

First Degree: President Ronald Reagan
A former McCarthyist, President Reagan turned over a new leaf when he awarded Alan Lomax the Medal of Arts in 1986.  During the time of McCarthyism in the United States, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, and Alan Lomax were black listed. 

Saint Paul
Blast from the East: Metania (Metanoia)
Ronald Reagan once tried to end the professional lives of Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, and Alan Lomax, but he changed completely by the time he became president.  He turned away from the sin of bearing false witness and praised those he had persecuted.  This is very much like what Saint Paul did, only Reagan never acknowledged as president, his former McCarthyist work.

We are in the season of Great Lent.  Many priests (Western) will be taking out their rusty Greek and using the word, "metanoia" in their sermons.  In the East, we live this word physically in prayer.  During Great Lent, we say the Prayer of Saint Efraim several times each service and during The Divine Liturgy.  Prostrations are called "metania" in the Eastern Church.  Crossing one's self is a form of prostration before God.  Add a bow and it's more of a prostration.  Touch the floor as part of making your cross, and you're making a metania.  Get on your knees and face on the floor and that is a "full metania."  

The word "metania" literally means to change direction 180 degrees.  To switch direction, to go the other way.  Spiritually we are turning away from sin and toward Jesus Christs.  See here as Orthodox priests and deacons do full metanias and recite the prayer of Saint Efraim during Great Lent.  

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