Draupadi weeps. She says, “O King, my heart burns when I think of wicked Duryodhana dwelling comfortably in our palace at Hastinapura having exiled you to the farthest forest. Without doubt he delights in our misfortune. Seeing you squatted here on grass while remembering your jeweled ivory throne, I feel such anguish I can scarcely behold you: your body smeared with rough river mud when once daubed with finest sandalwood paste; your wardrobe once costly silk, now deerskin and tree bark. How may I bear seeing you, once tended by countless servants and now scouring the forest for food?”
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men [and all citizens of all strata and type] — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note… Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given … a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
The Philadelphia Story was released in 1940, an interesting time historically for the subjects of gender and class that dominate this film. Europe was at war, but the United States had not yet entered into the conflict and modern women were not yet the necessity they would become during the time of “Rosie the Riveter.” The era of the flapper was more than a decade in the past, and it was clear that while the newly defined “modern woman” was entering the world of business and politics there was still ambivalence about it. Athena held center stage for these women as they were forced to shed their femininity to be successful in the male dominated world. Women who brought their sexual bodies with them into the American business world were accused of husband hunting. So those who wished to be taken seriously cultivated the Athena archetypal stance; they became friends and allies in battle…
Descartes culminated as much as innovated. Concerned with clarity of thought — or “purity” of consciousness, per Susan Bordo (17, 81, 88) — Descartes held that erroneous perception and understanding (including religious conceptions of “God”) derive from “prejudices” having “their origin in a hyperabsorption in the senses” (ibid., 91). Indeed, Descartes viewed the “prison of the body” as the essential component in humanity’s incapacity “to perceive clearly and distinctly” (ibid., 89), writing that an infant “has in itself the ideas of God, itself, and all such truths as are called self-evident… [I]f it were taken out of the prison of the body it would find [such truths] within itself” (Kenny 111).
The way the duo exudes contempt for each other in that silent first scene, actually a prelude that ends with him thrusting her to the floor, you might well assume you’re watching the bitter interplay of a Zeus and Hera. Indeed, as the story progresses, you might well feel confirmed in this — or you might be inspired to adopt a slightly more subtle view, that perhaps the rivalry unfolding before you runs replete with the unhappy maneuverings of Aphrodite and her cuckold Hephaestus, fuming as his bride consorts with an upstart Ares.