Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sexual acts to please the king?

Was it just me, or was there a lot of implied sex in Megillat Esther? Even in the Biblical text, the king asks only for beautiful young virgins to be brought before him so that he may chose a queen, only if she pleased him. The same exact thing happens in Megillat Esther, only that the Graphic novel shows a lot of implied sex. An example being on page 48 of the graphic novel that depicts four different women who were chosen to be sent to the king to see is she “pleased” the king. These women are depicted as beautiful and, as the text says, virgins. The first three women on the page seem to be dressed in lingerie type clothing, implying that these women are trying to please the king through sexual acts. However, it’s funny that the last woman on the first frame seems to not be wanting to please the king through sex, but rather food. The page then goes on in the next three frames all showing the king laying down (belly and all) with a different woman coming up to him in the three different frames. These women appear to be pleasuring the king through sexual intercourse or sexual acts (the first frame shows a woman with a feather that implies some type of Kinky sex? (pardon my explicitness) the second frame shows a woman putting oil on her hands implying you know what, and the third frame shows a woman who is doing who knows what to the king). The implied sex in the text isn’t graphic, but rather (as previously stated) implied. It’s just interesting that Jt Waldman shows this in his graphic novel because when I personally read the Biblical book of Esther, I assumed when it said “pleased the king” meant that the woman was beautiful and pleasing to look at, not a woman who fulfills the sexual desires of the king. Maybe the Biblical text was implying sex and I misunderstood, or JT Waldman just interpreted the text in this way in his Graphic novel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jesus in Esther?!?

After reading the Biblical book of Esther, I went back through my study Bible and read the introduction of the book. It mentions simple things, such as: possible author, date of writing, purpose of writing, etc. I then found a note in the introduction that compared Queen Esther to Jesus. After thinking about it, I also see that connection. When Esther was crowned as Queen she had a lot of power that was given to her by the king. When she learned that Haman was going to start a war to wipe out all of the Jews, this frightened her, after all she was Jewish. Right then and there, she had a choice; she could either try to save her people, or keep quiet and live with the fact that her people were destroyed. As the book of Esther mentions, she went to the king without acquiring permission before hand to enter his presence, which was punishable by death, to ask him to have a feast with her and Haman. It was at this feast where she would explain to the king that she, herself, was Jewish, and that Haman was going to destroy her people for selfish reasons. Luckily for her, the king loved her more than Haman and he ordered the destruction to stop and to have Haman and his sons killed. Jews and Christians would argue that God watched over Esther, and it was he, through Esther, that saved the Jews. With this being said, Esther is like Jesus because she, like Jesus, had to make a sacrifice to save her people. Esther chose to put her life on the line by telling the king she was Jewish at the feast. It would have been nothing for the king to kill her for the fact she was Jewish and that the kingdom (and surrounding kingdoms) were going to wipe out the Jews. Esther also put her life on the line by entering the kings presence without permission, she could have easily been killed for disobeying the law. Thus, Esther was like Jesus because she made sacrifices and was willing to lay her life on the line for the Jews; Jesus, in the same sort of way according to the Bible, sacrificed himself for the salvation of both the Jews and Gentiles. For these reasons, Esther models Jesus.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God is always in control

There are many themes in the book of Esther and in Megillat Esther, by JT Waldman. On theme is that there is no mention of God in the book of Esther. To my knowledge, there is also no specific mention of God in Waldman’s graphic novel. It’s interesting that Waldman kept his graphic novel very close to the book of Esther. Why is there no mention of God in Waldman’s graphic novel and in the Biblical book of Esther? My thought is that even though God is not mentioned in either book, the plot of the story shows that God is always in control and that he cares and loves his chosen people (the Jews). This love and control God uses is shown in Esther because she tells the king that Haman is going to kill her people (which could have been problematic if the king rejected Esther because she is Jewish, she put her life and queen ship on the line for her people). Lucky for Esther, the king takes Esther’s side and Kills not only Haman, but also all of his sons (probably so they don’t start a rebellion when they grow up). The story of Esther also show’s God is in control by not only using Esther to ask the King to rid the Jews of Haman, but also allowing the Jews to be accepted in the kingdom. The Jews were able to fight their enemies and win because of the kings help and Edict on behalf of the Jews. So, just because God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, does not mean that he isn’t in control, as shown by the plot of Esther.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Megillat Esther, good, but a little long.

After I read both the Biblical book of Esther and Megillat Esther, by JT Waldman, I discovered there were many differences, even though Megillat Esther is based on the book of Esther from the Bible. One difference, that is obvious, is that Megillat Esther is quite a bit longer than the Biblical Esther. This is because two or so pages takes up two or so verses from the Biblical Esther. There are also Interludes in the graphic novel that are obviously not in the Biblical book. I also felt that the Biblical Esther was straight and to the point, after all it is a short book of the Bible and only takes up ten chapters; while the graphic novel seemed to draw the story out (which is understandable for making ten chapters into a graphic novel, but I thought it was too long, especially with the interludes). I did enjoy the graphic novel, however I personally thought it was too long and it was sometimes hard for me to follow. There were many instances where the illustrations were just mixed around on the page and I was confused on which frame to read first (for example, Prologue ii, v. pages 91-93). I also was not a big fan of having to flip the book over to read halfway through the book. I did, however, enjoy that the book was written in both Hebrew and English. So, overall, I think that the graphic novel was sometimes harder to follow than say reading the Biblical book of Esther. I wonder why JT Waldman decided to make the graphic novel so long? I think the author’s intensions were to show and explain every verse to a T. With that being said, I understand why the graphic novel was so long, but I think it would have been better if JT Waldman would have shortened it up, maybe by getting rid of the unnecessary Interludes?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

a bad name

After viewing the film Waltz with Bashir, I have many reasons for why I liked and why I didn’t like the movie. However, the film was overall great, and the content was a real eye opener to the viewer. People always hear about war, and people understand that everyday there are soldiers overseas risking their life for their country. The same is true for the 1980’s war in Lebanon, people knew it was going on but the majority of us live in a safe society far away from the fighting that it seems so surreal until one actually sees the fighting (I’m using this off topic example to compare this to- I’m from the gulf coast of Florida and I visit my mother every year. Everyone knew and heard about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico but it was so surreal to me until I actually went to the beach and saw the oil wash up on shore. It doesn’t seem real until you actually see it with your own eyes). War and death are both very real and I think people get caught up in their own life without seeing the big and sometimes horrible picture that is going on around them.
I would also like to comment on the Christian Phalangists who started what I would like to call genocide on the Palestinian people of west Beirut. It is pure stupidity for this military group to blame innocent Palestinian people for the death of their leader. The countless number of women and children killed during this genocide is disturbing and embarrassing. Being a strong Christian myself, I have to say that this group of so call “Christian” Phalangists aren’t really Christian (or at least are missing the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith). Last time I checked my Bible, Christians are told to love one another and to do on to others as you would have them do on to you. Jesus NEVER discriminated, but he did love and treat everyone equally, as he calls Christians to do. I hate to say it but it’s groups like this one that give Christians a bad name.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hard questions to answer...

It’s a taboo and a horrific sin in almost every Western religion. It’s been debated and interpreted throughout the years on whether or not it is a sin, and there have been rallies for equal rights for these people. Yes, this is nothing else than homosexuality. It’s been a problem since people can remember, it’s even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a sin; a sin deserving death. It’s interesting to see that the times have and still are changing for the homosexual communities in the world, and more specifically in Israel. Alon Raab, in his article, Ben Gurion’s Golem and Jewish Lesbians, discusses that “the Israel of the 1960s and 1970s, years when gays and lesbians were still treated as Pariahs (someone who is despised or avoided).” He then goes on to say that “[a] major section is given to the period 1990 to the present, years of great legal strides for lesbians and gays, with growing acceptance in many spheres of life.” He later goes on to discuss the gay rights rallies and parades that happened in Tel Aviv and the support that people of Israel give to homosexuals in Tel Aviv. This is very interesting, considering that historically Jews (along with Christians and Muslims) frowned on homosexuality. But with more secularization that is taking place in Israel, it seems that more people are open to the idea. I guess this raises the questions of: Is homosexuality a sin? If so why? If not why? Is it a choice, psychological, or genetic? And, why are so many Jews become secularized and open to homosexuality when in the 60s and 70s they were against it? I think these questions are very open ended and they are up to the ideas of individuals. Homosexuality can be a very touchy subject and I, the author, will not share my ideas or state if I’m for or against homosexuality. However, I will say that there are no clear answers to these questions, but I find it interesting that many people and communities be it in America, Israel, or anywhere, are more open to the idea of homosexuality.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Libicki's drawings

Big eyed, short, chubby bodies were the normal illustrations in Miriam Libicki's Jobnik!. Every page is filled with a very cartoony art style that makes the graphic novel Jobnik! so provocative. It is said that Miriam Libicki was inspired by Menga which is the reason for the big eyes. However, she chose a drawing style and kept it consistent throughout the graphic novel. The only time she changes her illustration is when she is discussing external conflicts to the story. For example, on pages 36 and 37 Libicki shows an uprising of the Palestinians that took place in the early 2000’s. These illustrations are very different than how Libicki draws herself and other characters around her. The faces are very realistic, and the bodies look like they were drawn directly from a snapshot (especially the man on page 36 in frame 3 who is older wearing sunglasses and a suit). Why did Libicki choose to draw this event like this? There are a number of possible reasons. Maybe the most reasonable reason was to show that this event was true; even though the whole graphic novel (Libicki’s story) is based on actual events. I think she was trying to show that this uprising and these riots actually took place, especially the one where the 12 year old is killed on tape while his father is trying to protect him. This death that was caught on tape was real and it shows how real the incident was during the early 2000s between Israel and Palestine. These illustrations continue on to page 38 and 39. On page 39 there is a picture of Arafat in frame three that looks like it was drawn or reproduced right from a tv screen. I really think that Libicki was trying to show how real these events were in Israel and her drawings of them show the realism.