Odysseus laments his nominal link to the Odyssey Online

by Samana Shrestha
by Samana Shrestha
by Samana Shrestha

I’ve been through ordeals that would be un­thinkable to you millennials. While you were confined to the library computers because you spilled Cafe Kilimanjaro on your MacBook, I was held hostage in a cave by a one-eyed monster. If you find it hard to suppress your passions when you walk past your dorm’s vending machines stoned off your ass, imagine having to resist the songs of the Sirens. You think it’s hard to run into an ex-hookup in the omelette line? Try having a sorcerer for an ex who traps you on an island against your will and turns all your friends into pigs. And don’t even get me started on long-dis­tance relationships. If I had had Snapchat, I could have sent Penelope some pictures that would have made her forget all about the suitors outside my house.

Even if it is a bit unfair to relive my story with modern technology in hand, I don’t think that anyone can deny that life in Ancient Greece was far more difficult. For example, you guys can disrespect the environment a lot more and only notice the deleterious effects gradually over time. If I ever forgot to perform a prayer or even just had the wrong mindset about a nautical voyage, a gigantic trident-bearing deity would whip up a roaring storm so fast that even Republicans would be unable to deny that the climate had changed.

Realistically, Homer’s entire narrative would come crumbling down simply with location-based technology. After all, I could have just called an UBER to solve the numerous times that I ended up on an island. Come to think about it, it seems like when Homer needed to add a new aspect to my story, he just had me trapped on another is­land. He either did that or introduced a new mon­ster. Or had a monster trap me on an island.

Homer’s storytelling is actually remarkably simple, but also extremely effective. Hasn’t soci­ety made any other good literature yet? I think the answer is probably no because you guys con­sider “The Rock” a relevant actor. My life during those years in the Odyssey was as turbulent and unpleasant as The Rock’s cataclysmic role in that earthquake movie. My only solace was that Ho­mer at least had the guts to name the goddamn work after me, whereas “San Andreas” was not called “The Dwayneer” or even “Rocky Road.”

All I know is that technology has been about the only thing you guys have improved, and while it would render the entire Odyssey pointless, it doesn’t fix the other stuff you all set up after my time. Monotheistic culture was a horrendous idea because it just meant that all the anger and overall dickish behavior of deities was concentrated into one dude. Where are the checks and balances in that kind of system? Speaking of checks and bal­ances, your American idea of democracy is pretty shite too. Athenian democracy had a branch that was elected simply by drawing names, which might seem like a bad idea, but then again, it’s starting to seem like a rando would trump the po­litical tripe you’ve had to deal with of late. The same problems have always plagued humanity, but with new technology come new issues, one of which I am personally connected to.

No, I’m not talking about the Honda Odyssey–those cars really embody my durable, while at times slightly unattractive, legacy. It’s the Odys­sey Online, particularly the Vassar College branch that gives me a bad name.

When I first heard that there was a website bearing my name dedicated to promoting student writing, I was as optimistic as I was when I set out on my journey from Troy. However, the layout alone was enough to make me wish I was back in the cave with the Cyclops. The tame articles are constantly interrupted by ads with abrasive color schemes or by artfully-embedded malware.

The articles themselves are also clickbait, but they aren’t trying to lure you into computer vi­ruses, but rather into thickets of content that are relevant to about one percent of the population, and interesting to maybe one percent of that one percent. I don’t need 19 different ways to know that I’m from Wyoming, because honestly I didn’t think that there even are 19 people in Wyoming. If certain types of Facebook posts have been so overdone, the solution is not to write another god­damn article about them. I’m really just against ar­ticles that are lists, because creative ideas really get watered down for lists. If Homer had written the Odyssey for the Odyssey Online, it would show up as an article called “17 times the gods fucked Odysseus over” or “The 5 best island pris­ons for Odysseus.”

Writers and readers alike need to move away from the 10 ideas that are at the bottom of the bar­rel and back towards the Homerian epic that de­picted such a handsome protagonist. Will future generations consider the Odyssey Online on par with the actual Odyssey? We can only hope that the ancient epic will far overshadow its online namesake, and that people don’t begin to associ­ate me with it in the same way that people asso­ciate Homer with a two-dimensional idiot. D’oh!

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