Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Cover of the US release of the first I, Claudius DVD.
Damn it. I don’t know how I’m going to work this into Black History Month, but here goes. The revolution will not be televised.

Speaking of TV, one of my all time favorite television shows was and maybe always will be is I Claudius. Now you can have your HBO’s Rome or Gladiator or anything else you want, but they don’t really compare to Claudius. This show was true genius.

It's the story of a twitching, stuttering crippled idiot of a boy who kept records of his family where everyone was expected to succeed in life except him. It tells the story of The Divine Augustus and his wife the Lady Livia and how Claudius was able to endure everything from childhood to maturity, from deception and intrigue to an adulteress wife Messalina and become the fourth Roman Emperor.

I think there maybe only 6 or 8 episodes in the entire series and it was done by the BBC in the mid 70’s, which means of course there was no money put into it and sometimes it shows. But being based on a story by Robert Graves written in the 30’s, what it lacks in production values is more than compensated for by good storytelling and acting done by performers who, if they are still alive, carry a few Sirs or Dames in front of their names now.I won’t tell you about who conspired or killed or slept with whom to get the man or woman or position that they wanted or needed, but I will say that for every move portrayed in the show, if there was no back up by the Praetorian Guard or the army, then it was doomed to failure. The military was always in charge and this is what I learned about Mediterranean politics.

It’s kind of like in ’52 when Col. Nasser overthrew the Muhammad Ali dynasty and deposed King Farouk in Egypt. He had the military behind him to back him up and become the second President of country. Anwar Sadat, who although may have been just a junior officer under Nasser, rose to become Vice-President and then President when Nasser died in 1970. When Sadat was assassinated 11 years later he was succeeded by his Vice-President Hosni Mubarak who was a also the former Air Chief Marshall in the Egyptian air force. Now the military is directly in charge of Egypt’s state of affairs since the resignation of Mr. Mubarak and the military will determine the process of democratization for the country during the next few months. The revolution will not be televised.
I’m not talking about the kabuki street theatre that we all have seen being played out in the public squares and the streets of Cairo. I’m not talking about the chants and the slogans shouted by the crowds as they mull about calling this one a crook and that one a despot or a terrorist. I’m not talking about the well place placards written for the benefit of France 24, or Sky News, or CNN where people are rioting one day and the ladies are sweeping the streets the next.

I’m talking about the real movers and shakers behind the palace or barrack walls, the ones with the stars on their epaulets and the braids on their chests. The ones who have been in charge since before Cleopatra and Akhenaten before her will decide will decide what will happen in the future and they won’t show you how it’s to be done because the revolution will not be televised.


  1. Wow! You mean to tell me that the Revolution will not be televised? I have not tuned into I. Clavdivs, but it sound familiar; By chance was there a book with the same title?

  2. Chet - Robert Graves wrote a series of books in the '30s, the first one being titled I Claudius, and the TV show is based on them. If you get a chance you should see one or two of the episodes, un-edited of course, you won't be disappointed.

  3. I have mixed emotions about the revolution. I'm glad that they got rid of a leader that didn't benefit them, however I'm sad at the lives lost and the violence. I want to see what the future holds for Egypt

  4. pisceanfantasy - Yes exactly, I actually don't give a tinkers dam about what happens to Mubarak. the real scary thing is what will or won't happen in the future and who will really determine that future.


Did you like or dislike what you just read? Go ahead, tell me why. All comments are welcome here, good or bad let's both open up and discuss our differences or our similarities.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Google Analytics Tracking Code