The Bread and Onions Podcast: Episode #1


In this premier episode, I introduce both the podcast and the website by reading the introductory article titled “Why Write Satire?” while adding a considerable amount of commentary on the philosophical figures and ideas referenced therein. Medical metaphor after medical metaphor is employed to cast satire as a kind of medicine for morals. Examples from James Frazer, Socrates, Lucretius, Juvenal, and Hagop Baronian are offered as support. Open up and say ha!

Powered by RedCircle

Time Stamps:

[00:00]- General introduction to Bread and Onions.
[01:58] – Explanation of the format; “mouthnotes” explained.
[03:45] – Begin reading article, “Why Write Satire?” sub headed “A Metaphor”
[04:35] – Mouthnote #1 on James Frazer’s The Golden Bough; the taboo on touching divine kings; magic as a mistaken understanding of cause and effect; religion as the realization that magic is erroneous; science as valid cause and effect. Philosophy, not science, holds the truth.
[08:16] – Reading of the second paragraph of “Why Write Satire?”
[09:12] – Mouthnote #2 on the thesis of the article; explanation of the the sick Korean king and his jester as a metaphor for a corrupt nation and satire; satire arises in corrupt nations as in the Satires of Juvenal and imperial Rome; it’s easy to ridicule everything around you when everything around you is ridiculous; satire is like white blood cells that fight diseases in the body
[11:46] – Reading of the third paragraph of “Why Write Satire?”
[12:14] – Mouthnote #3 on Socrates’s last words and “owing Asclepius a cock”; life as a disease and death as a cure; all Armenians as divine kings who cannot be touched or criticized directly.
[17:31] – Reading of the fourth paragraph of “Why Write Satire?” sub headed “No Mere Metaphor”.
[19:00] – Mouthnote #4 on the Epicurean philosopher and poet Lucretius and his book On the Nature of Things; the philosophy of Epicurus initially unpopular in Rome; Epicurean physics in which only atoms and void exist thought to be atheistic; pagan Roman religiosity; Epicurean principles of ataraxia (tranquility of mind) and hedonĂ© (pleasure); Roman commander (Gaius Fabricius) on the philosophy of Epicurus; Lucretius’s goal to spread Epicureanism by inducing the Romans to it through sweet poetry.
[26:38]- Reading of the fifth paragraph of “Why Write Satire?” sub headed “A Few More Metaphors”.
[27:38] – Mouthnote #5 on the Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus, Plutarch, and the influence of the latter’s Parallel Lives on Baronian’s Armenian Big Shots.
[31:05] – Reading of the sixth paragraph of “Why Write Satire?”
[31:50] – Mouthnote #6 on the circumstances of the death of Baronian and his family; the Armenians of Constantinople starve him to death; the failure of Baronian to cure Armenia’s moral ills; his noble sacrifice.
[34:50] – Reading of the seventh and final paragraph.

Comedian and teacher; translator of Daniel Varoujan's Pagan Songs and the forthcoming Armenian Big Shots of Hagop Baronian. What makes him so smart is that he is too stupid to understand nonsense.