Synopsis by Steve Blackburn
Greek Fire: Tragedy & Architecture, Vol. 3 explores the difference between the ancient Greek and the modern American attitude toward tragic events and toward the buildings people live and work in. The program discusses the ideas of the classicists and writers Oliver Taplin, George Steiner, Kenneth Dover, and Bernard Knox. The ancient Greeks worried that strong passions could tear apart their community. Tragedy plays served the function of publicly addressing emotional issues to achieve a healthy catharsis. Today mass-media society has tended to numb its citizens' response to calamitous events. The most public of the arts, architecture affects and reflects peoples' attitudes about the world. The ancient Greek sculptor Polyclitus said that proportion is not a matter of individual taste but depends on mathematical laws of harmony. The video postulates that standardization of buildings, especially in the form of suburban architecture, has been destructive not just to society's esthetic sense, but also to humanity.