We live in an amazing time. You can see something you want online, press a button, and receive it in the mail in a day or two. Some things, like Chinese food, arrive even more quickly. And now I have found that high-quality adult education can be instantaneous: You can sign up for an online course and start taking it right away. I might be one of the last people in America to find this out.
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation about the musical Gypsy (yes, this is related) and I tossed out a showy thought that Mama Rose was something like a modern-day Clytemnestra. The person I was talking with was moderately impressed with my reference, but I realized, in a rare moment of self-awareness, that I just barely knew who Clytemnestra was, and that my attempt at erudition was largely BS.
I became determined to fix this. After poking around the all-knowing internet, I found a class on Coursera.org called Greek and Roman Mythology taught by professor Peter Struck from the University of Pennsylvania—an all-star classicist. It is amazing and, unbelievably, it is free. I’m about halfway through and thoroughly obsessed. For the first time in my life, I really read The Odyssey. In two translations! And I am forming my own thoughts about the meaning of myth in modern life. This all has no bearing on my music career, at least for now. But if you see me at a cocktail party, look out. I’m on the long, slow path to becoming a modern-day Coeus (the Titan of intellect).