Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Atta Boy!

Holy Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

I have never witnessed this degree of hero-worship before, barring the shrine to Homer I put together in the closet of my residence in Athens.  I hope the Negress I hired to maintain it, before I departed on that very important "business trip" in 1890, hasn't been shirking her responsibilities.  Someone has to keep the candles lit and the altar coated in the fresh blood of animal sacrifices.

You see, today I had the foreign notion to tour Turkey's capital city, Ankara.  (As a general principle, I rarely "tour" cities—I discover them).  Anyway, I took a gander at all the monuments: the Column of Julianus, the ancient hippodrome, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, then finished off the day by paying my respects at the tomb of the leader of the Turkish nationalist movement:

I sense nothing unusual about this photograph

Someone pays for this
While I cannot say that I am altogether fond of the mausoleum's gesamterscheinung—I would have preferred more Greek and Trojan, and less Seljuq and Ottoman, influence—the sheer herrlichkeit of Atatürk's Anıtkabir is something that rivals any modern architecture I've seen thus far.  Why, they've even preserved this man's strange Motorwagen, personal items, and the lifelike taxidermic corpse his pet canine.  I was utterly convinced the dog was still lebendig, until I attempted to pat the unfortunate creature on the head and it toppled over, stone dead.

Now there's a design I can get behind
The shock I received from my encounter with the stuffed dog was nothing compared to that which I received from Atatürk himself.  I was innocently peering into a monitor display hooked up to a live video-feed of the inner sanctum, when I swear upon the first dactylic hexameter of the Song of Ilium, I saw the man open his sarcophagi and peer out.  Such post-mortem public appearances must occur regularly, for why else would the interior of a tomb require real-time video streaming?  When I asked one of the caretakers about this, however, he simply glared and asked me to move along.

Truthfully, as much as I am fond of the Anatolian peninsula, I am growing slightly erschöpft with the less-than-polite treatment I've been encountering since I arrived.  I can only assume that the current geopolitical conditions, particularly the rampant anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, are responsible for my numerous misfortunes.  Thus, I have decided that I will soon cross the Bosphorus and enter the region of Turkey that is adjunct to Europe proper.

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