Thursday, May 12, 2005


Geraldo Rivera and Socrates

Geraldo (né Gerald) Rivera, speaking of his past sexual infidelities, quoted by Sridhar Pappu, Atlantic Monthly, vol. 295, no. 5 (June, 2005), p. 96:
That certainly has been my story. But not now. I've been clean and sober [sexually speaking] for four years, and I've had a million opportunities, obviously, being on the road, especially in Asia. But I've been studious about it. I figure, I've got a thirty-year-old wife -- why am I going to be greedy about it? I've finally given it up. Socrates was free of it at eighty. I was free of it before Socrates.
Socrates was free of "it" and everything else at eighty, since he died at age seventy. Perhaps Rivera meant Sophocles. Cephalus in Plato's Republic (329 b-d, tr. Benjamin Jowett) says:
How well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer to the question, How does love suit with age, Sophocles — are you still the man you were? Peace, he replied; most gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master. His words have often occurred to my mind since, and they seem as good to me now as at the time when he uttered them. For certainly old age has a great sense of calm and freedom; when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, we are freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, but of many.

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