Many of the values the archangel advocates in Paradise Lost—the self-reliance, the rugged individualism, and even manifest destiny—are regarded as quintessentially American in the cultural imagination. Milton may be a poet of individual liberty and conscience, but he was also one of the most brilliant theological explorers of the darker subjects of sin, depravity, and the inclination toward evil. Nothing demonstrates that inclination more than the long-standing appeal the charismatic Lucifer has had for audiences, an appeal mirrored by the flawed but alluring protagonists of some of TV’s greatest American dramas. What Milton’s Paradise Lost, the first version of which was published in 1667, also demonstrates is what can be so dangerous about mistaking an antihero for a hero.
Keep reading here for Simon’s analysis of Lucifer as “a self-made individualist setting out into the wilderness to make his own world anew.”
What Do You Know?
1. Researchers say Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano is due for a major eruption, which would release a column of ash at least ____________ miles high.
2. In the past few years, Florida Gulf Coast University, Lehigh University, and Wichita State University have all seen spikes in applications thanks to their performance during ____________.
Scroll down for the answer, or find it here. Before the next question, here’s reader Dara:
I wanted to let you know that my genetic lab and I love the fill-in-the-blank portion of your daily email. We typically all gather in the conference room at the end of the day, I open up my Atlantic Daily email, and I subsequently make everyone guess the blank aloud before reading off the answer ... and it typically ends in laughter because we are miles off. So thank you for the good times!
Thank you, Dara! Here’s one answer your team might know:
3. About ____________ percent of the participants in large genetic studies are of European descent.
Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Adam Sneed shares three of today’s top stories:
Donald Trump’s budget proposal takes huge swipes at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If he gets his way, expect America’s already-severe housing crisis to get even worse, ushering in levels of homelessness not seen since the Reagan era.
Without getting into NEA’s mission and efficacy, it represents a tiny sliver of spending. Cutting minuscule things like this just because you can, while piling on military largesse that military leaders aren’t even sure they need, and pouring money into immigration measures, doesn’t fill me with confidence. It’s governance by optics.
Along those lines, Terri adds:
Cutting the NEA plays to the politics of resentment: hating the elites. The funny part of it is that starving artists that benefit from these programs are folks from rural red states too. Additionally, this is about our shared American cultural heritage—everyone’s, not just elites’.