I don’t think much of Plato. Much of the dialogues involve chasing after words, whereas I think Philosophy is at its worst when it worries definitions. Words are these rough, clumsy tools we have to make sense of how other people see this world we live in. People have a way of conflating words with reality rather than acknowledging that they are just the extremely ineffective means we have to describe it. Rather than driving at the words, we should work around them.
To that end, I have wanted to introduce Plato as a character for a long time. I started a strip about him once long ago but I couldn’t really get it to go anywhere. Yesterday, I wasn’t really sure what to do a comic about so I started back into reading Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil again yesterday, searching for inspiration. Eat the Babies has crossed paths with Nietzsche before. I came to this passage, and then I came up with this comic.
7. How malicious philosophers can be! I know of nothing more stinging than the joke Epicurus took the liberty of making on Plato and the Platonists; he called them Dionysiokolakes. In its original sense, and on the face of it, the word signifies “Flatterers of Dionysius”—consequently, tyrants’ accessories and lick-spittles; besides this, however, it is as much as to say, “They are all ACTORS, there is nothing genuine about them” (for Dionysiokolax was a popular name for an actor). And the latter is really the malignant reproach that Epicurus cast upon Plato: he was annoyed by the grandiose manner, the mise en scene style of which Plato and his scholars were masters—of which Epicurus was not a master!
TV: Hey Woody! Meet my new friend, Plato.
Plato: Well met, neighbor.
Panel 2. Plato leans in to Woody. Woody leans back.
Plato: Tell me: might I trouble you to describe your concept of the essence of beauty?
Woody: Golly, I'd like to help you, Mister. But I only whack off in the privacy of my own home.