Behold, I have set before you the laws of life and death and good and evil: The Ten Commandments. But I can’t really take credit for them. I just found them being burned into these tablets up on Mount Sinai. And I was kind of delirious cause I haven’t eaten or drunk anything for, like, forty days. So I’m probably not in the best position to be, like, so proprietary about something I just saw happen. That makes me just as bad as the Pharaohs taking credit for the work of the Israelites, which is, like, the whole thing I’m against in the first place.
So for me to stand up here on this mount — which in and of itself is kind of patriarchal and threatening — and demand that you follow these commandments because I decided, unilaterally, it’s the only way to live, feels pretty hypocritical.
I’m sorry to waste your time, everybody. You should probably just go back to worshipping the calf. I’m just gonna head back up to the mountain and turn my staff into a snake or part the dumb sea again, which I only parted for a few minutes anyway.
I came, I saw, I conquered. But for some reason, I still feel empty. I mean, I can acknowledge, in an objective way, that I’m successful. Like I understand, in an abstract way, that conquering is impressive. And I know that if I were to tell myself ten years ago that I’d be conquering so much today, I’d be totally thrilled. But now, in the moment, it’s like, “So I defeated Pharnaces II of Pontus at the battle of Zela. Big deal. I’m still the loser that lost the Battle of Pyrrhachium.”
This is literally what goes on in my mind: I’ll conquer 99 Oppida in five years and lose one battle at Gergovia and all I’ll remember is the Battle of Gergovia, not the 99 I won! I recognize that’s irrational thinking, but I just can’t help it.
And I’m not asking for sympathy! I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “Julius, you’re this powerful dictator, you crossed the Rubicon, which was totally brave, and you have such a nice family! You, more than anybody, have nothing to feel bad about.” And I know that! Like, on paper, it looks amazing! But it doesn’t feel that way on the inside, you know? And now I’ve just totally complained like a baby and wore my heart on my sleeve in front of everybody which is even more obnoxious and embarrassing than if I just shut up and killed an Illyrian like a grown man.
LEONARDO da VINCI
I present to you, my most enigmatic work: The Mona Lisa. Because “enigmatic” is really what people need right now, right? I mean, food’s scarce, there’s a plague in Milan, there’s no plumbing and I paint something “enigmatic.” Really great, da Vinci. Another home run! Paint someone coy! Someone keeping a secret! That’s exactly what people want to see right now, as they die in childbirth.
I mean, look at her! She’s not even smiling! It would’ve been so easy just to paint her smiling, just a tiny upturning of the lips. But no! I had to paint someone angsty and dark! Cause I’m such a brilliant and tortured artist!
And this isn’t even my most depressing piece. I mean, did you see The Last Supper? That was a real crowd pleaser! Great idea, DV: Take the man people love more than anyone else in the world and paint him eating his final meal next to his worst enemy. Oh yeah! That’s exactly how people want to remember their hero!