Ideas in Antiquity--Leadership in the Ancient World: From Telemachus to T'Challa

Week Eleven: Outrage, Activism, Idealism, and the Modern World Continued

This week we read Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart (1985), a play about attempts to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s. The main character, Ned Weeks, struggles with his outrage, both toward his own gay community and those in power who should be taking the epidemic more seriously.

Session One

Assignment: Questions to answer while reading Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart:

1. How does Ned Weeks compare as a leader to Lysistrata and Ida B. Wells? 
2. In particular how effective is he as a leader who "calls out bad behavior"?
3. What are Ned's motives as a leader? Do his motives help or hinder his leadership?
4. What alternatives to Ned's leadership appear in The Normal Heart? Who are the alternative leaders and how do they compare to Ned?
5. What qualities and behaviors of a mentor (think of Athena in the Odyssey) does Dr. Emma Brookner exhibit?

Check out this recent interview with Larry Kramer on making the play into a movie for HBO (2014).

Session Two

Assignment: Identify three contemporary issues that you feel are worthy of outrage. Refer back to five common leadership behaviors that we have discussed in this course (you may also look back to the main page). To what extent can the feeling of outrage both help you and hinder you from performing these leadership behaviors? Identify one way that outrage has enhanced and hindered your own leadership. Going forward, what is one thing that you can do to use your outrage constructively as a leader?