Split Enz got it wrong. History does repeat. From Achilles' heel to Pandora's box, we constantly dip into the stories and legends of the past to understand the present. The media are especially partial to the classical metaphor.
The US is indisputably "an economic and cultural colossus". But would it rate, like the statue of the sun god at Rhodes, the original colossus, as a wonder of the world?
Cricketers are accorded godlike status in India, so it's not surprising that the recently deceased Test all-rounder Pahelam "Polly" Umrigar was described in his obituary as a "titan" - even if he did spend some time as a selector.
Private equity firms, likened to "barbarians at the gate", are besieging corporate Australia. They are aptly named. Many are a mixture of Australian and US investors and therefore meet the original barbaric test of being non-Greek.
All Greek to me are the references to Achilles' heel - the only part of the legendary warrior's body that wasn't dipped in the river Styx by his mother when he was a child to make him, she hoped, invulnerable. The heel remained unprotected because it was where Thetis, his mother, had hold of him.
The Prime Minister's Achilles' heel is said to be a slowing down in Australia's economic performance, or maybe climate change. A chap called Kevin will no doubt probe for others.
Perhaps John Howard would prefer the Midas touch, which the new head of the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, is said to have. But as Midas, the mythical king of Phrygia found out, if everything you touch turns to gold it's very hard to eat or drink or kiss babies.
Opening Pandora's box is to be avoided. From her box all the ills of the world were released. The High Court was accused of lifting the lid in November when it gave the Federal Government the power to centralise industrial relations laws.
The lid stayed up during Parliament's recent debate on allowing human embryo research. It's not all bad, though. Legend has it that trapped in the bottom of the box was one blessing: hope.
Pandora isn't the only femme fatale. Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, king of Troy, spurned the advances of the god Apollo and was condemned to possess the gift of prophecy without being believed. Her warnings about the dangers of bringing Helen of Sparta to Troy were ignored. So, when the Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce says he doesn't want to be a Cassandra on media reform we should pay him closer heed.
The most famous Trojan is the wooden horse. It wasn't really Trojan but Greek, built by Agamemnon's Greek soldiers as an apparent offering to end the war but concealing warriors to infiltrate Troy's impregnable walls. Plans by Macquarie Bank to enter the taxi industry were interpreted as a Trojan horse. So, too, changes by the Federal Government to the Comcare workers compensation scheme.
There was nothing pyrrhic about the Greeks' triumph in the Trojan War. But the decision to stop ABC staff electing a director to the board was dubbed a pyrrhic victory, as was Prince Charles's legal win to keep his diaries private.
In the third century BC, King Pyrrhus recognised the hollowness of routing a Roman enemy but losing the cream of his army in the process. What would Pyrrhus make of the war in Iraq? History goes on repeating. Its richness endures.