Genuinely a redhead (though it's not my only trait).
Expect Glee and Community (though other things may well turn up), with a healthy dollop of Classical bits on top - because that's how I roll. Ah, I'm also a Brit, this may influence my reblogs etc considerably. :DDD
Zeus: im gonna put my dick in it
Everyone: dont put ur dick in it
Zeus: toO LaTE
Since Friday, I have written about six thousand words of academic things (an essay, a presentation and a good chunk of my dissertation).
Yesterday was a day which involved visiting five different libraries to get all the reading done for the next essay, which I’m about to embark on now. It’s in for tomorrow at five. I’m doing absolutely nothing after that, I’ve decided. Evening off. Fuck it.
After this mess, one more week and one more essay to go. Thank fuck. Pictures of Ben Whishaw and Christmas music are getting me through.
Very serious and important problem: I want to call Peter Capaldi 13 but I don’t want to call Matt 12.
I KNOW RIGHT?! Cos he isn’t 12, he will never be 12, he’s 11.
I hadn’t thought about this but yes, this is a problem.
8, 8.5, 9, 10, 11?
John Hurt would be 8 (bis) if he were in a museum catalogue and they found out they’d screwed up on the numbering…
One book in the entire bloody university holds all the useful things I will need for this essay.
Unfortunately, there are ten of us going after it.
Why am I writing an essay about Byzantine art in Venice? Why has this happened to me?
Dear English Weather:
Would you mind not doing that?
No, no, I definitely don’t hate it. I think it has some strong performances, some interesting ideas, and it’s visually striking and distinctive. It’s a fun film, and I enjoyed it.
For me what’s troubling about it is that it has only the most shallow understanding of the historical event of the Gunpowder Plot and why it’s important in British history; and it rips out the moral ambiguity from its source material.
I don’t agree with Alan Moore on a great many points—particularly his politics—but I commend the graphic novel for the fact that it doesn’t just gleefully condone violence, and that it has something more complicated to say about political activism and violent revolution. The graphic novel is very much a product of its time, and a vehement response to 1980s Thatcherite neoconservatism in Britain; but the film is about Bush-era America & religious fundamentalism, and it wants to create a moral world that’s far more black and white.
Alan Moore in an interview:
"I actually don’t think it’s right to kill people. So I made it very, very morally ambiguous. And the central question is, is this guy right? Or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn’t want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think, and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recur fairly regularly throughout human history."
In the graphic novel, V is a far more problematic figure. His rhetoric is so powerful and emotive that when the brainwashing sequence occurs, it’s far more disturbing than it is in the film, which simply sweeps it under the rug as ‘necessary’ to Evey’s rebirth. V’s treatment of Evey, using classic brainwashing techniques, is characteristic of his behaviour as the novel progresses: he is single-minded, uncompromising and absolutely cold-blooded; he isn’t romantic or heroic.
So the film also simplifies the political thought of the novel, particularly on the subject of tyranny versus anarchism:
"It seemed to me the two more absolute extremes were anarchy and fascism. This was one of the things I objected to in the recent film, where it seems to be, from the script that I read, sort of recasting it as current American neo-conservatism versus current American liberalism. There wasn’t a mention of anarchy as far as I could see. The fascism had been completely defanged. I mean, I think that any references to racial purity had been excised, whereas actually, fascists are quite big on racial purity." (x)
In the novel, the regime running the country is far more ambiguous: Adam Susan is a sad and lonely man who has given up everything to ensure the state’s smooth running, a pitiful despot captive to the godlike “Fate” computer. This is to illustrate that fascism isn’t just a few men spouting hate; it’s systemic, it’s institutional, it’s both outrageous and utterly mundane in the way that it reduces human beings to cogs in a machine. The film simplifies the fascists—Adam “Sutler”, sigh—so that they are an easy and untroubling evil for us to hate; which is actually the kind of absolutist thinking that the novel problematises.
And it defangs V’s radical, violent, ends-justifies-the-means resistance into a soft, liberal, pseudo-anarchism. The novel asks whether violent atrocities are ever justified; and so the ending is ambiguous: will England thrive, or just descend into rabid chaos? The film gives us the destruction of one of England’s symbols of democracy as a glorious spectacle—having criticised the people for contenting themselves with being mere spectactors—and some triumphant yet hollow rhetoric about freedom.
And it doesn’t understand that the whole point of 5th November isn’t to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the King and Parliament; it’s to celebrate that he failed. The group who masterminded the Gunpowder Plot were aristocratic Catholic zealots who so feared a return to Protestantism that they were willing to blow up James I, the royal family, and Parliament, in order to prevent that possibility. The bonfires that burn on Bonfire Night are to commemorate the brutal execution of Guy Fawkes: traditionally, effigies of Fawkes were burned.
So I have nothing against the film in itself, or anyone who enjoys it, because I think it is enjoyable; but I have trouble with its political message, and with it being attached to 5th November. For what it’s worth, here’s the entire poem—or one variant of it—not just the part that V quotes in the film:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and Parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?
This. Just this. Because I’ve already seen one V for Vendetta gifset today and I don’t want to see any more. I’ll be keeping off the internet as much as I can today, because Bonfire Night’s getting connected to V (and it is Bonfire Night, not Guy Fawkes day - we’re not bloody celebrating the man) irritates me so much.
I am having a lovely afternoon, picking Roman lamps out of two large museum catalogues for further study. Just thought you’d like to know.
I have also booked tickets for Mojo! We’re going early January. So excited I cannot tell you.
(Post upcoming as to where I’ve been because it’s been exciting enough to tell people, also I owe specific people e-mails, I’ve not forgotten you!)
I both agree and disagree. I’ve heard many times the argument that people in the past didn’t label homosexuality or consider it a “lifestyle” the way we do now, just an act. Thing is, from the research I’ve done—both are true. There’s a line from Brideshead Revisited that (I forget the exact quote) talks about how some men have homosexual relationships as a phase in their youth and some have it as a lifestyle. The feeling I get from Maurice is similar. De Sade’s characters seem to take both viewpoints—some make a lifestyle of preferring one gender or another, others just sample or prefer a variety of tastes or acts.
But you specify Classics, and I’m sorry for going off topic.
Classically, we can’t really be sure at all what the Greeks thought about sexuality. Our best source is from the writings of Plato, who is just one viewpoint, biased and Athenian, and he absolutely doesn’t categorize sexuality in terms of straight, gay or bi. Between the Republic (iirc) which gives us the term “Platonic” love and the Symposium, he seems to present and prefer esoteric m/m love, beneath which is sexualize m/m love, beneath which is m/f love and who the fuck even knows what’s up with f/f. But, of particular importance is Aristophanes’ section in the Symposium, wherein he quite literally explains that there are three kinds of people in the world: gay men, heterosexuals, and lesbians. (The full story he tells, if you’re not familiar with it, is that we were all once dual people connected at the belly, and that there were people who were two halves male, two halves female, or one half of each, and that these people were happy, but then the gods split them apart with thunderbolts and now those people go through the world seeking their other half, and they all naturally seek the gender that their other half was.)
Sappho’s work is much more in line with your point—she talks about being attracted to specific people, and never (to my memory) to women in general or anything like that.
My point here overall is that there have been lots of times and viewpoints and cultures and norms and deviances and some people and cultures have believed in labels and sexualities and other people and cultures have believed in acts and non-gender-specific attraction.
You’re right—neither Catullus nor Sappho specifically would have identified themselves as bisexual, and it was lazy on my part to call them that. But you’re wrong to say that neither Greeks nor Romans ever categorized sexuality that way. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t. Greece and Rome were cultures and countries and empires and identities for over a thousand years throughout most of the known world, and during that time and within those regions sometimes homosexual acts were punishable by death and sometimes homosexual lifestyles were considered the norm. When you talk about Pederastic relationships being a part of growing up, you’re talking about a viewpoint which we only have from a very few limited sources in specifically Classical Athens. We know that the norm in Sparta was very different and we honestly have no fucking clue what the norm was in Euboea at the time, or what the norm was in Athens two hundred years earlier.
If I’m sounding lecture-y or chastising, I apologize. My intention is to come across as a very excited “yes and no! let’s discuss!” because I love discussing these things and I believe that there are no hard answers and even every single one of the points I made above is open to debate and disagreement because of course we can’t actually ask Plato if what he was talking about was the norm at his time or simply his ideal.
Hi there! I will first of all admit I wrote that post at 1AM when I should have been in bed and it was a bit jumpstart ‘wait, Catullus, bisexual?’, and also that I don’t really know enough about Plato to have a proper in-depth discussion about him - I’ve read some, but I chose to specialise in my degree in history and archaeology rather than philosophy (on top of a great deal of literature). But yes, I agree - that was a very 5/4th century Atheno-centric point even if I didn’t mean it to be, and I also wouldn’t go near discussing Sparta because our historical sources there are somewhat problematic (sorry Xenophon). I do agree that my argument was pants. Let me clarify what I meant about Roman sexuality in terms of Catullus. Properly, this time. Feel free to completely disagree! I love discussing my subject, it’s my favourite thing in the world and I love finding other people who are similarly head over heels.
The ideal of Roman male sexuality seems all wrapped up in their concept of masculinity. Roman manhood is something played out actively throughout one’s life and sexuality is just a part of masculinity, like many things to Romans - the word vir is man and husband and soldier and citizen all bound into one, and if you fail on one part you don’t get any of it. Sexuality is completely bound up in that. To continue to be seen as a man, it’s all about dominance - Latin doesn’t have specific terms for sexualities because it would seem that men were the dominant partner and that was it, because if you weren’t dominant you weren’t a man. If we use Catullus as an example, the first line of poem 16 (‘I’ll bugger you and fuck you in the face’) is a sexually violent assertion of masculinity to insult two close friends, making them passive and therefore not men, lesser than him. His poem to Naso (112) can essentially be summed up with ‘you’re fantastic, but also enjoy bottoming, I can’t reconcile these things’ and Catullus doesn’t call him vir, a man - he’s just homo, a human being. It was a jump to call pederasty the norm, yes, but it was an accepted practise - and Catullus calls his male lover Juventius (which is suspiciously close to the Latin word for youth) to say ‘look, he’s young, younger than me, it’s all fine and I am still a man so there’.
(In my opinion, Catullus is so obsessed with his own masculinity and its continued existence that he essentially emasculates himself by doing so, but never mind).
Anyway… where was I going with this… Catullus’ work is one Republican Italian example of male sexuality but we’ve evidence of same-sex relationships in Imperial texts too; the Satyricon comes to mind, where the main character has a sixteen year old boy as a servant and lover, even if he does keep wandering off, and the historians have things to say about various emperors - Dio mentions that Elagabalus, who got a lot of bad press from other historians, considered a slave of his his husband and closest confidante after going through five different wives. I think, overall, Roman idealised male sexuality - though I didn’t express this and should have - is all about essentially maintaining an imbalance of power between a man and their partner, whether female or younger or a slave or someone essentially not seen as a man (i.e. a male prostitute). So I’d stand by my main point that the categories just aren’t a thing. Catullus wouldn’t view himself as bi, he’s just a good Roman man. Totally a man. Nothing to see here, off you go, move along.
I admittedly haven’t talked about the ladies, because I’ve not got a copy of Sappho to hand and Roman women aren’t particularly well served - Ovid is interested but then let’s face it, that’s Ovid for you, he’s a perv. But! That is a better version than what I was going at last night, when I wrote you an ill-considered ask, I hope I’ve explained myself better. :D
(I’m trying to wrack my brain for the really good book I read on this topic a while back - I can’t think of it right now but when I do, I will drop you a line if you’d like!)
All You Need Is Love (Glee Cast Version)
This is a weird one, because it almost seems like the backup and the lead singer are singing different arrangements with different intentions and then got sort of pushed together. The balance between them isn’t quite right - Criss sounds very flat in relation to the rest of the track and gets basically overwhelmed. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is, but the song (not my favourite Beatles song by any measure) needs a full commitment to out and out energy to get through it with any success and the backing lot turned up to sing with all they had, but the lead vocal isn’t quite there.
Criss was, I imagine, going for earnest - which he usually does very well but wasn’t what was needed here. It’s unfortunate, really, that they’ve essentially gone for the Love Actually arrangement. If they had to choose this one out of the whole of the Beatles catalogue they could at least have pepped it up a bit - upping the pace might have been a start?