February 16th, 2010


A long poem of major bleakness

In a sense, it is a companion to A Scythian Princess, but it's far bleaker. It is about slavery, and rape and prostitution, and I know that's all triggery stuff so it goes behind a cut.

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Oddly, this is something I meant to write years ago, when I read Andrea Dworkin'a not entirely accurate account of the origins of pornography - The word pornography, derived from the ancient Greek porné and graphos, means 'writing about whores'. Porné means 'whore', specifically and exclusively the lowest class of whore, which in ancient Greece was the brothel slut available to all male citizens. The porné was the cheapest (in the literal sense), least regarded, least protected of all women, including slaves. She was, simply and clearly and absolutely, a sexual slave. Graphos means 'writing, etching, or drawing.' The word pornography does not mean 'writing about sex' or 'depictions of the erotic' or 'depictions of sexual acts' or depictions of nude bodies' or 'sexual representations' or any such euphemism. It means the graphic depiction of women as vile whores. In ancient Greece, not all prostitutes were considered vile: only the porneia. And even then I thought, there has to be some way of writing about the position of such women in the classical world that reflects the complexity of experience and gives them back something. And I don't know whether I've done that, but it was interesting to try.

Something someone else should write

Most servants in Wodehouse are not as thorougly self-educated as Jeeves - he's odd even in his own world and clearly could do better than being Wooster's man, but doesn't want to. In a sense, his devotion is creepy, almost sinister, and has this vicarious sharing in Bertie's more excessive moments. Someone should write the Highsmith/Wodehouse cross-over: The talented Mr Jeeves anyone?