Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Pornosophy: The Trojan War
photo: XF Law
Two interesting sounding books were recently reviewed in the
venerable TLS under the title “Human
action within, Digging up the Ancient Greek sex trade”: Athenian Prostitution: The Business of Sex by Edward E. Cohen and Houses of Ill Repute: The Archeology of Brothels, Houses and Taverns in the Greek Worldby Allison Glazebrook and Barbara Tsakirgis. With all the talk about
political correctness in universities it’s nice to know that there's a bastion
of calm amongst classics scholars who arenot
worried about students being triggered by things that happened 2500 years ago.
Of course, discussions of Sophocles Oedipus
Rexhave provoked complaints from some who have found the material too
provocative. Barbara Graziosi, who wrote the essay/review, comments “Xenarchus,
writing in the fourth century BC, claims that prostitutes are displayed to the
public ‘naked in a row, drawn up in battle line’ and that ‘from them it is
possible to find one that is pleasing--whether slim, fat, curvy, tall, short,
young, old, middle-aged or just ripe’. Both male and female prostitutes are
typically described as ‘sitting in cubicles’, in full view of potential
customers." Actually Graziosi’s citation of Xenarchus brings back the old Times
Square peep shows that were part of long gone classical era of cosmopolitan
debauchery when Manhattan was a flesh pot. Plus
ca change plus c’est la meme chose. But reading about the whores of
antiquity makes one realize that Trojans is a perfect name for a brand of
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.