Question time. I am reading Marcus Aurelius's Meditations and in the first book he condemns "homosexuality." The Meditations were originally written in Greek, I know, but I'm not sure if ancient Roman concepts of male-male relationships translates easily into modern English. Unfortunately the translator/editor does not make any useful notes on this passage. Can you shed some light on male-male relationships in Roman antiquity?
SO. Despite being queer, this is something I read less about than I should, because it is kind of a minefield of exhaustion. To begin, you need to be constantly aware of the huge gaping discourse pits that plague ancient sexuality studies, especially when it comes to male-male relationships:
1. Labeling issues. Modern sexualities do not map to ancient ones. This should be kind of obvious as they are separated by 2000+ years of history, but you would be surprised how badly this works out in practice. The problem here is that after being violently written out of history for basically forever, anything that vaguely sounds like “gay people didn’t exist back then” is obviously inflammatory. (And some gross academics have indeed argued just that.) The basic idea is that there is no neat 1-to-1 translation system of our current sexuality spectrum to the ancient spectrum, and our modern day realities can’t be imported backwards. However, this leads us to…
2. Language issues. We don’t really have specific terms for much of the ancient spectrum, so we have to use modern words, which results in people applying their current conceptions. But wait, there’s more! We’ve got textual/linguistic issues where there is no differentiation between words for homosexuality (interest-only-in-men), homosexual behavior (acts-with-men), and pederasty. Then you have hundreds of years of bigoted translators conflating homosexuality and pederasty. And then you’ve got today, where pederasty itself doesn’t neatly map to modern CSA but is understandably not something victims want distant academics philosophizing about!! Everyone is trapped navigating between Abuse Apologism and the Predatory Gays stereotype, which are both a helluva lot more harmful than Scylla and Charybdis ever were.
3. Reception issues. With modern lgbtqia+ movements and queer theory rising in academia, we’ve seen a lot more perceptions and interpretations of classical works. There’s a tendency for any academic questioning of these minority narratives to be taken as an attack (and sometimes it IS, like with the hyper-focus on Sappho). A lot of “Western” sexuality movements also owe a huge debt and inspiration to their own imaginings of the classics, and while they aren’t invalidated by those imaginings being disproved, it can sure feel like that’s the goal sometimes. Murky waters.
4. Agency issues. A lot of lgbtqia+ people have really bad experiences with being labeled rather than choosing labels. Since we can’t talk to ancient Romans and have them self-define, we’re either stuck discussing trends rather than people (which is impersonal), or deciding that because they do X, they must be Z. This results in sweeping generalizations: “well technically they’re all bi” or “if they ever had male/male sex they must be gay” and so on. But that kind of black/white labeling doesn’t manage to describe reality today either.0
5. (Bonus issue: Academia can’t keep up with our terminology which results in anything older than about 5-7 years being cringe-worthy and if I read one more article talking about a two-sexed image being bisexual I’m gonna friggin lose it)
Meanwhile, there are the ancient biases that one has to take into account:
1. We mostly know about ELITE male/male customs, as systemized in unbalanced arrangements and/or pederasty. There is considerably less data on the other 99% of Romans.
2. Active/Submissive. Labels were based on role during intercourse, not interest/attraction as our spectrum generally works today. The stereotypes surrounding men taking an active role (dick go in thing) were completely different than those about men taking a submissive role (thing dick go in). This also aligned ‘submissive’ roles with women, who performed the same function, and so doubled the implication of unmanliness.
3. Propaganda. If you hate an emperor/politician, make him seen unmanly. If you want to make him seem unmanly, say he’s submissive to other men and does other “womanly” things. It was a pretty simple equation. This does not mean everything is hands down a lie, but this is a bias that has to be accounted for when we delve into questions about the Galli, Elgabalus, and basically any secondhand report.
It’s kind of like if you had to write a history of modern sexual identities, but all you had were some 00s top/bottom stereotypes, homophobic diatribes, some philosophical meta on RPF, vague mentions of rainbow parades, and a handful of closeted love letters. In another language. Missing 90% of its context.
All of that said, there is constant work being done in the area, though more (and more varied) work is always needed. Here is a small chronological sampling across a few disciplines, with a caveat that I have not read most of these yet myself – apologies if they willingly hurl themselves into a discourse hellscape.
Sorry if you've answered this before, but assuming a Guardian was to talk to Shin (Either on the rare occasion Shin visits the Tower or just when the two cross paths), what are good ways to get into Shin's good graces?
This is going to sound terribly facetious but: be like Jaren.
More specifically, I think he’d favour Guardians who care about the little people. Most Guardians seem to live solely within the segregated society of the Tower or their own equally segregated worlds, which is understandable given that being an amnesiac corpse imbued with life by an alien power for the sole purpose of fighting an impossible war does not leave one primed for making nice with the civilians. Even Guardians that make an effort sometimes bear casually callous attitudes; Cayde helps out with City dodgeball for the kids, but he also dismissed the technomite breakout as harmless because it didn’t harm Guardians, nevermind that it would have been a plague of devastating proportions for the City proper.
Shin’s been one of the little people. Any sort of disregard or belittlement of non-Guardians is going to immediately highlight the gulf between him and the others, whereas someone who at least tries to understand the mortal perspective stands a better chance of forging some common ground.
Beyond that, I reckon he’d prefer people understand the weighty duty of a Guardian’s role over the frequently flippant or the glory-hounds, people who have a wanderer’s experience over people who’ve stuck close the City, and people who don’t make a Thing out of his history over people who are way too interested in his personal trauma. Also possibly people who can let a silence sit a while over people who literally can’t keep their trap clapped for five goddamn minutes, h’oh dear lord he is trying to have a moment here.
Sorry if it looks bad or its shaky I recorded this off of my phone, also it cut off at the end so that sucks but whatever >3> Hopefully someone recorded the whole panel because it was so fun to sit through. This was such an amazing panel and I’m happy I got to talk and ask them a question even if it was kind of lame.
I just listened to the Telegraph podcast he did, and sorry but take away the accent and he is not very well spoken at all. What a load of clap trap. When he said he has a job he loves, I got tickled. I'll bet he does love doing noting but traveling the seven seas, occasional pr appearances that last what an hour max, and chasing skank actresses in back alleys. Wow!
Yes he loves his job of traveling around the world attending parties and enjoying luxurious vacations on tax payers money just to give a couple of speeches and a few waves to the crowd which attend the Royal Engagements.
Now can you see Harry giving up his royal lifestyle which he pretty much enjoys every second of for Meghan??? That’s the million dollar question. Have a great day anon.
And here’s the second Boom Clap remix of the night (visit prior post for the Surkin remix). You didn’t think we’d get away for a whole day without a trap share, did you? Tsk tsk. California duo Hippie Sabotage, who gave us the uber popular Tove Lo flip Stay High, work their pitchy, chill trap brilliance on the Charli XCX hit. This, and the prior Surkin remix, will be on the Boom Clap remixes collection, out July 29 on Neon Gold/Atlantic.
i’m going to share some thoughts about having mice in my apartment and i’m going to use the words “mouse/mice” and “rat/rats” interchangeably. and i know they’re different, like, creatures, but i’m using “rat” as more of a slur for “mouse”. because i don’t like them. i know there are people who have pet mice and they have like white fur with pink tinges around all their various holes and openings and stuff, and i’m not trying to offend you and your pet that crawls all over your chest, but if you get down with a roi de rats you might want to skip this. i’ve also spoken to my super about this stuff already etc. anyways here’s ~2,000 unedited words on rats.
we have rats. fucking rats, man. i’ve struck a horizontal line on the household pest bingo card. ants. that’s free space, everyone has ants at some point. bed bugs, fucking bed bugs. bed bugs are a kind of pest that change your personality long after they’re gone. they leave a scorch mark on your ancestral dna. 60 million years from now a scientist is going to point at a gene sequence on a hologram computer and go, “yeah right here is where it all started going wrong for this species, if you’ve ever wondered why you’re always scared of dark pieces of lint and your bed is 4 feet off the ground, this uh, this is why.” uh lizards and bats when i lived in florida, whatever, the point is that rats were always the end, the final frontier. the thing you only see on tv. now the only thing i have left is like, you ever hear about those stories that are like, “nanny cam footage reveals how an old japanese woman lived in this couple’s house undetected for 20 years!” that’s all i have left. haunted blonde twins with white eyes, that’s my new rats.
it all started, well i was at work, so like, already my soul was in a weakened state. like my spirit was extra susceptible to the universe fucking with it. i was at work and i got a text message from my girlfriend. it went something like, “i don’t want to freak you out, but i think i just saw a mouse in the apartment.”
and that text message, it marked the Before of my old life and the After that is my life trapped in rat crime city. my brain chemistry altered after reading those words. unknowingly it altered, because i was in denial at first, obviously. in fact my first reaction was to text back, “were you falling asleep at the time?” because sometimes when you’re falling asleep you’ll see weird, scary shit, right? like a demon sitting on your chest or something.
well whatever, i worked the rest of my shift in a daze and eventually, somehow, hours later found myself kneeling in an aisle of duane reade that i had only ever visited once before to buy fly traps. because i’ve had flies, and i bought a cute little fake apple to kill fruit flies. the apple of death, i was the purple witch to the fly sleeping beauty. whatever. i was kneeling because even in the aisle dedicated to killing the vermin of nyc, they put the rat stuff on the bottom shelf, not even the bottom shelf, like the space under the bottom shelf. because it’s so shameful. it’s rat killing merch and a dusty can of blueberry redbull that rolled under there five months ago. it was one step away from buying weapons from a guy in a dark alley. i was there kneeling, hunched over, like in prayer to the altar of the god of rat death. and the hovering, infinitely black orb flashed red and answered my prayers by unfurling like a rose and in the center of the strange petals was a poison trap.
so i bought the poison trap and here’s what i thought the poison trap did. i thought the rat walked inside of a little room, ate poison, and then somehow the door locked behind him and he just died in a shitty little poison rat studio apartment. upon getting home my girlfriend informed me that how it actually works is, the rat eats the poison disguised as delicious food, and then just goes and dies randomly some time later, probably in a hard to reach spot in the room where i live.
side note. i pay too much money to live in a very small space because i feel aimless and lost and i’ll do things like move to a city to try and find meaning in my life, uh, rats have miles and miles of subway tunnels to live in. go, go be in them. get away from me.
so i returned to the altar of the god of rat death and prayed once more to the giant, hovering, infinitely black orb, and i said, “you fucking sold me- what is this trap for? give me the classic mouse traps, my god. i thought rat trap technology had evolved. just give me the regular cartoon thing made out of wood.”
they had two kinds of those, the classic retro wooden clap trap, and some more modern looking grey plastic one that looked like a building from command and conquer or some shit. i bought a bunch of both. i dropped mad stacks on rat traps.
i’d also like to comment on how the old fashioned traps, the wooden ones, they say on the package, “pre-baited” but when you look at them, at the spot where the bait would be, there’s nothing. like i looked at a couple and i was like, “where is the bait?” the little platform where you’re meant to put the bait is shaped like a tiny slice of swiss cheese, holes and all. that’s what they mean by “pre-baited. like what kind of acme logic is that? pre-baited with a cartoonish wedge of swiss cheese? rats don’t know what swiss cheese is! rats aren’t fucking born with an innate knowledge of swiss cheese. they don’t know that humans think they specifically like the cheese with the holes!! that’s not real. rats eat fucking glue and garbage and shit! by that logic an elephant trap would have a big plastic peanut on it. that’s not pre-baited!! bear traps don’t have pots of honey on them!!!
we decided to use the modern-y, plastic-y clap traps. you bait these in a little hatch and then when the rat lifts up the lid, it snaps down and breaks their neck. like if i opened my fridge and inside there was a spring-loaded metal bar that just swung out and clothes lined me to death. we baited them with peanut butter. which uh, marked the jar in my head as “rat peanut butter.” like it was new and i opened it for the traps and i don’t think i’ll use it now. like i can’t put a dollop of jif into a plastic death trap and then spread it on some ritz crackers. not appetizing. but hey, only the best name brands for my rat buds, eh? choosy daniels choose jif. you think they’d prefer crunchy over smooth? you think rats keep their peanut butter in the fridge?
side note again. my girlfriend pointed something out to me that was apparently rat droppings. a little black like, bit of dirt behind the sink. i was like, “that’s what that is? i’ve seen that every day, i just thought it was like, crud? you know? like schmutz, like just dirt that builds up from being alive and walkin around and shit. that’s what that is?” it blew my mind.
three days passed, alright? every day i woke up and went to go check the traps like some kind of fucked up easter egg hunt. four little sections of my tiny apartment where i can’t go anymore. my girlfriend had since gone home for vacation. i was alone, i was convinced there was no rat.
on the fourth day i woke up. rat in the trap. big fucking rat. not really a rat, it was a mouse, but like i said, well, to me, a rat. i froze. i knew i was going to be late for work. once i was late for work because i had to psych myself up to pick up a dead roach. a rat? that has a spine and an immune system and shit. i thought i was just gonna call and quit. here’s the real twist though. i looked over at the other trap and did a fucking double take. there was another rat. two, i caught two in one night. it really looked like a mom and a baby. everyone i’ve told this to, at this point they get sad thinking about a mom and a baby, but it just freaks me out more. rats don’t have one baby, they have a bunch. for all i know my apartment is a poorly staffed rat daycare right now.
me picking up the traps with the rigid dead rat bodies isn’t important, just gross, but it’s something i had to do that i didn’t think i’d ever do, so there’s that. add that to my wheelhouse.
how did we even get rats? we’re clean, don’t leave out food, no british ships had docked in my fucking living room. (why isn’t there a stereotype of the arrival of british people coinciding with the arrival of rats? isn’t that how rats got to hawaii?) the only thing i can pin it to is construction they were doing down a manhole on our street. maybe that displaced them. would i have preferred to have four ninja turtles crashing on my couch? no, i don’t want anything from the sewer being displaced refugees in my apartment.
but now we’re all caught up. because this is where i am. i live in fear. when the sun sets i just go to bed because rats are nocturnal and i figure i’d better give them enough night time hours to kill themselves in my traps. like i just don’t stay up anymore and then i dread going out into the living room in the morning.
i got home from work last night and pulled out everything from under the sink. taking a tip from a coworker, i taped up the holes in the back of the cabinet where the pipes from the sink meet the walls. you’re supposed to use steel wool because they can’t chew through it. all i had was purple duct tape left over from when i went through a duct tape wallet phase four years ago. so i was dripping sweat in my apartment with the ac off so i could hear rats trying to sneak up on me. i was shirtless, wearing jeans, my most rat bite-proof pants, a child’s headlamp so i could see under the sink, and wearing leather gloves. why was i wearing the leather gloves? because if i saw a rat and somehow i caught it in my bare hands i wouldn’t have the courage to crush it, but the leather glove would empower me to choke the life out of it i guess. yeah, shirtless, jeans, leather gloves, child’s headlamp, and a roll of purple duct tape. like a shitty sexy calendar miner. this is my life forever now, i guess. at night i dream from the perspective of the rats. i am them. where do you see yourself spending your last moments on earth if you’re a rat? rolling green hills, the feeling of wind gently running through your fur. in the distance are ancient ruins being overrun by moss. vestiges of a forgotten time. and now time would forget you too. something like that? no please i’m a rat and i want to die surrounded by some loser 25 year old’s shitty ikea furniture. i can’t go back to the way it was. i hate rats.