i dropped my toast into a big dirt pile on the ground and then automatically put it under the tap to clean it off and now i’m Depressed.
I had a dream that I was at school (but not a school I’ve ever actually been to, and I think some of the teachers were secretly animals or something, can’t really remember that bit) and we had to choose what subjects to study the following year. There was some flexibility about how much you did, but I wanted to do lots because stuff is interesting. But also you had to figure it all out so that your timetable worked and you weren’t going to two lessons at the same time, which was very complicated because every subject had its own timetable and none of them fitted together neatly. And we had to make our final choices and draw up our proposed timetables and all this had to be done under exam conditions for some reason. Like, we’d known what the options were for a while and we were allowed to think about it in advance, but then we had to do the final definite choosing all sitting silently in a room within a defined period of time. Everyone else had thought about it in advance. I hadn’t. I’d thought it would be easy, but then every combination I tried didn’t work and I got more and more panicky as I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do it in time and I’d just have to throw together some kind of mess of a timetable that would involve doing subjects I really didn’t want to do just because I could make them fit together. It was fairly horrible.
I don’t know why I never have normal school-panic dreams. I never have ‘turn up at school and find out there’s a test you didn’t know about’ dreams or that kind of thing. Sometimes I have ‘suddenly can’t remember which lesson you’re meant to be going to and then remember but it’s way over on the other side of the building and also apparently the corridors are all quite similar’ dreams.
Actually it makes sense, now that I think about it. Because generally I haven’t had trouble with tests and knowledge and stuff, so exams and surprise tests aren’t too scary. But I am very disorganized and unreliable and my memory is bad so it’s unsurprising that I have anxieties about timetables and stuff I guess.
i have a paper due in two days and i’ve written a whole goddamn page so i’m watching showgirls! i can’t believe i’ve never seen it before!
Cinema Rolls loves this film. She had a Showgirls birthday party one year — well, officially it was a things-Elizabeth-Berkley-has-been-in party because Radioforte doesn’t look like any of the characters in Showgirls but does look a bit like Screech from Saved by the bell. Everyone who didn’t come in costume was given a chin extension made out of a bit of egg-box so they could be Kyle McLachlan. We played the official ‘stick the pasties on the showgirl’ game from the Showgirls VIP box set and watched the film while playing an appropriate drinking game (drink when Nomi hits an inanimate object, drink when there’s aggressive eating, drink when there’s incredibly unerotic nudity, &c.) using official Showgirls shot glasses. It was amazing.
One of the remarkable things about the film is the complete lack of character development. Nomi goes on an amazing life-unchanging journey of self-non-discovery and emerges exactly the same as she was at the beginning. Which somehow seems entirely appropriate.
Bonus joke (courtesy of someone on Twitter the other day): what’s Nomi Malone’s favourite fish? DIFF’RENT PLAICES.
Sometimes I’m scrolling up through my dashboard (I read Tumblr chronologically) I get to a really long text post and as I scroll up to the top I subliminally pick up bits of phrasing or whatever and find myself thinking ‘this seems kind of dry and boring’ and then I get to the top and it invariably turns out to be something I wrote.
my dad’s landline reads the name or number of whoever’s calling as it rings. it’s this stupid goofy robot lady voice that doesn’t know how to pronounce anything. this is it trying to say “yesterday”
All my troubles seemed so frrruway
Now it looks as thought they’re hrrrtstay
Oh I believe in yrrrstrrday.
She was once the a beautiful virgin shadow maiden of Athean. After Poseidon rapes Medusa in Athena’s temple, Athena punishes Medusa….making her the embodiement of death and damning her to a life of solitude.
What does this say about society then, and now?
Well, the myth that tells Medusa’s metamorphosis into a monster as a punishment by Athena is the patriarchal Roman version. The ancient Greek myth, which has closer ties to its progenitor, the Egyptian tale of Wadjet, tells us that Athena gifted Medusa with ugliness and the power to turn men to stone as a way of protecting her from further violations of her person. Even so, her ugliness was emphasized in the Roman retelling as a way to further demonize and disenfranchise Medusa (i.e. she only lashed out on men because she was too ugly to be loved by them, her ugliness forced her into seclusion from men, ugly women are bad, etc. ((I am ironically using abbreviations for Latin words here yes)).). As the original myth tells it, she lived in solitude because she did not wish to be around men after what Poseidon had done. And Athena gave her the power to never be at the mercy of a male again. So originally, Athena was pissed at Poseidon, not Medusa. And then, of course, the Romans took it one step further and had Perseus behead her (yay the vindictive old hag is dead) and give it to Athena for her shield.
But yeah, renderings of Medusa’s head appeared in the doorways of many women’s shelters in ancient Greece because she was a symbol of female empowerment, not a monster feared by men and women alike.
This brings me to my awkward segue into a cool essay on the subject: The Laugh of the Medusa by Helene Cixous actually touches on the system of misogynistic fear behind the Romanized version, but most importantly why women need to write their stories because this is the shit that happens when dudebros get ahold of them. It’s also an awesome overture to queer theories of writing. If you can read French, I highly suggest getting your hands on the essay as it was originally written, because Cixous’ voice is just incredibly inspiring when you read it as she intended it to be read. Also, the essay itself is worthy of criticism as it is not as intersectional as it absolutely needs to be. I feel I should add that before someone thinks I advocate the problematic things she says.
But now that I’ve totally digressed from my original point: It’s important that we’re always mindful to question the credibility of those telling us not only history, but also legend.
(I became absolutely exhausted halfway through this so forgive me if the connection I’m making between the original post and this essay is more arbitrary than I think it is at the moment)
Very interesting! Pear and I were talking about Medusa the other day, actually, and about how the turning of the ‘heroes’ into stone is usually just thought of as a fancy way of killing them, and perhaps as a warning to others, but that looks at it from the attacker’s point of view. What does it mean for the gorgon that she protects herself by creating statues? A statue is a way of constructing a public memory of someone, of broadcasting their character and achievements. Usually they present the subject as the subject wants to be presented (or as someone else wants them to be presented) rather than necessarily as they are. But the statues Medusa creates are like photographs and can’t lie. And the memory they preserve and broadcast is of an aggressor. Medusa turns her attackers into permanent memorials of the fact that they were trying to kill her. It’s a bit like taking a screen-shot of an abusive message, or a video of an act of police brutality.
I’m a bit wary of talk about ‘the original myth’, though, because it’s very rarely possible to identify such a thing. You can often find the oldest recorded version, but that’s rarely the first time the story was ever told, and it’s often possible to detect traces of earlier layers. Sometimes written versions of later date can actually contain elements that go back further than earlier written versions. Homer, for instance, the oldest surviving Greek source, seems to talk of only one gorgon, but a short time later Hesiod has three; but Euripides, much later still, refers to only one.
Similarly we probably shouldn’t talk about ‘the Roman version’ because there were many Roman versions and many Greek versions, and those categories overlap chronologically (since Greeks and Romans coexisted). It certainly isn’t right to say that the Romans introduced the beheading of Medusa by Perseus: that goes right back to Hesiod (Theogony line 280 or thereabouts) and is common in Greek visual art. And I’m a bit unsure about thebeggarandtheking’s suggestions of the differences between Greek and Roman accounts of Athena’s motives and intentions in causing Medusa’s transformation: my impression is that it’s rather more patchy than that. In Ovid (Metamorphoses book 4), a Roman source, the snaky hair is depicted as both a punishment imposed by Minerva and also a form of empowerment, or at least self-defence, for Medusa: ‘to terrify her enemies’. In one strand of the tradition it’s nothing to do with Poseidon at all but revenge for Medusa’s attempt to rival Athena’s beauty. I’m not aware of any version that depicts Athena as mainly motivated by a desire to protect Medusa: it sits rather uncomfortably with the fact that in most versions, both Greek and Roman, she’s the one who orchestrates and assists Medusa’s assassination by Perseus, but then again gods changed their minds a lot, and I’m certainly not familiar with every version of the story, so there may well be support for that reading somewhere.
Similarly the ugliness or beauty of Medusa doesn’t seem to me to observe a clean division between Roman and Greek sources. In Pindar, an old Greek poet, she’s beautiful, but in Apollodorus, also Greek but somewhat later, she has scales and tusks; in Greek vase-painting, on the other hand, she was usually monstrous in the archaic period but became beautiful in the classical period. In Ovid her face is unpleasant or terrible but it isn’t entirely clear whether this is because it’s unattractive or simply because it causes death and / or is itself dead (after being severed and mounted on a shield).
There are a lot of interesting ways to read the Medusa tradition, drawing on various different strands and sources. (We haven’t even touched on the fact that the gorgons were generally thought to have lived in Africa!) We can get a lot out of it without succumbing to the idea, which seems to thrive on Tumblr, that ‘the original version’ is somehow better or more interesting or less (or more) implicated in oppressive thinking or otherwise more worthy of attention (see also sundry arguments about Sherlock Holmes adaptations, or people citing the novel Les miserables as support for their interpretations of the film, or that post that went round a while back claiming that there was an ‘original’ version of Peter Pan in which Peter murdered the Lost Boys to stay young). I completely agree that we always need to ask who’s telling the story and what shapes the way they shape it, and that’s precisely because there is no original: there is no neutral starting-point. Every version is a combination of pre-existing elements and new ideas, and that’s as true of our own retellings and interpretations as it is of Hesiod’s and Ovid’s. Thebeggarandtheking has taken elements from different readings of Medusa and made a new reading, and that reading has informed and deepened my reading even though there are elements of it I disagree with, and so onwards and outwards and down the generations.
It’s great that Tumblr has a special thing for adding captions to pictures but it’s kind of annoying that you can’t tell whether a picture has a caption without clicking on it.
Hanging by a thread · Cowbell
Just heard this on the radio. Nice feel: part 60s pop, part 70s new wave. Can’t find the lyrics online but I’ll try to type them up when I get a moment.
I had a dream that involved Satah, Jamie, and Pear, and it was a very good dream and at one point during it I exclaimed, “They will all be so very happy to know that they all appeared in my dream and at least on one plane of existence we have all met up and had a wonderful time!”
:D :D :D
[A screen-capture of the tabs open in a browser window. Reading each tab in order one gets: #Trans… | Brows… | escape… | Social… | eating… | While… | I Hide… | behind… | Cocks…]
I can’t be the only one who rearranges their tabs to make sentences… right?
Come On Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
This is song I love dearly.
This song is the bane of my fucking existence
The whole “your name is Eileen, allow me to sing this song to you” thing got old by the time I turned three
I have a visceral reaction to what otherwise might be an enjoyable song
My friend Roxanne has a similar problem.
[Video shows still images film posters for Zubeidaa and some pictures of the actors.]
Hai na · Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan
(Rahman / Akhtar, 2000, from the film Zubeidaa)
(I don’t know what the lyrics mean, so I’m afraid I can’t offer any content warnings. Do let me know if this is a not-okay song for any reason.)
Moving gif warning.
[Image is a picture of a necklace but that isn’t really important at this stage.]
My post below is really long and is about the usage and etymology of words like ‘yonic’, ‘phallic’, ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, &c. You have been warned.
What’s the opposite of phallic ?
Though not nearly as common in use, “yonic” is the word for that.
I’m pretty sure that can’t be right. ”Phallic” comes from “phallus,” via Latin and Greek (which eventually evolved into “penis”), whereas “yonic” would come from “yoni,” which is Sanskrit. The Latin counterpart to “phallus” is “vagina,” which hasn’t changed in modern English, while the Sanskrit counterpart to “yoni” is “lingham.” It’s highly doubtful that the appropriate descriptive counterpart would come from a completely different language, meaning the correct (albeit somewhat sillier-sounding) counterpart would probably be “vaginic.”
Actually, it would work perfectly well with Sanskrit. Sanskrit is Indo-European just like Latin is. Nothing wrong with that.
Your argument seems to be that it’s illogical for the antonym of an English word with a Greek root to be an English word with a Sanskrit root, therefore this cannot be (or at least is unlikely to be) correct. This relies on an unstated assumption that English is logical. As to which: rofl.
Secondly, I’m no linguist, but I’m fairly certain that what makes something an English word is its usage in English by speakers and writers of English. If it’s used (to a certain threshold, about which I dare say there’s room for disagreement) to mean a thing, then it’s the word for that thing, regardless of logic or consistency.
I hadn’t heard ‘yonic’ before this post, but Wikitionary cites two examples from ordinary use, and a quick google reveals many more (for example, this online dictionary of literary terms, this published work on literary writing, and indeed the very subtitle of this published book about English words and etymology). Whereas a google of ‘vaginic’ reveals almost no examples of the word being used in the way you propose.
Of course this doesn’t stop you arguing that ‘yonic’ shouldn’t be the corresponding term to ‘phallic’ and that ‘vaginic’ should be, but I think it more or less does stop you credibly arguing that yonic isn’t the word.
But even by your own logic, ‘vaginic’ should definitely not be the corresponding word to ‘phallic’.
‘Phallic’ doesn’t come from Latin. There is a Latin word ‘phallicus’ but it means a line of verse that goes long-short-long-short-long-anceps. There is also a Latin word ‘phallus’ but it’s extremely rare and is used to mean exactly the same thing as the Greek word ‘phallos’.
The Greek word ‘phallos’ does not mean ‘penis’. It means a ritual image of a penis. There are various ancient Greek words for an actual, non-symbolic penis (the most common is ‘peos’), but ‘phallos’ is not one of them.
(Also, the Latin word ‘penis’ does not derive from ‘phallos’. The two words are completely unconnected. And the idea that ‘phallos’ ‘eventually evolved into “penis”’ is not only wrong but makes no historical sense because ancient Greek and Latin were contemporary languages, and how can a word from one of language ‘eventually evolve’ into a different word in another language that is being spoken at the same time? But I digress.)
Now, consistently with the meaning of ‘phallos’, the core meaning of the English word ‘phallic’ is ‘symbolic of a penis’. Not ‘like a penis’ or ‘resembling a penis’ (though those are nowadays more popular usages) but ‘symbolizing a penis’ (especially in a ritual context).
So to find (according to your own logic) the word that ought to correspond to ‘phallic’, you need to find a root in ancient Greek, not in Latin (because ‘phallic’ comes from Greek and not from Latin), and that root needs to mean not ‘vagina’ but ‘image of a vagina’ (preferably ‘ritual image of a vagina’).
But even if the correct language were Latin and not Greek, and even if the correct root were a word meaning ‘vagina’ and not a word meaning ‘image of a vagina’, your theory would still founder on one final but rather jagged rock: ‘vagina’ is not the Latin word for ‘vagina’. It’s the Latin word for ‘scabbard’ or ‘sheath’. It was occasionally used by Plautus as a sexual euphemism… for the anus. It was never used, even metaphorically, to mean the vagina. The word for a vagina was ‘cunnus’.
(The word for a penis, in case you’re wondering, was ‘mentula’, although the word ‘penis’, which literally means a tail, was sometimes used metaphorically to mean a penis. And yes, it is a mildly interesting fact that the Latin word for a penis is feminine and the Latin word for a vagina is masculine.)
So the word is actually ‘cunnic’. Except that it isn’t, because it’s a word derived from ancient Greek rather than Latin and its root is a word meaning ‘image of a vagina’ rather than ‘vagina’. Except that it isn’t, because none of those words is used in English, whereas ‘yonic’ plainly is.
Which is appropriate, actually, because from what I gather ‘yoni’ also means a ritual image of a vagina.
Sources (in no particular order):
The Oxford Latin dictionary (combined edition, reprinted with corrections 1996);
Liddell & Scott, A Greek-English lexicon (searchable on Perseus);
Lewis & Short, A Latin dictionary (searchable on Perseus);
Adams, The Latin sexual vocabulary (1982, Duckworth).
So wait, the word “penis” is feminine and the word “vagina” is masculine?
[Image above is a gif of a Homestuck character (sorry, don’t know which one!) sitting at a computer and chuckling.]
Well, not exactly — the Latin word ‘penis’ is masculine and the Latin word ‘vagina’ is feminine. But those are the Latin words for ‘tail’ and ‘scabbard’: in Latin, they don’t refer to genitals. The Latin words for penis is ‘mentula’, which is feminine, and the Latin word for vagina is ‘cunnus’, which is masculine. If you get what I mean!