Monday, March 31, 2008

Aaro: Nail, Head

Fish, barrel. Well done.

Slightly longer version - it's about time someone said it. Aaro sticks up for common sense. Sometimes this watching lark is a pleasure.

OK, one pedantic qualm (I wouldn't be me otherwise):

Somehow we have overcome the genuine feeling of disgust at the prospect of even touching a prawn, just as we have more recently learned to cope with homosexual acts and racially mixed marriages.


I don't know who the 'we' is here. Nor am I sure about the 'coping' with homosexual acts (practice makes perfect, you know): there have been gay people as long as there have been people; homosexuality may have been illegal, but people got on with it. Oscar Wilde, Death in Venice, Britten and Pears. Some people didn't accept it; others did. As for racially mixed marriages, surely Times readers have come across Anthony and Cleopatra, Othello and Desdemona, Madame Butterfly and Lieutenant Pinkerton? However, he's right with where he's going.

But then, I think there's only one sane good (just re-read it, and it's mad as anything, better than the rest though) book in the Bible - Ch1 v 10: "Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us."

14 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

Madame Butterfly and Lieutenant Pinkerton?

Not really a good example, is it? Apart from the fact that the opera could be titled "All Men Are Bastards", it's not really a genuine pairing on Pinkerton's part (which to my mind renders as little problematic the great love duet that closes the first Act, since you can't really believe that Pinkerton means what he's singing).

3/31/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

Anthony and Cleopatra? Does Roman and Greek count as a mixed race relationship?

3/31/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Anonymous shake said...

Somehow we have overcome the genuine feeling of disgust at the prospect of even touching a prawn

As you hint, CC, I'm guessing this isn't the same 'we' he uses in the Jewish Chronicle.

All the same:

we have more recently learned to cope with homosexual acts and racially mixed marriages. These transitions can be wonderfully rapid

No matter who is included in the 'we' here, this makes a really refreshing change from the standard Decent line on 'Western Tolerance', that somehow countries in which homosexuality is illegal are 'in the dark ages' etc etc. Amis is especially bad on that score.

4/01/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

this makes a really refreshing change from the standard Decent line on 'Western Tolerance'

Especially in the light of today's news story.

4/01/2008 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

If you read the poll it doesn't justify any of the conclusions in the article. Its asking gay people whether they expect to encounter prejudice in a variety of situations, some of them well outside their actual experience (MP selection). It doesn't really tell you anything about actual homophobia. Its a valid poll, so long as you don't misuse its findings (as Stonewall seem to have done). Also its a YouGov poll, or have they cleaned up their act?

4/01/2008 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous shake said...

By the way, since this site is called 'Aaronovitch Watch', I should mention that I saw Aaro on TV last night, on a BBc4 'game show' called 'the book quiz'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bookquiz/

It was dreadful - nobody on the panel seemed to know anything about literature (especially Aaro), but they didn't need to, since every question was essentially 'name a male/female author who would probably have been on the BBC in [insert year between 1930 and 1965 here]'.

4/01/2008 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Anthony and Cleopatra? Does Roman and Greek count as a mixed race relationship?

It did in the eyes of Octavian, who used the theme of Cleopatra's foreignness extensively in his propaganda in the run up to Actium.

IIRC, there is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that Romans of the period rather regarded the Greeks as inferior.

4/01/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

surely octavian was saying "that cleopatra she's nowt but a big EGYPTIAN DOG-WORSHIPPING QUEEN" tho? i mean yes yes the ptolemies were macedonian from way back but it was the fear of pyramids and camels -- and monarchy -- that he was stirring up worries about, wasn't it?

(er my knowledge of this period comes via ROME on the telly, CARRY ON on the telly, and shakespeare semi-remembered from school)

4/01/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Well, yours is better than mine then. Mine comes from Asterix (as translated by Oliver Kamm's mother); so I always thought Cleo was black.

4/01/2008 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Is Ed Vulliamy a Decent, by the way? I ask because his mum is Shirley Hughes.

4/01/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Vulliamy isn't as far as I know, demonstrating that it is actually possible to be of the anti-war left without worshipping Slobodan Milosevic as a demi god.

4/01/2008 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Do you worship demi-gods or just revere them?

4/02/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

I think you worship them if you're part of their cult and sort of patronise them if you're a worshipper of a more popular god in the same pantheon, particularly since "demi-god" is usually a theologian's or historian's category created when they're trying to assemble untidy sprawling polytheisms into pantheons; to the locals who worship them, they're gods. Hephaestus was about as "demi" as they came, but he had a genuine cult which did appear to actually worship him.

4/02/2008 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I have true religious faith.
You are a worshipper (cum sort of patroniser).
They are cultists.

I hope that clears that up.

4/02/2008 04:01:00 PM  

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