The mystery of Fulvia–or how do we insult a woman more like a man?

Just finished Mary Beard’s article on the classical tradition and the silencing of women. The article itself is very good, but I wondered about the lack of commentary about the actions of Roman woman, rather than the words about them—specifically, the vengeful Fulvia. Most of my knowledge of the classical period comes from television miniseries, a Robert Harris book about Cicero, and Robert Graves’s I, Claudius.* I knew about Fulvia stabbing her golden hairpins into Cicero’s head, but it seemed like a pretty dull thing to do to a man by the standards of the time. Shouldn’t she have put them through his mouth while he was still alive, producing loads of stage blood and dramatic music, all against a background of artfully shot chiaroscuro? Who was this Fulvia? Continue reading →

Notes on a Fuck-Up

If you, like me, have nothing better to do than get angry about gems of authorial nongenius on the Internet, the last few weeks have been a good run. The Internet mind has released its rage about sport/pop culture site Grantland‘s “Dr. V’s Magical Putter” and women’s site xoJane‘s “It Happened to Me: There Are No Black People in my Yoga Classes and I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It.” Both of these articles are mostly notable for the backlash they generated, not for the quality of the writing, so click on them at your own risk. If you want a rundown, Caleb Hannan’s “Dr. V” is about a person who invented a weird looking putter, and made up her professional credentials and was also a transsexual, and Jen Polachek’s “Black People in my Yoga Classes” is about a white woman who had a weird reaction to a black woman. Folks are angry because Hannan should have known not to randomly out his subjects to and possibly contribute to their suicide, and Polachek should have known not to project her musings about her own ass onto a complete stranger of a different race.  Continue reading →