Wednesday, September 26, 2007

 

Lysistrata returns

A friend sent me a photo yesterday of some ladies at an antiwar protest. I took one look and thought of Lysistrata ("one who loosens up armies").

Back in 411 BCE Aristophanes produced his famous comedy of that name. At the time of the production the Athenians and the Spartans had been going at it for 20 years. To end the war Lysistrata decides to organize a sex strike. The women of Athens are hard to convince but are finally persuaded. They take an oath over a wine pot.

Here's a staid translation of it—

No man of any kind, lover of husband, shall approach me with a hard-on. At home in celibacy shall I pass my life wearing a party dress and makeup so that my husband will get as hot as a volcano for me but never willingly shall I surrender to my husband.

And here's a version of that oath from a modern adaptation—

Lys: Girls, girls.... O.K. Everyone touch the bowl and repeat after me: If my husband or any man approach me
All
: If my husband or any man approach me
Lys
: Being in condition of excitement
All
: Being in condition of excitement
Lys
: I swear to refuse every inch of him
All
: I swear to refuse every inch of him
Lys: I shall wear my most seductive clothes and make-up
All
: I shall wear my most seductive clothes and make-up
Lys: So as particularly turn him on
All
: So as particularly turn him on
Lys
: But then at the last moment forbid him to touch me
All
: Then at the last moment forbid him to touch me
Lys
: I will not once yield to his advances.
All: I will not once yield to his advances.
Lys
: Nor will I adopt the 'rampant-lioness-on-a-cheese-grater' position1


But I think these ladies from CodePink/Los Angeles say it best—

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Footnote

1Quite frankly, I wouldn't adopt the "rampant-lioness-on-a-cheese-grater" position even in peacetime. But then I'm not Greek. [back]

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