Friday, July 07, 2006

Homer Simpson's Gonna Have a Cow!

From The Australian:
Homer could have been a woman, according to a forthcoming book by a specialist in oral literature.

Historian and linguist Andrew Dalby is challenging the accepted gender of one of the most influential writers of all time -- the poet who created the Greek epics The Iliad and The Odyssey in the seventh century BC.

Dang it, it’s sex, not gender! Nouns have genders; people (and other critters) have sexes! I LOATHE and REVILE that particular distortion of English!

Dr Dalby said: "There is no direct evidence of the poet's identity and therefore no justification for the customary assumption that the two epics were composed by a man."

Women have a long tradition worldwide as makers of oral literature, he said, citing Sappho, the best-known female poet of ancient Greece, and Enheduanna, the woman mentioned on a Sumerian tablet who thus became the first named poet in the world.

Dr Dalby, whose study Rediscovering Homer will be published in September, said: "It is possible, even probable, that this poet was a woman. As a working hypothesis, this helps to explain certain features in which these epics are better -- more subtle, more complex, more universal -- than most others."

[…] Acknowledging that other scholars have said the Iliad feels like the work of a man, he said: "The Iliad is largely about male heroics in war and the great majority of its characters are men whose aim is to kill one another ... Women, though telling the same stories, are capable of telling them from a different angle and with an added depth, dealing sympathetically with the feelings and motives of women characters. No one will deny that the poet of The Iliad does this."

In other words, guys, you are just too loutish to deal with the nuances and subtleties of the human experience. I find the liberal academic mindset to be a source of endless fascination. It’s enlightened to maintain that women are more subtle and complex, and thereby revise on no other basis the traditional sex of an ancient author; claim that women as a group aren’t as good at math, however, and you’ll lose your job like Larry Summers. And those who profess to teach our kids logical thinking see no problem. Yeesh.

(P.S. for Technobabe – I didn’t say “all women,” I said “women as a group” – and it’s not my quote anyway! I have absolutely no doubt that you can solve a vector equation in five dimensions in less time than it takes me to put on my glasses and read it.)