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207.  Mon Oct 13, 2003 5:54 am Reply with quote

Anyway, the question wasn't whether homosexuality existed in Ancient Greece, but whether it was condoned. Stephen's comment in the show reflected the widely-held belief that it was.

209.  Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:49 am Reply with quote

Flash, who says witchcraft doesn't exist? My daughter left home to become a witch. Granted, she soon found out the the coven master was a fake [they were out in the woods one May dawn, catching cold, and she saw him hiding behind a bush. When he returned to the group he claimed he'd been in another dimension, which did rather take the gilt off the gingerbread for her, thank goodness - he was a total prat] but absence of proof is not proof of absence. CF the Loch Ness Monster.

213.  Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:55 pm Reply with quote

I think I have you in a pincer movement here. On the left side: I'm saying that people can and do ban things even though they may be illusory, ie that a ban on something is not evidence for that thing's existence. On the right side: I'm saying that that doesn't matter because I'm not denying that homosexuality existed in Ancient Greece, just querying whether it was tolerated in the way that people nowadays assume that it was.

In order to make useful progress, though, we need evidence, and unfortunately I still don't have it. I don't know how old you are, but if you remember Perry Mason you will recall how he would always lack the vital bit of evidence until the very end, when that private investigator he used would come into court with it just as Mason was cross-examining the person who then turned out to be the culprit. I expect a similar outcome in this case.

235.  Tue Oct 14, 2003 3:43 pm Reply with quote

Banning something does, though, prove that you believe it is happening. You don't ban something totally illusory - there's no law against becoming invisible, or flying to Mars, or turning into a horse. So your left side falls down. And on your right side, wasn't there a regiment called the Lovers? If the army accepts something, it's likely to be acceptable in general society. I fear your pincers go sideless, like a tabard.

About my age; like any lady, I'm as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth.

236.  Tue Oct 14, 2003 4:44 pm Reply with quote

Yes, they believed it was happening and sure enough it was happening, so they banned it, if only in this instance. IE they didn't tolerate it at all times and in all places.

The Sacred Band of Thebes, I think: a force of 300 raised by Gorgidas in 378BC and eventually wiped out by Philip of Macedon at Chaeronea, according to Plutarch.

BTW, I apologise if I appeared to enquire about your age - please take it merely as an admission as to my own advancing years: I remember Perry Mason. Peyton Place, also.

283.  Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:51 am Reply with quote

Dear Flash,

Sorry if I sounded huffy about my age, I didn't mean to. the earliest television show I can remember is sitting on the floor in a neighbour's sittingroom among about forty other people to watch the Coronation on a screen about six inches wide.

286.  Thu Oct 16, 2003 5:00 pm Reply with quote

Not at all. However, this does lead us into something which may be an old canard: I was told that the reason The Mall got asphalted in red was so that it would look better in B&W for the coronation, the first big outside broadcast. Do you suppose that's true? And also: is it the case that the only place in the UK where you're supposed to drive on the right-hand side of the road is that little roadlet which leads up to the door of the Savoy?

And, speaking of the Savoy, is there anyone out there who can honestly claim that when they hear mention of John of Gaunt they don't envisage a very tall, thin man with a hooked nose?

296.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 3:44 am Reply with quote

Very good again last night. That statistic about more Vietnam vets having committed suicide than died in the actual conflict, though: is that true? Does anyone have the source?

299.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 11:18 am Reply with quote


The stat is mine, I'm sure it's true, but I can't remember the source. I'm afraid

The same is definitely true of the Falklands incidentally. It was in the Daily Telegraph last week. 267 Falklands vets have now committed suicide since the war, more than were killed during it.

302.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 4:42 pm Reply with quote

Cut that sucker out and paste it in a scrapbook. Does it compare the 267 number with the suicide rate in any sort of control group (ie non-soldiers, veterans of other conflicts, people who were soldiers but who didn't go to war, or even the public at large)? Hard to know what it means otherwise. And: who's counting?

303.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 4:57 pm Reply with quote

I read a very right-wing American defending the American troop casualties in Iraq on the grounds that a similar demographic group in inner cities in the USA had a higher death rate than American soldiers stationed in Iraq, so Flash has a point there. However, I would strongly distrust the source of that information about American troops and I have no way of checking the assertion.

305.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:39 pm Reply with quote


Here's a link that suggests the number of post-Vietnam suicides is somewhere between 20,000 and 200,000.

306.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:41 pm Reply with quote


According to a study by Tim A. Bullman and Han K. Yang in the Federal Practitioner 12 (3) : 9-13 (March 1995), " more than 20,000 Vietnam Veterans died of suicide from the time of discharge through the end of 1993". However there are others that claim that many more veterans have died of suicide since the Vietnam War.

In Chuck Deans' book, Nam Vet., printed in 1990 by Multnomah Press, Portland, Oregon, 97226, the author states that "Fifty-eight thousand plus died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended". According to this book, Chuck Dean is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the 173rd Airborne, arriving in Vietnam in 1965. At the time the book was written, Mr. Dean was the executive director of Point Man International, a Seattle based, non-profit support organization dedicated to healing the war wounds of Vietnam Veterans.

While doing research for his novel, Suicide Wall, Alexander Paul contacted Point Man International and was given the name of a retired VA doctor, and conducted a phone interview with him. In that interview, the doctor related that his estimate of the number of Vietnam Veteran suicides was 200,000 men, and that the reason the official suicide statistics were so much lower was that in many cases the suicides were documented as accidents, primarily single-car drunk driving accidents and self inflicted gunshot wounds that were not accompanied by a suicide note or statement. According to the doctor, the under reporting of suicides was primarily an act of kindness to the surviving relatives.

If the estimate of over 150,000 veterans of the Vietnam War having committed suicide since returning home is true, the figure would be almost three times the number killed in the war. When these deaths are added to the 50,000 plus Vietnam War casualties, the number approaches the 292,000 American casualties of World War II.

309.  Fri Oct 17, 2003 8:57 pm Reply with quote

Interesting - thank you Jack. Do you know if any figures were kept for suicides following larger wars like WW1 or WW2? It's not a topic I've ever looked at before.

314.  Sat Oct 18, 2003 5:32 am Reply with quote

All very interesting as has been noted, though it seems to lack the bracing air of scientific rigour a bit.

Alan Davies was on the Jonathan Ross TV show last night and they talked about QI and showed a clip (the anteater), which is all grist to the mill.


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