View previous topic | View next topic

The TV Show

Page 1 of 6
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

122.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:57 pm Reply with quote

Stone the crows, Jenny, you missed a good show tonight. However: this business about homosexuality being generally tolerated in Ancient Greece needs to be less uncritically disseminated. It was punishable by death in certain contexts, as I guess is generally known by the users of this board. If not, see me after school.

124.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 5:01 pm Reply with quote

I didn't know that Flashy: can you cite sources?

I have to say that Mrs ButtonOnion enjoyed the show tonight too.

Did anyone find Gyles Brandreth appalling, or was he tolerable?

127.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 5:05 pm Reply with quote

Brandreth was fabulous - Sam was enraptured by him. Luke just said "Old people know more than the rest of us, I guess" - a reference to the grey hair, I suppose.

Ref the Greek homophobia, this is a subject which Jonathan Gaisman is particularly strong on - I'll beard him in his den and revert with sources.

150.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 10:02 pm Reply with quote

I thought GB did excellently as well.
Socrates was done for " the corruption of the young " and " religious impieties " (EBR, as you know), but I've always thought that this is what they used to get him. My received wisdom is that it was against the law, but the law turned a b.e. because they were all at it themselves. (Isn't this what alot of "Platonism" conceals ?). Doesn't this make Oscar Wilde almost a direct descendant?
On the Brendan booze advert, surely the most overt was a poster campaign in our early twenties featuring just a bottle of barley wine, and the slogan: Stronger than a Double Scotch, at Less than Half the Price.

151.  Thu Oct 09, 2003 10:23 pm Reply with quote

The other thing which the show did for me tonight was to ask, what exactly is a rhyme? Doesn't myrtle work with purple? Isn't assonance as important as chyrstants?

153.  Fri Oct 10, 2003 2:25 am Reply with quote

Glad everyone liked Gyles. It's a shame that he can sometimes come across as a bit smug, because, in person he is an absolutely delightful person: kind, generous, bright, funny and (amazingly perhaps) a very good listener.

Hooray for young Luke and Sam. 'Out the mouths of babes' and so forth.

154.  Fri Oct 10, 2003 2:30 am Reply with quote

Liebig, I do hope you're not suggesting that Socrates was a poove?

The charge of 'corrupting youth' was about putting ideas in their heads, nothing more physical than than that.

I don't think anyone has ever suggested that 'man-on-man action' was Socrates' bag...

161.  Fri Oct 10, 2003 4:04 am Reply with quote

Another thing from the show last night that shouldn't pass entirely without a small "harrumph" is all the stuff about Pope Joan and the testicle check. The whole female pope thing is a well-established myth, and here's a quote to prove it:

i) There are no contemporary historical accounts of this supposed event. Nor is there anything in the ecclesiastical records.
ii) There's no place in the papal chronology where Joan could fit in. Pope Joan said to have reigned as John VIII from 855 to 858 until she was found out. In fact Pope Benedict III succeeded Leo IV in 855 after a period of only a few weeks. Other versions of the legend, as we saw, have her being elected in 853, but this doesn't fit either.
iii) Finally, the lack of any contemporary account is further proof of the legend's inauthenticity. Although the incident allegedly happened in the 9th century, no mention of it appears until the 13th century.

and here's something about the papal enthronement:

Supposedly, since that time, any candidate for the pope undergoes an intimate examination to ensure he is not a woman (or eunuch) in disguise. This involved sitting on a chair which has a hole in the seat. The most junior deacon present then feels under the chair to ensure the new Pope is male.
"And in order to demonstrate his worthiness, his testicles are felt by the junior present as testimony of his male sex. When this is found to be so, the person who feels them shouts out in a loud voice testiculos habet ("He has testicles") And all the clerics reply Deo Gratias ("Thanks be to God"). Then they proceed joyfully to the consecration of the pope-elect" - Felix Hamerlin, De nobilitate et Rusticate Dialogus (ca. 1490), quoted in The Female Pope, by Rosemary & Darroll Pardoe (1988).
As with myths generally, a small amount of truth exists, embellished with lairs of fiction. Such a seat did exist; when a pope took possession of his cathedral, St. John Lateran in Rome, he traditionally sat on two ancient chairs of porphyry, the sedia stercoraria. Both had holes. The reason for the holes remains a mystery, but as both the seats and their holes predated the Pope Joan story, and indeed Catholicism by centuries, they clearly have nothing to do with a need to check the sex of a pope. It has been speculated that they originally were Roman bidets or imperial birthing stools, which because of their age and imperial links were used in ceremonial by popes intent on highlighting their own imperial claims (as they did also with their latin title, Pontifex Maximus).
The myth of Pope Joan was conclusively rubbished by David Blondel, a mid-seventeenth century protestant historian, who, through detailed analysis of the claims and suggested timings, showed that no such events could have happened. Among the evidence discrediting the Pope Joan story, is
in the 'year of Pope Joan', 854, the actual pope was Leo IV.
Papal possessions did not travel down the processional route where the supposed birth took place at Easter.
No archival documentation exists of such an event.
The 'testicle seat' which popes supposedly sat on to have their masculinity ascertained long predates the era of 'Pope Joan' and has nothing to do with a requirement that a pope have his tecticles checked.

162.  Fri Oct 10, 2003 4:09 am Reply with quote

And I submit this as separate message in case anyone wants to talk about gay Greeks but not cross-dressing pontiffs: I haven't done the work on the Friends of Dorotheus myth yet, except that Xenophon states in his Lacedaemonian Constitution, that Lycurgus "... banned the [physical] connection [between man and boy] as an abomination; and forbade it no less than parents were forbidden from sexual intercourse with their children and brothers and sisters with each other."

165.  Fri Oct 10, 2003 4:44 am Reply with quote


Thanks for the post about Pope Joan. I've always had my doubts about all that, and in fact I nearly chopped the whole sequence out of the show on the grounds that it was such a hoary old Notes and Queries/pubquiz cliche.

But the editor and the director didn't seem to know it, so I left it in. Just shows one should always trust one's instincts...

193.  Fri Oct 10, 2003 6:32 pm Reply with quote

For anyone who doesn't know yet, QI has just been commissioned by the BBC for a further 12 shows in 2004.

Hurrah. (Doubles all round).

197.  Sat Oct 11, 2003 2:58 am Reply with quote

Many congratulations, O Interesting One.

198.  Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:09 pm Reply with quote

Isn't the fact that something is banned proof that it's happening? In the same way that advertising something shows that it's not as popular as someone wants it to be?

200.  Sun Oct 12, 2003 1:20 pm Reply with quote

Non-existent things do get banned: witchcraft, for example.

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

Frances and Flash,

Rather a splendid pair of postings in a row there.

(Can you have a row of only two items?)

Very crisp and aphoristic.



Page 1 of 6
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group