Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And the beat goes on - and on

Over 40 years ago, when I first became enamored with Psappha her true name was little known outside of academia. This is, unfortunately still true today. Rather than being honored for her creative genius her outstanding reputation is in shreds of Freudian angst.

Although I decry the need, I can well understand the current lawsuit filed by the people of Lesbos to halt the using of their citizen’s national designation in the titles of homophile organizations. Even here, Lesbos shows as a spelling error while the names of such places as Chernobyl , Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe even though Lesbos is ancient by comparison.

Yesterday, I was told that mention of SAPPHO SINGS, my fictionalized biography of The Poetess of Lesbos was inappropriate on “family oriented" email list for writers [mostly professional like myself]. "There are children as young as 11 here," I was told. How easily history is distorted by the uneducated in the name of protecting the children. What are they protecting them from? Poetic genius? Truth? Anything that goes contrary to the anal retentive Freudian Patriarchal perspective? It would seem so.

I'm here to tell you that my curiosity has not altered much throughout my life. Sappho, of Psappha as she called herself would have been every bit as fascinating to me at 11 as she was at 36 IF I had been allowed to hear of her which of course I wasn't.

I find it sad that so little has changed between my adolescence and now. Generations of ignorance and intolerance continue unabated. The great scholars of Greece lauded Sappho as they lauded Homer. Plato called her The Tenth Muse. Solon of Athens refused to die before hearing her latest work yet American men and women cringe from mention of her very name having never read a single word she wrote. I can't help but wonder just what it is they are so afraid of.

Incidentally, as I typed, not a single man's name was flagged as a spelling error no matter how long ago he lived. Yet, the lovely Sappho/Psappha is tagged - every time. I wonder why that is?
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