Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lesbos locals lose lesbian appeal

OK, so this title was too good to pass up. Unfortunately behind the puerile smirks and winks and nods lurks something just a tad more troubling, for this is the conclusion to an issue that was first raised some time ago:

Lesbos islanders dispute gay name

and now, after almost three months, it turns out that they lost their case at first base, in a Greek court. Hence:

Lesbos locals lose lesbian appeal

I'm not going to discuss the merits of this whole issue, but it has a touch of grim irony about it, plus a goodly dose of your usual run-of-the-mill double-standards.

For one consider this: can you imagine what would have happened if the islanders in question hadn't been some basically 'white' Europeans but some 'indigenous community', suitably downtrodden and with a past history of having been victimized by evil Western Colonialism? The worldwide outcry at the (ab-)usage of their name would have been deafening.

Or so you would think. Maybe. Very much 'maybe'! For try to imagine the whole of the affected anglo-Western (...what can we or are we allowed to call them?—I think I'll settle on ' OTPOTSS' which the British government considers appropriate, and so why not?) community accepting a judgment that would not have gone against the islanders!

And here's another joke, though it, too, is a grim one when seen in this context. Also, let's face it, we've got to be careful about historical narrative, which is after all, almost all fiction and ususally tailored to suit whomever it is meant to serve.

But if it is true that "new historical research has discovered that Sappho had a family, and committed suicide for the love of a man" (the poetess, Sappho, and her origin being the reason for the sexual context of the word 'lesbian'), then the whole thing assumes a supreme and almost exquisite degree of absurdity.

But, let's face it, it isn't actually funny. Hypocrisy rarely is.

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