Author Topic: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?  (Read 967 times)

The Brain

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2013, 03:17:25 pm »
Not every Roman was gay.
You are gay.

Ed Anger

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2013, 03:19:31 pm »
I'll let them have Tiberius.

Like they didn't already have Liberace and Paul Lynde.

Those two weren't kiddie fuckers like Tiberius. Which makes the joke funnier for me.
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Valmy

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2013, 03:33:00 pm »
Any examples? There is always evidence, but rarely an alleged relationship.

The example in this particular case is George Boleyn :P

I do not remember the others but this seems to come up from time to time.
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CountDeMoney

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2013, 03:35:24 pm »
Those two weren't kiddie fuckers like Tiberius. Which makes the joke funnier for me.

Sure, but Tiberius never had the center square, so he's not historically relevant.
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garbon

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2013, 03:42:42 pm »
Gays love projecting gay shit on historical figures.  It makes them feel relevant.  LINCOLN WAS A BIG FAG

Bingo.  They feel a need to justify themselves.  They search through history for someone to "claim".

I don't feel the need to justify myself.
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Sheilbh

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2013, 06:15:19 pm »
The example in this particular case is George Boleyn :P
Okay. But in all fairness those allegations - which according to wiki was about the men accused with Boleyn in general - were made 20 years ago by a heterosexual historian. They were widely debunked as inaccurate (the men weren't all charged with sodomy) and never taken seriously by academics.

They've recently been revived by a historical novelist and a TV series.

The sum of the allegations is that among historians there aren't any. Among historical novelists and screenplay writers, maybe, but they're allowed to take license and it doesn't necessarily indicate some gay trawl through history for icons.

On which subject, it's worth remembering that in terms of history, queer history is generally not interested in finding famous gay people. It's interested in the historical experience of sexuality, particularly in reference to homosexuality - see the superb book (the name escape's me) on Victorian women living together. Generally it comes from not necessarily gay specialists in a figure based on the sources.

The examples I know best are literary but the suggestions about Tennyson are pretty obvious, those about Shakespeare though are very much based in the text. Queer critics aren't actually that interested in whether Shakespeare's gay or not. They're interested in Antonio and Bassanio, Mercutio and Romeo, queer readings of a Winter's Tale, or, (in an actually very interesting essay - if it's what I think it is) things like 'Othello's Penis Or Islam in the Closet'.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 06:18:29 pm by Sheilbh »
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Valmy

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2013, 10:02:25 pm »
Okay. But in all fairness those allegations - which according to wiki was about the men accused with Boleyn in general - were made 20 years ago by a heterosexual historian. They were widely debunked as inaccurate (the men weren't all charged with sodomy) and never taken seriously by academics.

Indeed.  Just to be clear I am not the guy claiming this is some sort of gay conspiracy.
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Martinus

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2013, 03:31:52 am »
The example in this particular case is George Boleyn :P
Okay. But in all fairness those allegations - which according to wiki was about the men accused with Boleyn in general - were made 20 years ago by a heterosexual historian. They were widely debunked as inaccurate (the men weren't all charged with sodomy) and never taken seriously by academics.

They've recently been revived by a historical novelist and a TV series.

The sum of the allegations is that among historians there aren't any. Among historical novelists and screenplay writers, maybe, but they're allowed to take license and it doesn't necessarily indicate some gay trawl through history for icons.

On which subject, it's worth remembering that in terms of history, queer history is generally not interested in finding famous gay people. It's interested in the historical experience of sexuality, particularly in reference to homosexuality - see the superb book (the name escape's me) on Victorian women living together. Generally it comes from not necessarily gay specialists in a figure based on the sources.

The examples I know best are literary but the suggestions about Tennyson are pretty obvious, those about Shakespeare though are very much based in the text. Queer critics aren't actually that interested in whether Shakespeare's gay or not. They're interested in Antonio and Bassanio, Mercutio and Romeo, queer readings of a Winter's Tale, or, (in an actually very interesting essay - if it's what I think it is) things like 'Othello's Penis Or Islam in the Closet'.

Which is actually the confusion behind the recent furore in Poland, that I alluded to in the OP.

Essentially, a literature academic wrote a paper about how two partisans, depicted in a famous (and also romanticized, naive and pretty bad, altogether) book displayed homoerotic tendencies, and analysed the book from that perspective. But the rest of the populace took this as a claim that these historical figures (upon whose lives the book is based) were gay and obviously now you have a whole lot of old ladies who knew them saying that they weren't - and saying all kinds of homophobic old people-style crap in the process.

So it's quite a clusterfuck.

P.S. I don't think you are necessarily correct, at least not in all aspects. Sure, queer critics may not be interested if Shakespeare was gay per se, but they are interested in whether, for example, his sonets were written to a guy or a chick - so the line can be quite fine at times.
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viper37

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2013, 01:38:00 pm »
So, we are having another "scandal" in Poland, as a relationship between two famous Polish underground fighters during WW2 has been interpreted as possibly homosexual by some researcher and the usual debate has broken lose, with the most common attitude being that of "so even if they were gay, so what? Why bring that up?"

This seems to be the most common attitude to revelations of this nature, even on Languish, yet I cannot help to think that there is a bit of double standard there, as we happily let historians discuss love life of heterosexual historical figures, or at least it seems so to me.

So my question really is what, in your view should be the rule here and how it should be applied - when (if at all), sexual life or sexual relationships between historical figures should be relevant to historians and when are they irrelevant?
Do we really discuss the sexual life or sexual relationships or most historical figures?  I think not.  We talk about their marriage, and children.  We will talk of strange behaviors: killing their wives/husbands, multiple partners, stds, etc.  But no one says "look at this man, he was a military genius and he was heterosexual".  That's just silly.
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garbon

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2013, 01:59:25 pm »
So, we are having another "scandal" in Poland, as a relationship between two famous Polish underground fighters during WW2 has been interpreted as possibly homosexual by some researcher and the usual debate has broken lose, with the most common attitude being that of "so even if they were gay, so what? Why bring that up?"

This seems to be the most common attitude to revelations of this nature, even on Languish, yet I cannot help to think that there is a bit of double standard there, as we happily let historians discuss love life of heterosexual historical figures, or at least it seems so to me.

So my question really is what, in your view should be the rule here and how it should be applied - when (if at all), sexual life or sexual relationships between historical figures should be relevant to historians and when are they irrelevant?
Do we really discuss the sexual life or sexual relationships or most historical figures?  I think not.  We talk about their marriage, and children.  We will talk of strange behaviors: killing their wives/husbands, multiple partners, stds, etc.  But no one says "look at this man, he was a military genius and he was heterosexual".  That's just silly.

:hmm:

Also, I think that would be because it is implied.  Homosexuality (or homosexual behaviors) are generally not. That's what it means to be other.
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Razgovory

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2013, 05:57:00 pm »
It is?
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garbon

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2013, 06:31:53 pm »
It is?

Of course. That's why we homosexuals have to go through the dreadful process of coming out.
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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2013, 06:38:23 pm »
Again, I think there is a double standard there. Sure, sexual escapades of heterosexual historical figures are rarely part of History 101, but they are a subject of countless popular historical articles, books and historical novels, often also with flimsy or scant evidence (for example, it is assumed fairly often that, if two opposite sex people worked closely, they must have shared romantic feelings). However, if the same kind of approach is taken to suggest homosexual relationship, people dismiss it as irrelevant or undocumented.

Well I think those things are crap as well.  But we never really discuss those.


This.  There is lots written about the sex lives of famous historical figures, but for the most part, we just don't care.  I don't really know whether or not Ike was banging Kay Summersby, and I don't really care. 

Sheilbh

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2013, 06:55:58 pm »
This.  There is lots written about the sex lives of famous historical figures, but for the most part, we just don't care.  I don't really know whether or not Ike was banging Kay Summersby, and I don't really care.
Again I think this is about the kind of history you're into. You don't care but there's a massive section of any bookshop dedicated to biographies so people can find out about 'the man behind the myth' or whatever which includes their sex life. People do care and are interested. Similarly historical fiction is one of the best-selling genres, it's often nonsense but it's precisely about the private lives of the great.

It's only when there's a hint of homosexuality that this is objectionable or even noticed. Then, apparently, it's identity politics ruining history <_<

Quote
P.S. I don't think you are necessarily correct, at least not in all aspects. Sure, queer critics may not be interested if Shakespeare was gay per se, but they are interested in whether, for example, his sonets were written to a guy or a chick - so the line can be quite fine at times.
They're not interested in that, because there's no debate. There's 154 sonnets, about 125 are addressed to the (male) 'fair youth) and the rest are addressed to the 'dark lady'. They are also universally acknowledged as the most autobiographical of Shakespeare's work.

Queer critics are more interested in how the sonnets have been read. For example that within about 50 years publications of the sonnets routinely change the gender of the addressee in the 'fair youth' sonnets. Or that Tennyson openly admired them and was warned by friends that he shouldn't state a preference for such 'Hellenistic' poems. Their afterlife and what they suggest about same-sex relationships in the Early Modern is probably of more interest to queer critics - and rightly so, it's fascinating.
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Razgovory

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Re: Is sexual life of historical figures relevant and, if so, when?
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2013, 07:09:44 pm »
It is?

Of course. That's why we homosexuals have to go through the dreadful process of coming out.

So heterosexuality is normal, and homosexuality is a deviancy?
I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

The accusation in fact, is simply made as an attempt to distract from what I good job I've done of proving your own irrationality.   -Berkut May of 2012