The Mary Beard Dilemma
..or what the ancient Romans haven’t done for us.
I love Mary Beard – while most arts/history/science programme presenters are so image conscious – or worse still, that studied ‘I’m a serious academic, I don’t care how I look but what’s my best camera angle as I stand on a castle rampart, staring into the distance as the wind blows my hair around in an attractive manner’ – Mary yomps around the ancient Roman sites conjuring up a world so real you can almost smell the faeces and the fish sauce. The woman is REAL. Maybe too real sometimes and she appears like your slightly gauche friend to whom you yearn to give – Gok Wan like – a serious makeover. Go, girlfriend! But how sad is that? The woman is an academic, for chrissake!!
So how should she have dealt with the puerile online grunts of a few misogynist meatheads? The given wisdom is usually to ignore, ignore, ignore which has its place but personally speaking I would have loved for her to have morphed into Jo Brand for a few hours. Apparently a lot of the comments centred on Mary’s vagina, just think of the fun she could have had with her responses: ‘Ever seen a real one? Mine probably would seem huge with your tiny dick!’ Honestly, Mary has chronicled and quoted the crudities and put-downs as given out by countless Romans in times rougher, tougher and crueller than these. Have we/you learned nothing from the ancients?
But the saddest aspect of all this is – these goons have spoilt free speech for all of us – they’ve taken a great democratic device and instead of being witty and creative and choosing a target that really deserves it (I can think of hundreds!) they’ve flung tired old insults at a random target. They have made a good woman have to explain herself, not for what she is or does or even how she looks, but for the way she has had to deal with an annoying little squeak from the other side of the world. Yeah, so maybe at the end of the day: ignore – or insult, whilst demonstrating your superior intellect: puerule qui duros nequeunt movere lumbos!!