Conversation with my boss yesterday whilst waiting for printout of press release about the bankruptcy of yet another company I cover:
Me: Fuck, this printer stinks.
Boss: Stinks of what? Not like it's going to blow up?
Me: No, it stinks . . . (sniffs freshly printed sheet) . . . it stinks of printer, you know, except more than most printers do.
Boss: (shrugs) Just try not to breathe when you're printing things out.
Economic crashes make my olfaction more sensitive. I think it's an evolutionary survival mechanism women developed. Men developed a good one for icy sidewalks useful at present here in Scandinavia Sud where the Belges haven't yet figures out how to spread sand or clear pavement ice, which is to walk with a low centre of gravity, ie to lumber, ie to carry all your weight in your bum. That's why they don't slip around as much as women, who are top-heavy. Also women wear much stupider shoes.
Which brings me to the subject of today's, and probably tomorrow's post, which is women and their history. This past vacation in Aspromonte and Syracuse has been a hell of an eye-opener on two things, in a not absolutely unrelated way - the history of women, and the history of the Christian church. But women are by far more important, representing 54% or so of our race, so let's start there, in part in atonement for my rather sneery 'humanities' undergrad programme, which gave them/women's studies minimal airtime.
Actually let's start with the F-word, who I'd love even if he were a woman, but thank heaven he's not, because I don't understand how to bring women to orgasm. The F-word was on a Viking kick in December and for some reason this nudged him into seeing geographical and ethnical history from a women's perspective - a perspective he pointed out was much more continuous, much less choppy, and much more, shall we say, true than the typical Rise and Fall of the Babylonians Egyptians Greeks Romans Goths Celts Saxons Vikings Franks blah blah blah, which is how men have historically presented history, because, well, that sort of choppy, discontinuous minority perspective is an accurately male perspective of history.
Let's consider what generally happens, as the F-word spelled it out, when a bunch of men, say, Vikings, successfully invade, say, Britain:
Celtic military age husband (to wife and children): Well, we're fucked and you're too heavy to carry while I run, so I'm off. This represents the fall of the Celtic et cetera. Bye.
(Wife watches him go, watches Viking bash through front door)
Celtic wife: Oh, thank god you're here, that coward ran off and left us all alone. My, what big muscles you have. If you don't hurt the children I'll blow you.
Viking: Jeg liker du veldig godt!
Of course sometimes the women and children were sold abroad into slavery. And Europeans carrying out Crusades, for example, had a nasty habit of slaughtering every Christian, Moslem, and Jewish thing in the cities they invaded, because we Europeans are utter barbarians, morbid barbarians at that, and always have been, but that's something for when I write about the Christianity of Southern Italy. But generally speaking, women took what they could get - took care of their children, and muddled on with the changes in skin tone and language of their men as best they could. The Jews knew this. That's probably why they measured descent through the matrilineal line, even if their religion doesn't exactly traditionally empower women otherwise, and that's certainly why the Jews are so lonely in their ability to tell you where they came from over the millenia.
Tracing descent matrilineally, however, isn't an exclusively Jewish phenomenom. Someone else who traditionally traced their descent that way was the Epizephyrian Locrians, an offshoot of the Spartans who went to my father's region of Calabria about 2700 years ago. There are some interesting theories as to why they went there, and why they traced descent matrilineally, that I'll look at tomorrow when I have that little bit more time.