1. Exquisite Tweets from @EmilyRCWilson

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    I just saw this letter to NYT about the 12 slave women whom Odysseus says the suitors raped (παρευνάζεσθε βιαίως, 22. 37). The letter writer seems to endorse what he calls their "execution". nytimes.com/2018/01/03/boo…

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    The poem sends out interestingly mixed signals about how much agency slaves have. 2 questions. 1: Does the Odyssey itself present the murder of slaves claimed by the "wrong" owners as justified? Very debatable. 2: Should we endorse victim-blaming? That is not debatable.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Rape culture is deeply intertwined with how this scene is read, and how it's taught to impressionable teenagers. Cf. Spark Notes: "the disloyal servant women...are then sent outside and executed." What a great lesson for young people today.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    The criteria also shift. The suitors' killing is partly justified as pay-back, & anticipatory self-defense. The slave deaths are part of the clean-up process. It's about getting rid of pollution & erasing the wrong memories, at least as much as "justice".

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    Here is a screen shot of the letter in question, which notes that these 12 characters "shamelessly snapped their fingers at Penelope", in contrast to the other 38 good, silent, un-raped slave women, who are permitted to live.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson

    It's mind-boggling how fast the writer shifts from rudeness towards someone with more power, to "execution". O tempora, o mores.

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    EmilyRCWilson

    Emily Wilson