Friday, 27 April 2012

Mary Beard

Mary Beard who is presenting a TV series about Ancient Rome and AA Gill are having a spat. Apparently he was rude about her appearance and my feminist Facebook friends are twittering about it.

Where do I stand?

She called Patrick Leigh Fermor blokish which is impossible to forgive.

Patrick Leigh Fermor's lament for the way tourism has ruined Greece she described, in true Cambridge spirit, as 'predictable'. She is a minor enemy of civilisation. 

She is rather right-on but I assume she knows Septimius Severus was not black. Some history teachers think he was and he even features among a list of 100 Great Black Britons (he spent some time at York).

Gill should not be rude but on the other hand Miss Beard does seem to go out of her way to make herself physically repellent. It does seem like a statement on her part. I safely assume she will not read this.

I cannot bring myself, on the other hand, to read anything by Gill. He is almost as unpleasant as Hugo Rifkind. 

P.S. Miss Beard quotes here Fermor on tourism in Greece which after he wrote these words transformed Greece. He seems very sympathetic to me:

After conjuring up a picture in Roumeli of the modern Athenian taverna (‘Docile flocks converge on them, herded by button-eyed guides … all Manchester, all Lyons, all Cologne and half the Middle-West at heel’), he looks to the future: ‘In dark moments I see bay after lonely bay and island after island as they are today and as they may become … The shore is enlivened with fifty jukeboxes and a thousand transistor wirelesses. Each house is now an artistic bar, a boutique or a curio shop; new hotels tower and concrete villas multiply.’ 

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