October 24, 2015

"Lysistrata" — the ancient Greek play about women withholding sex to stop a war — made the news twice this week.

1. Withdrawing from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in the setting of the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum, Lincoln Chafee said: "Since today is all about women’s leadership it reminds me of one of my favorite Greek plays; Lysistrata, a comedy from about 400 BCE by Aristophanes. In that play, a group of women, fed up with the war mongering of their husbands, agree to withhold their favors until peace returns. And it worked!"

2. Spike Lee is squabbling with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The subject is Lee's new movie, "Chi-Raq," which, Hollywood Reporter tells us, "is an update of the classical Greek play Lysistrata and stars Teyonah Parris as a woman who protests the city's black-on-black gun violence."

Here's the full text of the play at Project Gutenberg, which flaunts this jaunty frontispiece:



ADDED: Here's a full set of the Aubrey Beardsley illustrations for "Lysistrata." They're even jauntier. NSFW.

93 comments:

traditionalguy said...

OK. Good to know Huma can stop Hillary's wars.

Laslo Spatula said...

So the timeless point is that Women's only true ability to influence matters is to withhold sex.

Emotional prostitution.


I am Laslo.


MarkD said...

One side refusing to fight will end a war. They won't like the victory.

campy said...

Withholding sex is sexual violence according to Althouse's alma mater.

Christopher said...

BCE. Precious.

Nichevo said...

Uh, teach men not to rape? This wouldn't work if men did not love their wives. Naturally this is what women exploit.

The more we see of you and your element, professor, the more it's possible to appreciate Islam. Try closing the kitchen on old Mo!

Laslo Spatula said...

It is scenarios like the one in the play that leads one to conclude that any sex with women is some form of prostitution.

You may pay in cash.

You may pay in emotional currency.

You may pay in emotional debt.

You may pay by agreeing to do the dishes.

There is no such thing as the "Zipless Fuck":

The zipless fuck is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game. The man is not "taking" and the woman is not "giving." No one is attempting to cuckold a husband or humiliate a wife. No one is trying to prove anything or get anything out of anyone. The zipless fuck is the purest thing there is. And it is rarer than the unicorn. And I have never had one.
— Erica Jong, Fear of Flying (1973)

Rarer than the unicorn, indeed.


I am Laslo.


Laslo Spatula said...

Connecting "Lysistrata" to "Fear of Flying" -- two proto-feminist tracts of two distinct eras: I am dangling the catnip in front of Althouse.

I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
themightypuck said...

Flaunting one's jaunty frontispiece these days can get you on a list.

EDH said...

Soon, robots will fight our wars and give us sex.

A win-win.

mccullough said...

Would withholding welfare compel poor women not to have children?

Laslo Spatula said...

The modern "Lysistrata" is women using abortion to withhold men's children.

The can of worms is open.

I am laslo.

Amexpat said...

As said, this is an antiquated and absurdly sexist premise to raise in a public debate in 2015. There are many women who are sexually attracted to men who like to fight and are put off by hapless pacifists like Chafee. How would you get them to join the mancott?

Laslo Spatula said...

Althouse often makes the distinction of 'good sex' vs. 'bad sex.'

So when the men give in to the women's 'price' for sex is the resulting sex bad or good?

Sex built upon blackmail.


I am Laslo.

mccullough said...

Laslo,

That would be the modern Medea, not Lysistrata

madAsHell said...

The NSFW illustrations include a drawing that is labeled......

Lysistrata shielding her coynte

Which drove me to the etymology. I was surprised to see that the word crosses all the Germanic, and Nordic languages, but never spelled with a 'y'.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Big Mike said...

Strange that Aristophanes wasn't aware that the Spartan warriors mostly used young men for their sexual release. There's a lengthy documentary by Bettany Hughes about the strange ways of Sparta on YouTube.

Rhythm and Balls said...

My first thought is the irony of these references amidst the coronation of one of the greatest warmongers among the candidates as THE FIRST woman president.

The women of Lysistrata were motivated by wanting to keep their men home and alive.

Hillary!'s motivation is obviously to send them to war so they can die.

Just in case you needed any further proof of how much Hillary! hates men, that was it.

Rhythm and Balls said...

And besides, American women are generally horrible at sex anyway. So the idea of them withholding it is not all that threatening.

Shouting Thomas said...

How do you tell the difference between deliberately withholding sex and the normal behavior of liberal white women?

There isn't anything to withhold.

I'm with Ritmo on this one.

AReasonableMan said...

Just got back from Chicago. Caught the C train, walked its streets, I didn't need a concealed weapon to survive. Not what I was expecting based on the commentary I read here.

The food was awful, but that is true for all the mid-west.

Laslo Spatula said...

"SOJO said...
The author was male, if it needs to be said. It's not a feminist composition."

The idea of the play as Feminist is a topic of much discussion..

"Feminism has been defined as “a doctrine advocating the social, political, and economic rights for women to be equal to those of men”. Using this definition while reading the book it becomes clear that Lysistrata is a feminist play. Lysistrata is a product of its time, so of course it is not talking about some modern feminist problems. In those times there were no women in government, though that is not much different from 18% of women in Congress today (Swanson). Or the play does not talk about the wage gap between genders, since at the time the women’s realm was at the house. Nonetheless, Lysistrata is not just a play about women protesting war through abstaining from sex, but it is a feminist play, because it shows how the women sought to improve their lives through three realms: social, political, and economical."


I am Laslo.

Shouting Thomas said...

The paltry sexual appetite of American white women, combined with their brutal "everything's for me attitude" exemplified by Althouse and their stupid clumsiness in bed is one of the principle reasons I've been with a Filipina for the past 3 decades.

As I said (and Ritmo echoed), there's nothing for American white women to withhold. They would have to give something first.

jr565 said...

Some wars need to be fought. Having women pacify their men by withholding sex only emboldens those who could be pacified in that way. You think ISIS is going to give two craps if a woman tries to withhold sex?
He'd just rape her.

jr565 said...

This is also a perfect example of female privilege. The men have to go off and die, while the woman get the luxury of staying at home. No wonder they don't want to wage the wars. they're not particularly good at it.
But we live in a modern age. No female privilege should protect any woman from combat. If there's ever a draft, I exepct them not only to be in combat, but on the front lines dying gorily.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Is Lincoln telling Michelle Obama to withhold sexual favors until Obama withdraws troops from Afghanistan? OR stops doing drone strikes on innocent civilians?

jr565 said...

2.
2. Spike Lee is squabbling with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The subject is Lee's new movie, "Chi-Raq," which, Hollywood Reporter tells us, "is an update of the classical Greek play Lysistrata and stars Teyonah Parris as a woman who protests the city's black-on-black gun violence."

I give Spike some props for at least addressing black on black crime. My guess is he pawns it off on white people. There may be a Sal the Pizza guy style character, or a racist cop who will be a stand in for white racism. And the movie will actually suggest that this is the real problem with Chiraq, not the black on black crime.

But you never know. Maybe he's matured since his Do The Right thing days.

Shouting Thomas said...

Look what Althouse wants in return for putting out...

A pansy who kisses black ass, dons the hair shirt and constantly bitches out other white men as racists so that he can live off a fag hag.

You can keep that pussy in your pants, professor.

No decent man wants it.

Big Mike said...

@jr565, at least Michelle can withhold sex until Obama promises to stop attacking hospitals.

Mary Beth said...

AReasonableMan said...

Just got back from Chicago. Caught the C train, walked its streets, I didn't need a concealed weapon to survive. Not what I was expecting based on the commentary I read here.

The food was awful, but that is true for all the mid-west.

10/24/15, 11:01 AM


C train? I thought the lines had color designations.

AReasonableMan said...

Mary Beth said...
I thought the lines had color designations.


You are right it was the blue line. Need to keep my cities straight.



robother said...

I always read Lysistrata as a "Just So" story, explaining how the Greek men came to be so gay. Beardsley's illustrations seem to back up that interpretation.

furious_a said...

Entreating Myrrhina to coition

Is that fancy-talk for "Aww, c'mon baby, please...?

Per Thucydides, we learned the Athenian men should have listened to their wimmenfolk..

Fernandinande said...

Japanese Fart Scrolls

furious_a said...

Roman humor...

Q: Why did the Greek boy leave home?

A: He didn't like the way he was being reared

Q: Why did he return?

A: He couldn't leave his brothers behind.

jr565 said...

The sad thing about modern women is that when some feminsts withhold the sex, the guy says "Thank the lord!" Because the last thing he wants is sex with a Feminist.
Or, they are already withholding sex because "rape Culture patriarchy arguments" and guys would just as soon not get the sex. They've then put themselves in the same situation as Lysistrata, but this time a lot of the men are saying "Good".

jimbino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimbino said...

Aubrey Beardsley seems not to know that ancient Greek men were famously not circumcised, like Michelangelo's Jewish David, and that Greeks considered a small, well-formed natural pecker the model of beauty.

chickelit said...

Plenty of other women are doing the jobs American women refuse to do.

Can we stop talking about Lincoln Chafee soon? His showing at the debate should have disqualified him.

walter said...

Aww..too bad. Could have provided some comic relief to that side. What weird thing to invoke in an otherwise serious discussion of Vagina.

n.n said...

Holding American children hostage was a good strategy. Unfortunately, they got greedy and started aborting and cannibalizing them for profit. Their message was lost in a stream of body parts, tissue, and blood.

BDNYC said...

Feminists should obviously oppose the weaponization of sex.

Deirdre Mundy said...

The weird thing is... feminists seem to take Lysistrata seriously, but it's actually a comedy and the women don't come off well at all.....

Ann Althouse said...

Fernandinande said..."Japanese Fart Scrolls"

Thanks. That was great!

Meade said...

If Shouty Thomas and Lincoln Chafee gay married and made a baby they would have to name him Donald Trumpy Cat.

n.n said...

Their plan to send women in to combat must be part of the Lysistrata doctrine to control men through reverse psychology.

Rhythm and Balls said...

So Meade, tell the truth. What's Ann like in bed?

Does she put a platinum blonde wig around your pecker before having anything to do with it?

I kid. I kid.

Meade said...

Heh heh. Ha ha.

Shouting Thomas said...

She's got a worthless fuck like Meade.

That's your answer.

Shouting Thomas said...

You are already gay married, Larry.

You've got a fag hag... a fake man without a dick.

Which is precisely what you deserve.

And, then there's your black dick cuckold fantasy that you played out with Crack starring up your crack.

Shouting Thomas said...

But let's be be frank in our responses.

Is it worth it, Larry, ratting out white men like a Soviet informer hoping to forestall his own show trial and execution, to get your bills paid by a fetid old fag hag?

befinne said...

Women deny themselves sex until they make men do what they want. I think there's a pretty good reason the play is a COMEDY.

CWJ said...

ARM wrote -

"You are right it was the blue line. Need to keep my cities straight."

And yet, somehow we should believe you.

rcocean said...

BCE = SJW

Robert Cook said...

"We did this play in high school. It's a bawdy comedy, really, or at least has comedic elements."

Well, of course! The notion of a nation's women withholding sex to stop their men from making war is, by definition, farcical. And was so then. I'm sure audiences of that time were rollicking in the aisles.

Robert Cook said...

Shouting Tom's Tourette's-like outbursts here suggest other reasons why "white, liberal American women" don't suit him.

He doesn't suit them!

Ba-Boom!

I'm here all week, laydeezungennulmen!

Benedict Spinoza said...

The illlustration shown is by Norman Lindsay, an Australian artist who favored voluptuous ladies.

richard mcenroe said...

I wish I had a closet as deep as Shouting Thomas's. I've still got a ton of shit to unpack from the move.

Static Ping said...

Lincoln Chafee, facing the reality that he will not be President, memorializes the occasion by not grasping the concept of fiction.

Spike Lee, who as I understand is an expert on the inner city experience, apparently thinks that inner city women will withhold sex to end gang wars when said women tend not to withhold sex for anything given the illegitimacy rate.

As to the play, two points:

1. The bawdy illustrations are a lot less attractive, at least to much of the market, when you realize that all of Aristophanes's actors were men. A naked "woman" in the play would be a guy in drag with wooden boobs. Not exactly sex appeal.

2. Aristophanes thought the concept behind the Lysistrata was absurd which is why this is a comedy. If such an incident had truly happened in ancient Greece, the results would not have been pleasant for the women. Assuming the men simply didn't drag their wives home and raped them, which would be completely justified in their culture, women could be very easily replaced with war captives or slaves. Heck, if the situation became completely intolerable, it is not out of the question that Athens and Sparta would swap women as captives. All this boycott would result in is a war between the sexes rather than a war between city-states.

AReasonableMan said...

CWJ said...
And yet, somehow we should believe you.


Misremembering the name of the train line I took in an unfamiliar city is evidence in your mind of what exactly?

The hysteria about Chicago on this blog is ridiculous. It is a clean and well run city with spectacular architecture and views. There is an echo chamber effect here, where you guys start to believe your own bullshit.

Static Ping said...

SOJO: We did this play in high school. It's a bawdy comedy, really, or at least has comedic elements.

It must have been a heavily modified version of the play. It is hard to imagine any high school using a direct translation. Nudity, giant boners, the emptying of bed pans on heads....

averagejoe said...

ARM's reporting on Chicago reminds me about the fable of the blind men and the element. Chicago is one of the largest cities in one of the largest countries in the world. I don't why ARM went there or where he went, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't to a housing project or a gang-neighborhood. But ARM went to Chicago, took a train ride, and declared to everybody: "It's perfectly safe!" Sure ARM, you had a nice time on a tourist trip, so you think Chicago is one big sightseer's backdrop. Only, somebody's getting murdered there by the dozens. I'm sure there are a lot of Chicagoans who have seen another side to the city that you haven't.

averagejoe said...

As for Lincoln Chaffee- No surprise that that little fairy would squee for Lysistrata. Women withholding sex from men would have no affect on his life.

averagejoe said...

blind men and the element? It's ELEPHANT, spell check!

AReasonableMan said...

No one is suggesting it is perfectly safe. No place is perfectly safe. Keep the straw men in your barn.

The idea that it is on the point of collapse from crime, which is the impression that some here try to give, is ridiculous. It is a great city for a multitude of reasons and it is a shame that people feel a neurotic need to tear down the things that make this country great.

CWJ said...

ARM wrote -

"Misremembering the name of the train line I took in an unfamiliar city is evidence in your mind of what exactly?"

Oh, I don't know. But having "just got back" and wanting to make a point of the line you had ridden, I would have thought someone would at least remember the correct category of identifier, if not the identity itself. Almost makes one wonder if you had been to Chicago at all. A city so "unfamiliar" that you have no trouble recognizing it as well run and great for a multitude of unnamed reasons not including food.

averagejoe said...

AReasonableMan said...
No one is suggesting it is perfectly safe. No place is perfectly safe. Keep the straw men in your barn.

The idea that it is on the point of collapse from crime, which is the impression that some here try to give, is ridiculous. It is a great city for a multitude of reasons and it is a shame that people feel a neurotic need to tear down the things that make this country great.


10/24/15, 9:20 PM

Thank you ARM for the perfect illustration of so much of what you makes inimitably you. First came the hectoring, scolding posts filled with condescending patronizing denouncements. Here is the denunciation of straw man arguments, bolstered by the straw man that "some here say it's on the point of collapse from crime"... Okay ARM, let's see all the Wing-nut comments saying Chicago is on the point of collapse- how about just one... Lastly is this precious gem, a schizophrenic hypocrisy that could just as easily have been uttered by Barack Hussein Obama; "it is a shame that people feel a neurotic need to tear down the things that make this country great". Oh N-word, please! To be lectured by a progressive democrat party member about how some shameful fellows speak badly the good ol' USA, and how we should respect the things that have made this country great- well, now I've heard everything. Is that irony, or just hypocrisy? Or is it just, to ring up recent a word of the day, absurd?

Big Mike said...

If ARM had changed over to the red line when he got to the Loop, and taken it south of the Comiskey Park exit, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Assuming he's white or Asian (or, if black, projects education and affluence), he'd be at best in the hospital or quite possibly dead.

BTW, in Chicago it's called the 'L'

Paul said...

Lysistrata worked only if the Greek warriors didn't behead a few of them as an example.

AReasonableMan said...

averagejoe said...
Here is the denunciation of straw man arguments,


The sad thing here is that Big Mike immediately comes in and demolishes your complaint with another perfectly ridiculous straw man. I feel your pain, man. It's hard having such dummies on your 'side'.

AReasonableMan said...

CWJ said...
Almost makes one wonder if you had been to Chicago at all.


It is this kind of paranoia that undermines a lot of conservative arguments - 'every one is lying so I can just make up my own reality'. That kind of thinking leads to debacles like the Benghazi committee - 'stand down'.

Robert Cook said...

"There is an echo chamber effect here, where you guys start to believe your own bullshit."

That defines 95% of the commentary around here!

Robert Cook said...

"Sure ARM, you had a nice time on a tourist trip, so you think Chicago is one big sightseer's backdrop. Only, somebody's getting murdered there by the dozens. I'm sure there are a lot of Chicagoans who have seen another side to the city that you haven't."

I've lived in NYC for coming up on 35 years, which comprises the 80s, when crack was king and the city was still the decrepit wonderland well documented in films like the original THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, etc. It was far more dirty and dangerous then, than now. And yet...it was still acceptably safe if you did not venture into certain neighborhoods after dark (or if you were fortunate enough to not have to live in those neighborhoods).

Which is to say, for millions of NYC residents, even during those dirty, ramshackle years, life was enjoyable and pretty safe. I'm sure the same is true of Chicago today, which I'd bet is much more like the NYC of today than the NYC (or Chicago) of the 80s and 90s.

Big Mike said...

Merely an observation, ARM, merely an observation.

Big Mike said...

@Cookie, go to the south side of Chicago and find out.

walter said...

If Obama had a son, he would at high actuarial risk in South Chicago. Not in the areas his and Louie's homes are in, though Rahm's son was beat up near Emmanuel's home.

Robert Cook said...

Big Mike:

You disprove your own point: you suggest I go to a particular part of Chicago to find out how wrong I am. Yet, no one has said there aren't parts of Chicago--or any big city--where poverty and crime and concomitant danger are present. However, for the larger populations of Chicago or NYC in its wild days or any most any other big city, daily life is safe and humdrum, and they go about their lives without feeling fear or facing danger.

walter said...

If "black lives matter" to Obama, he'd be showing up in Chicago to confront the real source of black homicides. But..."Black politics matter" more.

AReasonableMan said...

Big cities are the engines of innovation in our economy, where we compete directly with the rest of the world. Without big cities the people living in the exurbs and small towns would be fucked. Yet, it is exactly these people who routinely attack these institutions, which make their lifestyles economically viable.

Big Mike said...

@Cookie, if only what you write was true.

walter said...

Alternatively, Chicago is a dead weight on Illinois.

AReasonableMan said...

walter said...
Alternatively, Chicago is a dead weight on Illinois.


I would like to see some firm economic evidence for that assertion.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
@Cookie, if only what you write was true.


He lives in NYC. Where do you live?

CWJ said...

Wow ARM, you seem to be working overtime to keep this dead thread alive. But in my case, you might want to compare skepticism to paranoia. They are not the same and I submit that of the two of us, I'm not the one exhibiting paranoid behavior. Cheers.

Big Mike said...

Big cities are the engines of innovation in our economy ...

I don't think that's even true. If anything, the graft, corruption, high taxes, and general bureaucratic malfeasance endemic to large cities, particularly large cities run by Democrat machine politics, mitigates against innovation. You don't have to believe me; you could check with any number of Democrat politicians who cheerfully voted for every regulatory measure they could find to vote on and then discovered the down side of starting or operating a business after they left politics. Stratford, CT may not be a major city but it had enough bureaucracy to wreck George McGovern's dreams of starting a hotel and conference center.

I would like to see some firm economic evidence for that assertion.

Well, it's interesting. Chicago pays more into state coffers than anywhere else in Illinois, but thanks to generous pension plans it requires more money from Springfield than it sends to Springfield. Right now Illinois cannot pay its lottery winners, and it seems unlikely that people will continue to play a lottery when their winnings don't get paid. So the death spiral has begun.


AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
Big cities are the engines of innovation in our economy ...

I don't think that's even true.


That is because you do not seem to know anything. Fermi built the first nuclear pile under the bleachers of the University of Chicago's football field. The preeminence, peace and prosperity that the US has experienced over the last 60 years owes more to that pile than to any other single factor. The sounds of Chicago electric blues dominated popular culture throughout the late 50's and 60's and are one of the most successful US cultural exports. Frank Lloyd Wright's houses in Oak Park are one of the pinnacles of modern architecture remaining a major influence on domestic architecture even today. But you apparently failed to consider these and other innovations when dismissing the importance of Chicago to US prosperity.


AReasonableMan said...

CWJ said...
of the two of us, I'm not the one exhibiting paranoid behavior.


Assertions are not arguments. If you have a sensible argument let's hear it.

chickelit said...

@ARM: All of your factual statements about Chicago's past accomplishments are true. I could write a similar list about Detroit, or even Milwaukee. The question is "where are those cites today and where are they headed now?"

AReasonableMan said...

The University of Chicago continues its steady climb up the international rankings. This alone will keep Chicago afloat for some time to come.

From Wiki:
Chicago is a major world financial center. The city is also home to major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which is owned, along with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by Chicago's CME Group. The CME Group, in addition, owns the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX) and the Dow Jones Indexes. Perhaps due to the influence of the Chicago school of economics, the city also has markets trading unusual contracts such as emissions (on the Chicago Climate Exchange) and equity style indices (on the U.S. Futures Exchange). Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower.
Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, and the Healthcare Financial Services division of General Electric. In addition to aircraft maker Boeing, which located its headquarters in Chicago in 2001, and United Airlines in 2011, GE Transportation moved its offices to the city in 2013, as did ThyssenKrupp North America, and agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland.
Chicago is home to a growing number of web startup companies like CareerBuilder, Orbitz, 37signals, Groupon, Feedburner, and NowSecure.
Chicago is a major world convention destination. With its four interconnected buildings, McCormick Place is the largest convention center in the nation and third largest in the world. Chicago also ranks third in the U.S. (behind Las Vegas and Orlando) in number of conventions hosted annually.

I would agree that Chicago's best days are probably behind it, but this is true of virtually every US city/region besides Seattle and San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

Peter said...

It's a fun play, but, the reality is that it only takes a few promiscuous defectors to spoil the strike?