I can’t say “take it up the ass” in an academic paper, can I?
Some context. My final paper is about, well, a lot of things, but let’s make it simpler than it is and say that it’s just looking at the way in which Achilles’ sexuality is represented in re-tellings and depictions of the Trojan War myth over time, and how that is symbolic of and caused by the era’s ideas of masculinity. (Really, that’s only one section of the paper, but…) So I finally got to the 21st century, and had to address the subject of the movie Troy, much as I’m loathe to do so. (Worse still, if this paper really does grow into my Master’s Thesis as I intend, then at some point in the future, I’ll have to re-watch the terrible thing.)
So I get to the attitudes of the people making the movie (I don’t address whether the people in question are studio execs or what, ’cause how would I know?) and how even if they didn’t like it, they were aware of the whole pederastic relationship between Patroclos and Achilles, and how they changed Patroclos from an older man to a young boy so that no one in the audience could think their movie’s (nominal) hero took it up the ass.
I totally can’t get away with that, can I?
I mean, I know I can’t, but it’s just such a fun way to phrase it! Plus you know that’s how Hollywood sees it. (Obviously, real pederastic relationships in ancient Greece were considerably more complex than mere sexual intercourse, but there’s no way Hollywood as a whole knows or cares about that.)
Worse still, I have no one I can talk to about all this. I mean, I can kinda-sorta talk to my brother about it, but he gets very uncomfortable about it, and I can only talk about the most tame elements with him. I need a sister, dangit!
The absolute worst part is that I made the mistake of showing my mother the picture I was borrowing my dad’s scanner to scan in. (I know, that sounds like a terrible violation of copyright laws, but it’s a picture of a 5th century Athenian vase, and I need to use it for my paper, and it’s not like I’m going to be distributing it other than to my professor, and then it’ll be fully credited as to its source.) Actually, first let me tell about the scanning! I had to let my dad do it, because he doesn’t let anyone else touch his toys, not even to type in file names, and when he asks me what I want to call the file, I tell him “Name Vase of the Achilles Painter” and he just looks at me, like there’s something wrong with me. Then mutters something about how he hopes that all stays there. Right, like file names are still limited to eight characters the way they were twenty years ago. Ugh. Anyway, so afterwards I was showing the picture to my mother, wondering what the little skirty-thing underneath the armor is called, and laughing about how it’s translucent so you can see his equipment. And she immediately says that no, that’s surely just some kind of amulet. Right. Of course. An amulet shaped like testicles and a penis, worn at the base of the armor. Yeah, that makes sense. And when I said that no, of course that’s not what it is, she starts saying how she’s just trying to give it a more “dignified” explanation, and then says something about “drawing a veil” over the whole subject since it’s so “sordid” and “unpleasant.” And I’m sitting here going “Mom, that’s half my thesis you’re talking about there.” I wanted to show her the Sosias Cup to really shock her, but it wasn’t in that book, unfortunately.