Monday, March 13, 2023

Nero married two men



That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "A Hooptie Ride Named Marjorie" went up last night. 

Now this is from LGBTQ Nation:

A strikingly beautiful young man was forcefully castrated and made to live in an emperor’s palace as his “queen” draped in veils. The story is so dark, fantastical, and profoundly queer it seems ripped directly from a Ryan Murphy series, but it is—according to ancient and modern historians, anyway—truth far stranger than fiction. 

Emperor Nero was, if you recall high school history, the infamous ruler of Rome during the 1st century AD. A student of the great philosopher Seneca and adopted son of beloved Caesar Claudius, Nero displayed none of the emotional maturity or political savvy his mentors did. He ascended the throne as a teenager after his ambitious mother poisoned his step-daddy Claudius. 

By most accounts, Nero cared more about starring in plays, writing mediocre poetry, and cheating at chariot races than he did statesmanship, leaning heavily on murder as the key to complex interpersonal problems. He even had his mother and first wife killed, both for interfering in his entanglement with the already-married woman who became his second wife, a stunning, scarlet-haired Pompeiian named Poppaea Sabina. 

Despite going to deadly lengths to make Poppaea Sabina his second Empress, Nero appears to have killed her in a rage during a marital spat one night, kicking Poppea in the stomach while pregnant. The resulting miscarriage removed Nero’s true love and unborn child from his life entirely, leaving him alone and grief-stricken. 

Which is how poor Sporus enters the story. 

If ancient historians Tacitus and Suetonius are correct—and there are questions about their trustworthiness as narrators—Sporus was a freedman of around 16 when the bereft Emperor Nero laid eyes on him. Feminine and smooth-faced, Sporus allegedly bore an uncanny resemblance to Poppaea Sabina.

And so Nero decided toying with the teenager was an ideal distraction from his self-inflicted suffering.

As we’re reminded constantly today, sexual “norms” flow in and out of fashion as arbitrarily as over-tweezed eyebrows or high-waisted pants. Though Ancient Greece is widely remembered for its acceptance of homosexuality (specifically bear-on-twink dynamics between erastes-eromenos lovers), Rome, at the time of Nero’s rule, derided gay sex even while its armies used it liberally.  

Fixated on Sporus, Nero took three terrible steps to “normalize” their relationship in his own unhinged way. First, he commanded Sporus to be castrated, offering obscene wealth to any wizard or surgeon who could transform him fully into a woman. (Since it was 67AD, no one did.) Next, he dressed Sporus in his dead wife’s clothes and jewelry, assigning maids and servants to style him like a queen. 

Finally, he married Sporus, commanding everyone to refer to him as “Empress.” This wedding was not a small or secret affair, either.

That's good to read but it was two men.  Nero married two men.  From Ava and C.I.'s "Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.):"

And some people like to divide the moment -- like the website AFTER ELLEN, for example.  Not AFTER ELLEN AND ANN because that would require too much honesty and even AFTER ELLEN likes to portray the isolated individual.  


Doing so allows members of Congress who are hate merchants to make statements about how there has never in history been gay marriage.  


Ruby Dandridge (Dorothy's mother) had a long relationship with Geneva Williams.  Entertainer Gladys Bentley is said to have married another woman in 1931 (in New Jersey).  Emperor Nero married two men -- once as the bride, once as the groom.

Use the link.  We need to know history. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, March 4, 2023.  The nepo baby wins the Academy Award, Lauren Boebert got pregnant at 17 and now her son has impregnated at the same age, a crackdown on rights is taking place in Iraq as the 20th anniversary roles around -- just in case anyone pretending to be anti-war want to pay attention -- most of the anti-war types have paid attention to Iraq since 2008.

We are going to deal with something right at the start.  The Academy Awards.  I didn't vote for Jamie Lee Curtis.  I love Chris (her husband) but I'm not impressed with Jamie Lee* and never have been.  I voted for Angela Bassett and she was one of the nominees I spent weeks talking up to other voters (I also talked up Brendan and Michelle).  It quickly became obvious to me that Angela was not going to win.  

That's not because of her performance which was amazing.  Jamie Lee delivered a strong performance as well.   All the nominees in that category were deserving.

Angela didn't lose due to her skin color -- unless we're going back to the historic decisions made by Hollywood in its early days.  Angela lost because she isn't a nepo baby.

In 1973, Diana Ross was nominated for Best Actress.  It was a one-of-a-kind performance.  Diana went on to give other worthy performances -- including in MAHOGANY and especially in the TV movie  OUT OF DARKNESS.  And they were nothing like what she did as Billie Holiday.  Diana is not recognized to this day for her acting gifts.  Those three performances alone are all unique and different.  She created three completely different characters.  

In 1973, Liza Minnelli walked home with the award.  It was what Liza had already done -- acting wise -- in CHARLIE BUBBLES, THE STERILE CUCKOO and TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME, JULIE MOON.  It was the same acting performance that she would continue to deliver.  I like Liza and you can argue that, for a musical, her dancing and singing in CABARET were also worthy of praise.

But the reality is that Diana created a one-of-a-kind character when playing Billie Holiday.

She lost.  And she was always going to lose because Liza was a child of Hollywood.  Her mother -- though nominated -- never won a competitive Academy Award (the child Oscar doesn't count). Her father won an Academy Award for directing GIGI.  As the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincent Minnelli, she was second generation, a child of Hollywood.

The Academy Awards are about presenting the industry best face to the world.  A child of Hollywood will always have an unfair advantage when nominated because the industry wants to show off their own -- handing Jamie Lee an award is handing it to Janet and Tony and the whole industry; handing it to Liza is handing it to Judy and Vincent  and celebrating the whole industry, "Look what we turned out!"

['Jane Fonda didn't win for THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY!' No, she didn't.  She was seen as too political at the time.  Henry's daughter should have won for that -- that would give her three Academy Awards instead of two.  By the time she won for KLUTE, she was far more political but the industry had caught up with her.]

Jamie's mother Janet Leigh was nominated for PSYCHO (in the same category that Jamie Lee won) and her father, Tony Curtis, was nominated for Best Actor for THE DEFIANT ONES.

Slater and Bronwyn may benefit from being Angela's kids (and Courtney B. Vance's) in a decade or two if they're nominated.

I firmly believe that her 'lineage' to old Hollywood gave Jamie Lee the edge.  And I'm basing that on the reactions of other voters as I tried to build up support for Angela. That said, Jamie did give a very strong performance, all the nominees in that category were outstanding.  And to those whining that she wasn't in the film that much -- the category is Supporting Actress.  Of all the complaints being made about the award, that is the stupidest.  Judi Dench won for a supporting role with eight minutes of screen time, Beatrice Straight for less than six minutes, Gloria Grahame for less than ten minutes, etc.  If you don't know what you're talking about, you just look ignorant.  

The Golden Globes has always done a better job with regards to nominating and awarding African-American film actresses -- see Ann's "Thanks for insulting Black women, Jimmy Kimmel."

*For Jamie Lee's devoted fans, no I don't like her and, unlike you, I actually know her.  She makes funs of her fans -- I don't do that, I don't do bit about how 'weird' someone who asked me for an autograph is and I don't mock the way they speak after they walk off -- and she's not supportive of other actresses.  Her best acting may be on Instagram where she pretends to support young women actors when the reality is that, face-to-face, she's a nightmare for young actresses and has been for decades.  She's rude, she's cutting and she's spoiled.  A brat of Hollywood, an overgrown brat.

Decades ago, the industry tried to build her into a star.  GRANDVIEW USA was the first film that was supposed to make her a star -- and she got that role only after Cher turned it down.  Had Cher starred in it, the film probably would have made money.  Playing dowdy and angry in EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, she locked into the two areas she knows something about.

Onto other news.  Boe-boe's going to be a grandma.  Brian Niemietz (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) reports American's 36-year-old Christian illiterate is about to be a grandmother next month via her 17-year-old son.  Lauren Boebert dropped out of high school at 17 when she got pregnant and now her son is going to be a parent at 17 as well.  And that's why you don't let these uneducated idiots plan school courses.  Lauren uses her position in Congress to try to put an end to sex education.  Where does that get you? Lauren clearly was unable to educate her own son and now he's caught in the same cycle she was -- more than likely his girlfriend is caught in the same cycle but the point stands.  

She had a chance to educate her son but she failed.  That's why the country needs sex education in the schools.

Turning to Iraq, rights are under attack.  They're so under attack, in fact, that the prime minister would rather talk climate change.  Alex MacDonald (MIDDLE EAST EYE) reported Saturday on Iraq's ban on booze:

Last month, the Iraqi government published long-proposed legislation banning the import of alcoholic beverages into the country, no doubt including Saddam's beloved Johnny Walker Black Label.

According to the new legislation, the sale or production of alcohol in Iraq is now illegal, while the General Customs Authority in a statement said it had "given orders to all customs centres to ban the entry of all types of alcoholic drinks".

The legislation, originally passed in 2016 but only becoming law after its publication in the official gazette on 20 February, is unlikely to affect the autonomous Kurdistan region that controls its own border crossings.

No, as Julian Bechoca (RUADW) noted last week, it's not going into practice in the Kurdistan.  Hadi Mizban (AFP) reports, "Some see the measures as an attempt by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to head off potential political challenges from religious conservatives. They say another motive may be to distract from economic woes, including rising prices and wild currency fluctuations."  Ali Mamouri (AL-MONITOR) reports:

Iraq has great religious diversity. The majority of the population is Shiite and Sunni Muslims, but there are also sizable communities of Christians, Yazidis, Zorastrians, Mandaeans and others. Some analysts believe the law is a step toward turning Iraq into an Islamic country.

"This is ethnic discrimination," Diya Butros, an activist in the predominantly Chaldean Catholic town of Ankawa, told Al-Monitor. "It's a violation of the rights of non-Muslim religions that do not forbid alcohol."

Ali Saheb, an Iraqi political analyst, told Independent Arabia on March 6 that Iraq is not an Islamic country, and "Some religions allow drinking alcohol, and the government cannot impose a certain opinion or ideology on others."

Unlike Islam, the Yazidi and Christian faiths do not forbid alcohol consumption. Some even use it in their religious rituals. 

Others argue the law violates the Iraqi constitution, which guarantees personal, religious and cultural freedom. Mirza Dinnayi is a Yazidi activist and chairman of Luftbrucke Irak, a non-governmental organization that helps victims of conflict in Iraq. He told Al-Monitor, "The law is contrary to the constitution because Iraq is a multi-ethnic, -religious and -cultural country, and drinking alcohol is not prohibited for many." 

Dinnayi also argued that if alcohol drinkers turn to other alternatives, the ban could provide an opportunity for the spread of drug use

“The majority of Muslim countries do not ban alcohol, but rather regulate it. Why doesn’t the Iraqi government do something similar, instead of banning it totally?” 

The law is especially troublesome for Yazidis and Christians, who manage the overwhelming majority of alcohol shops in the country. Many Christians and Yazidis have been attacked in recent years for working in this sector, and some fear this law could lead to an increase in violence against them.


This is one aspect of a never-ending crackdown on freedoms and liberties in Iraq.  Leave a post on social media and risk being arrested or killed.  Dropping back to the February 10th snapshot:

Once the KRG came up, Ned rushed off to another journalist and another topic.  That's far from the only thing being ignored.

Tiba al-Ali.  Is there a reason that the US government has made a decision to ignore her murder?  Is there a reason that the press covering the State Dept and the White House can't get off their lazy asses and ask for a statement regarding the murder.

So-called 'honor' killings continue in Iraq.  And not just in Iraq.  And it's past time that the US government made a public response about this latest murder.

They're real good about starting wars, the US government, not real good about ending them (or winning them).  Maybe if they could use Tiba's murder to start a new war, they'd have something to say?

Savera UK issued the following:

Tiba al-Ali was killed by her father on January 31st, 2023, in a reported ‘honour’ killing.

The 22-year-old was in the southern province of Diwaniya when she was killed, reportedly because her father had been ‘unhappy’ about her decision to live alone in Turkey. Her death has sparked protests in Iraq, with dozens gathering on February 5th to condemn the killing. Savera UK stands with those protesting against her murder.

Afrah Qassim, Savera UK CEO and Founder, said: “Savera UK is appalled and heartbroken by the ‘honour’ killing of Tiba al-Ali at the hands of her father in Iraq. Yet we are not shocked. Each year around 5,000 people die as a result of ‘honour’-based abuse and violence. There has been a cry for justice raised worldwide for Tiba only because she was widely known as YouTube star and media personality. But we should reminded ourselves that many others lose their lives in ‘honour’ killings, and who calls for justice for them? Iraq’s penal code stipulates that killings with an ‘honourable motive’ are a mitigating circumstance for punishment. It also states that punishment for a man who kills or beats his wife, female relative or her partner (in the case of adultery) to death or causes them permanent impairment, is up to three years in prison, with the judge afforded discretionary power to reduce this punishment.

“If ‘honour’ continues to be a mitigating factor – and excuse for murder – thousands more like Tiba will die. We stand with all those calling for justice for Tiba around the world. She was a bright, 22-year-old woman with the whole of her life ahead of her. She had the right to chose to leave her family home in Iraq to live in Turkey. She had a right to live freely, happily and peacefully. But that right was taken away from her.

“There is no ‘honour’ in abuse and there is no ‘honour’ in murder.

“Justice for Tiba al-Ali. Justice for all those lost in the name of ‘honour’.”

If you are at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse or harmful practices in the UK, contact the Savera UK helpline on 0800 107 0726 (operates weekdays 10am – 4pm). 

Friday, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Abby Sewell (AP) noted

The alcohol ban comes on the heels of the contentious campaign to police social media content.

In January, the Interior Ministry formed a committee to investigate reports of what it called indecent posts and set up a website for public complaints. The site received tens of thousands of reports.

A month later, judicial authorities announced the courts had charged 14 people for posting content labeled indecent or immoral; six were sentenced to prison time.

Among those targeted were people who posted videos of music, comedy skits and sarcastic social commentary. Some showed dance moves deemed provocative, used obscene language or raised sensitive social issues such as gender relations in Iraq’s predominantly conservative society.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as local and regional rights groups, said the crackdown on expression violates fundamental rights.

Now they're going after those who expose truths in real life, face-to-face.  RUDAW reports:

Dozens of Baghdad’s teachers and exam proctors on Sunday protested an arrest warrant issued for one of their colleagues who exposed a case of fraud relating to a former police official’s son.

Uday al-Salihi, the head of the examination department in al-Rusafa’s education directorate, in February removed a young man from a ministerial examination, accusing him of impersonating the son of former Federal Police Commander Raed Shaker Jawdat, and taking the test on his behalf.

According to Salihi, once he was removed from the exam room, the young man admitted to receiving 5,000 dollars to take the exam instead of Jawdat’s son.

Nonetheless, when the case was brought to relevant authorities, it was not the impersonator that faced the legal repercussions, but rather Salihi, who was served an arrest warrant. It is not yet clear what the proctor has been accused of.

“This is a message for everyone, if you see someone cheating or taking exams on behalf of someone else, just keep your mouth closed and do not speak,” Nidhal Muhammad, a school principal, told Rudaw's Halkawt Aziz on Sunday.

More attacks on the rights of the people?  Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:

As Kurds across the Kurdistan Region marked traditional clothing day on Thursday, Iraqi security forces manning the gates at Kirkuk University denied entry to students dressed in Kurdish outfits.

“We tried to enter from the main gate, but they told us that we were not allowed,” a geography student at Kirkuk University who dressed up in traditional clothing alongside scores of his fellow Kurdish students told Rudaw English on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“They prohibited us from entering the campus from all three gates, telling us there was no such thing as national dress day. We remained in the parking lot until the school day was over,” he said.

Rudaw reached out to the university, but they declined to comment on the ban.

[. . .]

“One year, they ban raising the Kurdistan flag. Then, they ban Kurdish clothing. If it continues like this, in a couple of years they will forbid Kurds from entering the university altogether,” said another student.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "A Hooptie Ride Named Marjorie" went up Saturday night.  The following sites updated:

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