A British politician has just declared herself "Pansexual". Gracious me!
My mind immediately, of course, went to a popular piece of garden furniture in Roman Italy (one copy is in Lord Egremont's gallery at Petworth), of Pan teaching Daphnis to play the Pipes ... and doing so not without a sexual interest. I think the Victorians may have called this sort of thing 'Greek Love'. I believe one head master of Harrow School had to resign because he got a weeny bit 'Greek' with the lads (paniskoi?), but I don't remember whether, for his props, he used the Pipes, or just Abbot and Mansfield.
But stay: perhaps we should instead consider a sculpture group in the Naples Museum, showing Pan (himself, of course, quite capriform) initiating sexual congress wth a goat. I cannot quite recall the gender of the goat. Do such details matter? I feel that in this febrile modern age I have quite lost my bearings.
Sex and politics! The Beeb is yet again serialising a dramatisation of the Profumo Scandal. But I don't think Pan ... or goats ... came into that. Last year Auntie did the Thorpe Scandal (but the late and much respected Ringo was a dog, not a goat). Well, she would, wouldn't she?
I can't wait to hear what she has on the stocks for next year. Perhaps a very 'explicit' and 'adult' dramatisation of a loving, faithful, rightly-ordered relationship between a male human husband and his female human wife?
Just think how that would scandalise the Grauniad! Imagine them clanking their zimmer frames together like rutting stags in helpless senile fury! Poor poppets!
8 January 2020
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Rinka, Father, not Ringo. Declined like mensa.
Rinka, surely, not Ringo. Though I have heard the Pope before last referred to as Ringo (John Paul, Ringo....)
Poor C J Vaughan (presuming that is the Harrow headmaster you had in mind) is a thorny case. The extent of the accusations levelled against him amount to not much more than squeezing boys thighs during Greek tutorials and sending "passionate" letters. Bad enough, of course, but we have only one (particularly posthumous) source even for that - the very "troubled" J A Symonds. In the last few years, there's been a largely laudatory biography of Vaughan, Nolo Episcopari, which attempts to exculpate him from any serious wrongdoing against his charges - whether successfully or not, let the reader judge. For reasons too tedious to relate, I have read and transcribed dozens of Vaughan's letter to another of his pupils, a correspondence with whom he kept up for decades right until his death. There's not a trace of anything approaching scandal in any of them. Not that that proves anything, but...
MR. BATTERSBY. No, give me John Donne; he must have been at Oxford when the Armada was about; what an age to live in, when you could be a successful churchman with such a dirty mind as his!
Panic: from Greek panikon, literally "pertaining to Pan;" but great Pan is dead.
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