12/14/2004: Thought for the Day:
The current pointless tussle over the bisexuality of Alexander of Macedon is only the latest and cheapest tribute paid to our fascination with him. Recent studies have also raised the question of whether he was a hopeless alcoholic (or perhaps an almost sacrificial votary of a cult devoted to Dionysus, the god of wine) and of whether he was just another bloodthirsty conqueror.
But note this first: This man really did exist, and these events really did occur. Our sources may be fragmentary and inconsistent and contradictory, but they involve us in disputes about real people and events. For the next four weeks, you won't be able to go into a supermarket without hearing pseudo-devotional music concerning an episode 2,000 years ago that may well never have taken place. Meanwhile, Jews will be celebrating Hanukkah, which commemorates the victory of the Orthodox over those Jews who had succumbed to "Hellenism" in Alexander's time. ("Hellenised Jew" is still a taunt hurled by Orthodox Israelis against the secular.)
Len on 12.14.04 @ 06:24 AM CST