The Troll Slayer
August 25, 2014 10:43 AM   Subscribe

A profile of classicist Mary Beard, and, among other things, her decision to confront sexist detractors online. "The real issue, she suggested, is not merely guaranteeing a woman’s right to speak; it is being aware of the prejudices that we bring to the way we hear her. Listening, she implied, is an essential element of speech."
posted by OmieWise (22 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
A. A. Gill, the television critic for the Sunday Times, greeted her Pompeii series by remarking, “Beard coos over corpses’ teeth without apparently noticing she is wearing them. . . . From behind she is 16; from the front, 60. The hair is a disaster, the outfit an embarrassment.” Gill dismissed “Meet the Romans” by declaring that Beard “should be kept away from cameras altogether.”

I don't know that I was specifically aware of Mary Beard before, but now I love her.

[...] she posted the image of herself-as-genitalia on her blog—it was surely the first time that the T.L.S. site might have needed a Not Safe for Work warning—and suggested possible responses for her supporters to take, such as flooding the offending message board with Latin poetry. The story made international news, and the message board soon shut down.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:00 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mary Beard is wonderful, erudite & always worth listening to.
posted by pharm at 11:02 AM on August 25, 2014

"The Public Voice of Women", which is either a transcription of or just very related to the lecture mentioned in the profile, is absolutely essential. Can't wait to read this (also, Rebecca Mead is probably my favorite New Yorker staff writer, because I hella play favorites with New Yorker staff writers for some reason).
posted by torridly at 11:11 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

My new hero!
posted by scody at 11:13 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can she recite romanus eunt domus ?
posted by k5.user at 11:14 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I didn't get any more than one third of the way through this article before I was looking up her blog to bookmark it and looking for her on Twitter to follow.

Anyone that fights off trolls by proposing people flood them with Latin poetry is in my cool book. (Although I'd go even one better and suggest Irish Gaelic poetry, which would be even more purely incomprehensible to them.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:18 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jesus, who the hell is A.A. Gill and why do the Sunday Times continue to employ him?
posted by yoink at 11:21 AM on August 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

I love Mary Beard. She and Dorothy L. Sayers are my two models of women I want to be when I grow up.
posted by PussKillian at 11:21 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I adore Mary Beard. Every time an article of hers pops up on the LRB, usually about some aspect of antiquity, I find myself devouring it. I, too, hope I can grow up to be just like her.
posted by Aubergine at 11:24 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mary Beard on Metafilter, previously and previously.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:41 AM on August 25, 2014

Jesus, who the hell is A.A. Gill and why do the Sunday Times continue to employ him?

It's a Murdoch rag.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:44 AM on August 25, 2014

Jesus, who the hell is A.A. Gill and why do the Sunday Times continue to employ him?

People love A.A. Gill's insult-driven style. Even Mefites have shown him some love. I think he's just childish.
posted by vacapinta at 11:51 AM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gill is the sac of warm, slippery rectal pus who once shoot a baboon to see what it would be like to kill someone. It is not possible for anyone less twisted than himself to despise him as much as he deserves.
posted by howfar at 12:16 PM on August 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Mary Beard is one of the treasures of our time; if there's such a thing any more as a public intellectual, she's it. I look forward to reading the article when my paper copy of the New Yorker arrives via snail mail. (Yes, I am old and crotchety.)
posted by languagehat at 12:28 PM on August 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

What a great article. As a language nerd who begged my parents to let me go to summer school to study Latin (and later Greek), I admire her. As a feminist, I admire her even more.

Off to follow her on twitter, add her to my RSS feeds, and buy her books.
posted by mogget at 12:42 PM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I follow her on Twitter. First heard of her through her TLS blog. She's a great thinker and I like her hands-on approach with trolls. I never believed in the concept of simply ignoring them.
posted by ChuckRamone at 12:46 PM on August 25, 2014

Never heard of her before this.

posted by freakazoid at 12:58 PM on August 25, 2014

I wasn't previously aware of Mary before this, but I was a fan by just a few paragraphs in. It was this paragraph, however, that finally made me swoon:
As Beard continued through the basement, her eye fell on a dozen Roman tombstones arrayed against a wall, in a gloomy half-light. They were from a site on the Black Sea, and each was engraved with a standardized image of the dearly departed. “They look horrible, don’t they?” she said. “It’s good to come along and say they are awful. You are so trained to admire them. At school, the older the object is the more respect you were supposed to give it. But you can look at them there, all piled up, and they appear to be what they are: mass-produced, not very good gravestones. Thank God the ancient world was democratic enough that it turned out crap.”
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:16 PM on August 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

Fans of Beard should check out BBC Radio 4's classic In Our Time programme, she's a frequent guest. Personally I don't care for her on the show; she often hogs the mic and speaks over and interrupts the other panellists, and Melvyn Bragg seems to give her a lot more lee-way to digress than other guests, but regardless, she's damn smart.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:13 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Meet The Romans so very worth watching if you can.
posted by glasseyes at 2:18 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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