Theodora the Voracious, and awaiting the How High Should I Jump? galleys

Really busy and lovely week, but I won’t dawdle so let’s get to to it:

Awaiting the galleys for my book, How High Should I Jump? The Satirical Guide to Pleasing Today’s Woman, soon to be published by Seaburn Books out of New York City.

Yes, getting excited and chomping at the bit but these things take time, always longer than you’d like, so I’m preparing for the release and taking care of all the little things before it’s out.

Should be another week or so before I launch the website, where you’ll be able to at least see more of what the book -and me- is about, but as I said before, I’m just slow with all this technology, and each step is taking me longer than it would, say, my 18 year old. Multi-tasking to him is 3 computer screens going, his cell phone, the TV AND his ipad; multi-tasking to me is putting the coffee cup down, then picking up the phone, calling and finishing the conversation before then turning on the computer and going through one email at a time before finally opening up another web page. By that point, geez, I’m exhausted!

Got an email from Ferdinand: “…and the thing is, dude, you say your all a preclassical student, but what the f does that mean? Are you some kind of wak poet or something? Can’t figure you, man.”

Thanks for the invitation to make myself more clear, Ferdinand. Yes I am a poet, and yes, this pre-Classical or pre-Socratic stuff is poetry, and I’ll tell you why I proudly boast of my pre-Classical foundation: I am attempting (in some ways the impossible but I’m doin’ it anyway) to re-create the pre-Socratic viewpoint, when people knew what was without doubt.

The pre-Socratics were all about the idea that to describe what you felt and observed was the issue, not to explain it or give it its reasons Why, understand? The pre-Socratic brain is fresh, hasn’t been polluted by the university system yet and as such, these men and women were free to observe and express what their souls felt and then extol the nobility of those feelings and observations without fear of being labeled right or wrong. That fear today holds people back from truly expressing themselves, but back then, there were no Political Correctness Police watching over every statement.

Pre-Classical poets were self-regulating, whereas today it’s about referring to what others do and the standards they’ve set for you, which creates outcasts and victims. The pre-Classics, Ferdinand, were anything but victims, they rejected victimhood and placed responsibility on themselves to figure things out, not some expert. They didn’t need a middleman, a priest or scientist or professor holding the rules above them, they said, ‘F the rules!

Furthermore, it was all about what you did, not you and your crazy personality; what you created was important, your personalty of little interest. Today we minimize the poetry and praise the whacko poet/artist and worship his/her eccentricities. You’ve heard of the ‘cult of personality’? It’s all about worshiping the celebrity or artist; as long as someone becomes popular, who gives shit for the quality of her work, what’s important is, she’s famous!

…Lotta bullshit there, I’d say…

Personally, I prefer to ignore the artist and focus, as the old timers did, on the work.

An intriguing comment was left concerning last week’s post, from Tim O.:

“Mr. Milt, I have a confession, I am starting to hate women! I mean it, they don’t operate by any set of rules, they just act and dont give a d#mn for the consequences!! I can’t say anything to her, my wife, in criticism or I get called “sexist”!! You seem to be all about not criticizing women, but should they get a free pass?”

Tim, let me start by saying it isn’t about ‘giving women a free pass’, it’s about supporting them and allowing them to find themselves now, in their work and home, and yes, as they sexually recreate. That said, I maintain that they’ve been under the master’s lash and so thoroughly scrutinized for however many million years that they don’t need to be criticized any longer. We men, however, are in great need of severe self-reassessments, thus the aim of my program. Hell, we’re the ones that have gotten a free pass forever, but those days, friend, are fast drawing to a close…

Now as for you ‘hating women’, you might be surprised to learn that I’m sympathetic: I see this as an initial and quite understandable possible reaction to the confusing circumstances you and so many other men find themselves in today. No, it isn’t right to hate women -or really, to hate anybody- but it’s understandable and has very reasonable roots. Yet, as I said, this is an initial response, and I know that will soften and change in time, especially after you read my book. There, you’ll learn to overcome your resentments and hatreds, and soon, you’ll be enjoying women and doing everything you can to serve and free them, especially the woman you love.

Don’t blame women for not ‘acting with any set of rules’, for they are still in the rejection-phase of the out-dated male paradigms and must be allowed to continue to do so, and then wander around for awhile getting used to the feeling of being free. It only just happened, historically I mean, so if you have any ability to see things in perspective, you’ll agree that women shouldn’t be blamed now for damn near anything, since for so long they’ve been denied a seat at the table alongside us, right? Second-class citizens, less value than a fucking mule, and in some parts of this world, that remains the case today!

No no, look, I understand your reaction; in my view, there is no right or wrong in the affairs and feelings of men and women, there only is, and in this case, your feeling’s are, they’re valid, it’s your reaction to what’s taking place in your world and that, as I said earlier about poets and poetry, is beyond right and wrong, it is!

BUT, and here’s the deal, you can’t sit there hating women, resenting them their growing freedoms while you sit and silently fume, that is wrong, and that isn’t dealing with the problem, it’s letting the problem deal you!

No, Tim, the secret is to flip it all over and learn to appreciate and enjoy women, which, as soon as my book is finally available, you’ll quickly figure out how to do, and in no time you’ll have put this period behind you, off to your new life of supporting and celebrating all women everywhere!

This week’s installment from History’s Most Outrageous and Powerful Women:

Let us move from the Golden Age more than 1000 years forward, to the time of the Roman Emperor, Justinian, and his mystifying, lascivious beauty of a wife, Theodora.

The writer, Procopius, leaves us 3 major works concerning this amazing woman. Now, I’m not going to spend undue ink relating the details of Theodora’s or any other of my Great Women’s lives, unless warranted; in her case, she rose from unremarkable beginnings to become the mistress (though some would say the favorite prostitute) of Justinian, Justin’s nephew.

Here was a woman who enjoyed considerable power across the empire, and specifically in Constantinople, where she lived with Justinian. Procopius refers to her as “the emperor’s intellectual equal,” and all who wished to speak before the Emperor had to bow at the feet of Theodora as well. She is most noted for what became known as the Nika Revolt, where, during a riot of the masses that soon threatened to topple the monarchy and everyone including Justinian had decided to flee the city for safety, Theodora stood up during the debate and said that, if all the other nobility must leave, she would remain there to defend the city, for “purple makes a fine burial shroud,” a remark which stung her husband’s pride and spurred him to stay and defend his empire, which he did successfully.

She was a great beauty, “…fair of face and of a very graceful, though small, person; her complexion was moderately colorful, if somewhat pale; and her eyes were dazzling and vivacious,” and while Justinian clearly fell for her because of her looks, he stayed with her and endured great criticism because he admired her intellect, and shared in her lustful cruelty.

Though she is politely remembered for being a champion of the poor, a deeply religious person who shut down brothels and made the adultery of a woman no longer a capital offense, she concealed a much darker -and more interesting- side. Yes, this was one of history’s great libertines, a woman who enjoyed a vast and unbridled sexual diet from her earliest youth until the day she died. In Procopius’ Secret History, the picture that is made of this licentious woman would rival any of today’s most ravenous debauchees. One interesting entry notes that Theodora, in her early Thirties at the time, had in excess of “…several thousand lovers of all description.” Night after night did Theodora thoroughly enjoy every variety of sexual excess, with her husband’s blessing -and, often, participation- including orgies with multitudes of men and one of her favorite acts, seeing eunuchs being made; yes, in other words, nothing thrilled her more than to see a man’s penis and testicles lopped off his body while one of her servants performed oral sex upon her.

What then became of the unfortunate man, Procopius declines to say…

But don’t just take my word for it, let’s look at a passage from Procopius’ Secret History:

Often, even in the theater, in the sight of all the people, she removed her costume and stood nude in their midst, except for a girdle about the groin: not that she was abashed at revealing that, too, to the audience, but because there was a law against appearing altogether naked on the stage, without at least this much of a fig-leaf. Covered thus with a ribbon, she would sink down to the stage floor and recline on her back. Slaves to whom the duty was entrusted would then scatter grains of barley from above into the calyx of this passion flower, whence geese, trained for the purpose, would next pick the grains one by one with their bills and eat. When she rose, it was not with a blush, but she seemed rather to glory in the performance. For she was not only impudent herself, but endeavored to make everybody else as audacious. Often when she was alone with other actors she would undress in their midst and arch her back provocatively, advertising like a peacock both to those who had experience of her and to those who had not yet had that privilege her trained suppleness.”

Now, while I don’t recommend anyone re-enact this imperial woman’s sexual tastes -alas, poor eunuchs!- I am deeply impressed by how she followed her desires, whatever they may be, to the full, without a hint of guilt or remorse. She constantly lavished herself, waking in the afternoon after a night of sexual adventure and taking frequent baths while her servants pampered and massaged her. She demanded a daily fare of the very best food and drink, often coming from the Far East, and refused herself no indulgence nor apologized for anything she ever did. I’ll ignore the various outraged and sexist Christian writers who’ve pounded her in print over the centuries, and will only say that Theodora lived as she desired, setting an example in attitude that I believe should illuminate and guide Today’s Woman, for in Theodora existed the spirit of a woman who understood and employed her female power and acknowledged no limitations, or any living master.
My word, there I’ve gone and written another tome. Well, it’s hard to hold back when you got somethin’ to say, so thanks for checking in everybody, soon the book will be out, or at least I’ll have a release date, and we can start talking about what’s in it!

Until next week, adios!

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