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The banality of the kiss | Profile

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The banality of the kiss |  Profile

There is a novel by Arno Schmidt with serious reminiscences of Guillermo Cabrera Infante – actually, I should say the opposite, but I hate to correct. Alejandro or what is the truth, from 1949 – that is, thirty years before Havana for a deceased infant, where a long passage suggests that the Cuban had read German, although these similarities in literature do occur – narrates in the first person the tribulations of an envoy of Aristotle who in the middle of the year 323 BC undertakes a journey through the desert towards Babylon accompanying a theater company, in order to deliver to Alexander a letter from the philosopher of Stagira. And as almost always happens in travel stories, the narrator falls in love.

I remembered that novel yesterday watching Alexander the Great: The Creation of a God on Netflix, a miniseries directed by the British Lucy van Beek, and which sparked a long series of controversies in Greece as a result of certain trivial statements about Alexander’s sexuality. And they are trivial because the issue, in the series, is resolved in itself, and that would lead one to believe that it would be impossible for it to spark a controversy. The Greek Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, defined the series as “poor quality narrative, with poor content and full of historical inaccuracies”, and her voice was followed by others from political personalities and from the so-called “world of culture”, who following They commented negatively on his example, especially for one reason: they found relevant the same thing that I found trivial, that is, the homosexual relationship between Alexander the Great and his faithful companion Hephaestion.

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Alexander’s sexuality has always been the subject of debate among historians, many of whom believe that asking such a question makes no sense, because homosexuality and heterosexuality are modern constructions, which were not part of the cultural norms of ancient times. Greece. According to Lina Mendoni, the version of Alejandro that can be seen in the series is too stereotyped, which makes one suspect that the minister only saw the first episode, because everything in the series is stereotyped, a perception that exceeds the characters and that fits even to what they say and how they move. Lucy van Beek dedicates a few seconds to showing a kiss between Alexander and Hephaestion in the first and in the sixth and last chapter, but the suspicion that the minister did not continue watching the series – in fact: she did not continue watching the chapter – lies in the fact that Shortly after, the professor of Ancient History at Cardiff University (Wales), Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, says something that destroys any controversy: “Relationships between people of the same sex were quite common throughout the Greek world: the Greeks neither They didn’t even have a word to indicate homosexuality,” which for them simply represented a mere “sexual issue.”

The scandal made the Reuters Agency rush to collect testimonies from academics, historians and writers, and they all responded more or less the same, that it was absolutely plausible that Alexander the Great had relations with other men, simply because there was no reason why he should not have them. . One of them, Philip Freeman, professor of Human Sciences at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California – who also wrote a Biography of Alexander – says that “in the ancient Greek world, homosexual relationships were so normal that they were not strange to anyone.” ”, something that Van Beek herself highlights when the first kiss between Alexander and Hephaestion is interrupted by Ptolemy, who behaves as if he had found them playing Scrabble: a banality that no one, except Mendoni and his henchmen, gives a damn about. greater importance, because it simply does not have it.

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