Literary Links: A Few Words About Tampons & Aristophanes in the TLS

Not my suitcase, but it could have been!

The last bash of summer!

What are you reading?  Here are a few recommendations for the long, long (too long?) Labor Day weekend.

1. The Lenny newsletter, edited by Girls creator Lena Dunham and her co-producer Jenni Konner, is an online publication by and for Millennial women.  I’m a Baby Boomer, but one has to keep up with the culture, and the writers’ agenda are varied and often stylishly written.  I enjoy the “Lit Thursday” book recommendations and the  interviews with artists, actresses, and politicians   Dunham, author of the memoir Not My Kind of Girl, is a stunning writer, and sometimes the  unknowns will surprise you.  I enjoyed Sarah Konner’s essay, “Menstrual Cycling,” about a bicycle trip on which she and a friend gave away free  menstrual cups.

Konner writes,

In 2011, my dear friend Toni and I rode our bikes down the West Coast, living on $4 a day, camping in backyards, and giving away free menstrual cups. This was our second bicycle trip together. Our first trip was just a joy ride two years earlier. We tested how cheaply we could live, and in doing so, we discovered that bicycle travel is a very special way to have engaging conversations with people we would never meet otherwise. So, we planned another trip and organized it around our shared passion for menstrual cups! Menstrual cups reduce waste, save money, are safe for women’s bodies, and offer users an opportunity for a more intimate relationship with their cycle.

Menstrual cup, tampons, pads: the more methods, the better, I say.  Thank God I’ll never have to deal with that again.  My own periods were so heavy that I needed extra-large tampons, and even so,  I had to change them every two hours.   Women in the ancient world used tampons, so you can think of it as a witchy ritualistic wisdom passed down from the matriarchal goddesses to the priestesses to us.  And, remember, cotton tampons are biodegradable, too.

aristophanes wasp 97801996994072. Last year I wrote about “Filthy Jokes in Aristophanes’ The Frogs” after rereading the play in Greek.  The  jokes can be difficult, because the ancient world has its own zany wit.

In a review of three books about Aristophanes in the  TLS, Simon Goldhill writes about the perils  of translating Aristophanes’ jokes.

Translating Aristophanes’ comedies can be a right bugger. As early as the first century AD, the highly educated culture-hound Plutarch warned against reciting Aristophanes at a dinner party – an early version of doing the Monty Python dead parrot sketch for your friends – because each guest would need a personal tutor to explain the political references and obscure vocabulary. Between the gags about unknown politicians, fun with baffling names for sausages and bizarre puns about sexual parts, even a sophisticated Greek-speaking partygoer was likely to be desperately lost, and searching unsmilingly for the equivalent of the OED. What could ruin a good symposium more than a comic skit that nobody got?

Very articulate, fascinating article!

What are y’all reading this weekend?  Let me know!