Thursday, October 20, 2005

Zeno and the Dog Fuck

A perfect Radio 4 moment this morning (on Melvyn Bragg's "In Our Time" programme): In the course of a discussion of the philosophy of the Cynics one of the protagonists alluded to the "Dog Marriage" of Crates and Hipparchia. He was corrected by a fellow guest who declared, in a perfect Oxbridge accent, that "it was more a dog fuck than a dog marriage". Priceless.

He then went on to describe how Zeno came upon the couple screwing in the street and removed his cloak to cover their nakedness. This moment, he said, represented the move from Cynicism to Stoicism. As I drove slowly through Dublin's daily traffic debacle, the debate progressed. It was a virtuouso display of erudition, insight, and serious intelligence. What a credit to the Brits Radio 4 is. Our national broadcaster offers the Ryans (Gerry and Tubridy) at the same time. The one providing tabloid radio for shop girls; the other having an identity crisis on air: "What am I doing here?".