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Tire I As...

Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and win the conflict. Pictured is a large wooden Trojan horse with hidden rooms inside, stands ready to be burned as part of 25th Burning Man's festival 2011, in the Black Rock City at Reno, Nevada. | Photo: Archives | Trojan Horse, Greeks, Weapon, Hidden, Liar, Trick, Burning Man,

Or an Olympian tale, retold

Let it never be said of the Greeks, be they of our time or the ancient variety, that they have done little for the world.

A very human(e) case in point is that of bearer of the vaunted title of the greatest athlete in the rarefied air of the same games that take their lofty name from the very Greek Mount Olympus, deified home to one Zeus and his sister/spouse Hera.

Speaking of that often contentious pair (Zeus, it seems, was ever the tricky seducer, posing as a cuckoo to gain her sympathy), Hera and Zeus, aware that the son of a nymph to Athena, one called Tireias had been both male and female as a result of having slain mating snakes on two separate occasions, put a query to him concerning which gender enjoyed mating most. Perhaps as a result of Hera having so alternated his gender in the first place (apparently, she was quite the animal lover, including snakes) he replied that the male gave better than he got. For this she proceeded to blind him; Zeus, however, rewarded him with both the gift of 'seeing' the future as well as centuries of life.

Now, to our modern Olympian's recent Tireiasian transformation.

Given that the ancient games were in honor of religious festivities honoring Zeus, and by the Mr./Ms. Jenner in question's own assertion that (s)he had long felt the feminine power of nature itself, may we not conclude that the liminal step taken by this Jenner was fittingly in honor of these equally supernal Olympian entities who, in their respective ways, had shown the way by their joint 'creation', Tireias? Indeed, may it not be argued that the ancient synonym for the latter personage(s), 'soothsayer' or 'seer', portended the breaking down of traditional barriers, themselves proving to be more matters of habit and custom than natural laws? Surely this is the case with the law itself, given the equal treatment afforded personhood, notwithstanding biological roulette.

So, then, whether cynically seen as merely tiring (hence our title) of the masculine or foreseeing the future of physical and concomitant psychic freedom, may we not say that this Jenner is more of the prophet than (purveyor) of profit?

And, in this overall Greek context so invited by Jenner's Olympian status, lessons may again be learned--or even relearned--from that culture which, with all its republican as well as less so mores, still stands as the glorious cradle of western civilization and democracy, they having named it along with having seeded so much of our English language.

Finally, inasmuch as another publication's cover strove to evince Jenner's new look as one of style versus fashion, a name apropos both of the latter concepts, itself derivative of the realm of Grecian Olympians, is Hermes. While the more worldly brand may not have graced her frame as framed, surely the mythic qualities it brings do have relevance to the Jenner phenomenon given its literal liminality.

It is Hermes, then, messenger of Zeus himself to the underworld where Tireias did utter prophecies, may, after all, capture the essence of Jenner's 'prophetic' message. Linked thusly to both Zeus and Aphrodite*, master of the 'in between' realm, Hermes is the namesake of an interpretive discipline concerning itself with the crucial hidden meanings behind things.**


*"She supposedly arose from the foam when the Titan Cronus slew his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea." [Hesiod, 'Theogony']

**"Hermeneutics, it will be remembered, is the discipline concerned with deciphering utterances from other times, places, and languages--without imposing one's own categories on them (the hermeneutic problem)."

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 5:29 AM EDT | More details

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