by Campbell Geeslin
Mary Beard is a classics professor at the University of Cambridge and the subject of a profile in the September 1 New Yorker. Her latest book is Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up.
The magazine article is mainly about the constant attacks to which Beard is subjected because she is a smart woman who makes herself heard. She often appears on England’s BBC television. She said, “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.”
She is subjected to threats of “a predictable menu of rape, bombing, murder, and so forth.” One tweet directed to her: “I’m going to cut off your head and rape it.”
TIME OFF: Bill Hayes is the author of The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy. In an essay called “On Not Writing” in The New York Times, he wrote, “To be a writer is to make a commitment to the long haul, as one does to keeping healthy for as long a run as possible. For me, this means staying active physically and creatively, remaining curious and interested in learning new skills, and of course giving myself ample periods of rest, days or even weeks off. I know that the writer in me, like the lifelong fitness devotee, will be better off.”