Comments on: An Alphabet of Feminism #22: V is for Vitriol /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/ A feminist pop culture adventure Sat, 14 May 2011 12:06:40 +0000 hourly 1 By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1103 Sat, 14 May 2011 12:06:40 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

An Iranian man is due to be blinded today as a punishment for throwing acid into the face of a woman who refused to marry him and blinding her.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1102 Sat, 14 May 2011 12:05:17 +0000 This news story:

reminded me of this post.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1101 Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:43:57 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

As to Gryffindor, I don’t mind as long as I’m allowed to be Hermione Granger.

Actually, we had team points at my school. Our class teacher was supposed to count them up at the end of the week. One teacher, who couldn’t be bothered, used to ask us how many points we had. I couldn’t be bothered to check, and just made up a plausible number. Most teachers, I now assume, invented plausible numbers for themselves (without input from the children). Perhaps all of this excludes me from Gryffindor.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1100 Thu, 24 Mar 2011 18:30:21 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

The origins of an association of copper with Venus, and iron with Mars, may be a little different from the way one might suppose. The linkage between goddesses and copper mines goes back to the bronze age. Copper is the principle ingredient in making bronze (90-95% copper to 5-10% tin) and bronze was then the metal from which tools, weapons and armour was made. So this feminine connection should not necessarily to be thought as focusing on a soft metal. The iron/Mars association is presumably more recent.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1099 Wed, 23 Mar 2011 13:33:01 +0000 On a lighter note (although it might not have been) I had some childhood experience of sulphuric acid. I was schooled in the 1950s, before (seemingly) health and safety had been invented. My class was instructed to perform the experiment of adding water to dilute sulphuric acid to see what the reaction was. I made the mistake of adding water to concentrated sulphuric acid. It’s fair to say that adding water produced a very violent reaction. I don’t suppose that the bench I was using ever fully recovered, but I was unaffected. I think that I must have leapt back instantly — fortunately, my instincts selected flight rather than freeze. How concentrated sulphuric acid came to be placed in the hands of a child, even in those days, is an open question. In spite of damaging school property, I didn’t land up in trouble over this — I assume that the teacher would have received more blame than me, and decided to keep as quiet as possible over the incident. I didn’t tell my parents.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1098 Wed, 23 Mar 2011 13:18:44 +0000 I have the idea that, in Britain, acid attacks are mercifully rare. (Although it would be more merciful if there were none at all, of course.) My reason for thinking this is that I worked for Victim Support over quite a long period. I worked with victims of serious crimes (including rape, and the families of murder victims) but never with a victim of an acid attack. For several years, part of my job was to accept the police referrals for a London borough with a very diverse population (both in terms of ethnicity and income) and never once knew of a referral for an acid attack.

If I’m right in thinking that it is a rare crime in modern Britain, this may be because sulphuric acid is less readily available than other weapons. In fact, I’ve no idea how, if I wished to buy some, I’d go about purchasing sulphuric acid.

The difficulty in buying the stuff, to my mind, adds extra horror to acid attacks. The crimes must be premeditated, rather than spontaneous outbursts of anger. When sulphuric acid was used as a cleaning fluid, the element of premeditation may often have been missing. It is dreadful for people to lose control of themselves sufficiently to throw acid in moments of anger. But deciding to make an acid attack, and then taking trouble to buy the acid, represents the lower depths of which our species is capable.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1097 Wed, 23 Mar 2011 12:49:28 +0000 An additional (and very curious) link between female and vitriol has occurred to me. The only planet in the Solar System named after a goddess is Venus where (so I believe) it rains sulphuric acid. So strong is the female/Venus association that the familiar circle and cross symbol does double duty for the planet Venus and female.

What makes this link so curious (to my mind) is that the traditional associations of the planet Venus were formed by people who can have had no idea that it rains sulphuric acid there.

Actually, the circle and cross symbol does at least triple duty, it is also used to represent copper. Copper is the metal on to which acid is applied to in order to create the printing plates for etchings. (As in “come up and see my etchings”… said by the Rake to the Virgin.) I think that the acid used for etching plates is nitric, rather than sulphuric, but it’s another connection between acid (in general) and the circle and cross symbol. I wonder whether Hodge had this in mind when painting the picture. The V looks a bit like acid-eaten copper.

While the cross and circle represents female, Venus and copper, the arrow and circle represents male, Mars and iron. Goddess of love/god of war. Copper/iron. Hmmmmm… Some interesting associations, there, I think.

The association between Venus and copper may be connected with the fact that (in ancient times, I don’t know about now) Cyprus (birthplace of Venus’ Hellenic counterpart Aphrodite) was a rich source of copper. But I don’t know whether Cyprus was associated with Aphrodite because of the copper, or copper associated with Venus because of the Cyprus connection. I suspect the former, because ancient Egyptian copper miners in the Sinai worshiped Hat-hor.

It has been suggested that the Egyptian copper and turquoise mines in the Sinai were the place where the alphabet first developed. There are inscriptions using rather crudely drawn Egyptian hieroglyphs that (to judge from the small number of different characters) must have been used alphabetically.

The second from bottom character in the line drawing is the ox head thought to be aleph/alpha/A (see my recent comment on the Amazon alphabet entry).

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1096 Wed, 23 Mar 2011 12:16:25 +0000 In reply to Hodge.

I look forward to the B-sides and rarities.

By: Hodge /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1095 Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:38:27 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

Well, I had been sitting on Vitriol for a while, but wondered if it would be too dark for the alphabet. Wasn’t getting on with Virgin so I decided to give it a go.

Besides, it is only fitting that it should be the Virgin who is never dyed with blogpost gore. To make an in-joke.

And yes, there is a picture. There are, in fact, many Alphabet pictures (and embryo posts) that have never yet seen the light of day, particularly for those letters I had trouble with, or couldn’t see my way to illustrating. So as we approach the final stretch of our twenty-six week romp, I’m wondering what to do with the B-sides and rarities.

Something will probably happen with some of them, though, so watch this space.

By: Russell /2011/03/21/an-alphabet-of-feminism-22-v-is-for-vitriol/#comment-1094 Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:24:55 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

Wait – me and Pet Jeffery are Griffindor? I’m ginger so that makes me Ron! OI!