May 9, 2012

Gay Caveman II: Electric Boogaloo

Remember last year around this time, when the Daily Mail published a story on the first "gay caveman" found in the Czech Republic?  And then how the international news media jumped on it like a snake swallowing a kid goat whole?  [ Daily MailTelegraph ]

Remember how a number of anthropologists got really angry about the interpretation of the find, the ignorance of the news media about human sexuality and gender, and the ridiculously loaded language that was being bandied about as if the labels of today can be accurately read in the archaeological past? [ Me - Gay Caveman! ZOMFG! / John Hawks - The "gay caveman" / Rosemary Joyce - "Gay caveman": Wrecking a perfectly good story ]

Remember how CNN and LiveScience interviewed us to "debunk" the sensationalized story after Jezebel and Salon mocked the general cluelessness of the news media and gullibility of the public? [ CNN / LiveScienceJezebel / Salon ]

Well, the Gay Caveman is back!  The Daily Mail reports today on "The only gay in the Stone Age village." Czech archaeologists who uncovered this anomalous burial last year have now found the remains of the village associated with the burials, near Prague.  The longhouses and their associated artifacts (e.g., pottery) date to 2900-2500 BC.

Helpfully, the Daily Mail uses quotes and language from a year ago, from before anthropologists descended on this story and - horror of horrors! - complicated and muddled the media's crisp interpretation of the anomalous burial.  At least, I'm guessing the Daily Mail is using old quotes, because I hope Vesinova did not reiterate this year the ridiculous claim that "he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transvestite."

The site is quite an interesting one, and the pictures are great.  I can't understand why the Daily Mail continues to bait us, though.  To reiterate:

  • 2900 BC is not "caveman" times.
  • There is no archaeological evidence whatsoever of this individual's sexual orientation.
*sigh*

At least this story continues to give me interesting stuff to discuss with my students.

Not gay. Not a caveman.

5 comments:

Matt V. said...

Love the caption to the photo... ;)

Anonymous said...

Technically - "Not a caveman, orientation unknown."

Kristina Killgrove said...

I'll stand by "not gay" because the term "gay" is completely a modern construction - and a loaded one, at that.

Plus, it's pithier than "Not a caveman. Who knows if he had a sexual relationship with someone having similar genitalia which, in our contemporary culture, would be called 'gay'."

Anonymous said...

Looks well gay!

http://www.diggingthedirt.com/2011/04/16/gay-caveman-putting-the-%E2%80%98erectus%E2%80%99-back-into-%E2%80%98homo%E2%80%99/

Rosie said...

I think that people don’t understand that sex and gender are two completely different concepts and we can’t understand the past in modern terms and ideals. There are many examples of homosexuality in the past including ‘transvestite’ burials in County Durham from the Bronze Age and pottery from Athens depicting gay men together. It is also worth pointing out that the Daily Mail is not the most tolerant of newspapers and has a very old fashioned right wing leaning and a love of the sensationalist story, so take anything written in it with a pinch of salt.

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