Because I read voraciously, and always have, I’ve followed an unspoken mantra that I should learn something new every single day of my life. And by “new”, I don’t mean any old shit like the price of pizza at the new Italian restaurant up the road; no, by golly, I mean something at least of historical, literary or cultural interest.
Longtime Readers will know that I am an unabashed Europhile when it comes to history; my degree is in Modern European History (not “Western” history, by the way — my knowledge of U.S. history is at best a tad more than “adequate”), and seldom a day goes past when I don’t set out to learn something new about the period of 1750 – 1950 in Europe.
I think I need to broaden my horizons, however, because only yesterday I was brought up short when reading this article by Jorge Montoyo, where the very first paragraph provided this nugget:
During the Tang dynasty, a golden age for poets, Empress Wu Chao [Zhao] forced every male dignitary who had an audience with her to wash his mouth with rose water and practice cunnilingus on her. Diplomats and courtiers had to do their best so that their requests were met, and even then it was not a guarantee, since Chinese politics have always been cunning and inscrutable, with oscillations between the sun and the shadow of yin and yang.
My first thought, incidentally, was how loud the feministicals’ screams would be had this been a Chinese Emperor who forced women seeking an audience to first give him a blowjob. (My suspicion is that the modern-day Carrie Nations of Patriarchal Sexuality would have 1984’d this historical snippet out of the history books forever.)
My second thought was that Wu Zhao was quite a girl — she made Russia’s fearsome Catherine The Great look like a Victorian governess by comparison — and if she had even half the power she seems to have wielded, her demand for pre-consultation cunnilingus doesn’t seem so far fetched. Of course, she reigned for many years, which in itself is a little problematic, because early in her reign she probably looked something like this:
whereas in the later years of her reign, she looked like this:
In the first case, mandatory cunnilingus might have been no burden, nay even pleasurable. But I have a suspicion that the cunnilingual prerequisite was probably instituted towards the end of her life… and I don’t think I need go any further with that visual.
Still, I think it’s an examplary historical precedent for us to at least consider today, if for no other reason that even among historians who detest Wu Zhao, there is absolute consensus that her reign was, all things considered, hugely successful. To quote but a couple of historians:
“To the horror of traditional Chinese historians, all members of the shih class, the continued success of the T’ang was in large measure due to an ex-concubine who finally usurped the throne itself… Though she was ruthless towards her enemies, the period of her ascendency was a good one for China. Government was sound, no rebellions occurred, abuses in the army and administration were stamped out and Korea was annexed, an achievement no previous Chinese had ever managed.”
— Yong Yap Cotterell and Arthur Cotterell.
Here’s the thing: if you knew, or were guaranteed, that including cunnilingus would result in as successful a reign (or term as head of government) as Wu’s, do you think any politician (male or female) would turn that down?
Of course, there’s no chance that any of today’s crop of European feministical politicos would ever institute such an exotic (erotic?) practice, because unlike Wu, they all seem devoid of a sense of humor. And take a look at a sample of said feministical prime ministers and presidents:
You have to admit, though… oh, wait:
Forget I said anything.