But who is the prettiest one?

I received an email from someone asking about the "Dedicated to the Prettiest One” inscription at the bottom of this blog. I generally think it’s gauche to explain one’s own jokes or allusions, but I decided to answer this question.

Most directly, it is a reference to the Principia Discordia, which contains the phrase. The writers of the Principia, however, were quoting a much earlier source.

According to the ancient Greek myth The Judgment of Paris, the Golden Apple of Discord was inscribed with Greek wording which is usually translated as “to the fairest” (with “fairest” being used as a synonym for “prettiest”).

Three goddesses - Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite - each claimed the apple. Though Zeus was chosen to pick the winner, he didn’t want to risk alienating anyone. So, he delegated the responsibility to a mortal named Paris.

Each goddess offered Paris a bribe to encourage him to pick her. In the end, Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite, who had offered him Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. (I’ve always thought the story would have been so much better if Paris had skipped the three major candidates and awarded the apple to Helen instead.)

Anyway, the consequence of all this vanity, bribery, and corrupted judgment was the Trojan War.

The ways in which this legendary beauty contest mirrors contemporary electoral politics are obvious, I think.

1 comment:

Randall T. Hayes said...

According to this blog's site meter, someone in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, found this post by doing a web-search for "the preteiest woman in thge world."

I am very amused.