Stone and Ice
The Remedies of Dishonor
“What happens to you here is forever, ” O'Brien had said.
GEORGE ORWELL, NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR1
Being was ephemeral, but nonbeing was absolute. Valor was glass and fire, but humiliation was stone and ice. The captured Jewish generals were, according to Josephus, displayed on the triumphal floats of Titus and Vespasian frozen in the postures in which they had been taken (Bellum Iudaicum 7.139–147).2 Ovid's prostrate and defeated Phineus was turned to stone by the victorious Perseus in the very act of begging for his life (Metamorphoses 5.210–235). Every day in the slave's life was an exhibition of defeat; as Reginald Haynes Barrow expressed it, “To enslave an enemy rather than to slay him was a device to reap his labor, but it was also a way of enjoying a perpetual triumph over him. ”3 In the words of the tennis star Billy Jean King, “Victory is fleeting, but losing is forever. ”____________________