So THAT’S Why Mona Lisa Was Smiling

, , , , , | Learning | June 19, 2017

(Our teacher gives us twenty minutes at the end of a lesson on Friday to ask the most random questions and then debate one of them. We write them down and put them into a tombola for her to pick out of. The last few weeks every topic has been asking whether a prominent historical figure was gay, so this week she has pleading and praying that there isn’t another one.)

Teacher: *picking a topic* “Oh, for pity’s sake!”

(She turns around and writes the question on the whiteboard.)

Question: “Was Leonardo da Vinci gay?”

(She sat down and took some ibuprofen before letting us debate. Unbeknownst to her, we have all been putting those questions in the hat this month!)

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  • Leiko Burningbear

    If I were that teacher I’d be changing the policy on questions, since the students are obviously abusing it. “Teacher reserves the right to set a debate topic themselves if questions fail to provide sufficient debate fodder.”

    I for one find nothing whatsoever amusing about the entire class submitting “is so-and-so gay” questions. That it went on for at least a month is ridiculous. Debate topics should vary. The same topic over and over defeats the purpose of Debate Time. It’s lazy topic choice.

    • Kester-the-Jackal

      I mean… I assumed it was to do with Pride month, and was supposed to highlight the subject of historical revisionism when it comes to LGBT figures. A very important topic indeed.

      • Leiko Burningbear

        There are so many “Pride” topics to chose from, though. “Is so-and-so gay,” is not the sort of “Pride” question I’d submit. You could discuss historical treatment of LGBT+ peeps in the popular media. You could discuss whether Straight Asexuals should be included in Pride groups (that’s me; straight ace). You could discuss ways things have improved over the course of history. You could discuss Bisexuals and how they seem to be erased in the media.
        You could debate on any number of important and relevant LGBT+ topics. OP and their classmates went with the lazy approach.

        I would also like to point out that we do not know when the story is set. Maybe it happened during Pride Month. Maybe it happened ten years ago in November. So it could be a “Pride” thing, but it could just as easily be a poor practical joke on the teacher.

      • Kitty

        How does that have to do with pride? And what does it matter if the historical figure was gay or straight back then? They are dead, it changes nothing and yes, humanity was just as much a bunch of d***s about different sexualities as they are today.

  • Greg MacDonald

    TOO LATE! THE TOMBOLA HAS SPOKEN. *thunder cracks*

  • Glowworm

    I have heard a theory that the Mona Lisa was actually based upon da Vinci’s apprentice who was rumored to be his lover. This question isn’t exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. The idea of continuously asking if certain historical figures were gay however is.

    • Leiko Burningbear

      I’ve not heard that theory before. I had read that da Vinci was rumored to have been gay. So that particular topic by itself is fine for debate. There’s actual historical tidbits to pull from.

      But randomly picking a name out of a history book and asking if they were gay? Lazy and annoying.

    • AKchic

      There are a LOT of different rumors about Da Vinci. Some about his supposed homosexuality, some about his supposed misogyny. Some combining both rumors. Fascinating reads, but a lot are to be taken with a lot of salt, lime and tequila because quite a few of them are part of the religious conspiracy tracts. Really. In roughly half of them, he is blood related. In others he’s not, but he is still knowledgeable of the bloodline itself, which is why his artwork is popular among the bloodline conspiracies themselves.

    • Kathryn Baggs

      Really? I always thought the Mona Lisa was a feminized version of himself. But I suppose that’s just one more theory.

    • Edward Anderson

      I don’t know about Da Vinci’s apprentice but I believe they proved that Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa over a self portrait.

    • Jami

      And I always heard the Mona Lisa was based on a woman he was lovers with. Unless someone builds a time machine we’ll never know the truth.

      • Blake Barrett

        We’d just need an Animus. And the question has been indeed been answered. The answer is yes.

  • Flami

    While random questions are fine, repeated “was X gay?” questions are not exactly debate material. Are you guys in junior high or the Scottish equivalent?

    • WonderRabbit

      …high school?

      • Flami

        Junior high school is a thing, you know.

        • CatMother

          In my experience, middle school/junior high students are actually more mature than high schoolers (at least freshmen and sophomores).

          (Only sort of related, I went to a rural K-8 school and I feel like I really missed out, I do presentations at middle schools now and they seem like fun.)

          • Flami

            Hey, it could be! At least the kids at the schools now where you are seem like fun!

          • CatMother

            They’re great kids. 🙂

          • Flami

            I’m glad to hear that! 🙂

    • heymoe2001

      Yeah, I was thinking, “Oh, so you’re a 6th grader who finds himself clever. Right.”

  • Lord Circe

    “Unbeknownst”? You really think that she didn’t know that you were all adding those questions on purpose? I’m guessing you failed statistics.

  • Glasofruix

    I’m amazed how you people just pop ibuprofen like it’s tic tacs. Around this side of the channel we prefer not to take those unless we really have to.

    • xShann23

      Maybe I’m a bit jaded from my experience in pharmacy, but you’d be surprised as to what people ‘pop like tic tacs’ that are much stronger than ibuprofen. Hydrocodone, Percocet, tramadol…

      • Glasofruix

        I’m not amazed because it’s strong, but because it’ll pretty much destroy your stomach.

        • xShann23

          Eh, they have something to take care of that, too. Hence why you end up with patients with 10+ med lists…

        • Kitty

          Eh, as long as you aren’t an idiot and mix it with alcohol.

      • AKchic

        If I popped tic tacs like I do my painkillers, I’d have the freshest breath in the world.

    • Kitty

      I ‘pop ibuprofen’ when I have a really bad headache. As in, the type of headache where a tiny movement makes my whole body jolt with pain. Or it’s so bad that it hurts my eyes and I need to lie down, but still have stuff to do, so I ‘pop one’ to take the edge off. But they are 200mg ones and I always watch out to not take more than necessary and there is several hours between taking some.

  • Shaina Clark

    My goodness, how funny you all are.

  • Edward Anderson

    What’s a tombola?

    • Ian Rennie

      like a bingo machine only with bits of paper in it instead of balls. Basically a drum on an axis with a handle and a hatch in the side. You turn the handle and jumble stuff up then open the hatch and pull a piece of paper out.

  • Blake Barrett

    If Assassin’s Creed is anything to go by, then yes he was.

    • kaninefat

      I’m afraid that’s not allowed as an academic source of information… yet.

  • Kitty

    Sheesh, don’t you students have anything better to discuss? At least ask the important question on what goes better with chocolate: bananas or strawberries. (Answer: either. Almost anything goes with chocolate)

  • Scott O

    I have now learned what a tombola is, so that’s something.

  • Harold Wagner

    “That means ‘from Vinci’, Jerry…”

  • “Unbeknownst to her, we have all been putting those questions in the hat this month!)”

    I think this was very well “beknownst” to her. Who _else_ would be putting these questions into the hat?

  • Medusa Jordan

    Yes he was. What’s to debate about it?