The above object is an aquamanile (a receptacle used for washing the hands before a meal) dating from the late 14th or early 15th century. It depicts a popular moralizing tale of the day in which Phyllis, a lover of the youthful Alexander the Great, dupes Alexander's tutor Aristotle, the celebrated philospher, into allowing her to humiliate him in return for promised sexual favours, thus exposing Aristotle's hypocrisy in censuring Alexander for his trysts with Phyllis. There were a number of such stories celebrating the wiles of women that were illustrated in the decorative arts at that time, and the theme is today referred to as the Power of Women* topos by art historians.
* (''Weibermacht'' in German)
Susan L. Smith at the University of California, San Diego, is credited as being the first to explore the topos in her famous 1978 thesis . Her 1995 book explores the development of the topos from the early mysogonist 4th century writings of the church fathers to its celebration in late medieval decorative arts, through to its revival in the popular weibermacht prints of the Northern Renaissance and its final assimilation in later Renaissance painting.
Both the German and French wikipedias offer excellent articles (linked above) on the topos. The English article is a relatively recent contribution (started March 2015) supplied by Aaij and Johnbod. It is not a good article in our view and attempts to improve it by our tireless and elegantly enabled new researcher Amy were reverted by Johnbod following her block by Aaij.
On this page we examine the merits of the article and point out that in fact it marginalizes Susan Smith's contributions. We show how the article was designed to remain within Aaij's cartel and how it was used by Johnbod essentially as a vehicle to gain another DYK badge for his User page.
We have already examined some features, at least, of Johnbod's editing, and we can usefully start by doing the same for Aaij, who has set himself up as the champion of Wikipedia content creators.
Aaij's editing was discussed at the Wikipediocracy forum a little while ago. Eric Barbour, a noted analyst and critic of Wikipedia, started the thread, essentially querying the value of Aaij's editing. Response was not especially focussed and somewhat polarized (one of us contributed at the end of thread defending how Aaij chooses to spend his time, which it has to be said is very considerably devoted to editing on Wikipedia, especially at the infamous drama boards). To be fair to Aaij, his supporters would seem to outweigh his detractors as he was comfortably elected to the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee (the mother of all drama boards), in the 2015 elections. No one stepped up to defend his editing, however. His start on Daniel's tufted-tailed rat was cited as an example of Aaij editing outside his specialism, where his intent seems rather to parrot and parade expertise than inform. We think his Power of Women start is of the same ilk.
Another noted critic at the forum remarked: "My impression of Drmies [Aaij's moniker] at this point is that he is a professor who goes out of his way, cussing and swearing, to demonstrate that he is not an ivory tower, stuffy academic, that's he isn't pretentious. But he still seems to expect editors to respect his authority and things usually go badly when he is challenged by an editor he doesn't already have a friendly relationship with or who isn't a fellow admin." The interesting thing here is that this critic, Liz, went on to apply for adminship at Wikipedia, and she was opposed vehemently by Aaij, who complained of her lack of content creation. The debate spilled onto Wikipediocracy and Reddit, and Liz's application only succeeded by the narrowest of margins as a result. One of Aaij's camp followers, Sagaciousphil, was recently blocked for a quite fantastically unpleasant attack on Liz in which, amongst other things, she called Liz not worth the dirt on her shoes, this again for her perceived lack of content creation if you please.
Coat had to do with Aaij. She thought him quite simply repulsive. C1cada's interaction was more curious. It happens that the Wikipedia article Boy is illustrated by Aaij's latest little sprog, as we record for the attention of a too credulous world here. Of course on-wiki one wishes to be gallant, but off-wiki we can perhaps allow ourselves to observe more candidly that this is in the first place not a very good photo and in the second place Aaij's sprog (how to put this?) is no more photogenic than (shall we say) his pater is. C1cada thought to replace the image with another more attractive and less eurocentric. Red Gerda immediately stepped in and amongst other consequences Aaij jolly well took C1cada's lovingly crafted sandbox article on the Dutch art collector Petronella Oortman and jolly well put it in article space himself. Nevertheless he introduced several significant errors in so doing, notably that Jessie Burton's enterprising first novel The Miniaturist is based on Petronella's life story. It is nothing of the sort (virtually nothing is known about Petronella), but rather centers around the doll-house she curated. C1cada's opening salvo in the boy drama suggested it would be more relevant if Aaij uploaded an image in which the penis was visible, possession of said represented by the article as the most significant defining feature of boydom. That seems to have led to (shall we say) an unfortunate impression on Aaij's part (but not as unfortunate shall we say as this from the distinguished Emeritus Professor of Wikipedia at Auburn Mongomery). Mutual suspicions of sexual perversity aside, we came away with the conviction that Aaij basically sucks as a content creator.
Aaij began the Power of Women article with this start. It is so curiously poor we think it worth reproducing: