The Upside Of Castration

No nuts for you, Farinelli

Here is a piece suggesting that the castrati of the Baroque period-”thousands of pre-pubescent boys… castrated to preserve their youthful, high-pitched voices and allow them to pursue singing careers”-were actually fortunate to undergo the procedure. The reasoning here is that life in 17th century Italy was often brutal, particularly for the poor, but even those castrati who did not achieve the same stardom and wealth as some of their peers were still provided with a first-rate musical education and were able to make a decent living singing in church choirs. An argument is also made that, in an age when primogeniture was the rule, siblings of the firstborn child inherited nothing, and had few other viable prospects. Finally, it is suggested that, “in our post-Freudian society,” sexual gratification is far more important than it was during the era of the castrato, so perhaps we are overstating the impact of the procedure on the boys. These are all excellent points, until you consider the part where THESE KIDS HAD THEIR NUTS CUT OUT. I mean, come on. [Via]