The cloud-gatherer Zeus issued this message today through his public relations team of rustling oak trees:
I came of agelessness just after heaven and earth were formed, when there weren’t many rules yet about behavior, since I’d hardly made any. If someone broke an oath, I threw a thunderbolt—that was one of the few. Nor was there any “workplace culture” on Olympus to speak of. That’s no excuse, I know now. I will leave it for others to judge whether the fact that my father cut off my grandfather’s genitals and flung them into the ocean and ate all my siblings makes any difference. One way or another, clearly I have needed to channel some kind of insecurity, and over the last few weeks I’ve asked Athena to put together a phalanx of gods and mortals to help me wrestle with those demons that come with the territory of being able to mess with everything at will. It doesn’t happen overnight.
But let me address the stories told to the media by four brave women named Leda, Io, Europa, and Danaë, who felt able to name themselves, if not those accusations leveled by Leto, Demeter, Thetis, Mnemosyne, and the hundreds of others who preferred to remain anonymous—smart women and good lays all, for whom I have nothing but the utmost respect. As for Ganymede, he will confirm that I have already made him whole for his “cup-bearing.” We remain friendly.
These stories are true. At the time, I told myself that because I always asked first before blinding a woman with the sight of my full splendor as Lord of the Sky, it was OK. Yesterday I learned otherwise. We will all be sitting down soon with the Furies to see what kinds of remedies are out there.
Leda: I shudder to think that you interpreted the caress of your thighs by my dark swan webs as anything other than a frank infatuation with your intellect. I totally accept that you did not “lead me on” (although even your mother said, “Are you going out like that?”). And if you did somehow understand the consequences of what I thought were shared feelings at the moment I came—the Trojan War, etc.—that didn’t necessarily compensate for your terror and my falling asleep so fast afterward. I get it. “Indifferent beak,” c’est moi.
Io—or “10,” as I used to call you in all genuine affection—I’m mortified to think I wrapped us in a dark cloud in broad daylight without your consent, though it was a pretty standard prank back then, as was turning you into a heifer the second Hera caught wind. Of course I was lying when I told her I’d never seen you before, and naturally she knew you didn’t buy that little bell for yourself. Playing the horndog with one of her own priestesses was inexcusable. Duh.…
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