Showing posts from 2018

Mysterium tremendum et fascinans

What would you do if you found yourself in the presence of the divine? 

Last Friday, my friends from Three Kraters Symposium and I gathered together in a secret location—we rented a house—for a special anniversary episode of our show. To mark the occasion, we decided to dress up—in togas. Our show is, after all, titled after the drinking vessels used in ancient symposia, and we open each episode with a toast to our health (“Ymas!”) and to the truth that we hope to imbibe through our conversation (“In vino veritas!”). Little did my friends know that I had something even more special in store for them than just a chance to meet each other in person!

Only I and a few helpers were in on the secret. As far as most of my friends knew, we were going to be recording that evening, so we would need to spend the day setting up, rearranging the furniture, getting the cameras and lighting ready, making sure everyone would be in costume for when we started filming the show. But then came the crisis:…

Game of Threads

I don’t play video games.

Yeah, right, who am I kidding?*

It has been quite the week since Milo published his article about the controversy raging in Medieval Studies—much of it swirling around me!

I have been typing my fingers off answering friend requests on Facebook, all the while trying to understand the ins and outs of Twitter. Even now, as I am trying to settle into writing this blogpost, I cannot stop checking my notifications. The dopamine hits (as they say) are addicting!

But what is it about social media that is so addicting?

Back at the beginning of time—around 2009, my first year as a blogger—I wrote a meditation on the wonders of Facebook, how lovely it was to find old friends and classmates with whom I had lost touch, and how such social networking works.

Back then, I had only about 100 Facebook Friends. As of today I have 1,076 Friends—some 125 added in just this past week! I also now have 729 Followers on my Facebook profile, 410 Followers on my Facebook page, and 748 …

Middle Rages

Three years ago in June 2015, I wrote a blog post in praise of the values that undergird our culture in the West, particularly those which support women. I entitled my post “Three Cheers for White Men” to poke fun at the way “dead white males” had become the villains in modern academic culture, but my purpose was serious: to point to the ways in which women in Western civilization have been protected, supported, and encouraged by men from the Middle Ages to the present.
The response came in forms I had never expected—including in the guise of my champion.
This is his telling of my story and its significance for my academic field.
With thanks to all my colleagues in academia who were willing to go on record talking with Milo, especially Carol, in the hopes that we can put this chapter behind us. 
Fencing Bear salutes—and welcomes the conversation to come. 
Read on...


A few weeks ago, a young woman working as a fact-checker for The New Yorker happened upon a photograph which she described on Twitter as containing actual Nazi imagery. The only problem? The image that she identified as a Nazi “Iron Cross” was tattooed onto the elbow of a combat-wounded U.S. Marine now working as a computer forensics analyst for ICE, in which capacity he helps rescue children who have been sexually abused. The response from the Twitterverse was swift and biting. Talia Lavin removed the offending Tweet “so as not to spread misinformation.” A few days later, Lavin voluntarily resigned from her post at The New Yorker so as (she explained) not to become a target for discrediting her colleagues’ work. 
While at The New Yorker, Lavin had been engaged fact-checking an upcoming article on Berkeley’s adventures over the past year with sponsoring certain kinds of events on campus—or not sponsoring, as the case might be. In this capacity, she had occasion to be working with Milo,…


Coming soon...

For the full story behind the story, go here.

SJWs Converge on Medieval Studies—in Real Time!

Unlike their modernist colleagues, medieval historians rarely get to study events as they are unfolding in real time.

Usually we are stuck in the library, poring over manuscripts, hoping for a good bit that will give us a glimpse into the passions and provocations of the past, making do with chronicles written tens or hundreds of years after the events they are recounting, having to imagine what it must have been like through analogy with our own experiences, all the while knowing that we are more than likely projecting our own concerns onto the scraps of evidence that we find.

But not this week! This week in our little corner of academia we got to witness a SJW convergence in real time—just like Vox Day describes!

The opening move came on June 27, with this status posted to the Facebook Group for the International Congress on Medieval Studies (K’zoo) (I would link to the Group for you, but I can’t, for reasons which will become clear in the course of this narration).

Puzzled—and, of …