The National Association of Scholars has written a letter addressed to my university and to the Medieval Academy of America asking them, as institutions, to affirm that I remain a scholar in good standing based on my conduct over the past year while under fire from my own colleagues in academia.
The issue is not about politics so much as it is about the culture that we would like to have in academia: whether it is to be a culture in which we support vigorous academic debate or one in which name-calling (“fascist, neo-Nazi, white supremacist”) is going to be allowed to shut down debate. As Milo put it in his coverage of the NAS appeal,
Although universities generally refrain from taking sides in academic debates, the NAS open letter is asking Chicago and the MAA to do something different, and merely affirm that Fulton Brown is an academic in good professional standing who has not harassed or discriminated against her colleagues. This is a matter of historical record, and should not be …
1. When white women (see Marie de France and Eleanor of Aquitaine) invented chivalry and courtly love, white men agreed that it was better for knights to spend their time protecting women rather than raping them, and even agreed to write songs for them rather than expecting them to want to have sex with them without being forced.
2. When white men who were celibate (see the canon lawyers and theologians of the twelfth century and thereafter) argued that marriage was a sacrament valid only if both the man and the woman consented, white men exerted themselves to become good husbands rather than expecting women to live as their slaves.
3. When white women (see Christine de Pizan, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the suffragettes) invented feminism, white men supported them (see John Stuart Mill) and even went so far as to vote (because only men could vote at the time) to let them vote, not to mention hiring them as workers and supporting their education.
Pop quiz: Spot the blasphemy. Having trouble? Here are some hints: Have this in mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:5-11 RSV
They do blaspheme, that say: “God is the Christ, the Son of Mary.” Christ himself said: “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” He that worships other deities besides God, God will deny him Paradise, and his abode shall be the Fire. The wrongdoers shall have none to …
“to say nothing of all the stuff I do behind the scenes I can never tell you about.”
Not sure why you're defending the indefensible.
—JustJinxed, commenting on Three Kraters Symposium, Episode 58: Politicon Caves to Twitter Outrage and Pulls Milo from Lineup
I get this kind of comment a lot from my academic colleagues, even those who are otherwise sympathetic to me. They don’t know how much I am in contact with Milo or the kinds of things he and I have been talking about, and they tend to assume that Milo is as he has been portrayed in the mainstream media or by Buzzfeed: an agent provocateur, someone who is outrageous purely for material gain, a grifter, not a serious interlocutor, doing what he does for the sake of publicity and nothing else. How is it possible for me to defend such a person? Surely doing so, as one friend recently put it, is at odds with everything I am as an intellectual.
Well. My first response must be of course, “Have you read much of my blog?” But I kn…