Showing posts from 2017

He Said, She Said: MILO’s Livelier Style in Review

Now that we’ve celebrated the birth of Our Lord, it is time to review the lies that have been told about his servants this past year. One servant in particular. You know whom I mean. My colleagues in medieval studies can’t stop talking about him!

The above Facebook post links to an article published back in September 2017 by another of my medievalist colleagues arguing that “to target Milo at a fellow human being”—which he implies I did by writing about the things others have been saying about me on social media and tagging Milo on my Facebook share—is “a solicitation for harassment, including likely violent threats.” His proof? A list of things that he says Milo has said, with helpful links to his (my colleague’s) sources.

This same colleague has recently challenged me on Twitter—where I cannot respond, he has me (the “Famous Medievalist”) blocked!—with a link to his original article (see below for the full piece, along with the beginning of the Twitter thread):

Okay, then. Let’s rea…

For the Love of Milo

This is the season for wonders.

In a special issue of the Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality, Jennifer Edwards, Associate Professor of History at Manhattan College, has published a thoughtful reflection on the ongoing argument in medieval studies over what is—and is not—appropriate for us as scholars to say about feminism. In her essay “#Femfog and Fencing: The Risks for Academic Feminism in Public and Online,” she talks in detail about my blogging this past year and a half. While she most certainly does not endorse anything that I have said about feminism or Milo, she describes me with a generosity and compassion I had long ago despaired of in interactions with my academic critics.

On my intervention in the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS) Facebook thread that Dorothy Kim hosted about my “Talking Points: Three Cheers for White Men” in January 2016, Edwards notes:
To her credit, Brown responded calmly, with some humor, and with a willingness to …

The Color of the House of the Lord

I don’t want to write this post, but I think I need to.

Back in September, I did a post that you may have read entitled “How to Signal You Are Not a White Supremacist.” My point was to answer the concern that certain members of my academic field currently have about how we, as medievalists, should signal to our students that we do not endorse the use of medieval imagery for the purposes of present-day political arguments, specifically those having to do with the claim that “white” people are in any way superior to other people simply by virtue of their skin color and/or ancestry. The suggestion had been made by certain of my academic colleagues that for members of the academy who do not fit certain criteria—“white” or of Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, or other European ancestries now associated with “whiteness”—there is little need to signal that they do not endorse this type of appropriation, but for all those of us who do—the vast majority of us in medieval studies—not to make explicit stat…

The Conversation of the Blades

It is one of the most famous passages in medieval intellectual history, Peter Abelard’s description of his decision to abandon knightly combat for philosophy.

As Abelard explained at the outset of his autobiographical History of My Calamities:
For my part, the more I went forward in the study of letters, and ever more easily, the greater became the ardour of my devotion to them, until in truth I was so enthralled by my passion for learning that, gladly leaving to my brothers the pomp of glory in arms, the right of heritage and all the honours that should have been mine as the eldest born, I fled utterly from the court of Mars that I might win learning in the bosom of Minerva. And—since I found the armory of logical reasoning more to my liking than the other forms of philosophy, I exchanged all other weapons for these, and to the prizes of victory in war I preferred the battle of minds in disputation.  This passage has been much on my mind these past several months, as I have found mys…

Chivalry Not Dead Yet

Meet my champion!

Assistant Professor Dan Franke rides in on a great warhorse to defend the honor of Associate Professor Rachel Fulton Brown against the accusations cast against her by Associate Professor Carol Symes. You do not want me to parse this symbolism! Let me just say that I am proud to count Dan as a fellow Rice University alum. He has proven himself a true knight in the lists of academic combat.

Read on.

The Merry Medievalist

As if I weren’t in enough trouble already.
I have a column! At Dangerous! My dream come true, I am writing for MILO! With dragons! And a rat!

Okay, I’m a little excited. Okay, a lot excited! It is a dream come true, and not just because I am writing for MILO. (Did I say that already?!)

I am excited because everything—EVERYTHING—is hanging on how we play the culture wars, and MILO has invited me to be out there with him on the front lines.

The front lines that he invented.

Fighting not with policy statements and think tank reports, but with laughter and mischief, symbolism and fun.

Because nobody can resist the truth wrapped in a good joke. Or a good story.

I am quite serious about this. As is MILO.

Friends on Facebook often ask me how I can stand up for MILO. Just the other day, one was pressing me:
I really don’t understand how someone as intelligent as you can defend this moron. I admit he makes some good points, he really does, but overall this guy is a cultural train wreck. As yo…

Judge MILO

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear. Can you read the signs?*
Sydney Morning Heraldto MILO: “You’ve obviously done a tremendous job in building up a personal brand. You say the outrageous things, you wear the weird clothes and the dark glasses and all that. I’m you genuinely believe all the things that you claim to, or are you now essentially living out a caricature?” MILO: “If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn't say it. There’s no value to me, social, financial or otherwise, in having the opinions that I have. I would be much wealthier, much happier, and much safer if I were a liberal [in the American sense]. But I’m not.”
Former feminist girl: “My question is, I’m fourteen, and I’m wondering how I could help my peers...get interested in politics.”  MILO: “Raise merry hell. And I mean, merry hell. I use the word merry advisedly’s laughter and war. Risus et bellum is my motto. As long as you’re keeping people laughing, as long as what you say is twice…