Showing posts from 2018

One Angry Judge

What would you do if during the course of a job interview you were accused of crimes so heinous that they would not only disqualify you for the position, but also land you in jail—justifiably, if you were guilty—for the rest of your life?

According to some 2,400 members of the American legal profession, including some of my own colleagues at the University of Chicago, Brett Kavanaugh is incapable of serving as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States because he was “intemperate” when accused publicly not just of high school and college drunkenness, but of rape, gang-rape, and attempted rape.

In their words:
Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge....   We are law professors who teach, research, and write about the judicial institutions of this country.... We regret that we feel compelled to write to you to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Thursday, September 28 [sic*], 2018, the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh displayed a …

Mary and Martha, or What I Did in My Summer Vacation

It has been quite the summer.

First I learned how to search Twitter and discovered what my academic colleagues have really been saying about Milo and mefor the pastseveral years.

Then there was the takeover of the Kalamazoo Medieval Congress Facebook group by the SJWs.

Then there was Milo’s magnum opus about the controversy in my field.

Then there was getting to see Milo and my friends from Three Kraters in person.

There there were the invitations to appear on YouTube videos and podcasts.

Then there was the Open Letter that the National Association of Scholars wrote in my support—not to mention the thousand-plus signatures it has received.

Then there was the continuing pressure on the part of my academic colleagues for me to stay quiet.

Then there are all the arguments still to be made on the culture front.

A girl might be forgiven for finding it hard to settle down and—as Milo keeps telling me I shouldgetback to work!

Did I tell you he reminds me of Jesus?
Now it came to pass as they…

The Old Voice of Glad and Angry Faith

“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…

“Get thee to a library!”

I wrote earlier this week about how senior colleagues keep urging me to get back to my proper work, the scholarship for which I have been trained and on the basis of which I hold the professional position which I do, the implication being that I should not be allowing myself to be distracted with ephemera like, I don’t know, being slanderedby colleaguesin my field, but rather that I should be concentrating on the work that will last for eternity, or at the very least beyond my own lifetime.

I can hear Hamlet now: “Get thee to a library, why wouldst thou be a feeder of liars?”

But that, of course, is exactly what I did thirty years ago at the beginning of my training as a scholar—get to a library.

That is where I found all the lies!

Lies like this one:
In the charming story of “the Annunciation” the angel Gabriel appears to the terrified young girl, announcing that she has been chosen to become the mother of god. Her response to this sudden proposal from the godfather is totaled nonresi…

Report from the Culture Front

Senior colleagues in my field are worried about me, that I have been spending too much of my time on the front lines of the culture wars and not enough on my scholarship.

This is a bit disingenuous on their part, considering I just published my second major monograph this past year, but they are worried about me and want me to get to work on my third.

“Spend your time on your scholarship. That is what lasts,” one of my former teachers tells me.

“I do hope that you can get all this behind you and get on with your life. It is all a distraction and a burden that no one should have to bear,” one of my long-time supporters urges me.

What should a happy warrior say? 

Part of the problem, if there is one, is that I am having too much fun.

How could I possibly go back to my old life, having tasted the pleasures of battle?

Does Wonder Woman hang up her Lasso of Truth and go home?

I don’t think so!

After all, what could be more invigorating for an intellectual than a life-or-death battle of wits?

Would you sign a letter in my support?

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 …

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:…