Showing posts from July, 2018

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 …

How to Spot a Fascist

For the past several years, some of my colleagues in medieval studies have been claiming that our neck of the scholarly profession is infected not just with white supremacism, but also with fascism, so much so that they are willing to label fellow members of the profession as out-and-out “fascists,” including yours truly.

As Inigo Montoya would put it, I’m not sure that word means what they think it means.

What they seem to mean by it is “racist,” because, of course, everyone knows that fascists are racists—and racists are evil.

It also seems for them to have something to do with being of European ancestry and/or white and not apologizing for it, as well as having status in our profession that others do not.

At a guess, it could have something to do with arguing in favor of Western civilization and/or Christianity, but for the most part they leave it undefined, hanging there as the slander that everyone knows it is without quite being able to say why.

Sometimes they gesture towards Mi…

The Shame Game

Men bond by making jokes about each other. Women bond by shaming other women.

I would dearly love to tell you about what I have been doing this past week. The hours-long conversations with lawyers. The equally long conversations with colleagues and friends. The decisions that I have had to make about when to speak—and when to say silent.

But to tell you, I would have to do something that I am not very good at.


I am amazed that other women find it so easy.

It took me a year and a half of being called names on social media to call out another woman who had been trying to shame me. (I understand that she has continued to do so, including in more formal academic settings.)

It has now been almost a year since I wrote about her, and the name-calling has only gotten worse.

For the most part, from other women.

I think my favorite this past week was, in effect, an unnaming. I am She Who Must Not Be Named.

Others have been more blunt.

(And, yes, I get that by providing these links, I am…

Sir Milo of Locksley

You’ve all heard what Milo wrote to the journalists who were pressing him for comment about a restaurant he is said to frequent in New York and his recent decision to join UKIP.

You have also heard about how Davis Richardson at The New York Observer and Will Sommer at The Daily Beast reported his comment as an actual incitement to violence.

And you have heard about how PayPal and Venmo closed his accounts after some 250,000 tweets accused him of being responsible for the deaths of five journalists thanks to the headline that The New York Observer ran on Richardson’s article about his comment.

“Dear Milo Yiannopoulos,” the PayPal service bot wrote,
We have recently reviewed your usage of PayPal’s services, as reflected in our records. Due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with PayPal’s User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account. Translation: You are now outside the law. Certainly, that is…

If Professor Jordan B. Peterson said he believed in God, would you?

For months now, I have been watching Professor Peterson’s followers ask themselves on social media whether they think Jordan believes in God, and I have been struggling to figure out why.

If Milo Yiannopoulos said he believed in God (he has), would you?

If I said I believed in God (I have), would you?

I’m thinking not—but why exactly?

Milo is easily as famous as Jordan, so it can’t be fame as such. I am easily as well-educated (Ph.D., Columbia University, 1994) as Jordan (Ph.D., McGill University, 1991), so it can’t be education as such. Jordan and I both talk about the importance of the Western tradition and the role of mythology in giving us scripts for how to behave (he says archetypes, I say patterns or models), so it can’t be the arguments he is making as such. It could be that he is a man, and I am not...but I don’t think that that is quite it either.

I think it is because he insists that—whatever mode he is speaking in—he is a scientist. And what people want is for a scientist…