Jen Pinkowski at UnDark writes—Hate Groups Love Ancient Greece and Rome. Scholars Are Pushing Back:
WHEN MEMBERS OF the Unite the Right rally marched through Charlottesville on August 11, 2017 in polo shirts and carrying tiki torches, Twitter went wild with jokes. “When you have to use a Polynesian cultural product (tiki torches) to defend and assert white supremacy,” wrote one Twitter pundit. Another captioned a photo of the marchers: “Y’all, we can’t get dates on Friday night (again) so we’re fixin’ to pick up some tiki torches at Walmart & have a klan rally. Who’s in?”
But Sarah Bond, an associate professor of classics at the University of Iowa, didn’t find the jokes funny. “Something horrible is going to happen,” she remembered thinking.
For the past several years, Bond has written about “classical reception” — or how Greco-Roman culture is received and interpreted — for Forbes online, the art and culture websiteHyperallergic, and Eidolon, an informal online journal devoted to the classics. Because classical thinkers, institutions, writings, and art have been portrayed as the epitome of “civilization” since the Renaissance, she’s also documented how hate groups have latched onto the perceived legitimacy of antiquity to make themselves seem more legitimate.
“Torches are very much tied to violence in antiquity,” she says. “They are meant to intimidate people. There are a number of examples from antiquity of the use of mob violence where fire and torches are specifically used prior to an assassination.” The Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, and the Golden Dawn all marched with flames.
The day after the August rally and the Twitter jokes, violence erupted between the marchers and counter-protestors, and alt-right supporter Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others. Bond, a Virginia native who’d attended undergrad at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, was upset but not surprised. “That was the tipping point where I was like, you know what? Fucktheir use of antiquity.”
Both Pharos and Eidolon have become the main portals for digital public scholarship on the interest white supremacists, misogynists, anti-Semites, ethnonationalists, and xenophobes have taken in the Greco-Roman world. It’s an association that Bond and other scholars say they simply cannot abide, not least because far-right extremists have committed nearly three times as many acts of fatal terrorism in the United States over the previous 15 years as Islamist terrorists.
Bond is among a group of scholars sounding the alarm about the love that right-wing hate groups have for the classics. One effort to push back is Pharos — “lighthouse” in ancient Greek, and most associated with the famed lighthouse of Alexandria. Founded by Curtis Dozier, a professor of Greek and Roman studies at Vassar College, the site documents appropriations, errors, and distortions of Greco-Roman antiquity. Another is Eidolon — a platform for “classics without fragility” founded by Donna Zuckerberg, the author of “Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age” and sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose website recently banned white supremacists. [...]
(In case you’re looking for something else worth watching and reading, try this: Atomic Veterans Were Silenced for 50 Years. Now, They’re Talking.)
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“Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counterclockwise.” ~~Grace Hopper
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BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2007—KY-Sen: Mitch never met finer man than indicted Guv:
So you're a power broker in your state. THE power broker. Your party's governor is scandal plagued, under indictment, and sports approval ratings that rival George Bush's. So you gin up a primary challenger, let's call her "Anne Northup." She's a former congresswoman, still fairly popular, and relatively clean from an ethics standpoint. She barely gets 30 percent of the vote as your indicted governor romps to an easy victory.
Supporters of this indicted governor, let's call him "Ernie Fletcher", are feeling frisky. You've been exposed as the proverbial emperor with no clothes. Your "machine" is out of gas. And, in a fit of pique, they start revving up a potential primary challenger. Oh, did I mention you're a Senator? And not just any senator, but the leader of your party?
What to you do?
Apparently you get down on your knees.
“I’ve never met a finer man than our governor, Ernie Fletcher,” said [Mitch] McConnell. “I’m proud of Ernie Fletcher. I’m proud of Glenna Fletcher. And I’m proud of the image they present for our state.”
Most voters in Kentucky, unfortunately for the whole corrupt lot of them, aren’t as proud of Fletcher's incompetence and corruption as McConnell.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin and Joan McCarter are back with polls to parse and headlines to hammer. Is “It’s the economy, stupid” stupid? Amash & Mueller keep I-word talk in the air, so it’s back into the weeds on what powers the impeachment does & doesn't unleash.