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How I was Kicked Out of the Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting

I am a Classics Ph.D. who recently attended the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS—formerly the American Philological Association), a yearly conference that provides papers on classical subjects and interviews for academic positions. I now regret doing so since some remarks I made at the conference led to me being branded a “racist” and the loss of my editing job with the Association of Ancient Historians.

I don’t usually attend because of the expense—I’m an independent scholar and cannot rely on universities for reimbursement. But it seemed like a good idea to go since the weather is always nice in San Diego. A bonus was the USS Midway, now a floating museum. The Midway, a World War II-era aircraft carrier that served as the command center for the bombing of Bagdad during the Gulf War, is well worth visiting.

On January 5 I decided to attend panel #45, a “Sesquicentennial Workshop”—it was the 150th anniversary of the SCS—titled “The Future of Classics.” It was described in the meeting program as “an open and free-form large-room discussion of what we think the trajectories of our field, broadly defined, will and/or should be, not just in the immediate future but for the next 150 years.” Based on the description (“discussion” is mentioned three times), the panel seemed like an opportunity to raise some questions and obtain some answers about what was happening in the field.

Although I am a Classics Ph.D. and a former professor, it has been some time since I taught. But I have noticed a decline in the number of Classics courses being offered at universities, a shift in teaching focus, and, at least this past fall, a concentration on archaeology positions in the academic job market rather than for Classics generalists. I thought that I might contribute to the discussion, and that by asking questions I might learn what was going on and what others thought about the direction of the field. I knew nothing about the people who’d been invited to speak.

A typical session at the SCS Annual Meeting involves six speakers giving papers, with a few minutes for one or two questions after each one, and usually lasts two-and-three-quarter hours. Papers are normally submitted through the Program Committee and classed by topic. However, this particular panel/workshop was atypical: the invited speakers, who only spoke for four or five minutes apiece, did not give true papers or have paper titles listed in the program, and therefore did not go through the Program Committee. Nor were they sponsored by any affiliated group as far as I know. Although Stephen Hinds (University of Washington) was listed as the organizer of the workshop, he did not chair the panel, keep order, call on members of the audience, or time the speakers. In short, it was an odd affair that seemed not to follow the (admittedly Byzantine) rules for SCS Meetings. The SCS Director, Helen Cullyer, was also present in the audience and gave a few anodyne remarks of welcome, but sat quietly throughout the subsequent uproar.

The first speaker, Sarah Bond (University of Iowa), emphasised how she runs the Twitter feed, Facebook page and blog for the SCS. This work gave her occasion “to reflect often on whether in the field of Classics we can separate the art from the artist.” Bond encouraged SCS members to consider the legacy of classicists like Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924), because he wrote:

…some of the most racist and abominable columns for the Richmond Times-Dispatch that we actually know of [sic], defending slavery, defending the South; and yet we continue to celebrate Basil Gildersleeve within our society. What does that say to the future classicists that are coming into the field?… It does not tell people of colour that it [sic] is welcoming to them.

From Gildersleeve, she went on to “other very influential scholars that oftentimes go silent at this meeting [sic]”. This was puzzling, but then she immediately clarified that she was talking about people “we don’t talk about, or we whisper about, because we know things, but we can’t say them aloud.” She recounted how she was “summarily cut off” in the question and answer period of a “digital pedagogy for mapping” conference panel by a “very prominent digital humanist” when she mentioned that that she no longer cited the work of a former Classics professor “because of the rape allegations against him currently.” An allegation against this scholar was made on Facebook in November 2017 of a sexual assault in 1985, but neither his university nor the police investigated the charge, and no formal proceeding has ever been opened against him.

From there Bond seemed to accuse all classicists (or maybe just the SCS) of taking part in a conspiracy of silence:

Because we are still about cronyism and supporting a very small group of people in many ways this can oftentimes silence other people. I too have had problems with whether to call people out or whether to say things, whether we should be anonymous or whether we should have a name attached to all the allegations that we put against people, but we have to think about the past of Classics and the present in order to make it welcoming for the future.

The way to correct this was to create “an environment for diversity and inclusion” by “calling out” “mistakes that we’re making currently and in the past” [sic].

Next she started talking about what another panellist would call “citational justice.” This is a process of “diversifying our footnotes, and trying to include more people, rather than following the same path that we have been led to our entire careers as classicists.” She described this as a way of “lifting as we climb.” The idea was that if you cite women [of colour] in your scholarship, instead of Basil Gildersleeve or “various scholars who are part of the canon,” then “that is how we are going to climb.”

Bond bemoaned the fact that her blog posts did not count towards tenure even though, puzzlingly, she has tenure, or so she told us. She claimed to have written over 170,000 words over the past two years on her own blog and various other blogs. This writing was the equivalent of “two books over the past two years that I got almost no tenure credit for.” She wanted to encourage universities to look at “outreach” activities like blog posts when assessing candidates for tenure and promotion in order to “break away from the monograph as the model for who gets tenure.” She objected to the fact that she was granted tenure only because of a single scholarly monograph.

Bond’s final topic was “inclusion.” She had been in charge of organizing Classics colloquia at her university, and claimed that “those panels represented what we believed Classics is and should be.” Over the past 10 years, there had only been three scholars of colour in any of these colloquia. She tried to make them inclusive by inviting even numbers of men and women, and bringing in as many women, people of colour, dance professors and other people “outside the traditional area of Classics” as she could. In Bond’s eyes, inclusion “begins in the local university, telling people of colour and women specifically that they can be a part of our field through simply presenting them with people who are not seen as the [sic] traditional classicists, i.e., white males, who are older.”

She was particularly concerned about “manels” (all-male conference panels): “having [people in the SCS] refuse to be a part of manels is one reason why I started WOAH,” she said. WOAH stands for ‘Women of Ancient History,’ a database of female ancient historians.

I was puzzled by Bond’s discussion of Gildersleeve. Gildersleeve’s commentary on Pindar’s Olympian and Pythian Odes (New York: Harper 1885) is still the best thing out there on all those odes for anyone studying the Greek text of Pindar, an incredibly complex and difficult poet of the sixth century B.C., who wrote odes for Olympic and other athletic victors (for example, victors in the chariot race at the Olympic Games). Gildersleeve is unlikely to be supplanted by those who work on Pindar; in fact, it is impossible to read the poet in Greek without Gildersleeve’s assistance with Greek grammar, myth, genealogy and history. It struck me as odd to argue that his scholarship should be disregarded because of articles he wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. There is nothing in his commentary (or his Latin grammar or work on Greek syntax) that comes even close to being racist. How can we not use him? Or is it fine to “use” anyone, even if they are racist, as long as they are not given any credit in the text?

The second speaker, Joy Connolly (the Graduate Center at CUNY New York), focused on what she called “the futureology of Classics.” The big trend in education, she said, was the rising cost of higher education; meanwhile, Classics was “not in growth mode.” Classicists needed to teach more students. “We have to decide what we want our field to be,” she said. We had to put more of our energy into attracting students to justify hiring replacements for ourselves when we retire. The future of Classics was really ours to make.

Connolly’s preferred vision of the future was, to my ears, rather alarming:

Let’s imagine a field… where language study is not the core, and courses in translation are so popular we can argue to support tiny language courses, because they will always now be tiny, and let’s remember that a lot of administrations are not going to support that solution.

She hinted that she wanted “popular engagement” to determine research topics, and questioned the value of traditional notions of Classics, asking why so many students wrote their dissertations on great works of classical Greek and Latin literature, instead of topics like indigenous writing in the Americas and technical writing.

Connolly seemed hostile to the study of classical Greek and Latin. She said that the ancient languages could not be taught anymore by Classics departments. She did not say why, besides cost. Instead, she thought that “we” should not require all classicists to teach Greek and Latin. “I think the field would be better served by training a next generation of faculty free and empowered to focus on teaching topics of broader interest.” Not Latin or Greek, in other words.

But the abandonment of philology, the heart of our discipline, means that there can be no true research in the field. We can have no new editions of texts, no new translations, no work on ancient history, no scholarly work on ancient authors, without knowledge of the languages. What Connolly seemed to be advocating is that classicists should discard the heart and soul of their discipline to make it more popular.

The final speaker, Dan-el Padilla Peralta (Princeton University), began by saying: “For the next few minutes I want to concentrate on the systemic marginalisation of people of colour in the credentialed and accredited knowledge production of the discipline.”

Apparently, the organisers of the SCS annual meeting had contributed to this marginalisation by holding the conference at a hotel in San Diego:

Already by the historical process of convening this conference in locations that are not only ludicrously expensive to travel to but that are rife with micro- and macroaggressions that target people of colour, the SCS does people of colour no favours.

Padilla mentioned “the revolting racial profiling” of two SCS members the day before, and discussed holding hotel and conference centre staff to “a racially equitable standard.”

But Padilla’s main subject was Classics. He said he wanted to displace “the pre-eminence and priority of white privilege and white supremacy in the discipline’s self-image.” He then talked about the shortcomings of scholarly journals:

I want to look at a blinding derangement: the responsibility of the major journals in the field for the replication of those asymmetries of power and authority that impoverish knowledge production in the field of Classics by perpetrating the epistemic and hermeneutic injustice of denying a space and a place for scholars of colour.

Padilla had conducted what he called a “data harvesting project,” as part of his “emancipatory” project of  “citational justice.” He looked over his own course syllabi and reading lists for the purpose of “mapping the major landmarks of authorised knowledge production in this field,” asking himself: “How many women scholars appear on these syllabi? How many people of colour? How many women of colour?”

He attacked Basil Gildersleeve for starting a scholarly journal:

Although not normally acknowledged in the dossier of his most explicitly racist words and deeds, Gildersleeve’s founding of [the American Journal of Philology] in 1880 helped to shape American classical scholarship by spurring the development of a journal-centred disciplinary culture that has proven remarkably if unsurprisingly resistant to the pursuit of racial diversity and equity as a core objective.

Apparently, the entire discipline was riddled with this injustice:

If one were intentionally to design a discipline whose institutional organs and gatekeeping protocols were explicitly aimed at disavowing the legitimate status of scholars of colour as producers of knowledge, one could not to better than what Classics has done.

Padilla had compiled 20 years’ worth of data for the journals Classical Antiquity, the American Journal of Philology and Transactions of the American Philological Association to determine how much gender disparity there is in the field. He had also tried to find data on the racial and ethnic backgrounds of all the authors published by these journals.

Between 1997 and 2017, according to Padilla, none of these came close to achieving gender parity. To account for this, he claimed that “men receive more explicit encouragement” to contribute to journals, and suggested that the “extraordinary discretionary powers wielded by editors” be scrutinised, because “discretionary power can and should be flexed to progressive consequence and outcome.”

I wasn’t persuaded by Padilla’s “evidence.” Surely, to determine whether bias and sexual discrimination is the cause of gender disparity among these journal contributors, you would have to factor in the number of female classicists who had submitted articles in the same period? Was the acceptance rate lower for women than for men? Padilla said nothing about that.

Next, he looked at the “racial and ethnic makeup of the publication rosters” of journals, “the bleakness of which may not surprise some of you in attendance, but which still deserves quantitative exposition.”

As a rule, academic papers are submitted anonymously to journals, by email or through electronic journal software, and are read anonymously through peer review. There isn’t any indication on the paper either before publication or after that would tell an editor, reviewer, or a reader after publication the race or ethnicity of an author. How did Padilla arrive at his numbers? How could anyone know what he was claiming to know?

Padilla said he had exhaustively searched the internet to try to determine the racial and ethnic backgrounds of contributors to Classical Antiquity, the American Journal of Philology and Transactions of the American Philological Association between 1997 and 2017. He concluded that “the hegemony of whiteness is everywhere in evidence across the three journals”—between 91–98 percent of contributors turned out to be white Americans or white Europeans: “These percentages remind me of nothing so much as the figures for those intensely segregated suburbs that define the childhoods [sic] and adolescence of my partner; publication in elite journals is a whites-only neighbourhood.”

Padilla’s solution “for the wellbeing and the future of the discipline,” was for Classics to “de-colonise” itself: “The most fundamental question for the future of knowledge production in Classics is this: how do we recognise, honour and repair the silencing of the knowledges that people of colour carry?”

He called for “reparative epistemic justice,” and asked for holders of “white privilege” to “surrender their privilege”:

In practical terms, this means that in an economy of academic prestige defined and governed by scarcity, white men will have to surrender the privilege they have of seeing their words printed and disseminated. They will have to take a back seat, so that people of colour, and women, and gender-non-conforming scholars of colour benefit from the privileges, career and otherwise, of seeing their words on the page.

Was he explicitly calling for Classics journals to stop publishing the scholarly work of white men? Apparently, he was:

…this is an economy of scarcity that, at the level of journal publication, will remain to a degree zero-sum. Until and unless this system of publication is dismantled—which will be fine by me—every person of colour who is to be published will take the place of a white man whose words could have or had already appeared in the pages of that journal. And that would be a future worth striving for.

Padilla said nothing about merit, the content of the article in question, or how it was reasoned. He said that articles by white men should be excluded from consideration, regardless of their merit, if members of other ethnic or racial groups submitted work for publication at the same time.

Surely, this is just straightforward racism? Yet in response to these remarks, the entire audience of classicists applauded. Since an unattended microphone had been set up in the center of the room, attention shifted to the “discussion,” and someone encouraged members of the audience to speak. Because the conference program indicated that everyone in the audience was invited to speak as part of a discussion about “the future of classics,” I decided to contribute a few sentences on the stated topic.

I made a decision not to respond directly to what I had heard from the invited speakers, since it would have taken too much time. Also, I wanted to speak to the SCS as a whole, to classicists in general, and to the audience that was present, about Classics, not race.

I only wanted to make four very brief points, but I felt compelled to state at the beginning that we could not abandon the ancient languages because then we would have nothing left of our field—of all the egregiously shocking things I had just heard, that seemed to be the one that most cried out to be challenged. I then attempted to say the following:

1) It is important to stand up for Classics as a discipline, and promote it as the political, literary, historical, philosophical, rhetorical, and artistic foundation of Western Civilization, and the basis of European history, tradition, culture, and religion. It gave us the concepts of liberty, equality, and democracy, which we should teach and promote. We should not apologize for our field;

2) It is important to go back to teaching undergraduates about the great classical authors—Cicero, the Athenian dramatists, Homer, Demosthenes, the Greek and Roman historians, Plato, and Aristotle—in English translation in introductory courses;

3) One way of promoting Classics is to offer more survey courses that cover many subject areas (epic, tragedy, comedy, rhetoric, philosophy, history, political theory, and art history), or to concentrate on one area such as in Freshmen seminars, or through western civilization classes;

4) It should help with securing funding from administrators to argue that such survey courses are highly cost-effective: a student could learn a tremendous amount even if such a survey were the only Classics course taken. On the other hand, a seminar that concentrated on the close reading of a few texts would prove beneficial for all students.

Unfortunately, I was interrupted in the middle of my first point by Sarah Bond, who forcefully insisted: “We are not Western Civilization!”

What can one say to that? I didn’t respond; but as I then attempted to move on and make my second point, I was interrupted by her and others, and not permitted to finish what I had hoped would be four very brief statements. A member of the audience with no connection to the panel, Michael Gagarin (University of Texas Emeritus) rose, came over to me, and told me I wasn’t allowed to speak.

I had never been at an academic conference where a member of an audience had the power to forbid another audience member from speaking. I continued: “We don’t teach Homer. We don’t teach Cicero… Why don’t we teach Thucydides and Herodotus?… So I’m saying: Cicero has value. Homer has value. Demosthenes has value, because it will teach you about defending Democracy.” (Sarah Bond pointed out that these writers were “all men” and seemed to think she’d scored a devastating point at my expense.)

I then went on to say that I believe the journals publish articles on the basis of merit, not because of the race or ethnicity of the authors. Padilla then challenged me since I was clearly disagreeing with his argument, namely, that only black people and Hispanics should be able to publish in academic journals.

In the hope of making my position clearer—that race should not be a determining factor when it comes to assessing the value of scholarship—I said to Padilla, “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I’d prefer to think you got your job because of merit.” Admittedly, I was under stress and did not express myself as clearly as I might have done, but what I was trying to convey is that the principle he was advocating clearly didn’t apply to hiring decisions—and nor should it—because he had got his job on merit, not because he’s black. Indeed, if I thought the opposite, and I imagined there was a chance of him saying, “You’re right, I was only hired because I’m black,” that would have contradicted the point I was trying to make, which is that it would have been wrong to hire him based only on his race, just as it would be wrong for an academic journal to publish an article based on the race of its author.

Padilla did not respond to my point directly. Instead, he let out a whoop of what sounded like triumph. He then made the following statement:

I did not interrupt you once, so you are going to let me talk. You are going to let someone who has been historically marginalized from the production of knowledge in the Classics, talk. And here’s what I have to say about the vision of classics that you’ve outlined: If that is in fact a vision that affirms you in your white supremacy, I want nothing to do with it. I hope the field dies, that you’ve outlined [sic], dies, and that it dies as swiftly as possible!

*   *   *

The following day, Helen Cullyer, the SCS Director, sent me an email in which she forbade my attendance at the meeting on Sunday, the last day of the conference. Her email was sent at about 2:15 PM on Sunday, two hours before the end of the final meeting.

Her stated reason for expelling me was “harassment”: the SCS executive had unilaterally introduced a new measure about two months previously, stating that any people could have scholars kicked out of the annual general meeting for “stalking, queer/trans bullying, or hostility or abuse based on age, disability, religion, race or ethnicity.”

Cullyer gave me no chance to explain or defend myself, and since she was present in the audience, she knew what had happened. In her view, I had violated SCS policy by disagreeing with Padilla. A grown man with a position at Princeton was apparently unable to endure the trauma caused by a woman disagreeing with him and by asking rhetorically if he got his job based on his race. Yet it was fine with the SCS Director (a woman) for a man (Michael Gagarin) to try and prevent a woman from speaking—that’s not harassment, apparently.

I received another email on January 11 from the president of the SCS. This was sent out to all SCS members. In it she slammed the “independent scholar” who told a black professor that “he only got his job because he was black” and explained that the director had banned me from events and panels at the meeting. She bemoaned how terrible this incident was since she had worked so hard to prevent “microaggressions” at the SCS, adding:

But these and other immediate responses, such as the Board statement the SCS passed on the meeting’s last day, by themselves can do little to redress the real and deep-seated problems the incidents disclose about not only U.S. society but also about our field.

She flagrantly mischaracterized what I had said. She never bothered to ask me for my account of what had happened, or to ascertain why my views actually are, before sending out her email and characterizing me as a racist.

I received an email from the president of a different professional society, the Association of Ancient Historians (AAH). Serena Connolly (Rutgers University), yet another white woman, informed me that the little job I had with the AAH had ended. She stated that I was fired because of my comments at the SCS panel and because I was opposed to “diversity” (news to me):

I am writing to let you know that, as of this date, 11 January 2019, the Association of Ancient Historians will no longer require your services as Assistant Editor with the AAH newsletter. . . . The AAH is committed to diversity in all its forms—in our membership, the field, and in our scholarship. We expect that those who hold office in the Association or perform work for it share that commitment.

I do not believe that Serena Connolly was present at the SCS and nor did she ever ask me what had happened. Since I had been hired by and worked for the AAH Secretary, she arguably had no authority to fire me. But she was quick to do so, although we had never had any disagreements or conflicts and there have never been any complaints about my work.

To the best of my recollection, no one on the SCS panel ever used the word “diversity.” No one talked about mentoring, or encouraging all students. They did not talk about teaching or students, or classes or courses, or the challenges facing teachers, or helping scholars get published beyond Padilla’s suggestion of giving preference to non-white males; nor did they discuss Classics as an academic discipline (beyond what I have stated). This isn’t surprising because the panel wasn’t really about any of that, or even ultimately about race, but rather about how to destroy Classics.

Of all the academic disciplines, Classics alone has managed until now to withstand most of the corrupting influences of modern critical theory and “social justice” activism. Ours is the last bastion of Western Civilization in the academy. I wrote an email on January 11 to officials of the SCS to request an apology for their treatment of me, and to complain formally about the actions of the SCS director and president. In it I stated:

The ancient Greeks defined democracy as majority rule that must have equality before the law and freedom of speech. It is unfortunate that the classicists don’t know the value of their wonderful discipline and no longer accept free speech or due process. Without true equality in law, without free speech, democracy is destroyed. More than just Classics is at stake here.

The SCS responded on February 11, saying that Cullyer was within her rights to kick me out of the SCS Meeting because I “disrespected” Padilla and in doing so violated the SCS’s harassment policy and caused him “emotional distress.” They added that while my remarks on Western Civilization were “protected by academic freedom,” the comments I addressed directly to Padilla were not. They informed me it was acceptable for Bond to “interrupt” me and for Gagarin to forbid me from speaking because he “calmly” took the microphone from my hand. In sum, “academic freedom” is selective, free speech does not exist at the SCS, and I am not protected under the SCS harassment policy even though I was harassed, bullied and intimidated.

*  *  *

I came away from my visit to the USS Midway (in contrast to my visit to the SCS) profoundly encouraged. One of the docents, a Vietnam-era Navy fighter pilot, explained aspects of his profession to visitors and concluded by saying that we should remember that every single person on a U.S. aircraft carrier was equally important, whatever their age, race, background, ethnicity, or position, because every one of them had an important job to do, whatever it is, and that by doing that job, they collectively made it possible for the ship to sail and for the naval aviators to survive. Lives depended on it. And that ship, in turn, not only represents but is, in fact, the true defender of the West, its civilization, and its values.

The ship of state (to borrow an archaic Greek metaphor) of the Society for Classical Studies, and the field of Classics in general, requires a similar commitment on the part of all classicists, whether they are tenured or assistant professors, officers and directors of the SCS, part-time and temporary professors, independent scholars, undergraduates, graduates, retired faculty, avocational supporters, journal editors, and all others, to all do their jobs as best they can without regard for age, sex, race, ethnicity, etc. Only in this way will we avoid the infighting, excesses, discrimination, spite, harassment, inequality, suppression of free speech, and despotism that will sink our ship. Equally importantly, we must stand up to those who have no interest in the discipline of Classics or its survival—who even seek its destruction. We must defend the Classics; this is a war that must be fought and won.

Editor’s note Feb. 27, 2019: An earlier version of this article failed to include transcribed quotes from Sarah Bond and Dan-el Padilla Peralta. Quillette apologizes for the error.

Mary Frances Williams is an independent scholar living in California. She received her doctorate from the University of Texas, Austin.


  1. Morgan Foster says

    Bravo, Ms. Williams.

    You did not fail. You struck a blow for freedom.

    It will take many others, but it was worth doing.

    And you will surely reach more people with your article here, than you were allowed at the meeting.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @Morgan Foster

      I found Dr. Williams’ take:

      “……..One way of promoting Classics is to offer more survey courses that cover many subject areas (epic, tragedy, comedy, rhetoric, philosophy, history, political theory, and art history)…….It should help with securing funding from administrators to argue that such survey courses are highly cost-effective….”

      to be almost painfully naive. There was a time many decades ago when [especially in Britain] Greek and Latin held pride of place, not just at Oxford and Cambridge but at primary and secondary schools [as they are called in the US] as well.

      Fluency in Latin and Greek were useful for future clergymen and professors, of course, but some knowledge of Latin and Greek, and familiarity with the classical literature, were signs of the well-educated and well-to-do gentlemen in Britain well into the 19th century. And the classics were largely the province of gentlemen, to the exclusion of both the unwashed masses and most women.

      Those times are long past, of course, and now persons of all backgrounds can enjoy the classics, if only in translation. The problem is that universities, at least those I’m familiar with, have been dropping language and humanities courses because of declining enrollments, and in some cases closing entire departments and firing the faculty.

      Is that because students are avoiding modern critical theory, etc.? Possibly, but that doesn’t explain why students avoid language courses. There is nothing political in learning how to conjugate a Latin verb, for example. Anyway, the decline has been in progress for many decades, at least in the US, well before the arrival of critical theory and ‘social justice’ ideas.

      Administrators just aren’t going to throw money at fields with declining enrollments. For good or ill, humanities depts. just can’t compete with STEM depts. and applied fields like engineering, when trying to squeeze money out of the upper admin.

      Bottom Line: To borrow a phrase, to understand higher ed in today’s economy you need to ‘follow the money.’

      • Absolutely, follow the money. The past 38 years of my life, since I finished college, have been continually enriched by my knowledge of Latin and Greek. But I can’t imagine advising someone today (or someone’s parents) to pay $285,000 for that enrichment. The humanities have turned themselves into a superluxury good with no buyers. With no students, and an abundance of underemployed faculty, it’s no wonder that the faculty members turn to SJW cannibalism. Unless someone can figure out a way to deliver undergraduate education at a price the average person can afford (i.e., less than the price of the average house), only vocational courses will find a market.

        • Carter Landsom says

          I wish I had your intellectual rigor to be able to learn such languages, it is so beyond me, I feel.

        • Beth Morrissey says

          The humanities, before the spread of public schooling, were always “a gentleman’s education,” and not considered fit for the masses; the masses learned trades, and kept the economy going, while the landed gentry received a classical education, and acted as policy-makers and culture-bearers. We’ve learned to think of this structure as some draconian dictate forced upon us by the evil patriarchy, but it may be that it was more organic than anyone realized: study of the classics is the purview of those who value intellectual achievement for its own sake. That it stimulates the development of character and leadership skills was more a fortunate side effect. We have aimed at equality, and a leveling of knowledge, but it may be that knowledge finds its own level, and the freedom granted by financial independence may be the natural precursor to an interest in the classics. In other words, at the risk of sounding like a real snob, the masses never were interested in lofty knowledge, and never will be. It was always exclusive, the natural playground of the upper classes. And even they weren’t universally enthralled, as many a tutor must have discovered, to his sorrow.

          • Lowell Kirkland says

            I agree knowledge finds its own level, but the attempts at mass education come VERY late in Classical Tradition, and the opportunity to learn Latin (say) was once wide open for girls in Catholic education in the U. S. There are more variables to reckon with, but I wonder if offering Classics within mass education lasted even 100 years. Witness the destruction of the Grammar School in England, where valiant rear guard actions are being fought to bring Latin to all school children. The Paideia Institute is doing a lot in that regard in the U. S. For forty years, I cannot think of a Classics dept. that would not do backflips to encourage people of color to study and teach the discipline. After all, American universities, at least, are bastions of ‘progress.’ What the session was really about, as M. F. Williams shows, had little to do with the complex historical and social reality of learning, teaching, recruitment, or retention. Indeed, though I have not listened to the recording, was any thought given to teaching Latin to young people? Also, did it never occur to such a learned gathering that minorities–or even immigrants–might choose more secure and lucrative careers than Classics? I am laughing at the absurdity of that last question-time to say valete!

        • ms100 says

          “Unless someone can figure out a way to deliver undergraduate education at a price the average person can afford (i.e., less than the price of the average house), only vocational courses will find a market.”

          Academia has become a Liberal Academic Welfare State, employing massive hordes of useless, highly paid administrators and useless depts specializing in Grievance Studies. Eliminating federally backed student loans would be a start then colleges would have to cut costs drastically.

          That “free” higher education in Europe is a much more barebones affair.

      • “There is nothing political in learning how to conjugate a Latin verb, for example.”

        There is now. In fact, that’s the whole point.

        The leading Latin speakers were patriarchal, white, colonialists. Further, conjugation is simply a way to ‘otherize’ minorities by suggesting rigorous study is required for Classics students. See, intersectionality is easy. Latin isn’t.

        For a Masters degree in the single University study SJWs are promoting you have to translate this (which is about STEM, though that’s irrelevant):
        “…the curricular inclusion of Indigenous perspectives is differentially problematic if we cannot also attend to the taken-for-granted and naturalized epistemological, ontological, and axiological commitments and enactments of what we are including perspectives into.”

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          I have addressed your point in a comment on a thread from last month:

          where I pointed out that “Colonization and subjugation of indigenous peoples were a constant theme in Roman history…..” It is therefore reasonable to argue that present-day descendants of indigenous/colonized/subjugated peoples have unique perspectives to offer on ancient Roman and Greek history.

          As I tried to indicate in my comment above, the fact that persons of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds are engaging with ancient history is a GOOD thing and should be encouraged.

          • @Jack B.
            I agree that people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds can make positive contributions to most any endeavor – so long as diversity of thought is permitted.

            However, the fact that some of those present-day descendants, a) deliberately refuse actual knowledge of Roman history because, b) they are arguing that Classics should be redefined as modern-Victim Group Studies gives me pause. It’s clear they want to prevent study of primary source material in favor of a few buzz-words. And they do so for modern political motives.

            What that has to do with hiring people based on their skin color, per Prof. Peralta, is unfortunately obvious.

        • Plato's Dream says

          Translation: “You cannot bolt multi-culti mumbo-jumbo onto a rigorous scientific discipline without first destroying that discipline”. Therein is the explanation to what happened in that sham “symposium”.

          • S schumach says

            Spot on.

            ‘Mumbo jumbo’ is the phrase I thought of when reading about the organizers, speakers and attendees of this symposium. Perfectly describes a bunch of know-it-all’s who don’t know very much at all.

          • S Schumach says

            Spot on.

            ‘Mumbo jumbo’ is the phrase I thought of when reading about the organizers, speakers and attendees of this symposium. Perfectly describes a bunch of know-it-all’s who don’t know very much at all.

      • “There is nothing political in learning how to conjugate a Latin verb, for example.”

        There is now; that’s the whole point. Latin speakers were patriarchal, white, and colonialist. Further, conjugation is merely a way to ‘otherize’ minority students of the Classics by suggesting rigorous attention to primary sources is desirable.

        Intersectionality is easy. Which is why writing plainly is forbidden.

        For a Master’s degree, however, you have to be able to translate things like this (it’s a critique of STEM syllabi, though that’s irrelevant):
        “…the curricular inclusion of Indigenous perspectives is differentially problematic if we cannot also attend to the taken-for-granted and naturalized epistemological, ontological, and axiological commitments and enactments of what we are including perspectives into.”

      • Victor Davis Hanson has commented on the collapse of Classics as a college subject or major. Since he spent many years teaching classics to Hispanic students at Fresno State College, his observation seems valid. We certainly can see why that is happening,.

      • Reziac says

        Meanwhile, these same universities hire dozens (or in some cases hundreds) of “diversity and inclusion” personnel, typically at six-figure salaries. I would cynically suggest that the real reason for this shift is because otherwise there are few jobs for graduates with shiny new degrees in Useless Studies, and once someone with such a degree gets control of hiring, the entire structure is doomed.

      • Jack Roe says

        Part of the problem is that Latin and Greek are looked upon as having no relevance. To understand freedom in English, I’d submit you’d need to understand Latin and Greek, because freedom is the English translation of eleutheria in Greek and libertas in Latin. The connection between these three language, legally speaking, is so substantial that I am at a loss for how we would understand “freedom”, especially for legal purposes, without knowing some Greek or Latin.

        For example, in the Greek Bible, Jesus say “gnosethe ten aletheian kao he aletheia eleutherosei hymas”

        In the Vulgate, this is rendered “cognoscetis veritatem et veritas liberabit vos”

        In English, this is something like “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

        We must remember that the bulk of English law is written in Latin or French, until comparatively recently. Magna Carta, in the section commonly called section 29, states that “Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut disseisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre.”

        In English, that is something like “No free man may be captured, that is imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in another way destroyed, nor will we pass upon him, nor condemn him, except through the legal judgment of his peers, that is through the law of the land.”

        In Keilway’s Reports, you have “Le ley de Dieu et le ley de terre sont tout un, et l’un et l’autre preferre et favour le common et publique bien del terre.” (Keil. 191.)

        In English, that means something like

        “The law of God and the law of the land are all one, and the one and the other prefer and favor the common and public good of the land.”

        So, one who knows the truth, is set free, and obtains the benefits outlined in Magna Carta, which are simply restatements of “legem terre,” that is, “le ley de Dieu.” One can argue against this, that it is anachronistic, but if one does not know the languages, one will be at a loss to even understand the argument. And the fact is that in the background, we have illiberal folks who use the defeat of “white supremacy” and “white privilege” in a proxy war against “freedom,” because the restrictions on publication, grad school admissions, etc. that ‘scholars’ like this Padilla fellow want are not “per legem terre,” they are, in fact, “contra legem terre” because they would defeat the academic freedom of the scholars operating the journals.

        These branches of learning were not popular as some sort of sign of being ‘well to do’ in the 19th century, they were popular because they liberated the one who knew them, because by knowing the truth, they became free. But a great deal of this freedom was maintained by English Judges who also knew the classics, and that era is long since gone.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Jack Row

          “……. I am at a loss for how we would understand “freedom”, especially for legal purposes, without knowing some Greek or Latin….”

          I argue that being able to read and write provides access to POWER over other humans, not to truth or to freedom.

          What’s the evidence? How about the religious and political struggle in England over translating the Bible into English, that cost William Tyndale his life in 1536? Having sacred texts and rituals [e.g., Mass] in a dead language helped enforce the power of clergy over laymen for centuries.

          Also this:

          “……………During the era of slavery in the United States, the education of African Americans, enslaved and free, was often discouraged, except for religious instruction, and eventually made illegal in many of the Southern states. It was believed that literacy was a threat to the institution of slavery. First, literacy facilitated knowledge about the successful slave revolution in Haiti of 1791–1804, the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1833, and the writings of abolitionists. Secondly, literacy allowed or potentially allowed slaves better access to information about the Underground Railroad and other routes to freedom.

          The United States is unique in that it is the only country known to have prohibited the education of slaves. Nonetheless, both free and enslaved African Americans continued to learn to read and write as a result of the sometimes clandestine efforts of African Americans themselves, as well as schools and informal education that operated during this period…..” Source –

          Bottom Line: having an arcane terminology provides an important source of power, legitimacy and authority of those “in the know” over those who lack the requisite knowledge, whether we are talking about nobles vs. peasants, clergy vs. laymen, doctors vs. patients or lawyers vs. clients.

      • It’s quite possible that critical theory is a significant, if indirect, factor in declining Greek and Latin enrollments. It teaches that Western culture is defined by prejudice and cruelty. If all a student hears about Aristotle is that he was a DWEM racist, why would that student ever bother learning ancient Greek?

      • Ruth H. says

        It’s very simple: what you witnessed close up and personal is the systemic hijacking of an area of scholarship. What we see happening is the hijacking of an entire culture,, pillar by pillar by the mediocre yet highly ambitious powerhungry. What they do is use quasi philosophies like Postmodernism and Feminism make it legit, and under these flags steal positions and income which they would never be able to obtain, and gradually driving out everything and everybody they could not intellectually control. Look around you, what we witness is the barbarians that in order to take it over, are destroying a higher culture. Once the take over is completed the place goes to the dogs as they are not equipped to keep it up let alone improve. That’s the way it goes. See it as how housejackers turn any luxury villa into a dump.

        • /pol/ says

          Or how nïggérs turned Detroit into a dump. Diversity will be our death and I’m glad you called that affirmative action côon out.

      • Carolyn says

        “Moral invalids” … excellent phrase, and apt.

    • John Henderson says

      Defend the Classics, defend Western Civilization, defend our heritage, our inheritance, and our values. Never back down to the leftist malcontents.

    • Avis HatcherPuzzo says

      I teach a very basic HUMN 211 Music Arts & Ideas I at an HBCU in North Carolina. All the arts teachers are required to teach an “arts history” course, (I’m the dance/theater professor here) and we design the course according to our interest and expertise. Because we’re in the bible belt, I teach this course as a supplement to their biblical agenda, which is another post entirely. My classes are always packed and students vie to be my TA or just sit in the class after they’ve taken it. Ninety percent of these students from rural public schools do not know any of this history or information, and they are fascinated at the connections we make to American history, politics and their lives today. Now, as a novice teaching a basic survey course, I can tell you clearly what you do is necessary. It explains the systems we have today, and they decide whether or not its fair or racist or even in need of change. Perhaps this is why they demonized you, classics gives students the information to see for themselves. A big problem “thinking for oneself”, but as an African-American professor no one who is actually black thinks teaching about ancient history is racist. We need to know…they want to know, so keep going.

    • Bob says

      Classics is WHite history, so it’s fine for White people to talk about it.

      Blacks talking about White history is cultural misappropriation.

      Revilo Oliver was a Classics professor and saw all this coming. He was a great man.

  2. Sarah says

    ‘I hope the field dies’
    How unafraid barbarians are to reveal themselves.

    I hope it doesn’t seem trite in the face of the outrageous cowardice and vapid self-interest of some ‘in your field’, to say that as long as those who take scholarship seriously and love knowledge exist, some will pass it to others who will seek it out and value it.
    Something about pearls before swine comes to mind.
    I hope you find a group of like minded individuals and form your own society.

  3. Interesting, the Wikipedia page for Dan-el Padilla Peralta has been updated to include reference to this incident…..

    • Deebz says

      A pretty one-sided reference to the incident as well. Check the “talk” tab… no way the solitary line at the end pointing out there’s an alternate version will last long.

      Wiki is well known to be a bastion of SocJus, with several power mods having all kinds of crazy tabs about being Communist etc. Worth bearing in mind for anyone who actually looks to Wiki as a valuable source.

      • Douglas Levene says

        I tell my graduate law students in China that Wiki is a great place to start a research project, especially the bibliography at the end of each article, which can lead to real research. However, under no circumstances are they ever to cite Wiki for anything, at any time, for any purpose.

      • Reziac says

        I misread that as “Wiki is well known to be a bombastion of SocJus” and decided that was an excellent new word for it.

      • jim oberg says

        I find the same Wiki PC tilt that Deebz refers to in unrelated areas, even in my own specialty [rocket science] [I’m reading this thread because I was blessed with IV years of Latin in High School and harvested the fruit of those insights for the next sixty years — and my wife’s family Is Greek!]. To Wiki, every incident of black-white personnel dealings reflects a grievance-porn myth of ‘racist NASA astronauts’ driving black candidates away in the 1960s, a historical absurdity.

    • quidnunc says

      Before you get a little too carried away with ethno-nationalism you might want to read Anthony Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism or his answer to a particular type of thinking represented in the article above in The Lies That Bind i.e. we can discuss the issues that have been raised without falling into hysterics about solutions proposed in a random panel.

      And you might also want to read Helena Rosenblatt’s The Lost History of Liberalism to get a sense of how post hoc the “western canon” is i.e. it will evolve over time, that process may be contentious, but it’s a conversation it’s not just the loudest people dictating their radical politics. To see how this might proceed in philosophy have a look at :

    • Ugh. And this is, unfortunately, what people equate Dr. Williams with. This trash. Reasonable people can see the vast gulf between Williams’ position and this disgusting rant.

    • Lowell Kirkland says

      Did it include reference to an important scholarly book?

    • No doubt Dan-el Padilla Peralta will tout that Wikipedia passage like a battle scar, because it will score him victim points and sympathy at the University, and probably a gold medal in the “Oppression Olympics”–to boot!

      The leftist ideology within the University system can only be met with intellectual force and numbers. More Jordan Petersons and Brett Weinsteins need to step up!

      All good Academics–ORGANIZE!

  4. K. Dershem says

    Even Classics is not immune from the rot. I’m surprised, but I shouldn’t be … absolutely shameful.

  5. Morgan Foster says

    It seems to me that if Classical Studies is to survive into the next millennia, it must be done outside the Academy.

    Someone like the Koch brothers – (it doesn’t have to be Koch brothers – just someone rather wealthy) – should, rather than donating hundreds of millions of dollars to Harvard for a new building for the History Department (which would be utterly wasted), spend the money instead on a private foundation for Classical Studies.

    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, perhaps, where scholars – private scholars like Ms. Williams (or is it Young?) can go, and study, and deposit their own scholarly work for the use of scholars a thousand years from now.

    Leave Classical Studies in the hands of Western Universities, and it will be destroyed. For good and all.

    Marginalize the Western Universities – cut them out – and it has a chance to survive.

    • Steve says

      “deposit their own scholarly work for the use of scholars a thousand years from now”

      If the Left is allowed to fully bloom there will be no scholarship to see in 1,000 years. They’ll burn all the books and smash all the hard drives.

      Not like there isn’t plenty of “Year Zero” precedent.

      • louvfoxwell says

        SoJu is Marxist tautology and is a genuinely dead political construct. It never survives beyond 2 generations. Not to worry. By the time we are all dead and buried SoJu will have died with us. It is only our willingness to tolerate the destruction of our culture in the name of inclusion that has allowed it to thrive.Such stupidity cannot itself survive.

        • derek smalls says

          it’s the cowardice of people like serena whats her name that allows this to happen. people are afraid of black activists and will do anything to appease them including trashing the very discipline that they are in. It’s self evidently absurd. She should have told them all to fuck off.

      • Brian says

        True. I have come across numerous students of Classics from Italy and taught an excellent young lady from Italy in England. Italians are proud of their heritage.

      • Richard K. Munro says

        very sad. My first love was the classics (I studied Latin and Spanish in High School) but I saw many years ago that the Classics was moribund. I also found from my experience that I had zero change of ever getting a full time job at a JC or College. So I became a certified HS teacher in English, Spanish and History. My background in classics is shown in how I teach Greek and Latin roots as well as proverbs (many of which have classical origins). I point out that Spanish, French and English often have the same proverbs whose source was Latin literature. American liberal arts in the colleges have become almost enemy institutions. I encourage my own students to develop an interest in literature and history as a hobby and to avoid at all costs college liberal arts. I encourage them to study practical fields so they can get a job or to go into the military. We should never denigrate amateur interest in a field of learning. But it happens all the time.

      • Stephanie says

        I’m not sure Italy hasn’t been inflected. The area around the University of Padova, where Galileo studied, is thick with antifa posters and even a giant mural lionizing Palestinian jihad. SJW culture exists there too, although perhaps not as pervasively as in the US.

    • Hi Morgan, there is one of these: the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. It was founded by extremely wealthy collectors of antiquities, most of which were later proven to have been looted. Private money in scholarship isn’t always a great idea.

    • Luke Tierney says

      The (rapidly growing) Traditionalist Catholic movements in the Western World should offer all Classicists some hope that there will be a need for Latin and Greek scholarship!

    • The Bass family donated a large sum to Yale some years ago to fund a Western Civilization program at Yale. After some argument about the use of the money they asked for it back. All the great foundations have gone hard left.

    • Stephen Mikesell says

      Or perhaps support some of the dying small liberal arts colleges.

    • Plato's Dream says

      The (((Koch))) brothers, and their ilk, are part of the problem, not a possible solution.

      • hunter says

        Plato’s dream,
        You are projecting. Your reactionary, ignorant and bigoted assertion reveals you as part if the problem.

  6. Tersitus says

    Dr. Young— clearly you violated the imagined safe space that exists in their own minds. Bravo. They’ve chosen the wilderness— let them wander. The Greeks and Romans won’t miss them. Nor will Gildersleeve remember their names.

  7. Gregory Bogosian says

    “Since I had been hired by and worked for the AAH Secretary, she arguably had no authority to fire me.” In that case, you should probably consult an employment attorney. You would think that you would be entitled to damages if someone fired you without authority.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Ernest Drake

      Thank you for that. It’s quite brilliant. And yes, I agree, it is relevant to this discussion.

      Really, it ought to be offered to Quillette as an article.

    • Marian Hennings says

      Disagree with the author’s opinion that people always get what they deserve and that the have-nots know deep down that they shouldn’t really have more than they do. Some of the haves inherited their wealth and did little or nothing to deserve their advantageous positions.

      • Ernest Drake says

        I don’t think that’s an accurate reading of Spandrell’s position:

        “It’s not the fact that all men are better workers than women. In a patriarchy there’s plenty of unearned status for men. But that’s how it works: the core of society is the natural performance of men; those men will naturally build a society which benefits them as men; some men free-ride on that, some women get a bad deal.”

      • ga gamba says

        Some of the haves inherited their wealth and did little or nothing to deserve their advantageous positions.

        I see such thoughts popping up a lot. For the purpose of analysis, let’s assume it’s profound or at least interesting and cannot be summarily dismissed. Firstly, I recognise there is truth in your statement; indeed, some people have inherited all kinds of things including wealth. The person is the recipient. But your statement captures only one half of the picture, doesn’t it? In this exchange of gift giving there is the recipient as well as the giver. The giver, who is the owner of things given, decided the recipient deserved it. Further, this is a private exchange. There was no compulsion by either the state nor the recipient for the giver to do so. The giver could just as well give his assets to his/her dog, a stranger who once picked the giver up hitchhiking, the church, or a charity. The giver didn’t need to justify to others whether or not the recipient is deserving. The recipient didn’t get what s/he deserved; the recipient received what the giver thought s/he deserved. It’s an important distinction.

        Have you ever received a birthday gift? Did you “deserve” it? Certainly not. You played no role in your conception, your period of gestation, and the pushing you out into the world. Yet, the people in your life are so happy by your mere presence in their lives that they throw parties on your behalf and award you gifts and treats for the work done by others.

        Are we as outsiders to the exchange able to understand the reasons and motives for the giver’s generosity? Certainly not without our asking the giver or our possession of clairvoyance.

        What of those who object to inheritance and demand the assets be handed over to the state which serves as a proxy for the people? It appears to me that these people make demands on behalf of the undeserving. They compel the owner to give to others irrespective of his/her wishes. The assets, the manifestation of the person’s life’s time, work, ambition, conscientiousness, thrift, denial of self gratification, thoughts, plans, and willingness to take risk, are seized by the undeserving who assert the owner does not deserve to determine their dispersal.

        If you appreciate freedom and expect others to allow you the freedom to your agency, autonomy, and choice, then you have to give the same respect to others to include choices you may dislike but make no intrusions on your own freedom.

          • Plato's Dream says

            At the very least, priviledged groups will have to pay heavy taxes on their unearned “gifts”!

        • My sole issue with wealth transition like that is that it is effectively in perpetuity, unlike any such smaller gifts that we recognize as such gifts. Even physical objects will over time, depreciate and need to be replaced. There are two points of issue where this imbalance in wealth transition manifests: real estate, and the stocks market.

          The latter is one such beast that refutes the very concept of gift, as such bonds are held in perpetuity, and will pay out forever. Even if a company goes out of business, priority is put towards paying out the investors first and foremost (to the detriment of the employees owed salary, even), so that they can then invest in another company and continue to earn yet more money through dividends. And that supposes that either they, personally, their stock broker, or the AI running their portfolio, didn’t already divest them of those stocks before they collapsed so far. Stocks should never have been a transfer of ownership in perpetuity in and of themselves. It also is what has created this disgusting concept of ever-increasing growth-as-economy, which is entirely unsustainable in the long run; ownership of stocks should return to the company that issued them after a set period of time, or a set disbursement of dividends plus partial value of the stocks in earnings has been made- something that returns ownership to the business invested in, rather than having stockholders earning yet more money and buying more stocks and earning yet still more money until the company is sold off entirely and making them money in perpetuity, until such stocks are sold.

          The former not only has the same appreciation of value over time as stocks do, but as we’ve seen over the past couple of centuries, the concept of impermanent rental, rather than rent-to-own or similar, has all but bankrupted the lower and middle classes. A 4 story, 12 unit/floor building (465 sq. ft. units), which cost 5 million to build today, with a rent of 800 dollars, would make back that money in 131 months, or 11 years (this is putting aside the few operational costs which the owner incurs themselves, like paying for a caretaker, as otherwise op. costs are usually tacked onto a bill sent to the renter, anyways, or rent is simply higher that it subsumes the cost and also adds profit, as with heat/water included properties). And that’s assuming a brand new building; preexisting structures change hands for significantly less than the cost of building a whole brand new building on site, for obvious reasons. So 11 years, at 800 a month, comes out to $105,600. In Austin, Texas, you could outright buy a condominium for that price, or buy three separate manufactured homes each half again as large as that apartment or two that are each nearly three times the size, or buy a non-manufactured house that’s almost double the size of the apartment. Either the apartment should be transferred in ownership when the value of all work and of the square footage of the apartment is met, or the renter’s rental costs should be basically annuled beyond maintenance fees and utilities costs incurred, and that should carry actual monetary value, which should be distributed to them if they ever permanently leave the apartment, as a ‘sale’ of their renter’s value back to the owner.

          So, as I’ve illustrated, there is a twofold issue with wealth transition. Stocks, real estate, and similar methods of continuing to increase wealth are in perpetuity, and the rental scheme that dominates the market does not properly give value to the renters for the rent so paid. Deal with those problems, and most assuredly your criticism of those crying foul of it will hold water. Until then, however… Not really.

          • Peter from Oz says

            Interesting. But I don’t see this as a problem, as it is clear that over time the families who own the assets to which you refer lose them and other families

          • ga gamba says

            Even if a company goes out of business, priority is put towards paying out the investors first and foremost (to the detriment of the employees owed salary, even), so that they can then invest in another company and continue to earn yet more money through dividends.

            No, under Chapter 7 bankruptcy (no reorganisation of the business) the owners are the last paid. Those who extended credit to the business, such as suppliers, are amongst the first paid. The liquidation payment order is secured debts first (those who gave loans secured by collateral and who have proof of the claim), followed by priority debts, and then unsecured debts. Employees are deemed by the liquidation trustee to be creditors with priority. After all these stakeholders are attended to the shareholders/owner get what remains, which is usually nothing.

            Of course, things vary by jurisdiction. In the UK, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Redundancy Payments Office handles employees’ claim of monies owed. Further, preferential creditors (priority debts) include employees entitled to arrears of wages and holiday pay.

          • You haven’t illustrated anything, as you fail to understand basic financial economics. You say you have an issue with allowing people to transfer stock to their heirs because stock provides cash flows supposedly into perpetuity (this, too, is wrong for the reasons such as bankruptcy as others have discussed). Your complaint would not apply to a cash transfer, so I guess you would not object if, instead of transferring stock to my heir, I sell the stock for cash and transfer the cash. But, of course, my heir can then buy back the stock (if desired) and we are back at the starting point. In short, putting aside potential tax issues, there is no economic difference between transferring stock and transferring a cash amount equal to the market value of the stock. If you object to stock transfers, to be logically consistent you must also object to cash transfers. So, let’s be honest–you just object to any form of wealth transfers to one’s heirs.

            You suggest that the heir did nothing to deserve the stock and the (supposed) perpetuity of cash flows that goes along with that. Again, this is wrong. Consider the conversion of the stock to cash and a cash transfer instead of the stock transfer. We can argue about whether the heir “deserves” the cash transfer (or, looked at from another angle, whether a donor deserves the right to determine what happens to his or her wealth). But, certainly the heir is responsible for, and thus deserving of, for what happens after the transfer has been made. If the heir does his or her homework and makes sound investment decisions, the resulting returns are entirely “deserved.” If the heir squanders the inheritance with extravagant spending or poor investment decisions, he or she “deserves” the resulting losses. Of course, there are risks and sound investments may suffer losses and unsound investments may enjoy gains, but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of the present discussion.

            As to your discussion of real estate, it is also economically incoherent. There are many rental properties out there and many lessors competing for renters. As in any competitive market, competition prevents a seller (lessor) from retaining value that should “rightfully” go to the buyer (renter). Instead, the rental price reflects the value of the underlying property rights owned by the lessor (which may well be significant due to supply constraints) and a person who chooses to pay the rental price for a given property is receiving value from being able to rent the property that exceeds the rental price.

          • hunter says

            You’re do far off that you aren’t even wrong.
            Except as a hazard sign warning of a steep dropoff, your comments on this are so fact free as to be nearly word salad.

        • Jeff Owens says

          Well said. I would also add that the less fortunate who benefit from bequeathments by wealthy individuals to charities and/or foundations haven’t done anything to deserve those benefits.

      • Jeff Owens says

        1) It would be instructive to quantify what you mean by “some of the haves” here. Are we talking 80% or 10%? etc…

        2) Many inheritors of wealth squander their fortunes.
        As I understand it, there is quite a bit of “churn” at the top 1% of wealth owners. In other words, it’s not static as you represent it here… people come and go in that category. I am looking for specific numbers on this, as that would also be instructive.

        3) Your argument also applies to every biological inheritance (attractiveness, intelligence, positive personality traits, etc.) We do nothing to deserve these advantageous traits.

    • Ghatanathoah says

      @Ernest Drake

      I generally find articles like that annoying because they start out reasonable and make a number of interesting points before enough evidence builds up for me to realize that the author is a crazy person. In this case the first real red flags were the disgust and contempt with which the author spoke of unattractive women and “sexual deviants.” In retrospect I should have been tipped off by references to Moldbug and the Cathedral, Moldbug’s specialty is coming up with superficially plausible sociological “just so stories” about how everything right-wing is adaptive for society and everything left-wing is a self-destructive social cancer.

      Think of paranoia as a spectrum: sane and healthy people are on one end, paranoid schizophrenics who think random people passing them on the street are CIA spies watching them on behalf of the lizardmen are on the other. In the middle of the spectrum is the author of that article. Accompanying him is Moldbug-style-NRX, Heartiste-style-PUAs, SJWs, TERFs, and hardcore class-struggle Marxists.

      What links these people isn’t their politics, it’s their view of human nature. They view everyone as cruel, bitter, spiteful, and monomaniacally obsessed with status. Any higher values people aspire to are dismissed as either “signalling” or “ally theater” depending on if they are left or right wing. They alternate between thinking everyone is super selfish and thinking everyone incredibly devoted and loyal to one unchanging demographic, usually race and gender. They often have an excessively transactional view of human relationships; those on the right view heterosexual relationships as men offering support to women in exchange for sex, the idea that men and women might genuinely like each other is alien to them; those on the left think the basic duties of friendship are “emotional labor.”

      If we could get people like these to a good therapist I think it would greatly lessen the amount of political conflict and divisiveness in society. Paranoid delusions can be treated. It’s hard, because paranoiacs often mistake their paranoid delusions for realism.

      The linchpin of the “Biological Leninism” article is that left-wing causes grow and spread because they give status and economic power to people who can’t get it because they are dysfunctional and low status, and makes itself the enemy of those who would “do well regardless.” There are numerous problems with this.

      1. People do not usually base their political views on their own self-interest. It does not matter if leftism provides the best chance for wealth and status to some groups, people tend to base their views on what they think is best in an abstract sense, not what is best for them personally.

      2. The odds of getting a super-high paying, high-status position in society are pretty low for everyone. The fact that white men have a 0.0005% chance whereas black women have a 0.0001% chance doesn’t seem like it’s enough to make that big a difference in anyone’s calculations. Pretty much everyone, men, women, black, white, gay, straight has a decent chance of obtaining a medium-paying medium-status position.

      3. The author’s view of who is “low status” would be “successful no matter what” appears to be based on who the author personally feels contempt for, rather than any objective measure of success. “Sexual deviants” often do quite well in society, and often surpass people who conform to traditional gender roles. Similarly, 30-year old women do quite well for themselves, (I suspect the author hold them in contempt because he drank the PUA kool-aid), those who work as full-time culture warriors are a tiny minority.

      4. The case of Michelle Jones, which the author singles out as leftism at its worse, seems to be the kind of thing they should like. A low-status underclass person who screwed up as hard as it is possible to screw up turns her life around by embracing the traditional bourgeoisie values of hard work and critical thinking and becomes a successful scholar who does legitimately interesting work. She did exactly what conservatives say the underclass needs to do to succeed and did it well. But instead of celebrating this, the author throws a fit. Why?

      • Peter says

        Ghatan, as someone who watched closely the takeover by communists, I find the article on biological leninism quite true, with one correction.

        Your claim that people act mostly on their beliefs and not interests is laughable. What research can you cite to support that?.

        One of the main attractions of joining the Communist Party was indeed the prospect of promotion. Membership rarely exceeded 10 % of the population and was sometimes substantially lower. So your chances of gaining status increased enormously. Many members, because of their low education, would not qualify for bureaucracy in normal societies. And we are not speaking about positions in academy; the big lure is governing the whole society. I remember an acquaintance of mine. He failed to finish college, but became a local Communist Party boss. In his own words after promotion: »I can make life sour for many now.« Such people were of course extremely loyal.

        As for homosexuals: there were laws against that at that time (100-40 years ago). This was used to force them to become informants. The higher they functioned and the wider their circle was, the more valuable they were. Loyalty was guaranteed.

  8. Concerned American says

    This article paints a very frightening picture of the humanities in 2019 but from a free-market perspective it makes a lot of sense. Colleges and universities are stumbling over themselves to enroll black and brown “bodies” and what better way to justify it than by funneling them into (sadly) dying humanities departments under the pretense of producing post-Western civilizational knowledge.

    I look forward to autoethnographic translations (one for each identity) of The Odyssey being the standard in a few years, with a foreward to each by Ms. Bond of course.

  9. Daniel Lee says

    A page right out of Animal Farm, but all the animals are walking on two legs. Thanks for standing up to these brutes.

  10. Marian Hennings says

    According to the rules of identity politics, no one except white persons of European ancestry should be allowed to publish about or teach the Classics. I am not advocating this, but I think if these SJWs want to play this game they should have to follow their own rules. Would they think it appropriate for an Anglo to teach about Hispanic culture, or a white person to teach Black Studies? I think the author of this piece was unjustly terminated and the way she was treated was outrageous. Does she have any sympathetic witnesses who can confirm the abuse she endured?

    • Ismay Keane says

      I understand you’re arguing an unrealistic side so as to make a point but in doing so you are actually ignoring the fact that it wasn’t just white Europeans who were part of Greece and Rome, contrary to what you might think. The Roman Empire expanded well into Africa and the Greek world well into what they called Asia Minor. I agree with the article but I will also say that there does need to be concerted effort to steer people away from the idea that it was only white and male centric. Don’t get me wrong it was predominantly male and white but there needs to be steps to educate people about the existence of something other than that. For example, at Cambridge where I study classics I’m currently taking a module entitled ‘women in Greek literature’. It’s a relatively new module designed to elucidate more clearly the contribution of women to Greek literature as well as how they were portrayed by male authors! Cambridge is doing it right imo!

      • Tim Markey says

        Nothing personal. ‘White’ is not really a meaningful word as regards people, especially not as we try to cast our minds back to Greece and Rome. To use it in common parlance is to have swallowed a big one. The ahistorical and unscientific deformities typical of the left ideologues–low-grade, highly agitated cultural marxists now on a mission everywhere in our ruined universities–now invade Classics. I trust Cambridge knows to portray who the ancients thought and assumed women (as, for instance, understood by Aristotle) were before it undertakes to “to elucidate more clearly the contribution of women to Greek literature as well as how they were portrayed by male authors.” By male, I take it Cambridge means men… Just last week I had to endure a graduate student absurdly compare the furor martialis of Scaevola to toxic masculinity. What marxism cannot supplant it deforms or destroys, down to the biological facts of human existence we share, in all directions, with all people and all kinds of people.

    • Concerned American says

      Seeing as no one in that room or in the conference corridors afterwards rallied to the defense of blackness as a cornerstone of my merit, I will now have to repeat an argument that will be familiar to critical race scholars of higher education but that is barely legible to the denizens of #classicssowhite. I should have been hired because I was black: because my Afro-Latinity is the rock-solid foundation upon which the edifice of what I have accomplished and everything I hope to accomplish rests; because my black body’s vulnerability challenges and chastizes the universalizing pretensions of color-blind classics; because my black being-in-the-world makes it possible for me to ask new and different questions within the field, to inhabit new and different approaches to answering them, and to forge alliances with other scholars past and present whose black being-in-the-world has cleared the way for my leap into the breach.


      This response is everything wrong with the discussion. Peralta is the one making it all about their race because their not-being-white is their meal ticket to authority. They are furthering a very narrow agenda more reminiscent of 19th scholars. Social justice is the new phrenology, folks. Just look at this word salad. This person images themself an oppressed heroic figure first and a scholar second. What a farce.

      • quidnunc says

        Setting aside the histrionics there is a valid point in there about diversity within disciplines. If it follows that background affects questions asked and answered, topics of study, and partiality to one or other thinker it’s probably worthwhile to seek more diversity along those lines. It’s an open question whether it’s a trojan horse for a form of ideological purity seeking (a far left radical takeover that blocks the path to inquiry) hiding behind a protective shell of the value in heterodox stances for the health of a discipline but that doesn’t resolve the former concern.

      • Bearded Spock says

        Who does he think he is – Ta Nehisi Coates ? It’s about time to burn the colleges, and these know-nothing Mau Maus with them.

    • Roman_01 says

      ” attempts on the part of friends and colleagues to console me with the news that the perpetrator was/is mentally ill. As far as I’m concerned, glossing her racism as the reflex of a mental health problem not only discloses a baffling and unjustifiable idealization of neuronormativity as racism-free; it also sidesteps responsibility for complicity.”

      Oh my god….what?

    • That guy is like a parody of a woke academic: “I was unwilling to have my Sunday colonized by the external imposition of having to recount my trauma.”

    • He certainly used up all of his outrage calories for the day in that saucy rich prose of self-aggrandizement, self-validation, and moral euphoria. I wonder if he went back on his diet for the rest of the day.

    • Defenstrator says

      Quite the noisome racist. And very good at projecting their bigotry onto others I see.

  11. jimhaz says

    Note how much direct power identity politics has – yet they carry on about white privilege.

    There is simply no balance at all.

    It feels a bit like a Filipino domestic servant who has to obey every demand of her abusive Saudi employer – as in “I want sex and if you refuse I will beat you unconscious”.

    I worked for the public service for about 20 years. One thing I noticed was massive levels of sycophancy towards whatever Minister was in charge of the department. A minister might express displeasure at something – after that the senior staff (thus all the way down) would do their utmost to pre-empt “What the Minister might want”. The inefficiencies this created were enormous – as like the inaccuracy involved, each manager down the line, in Chinese Whispers fashion, added their own sycophancy to the imagined desires of the top dog. Two staples were of course was “never provide bad news” and “never provide responses that contains much real information or contains any obligation to the public”. Twice the inefficiencies, in completely different jobs, got to the point where we were about to fail due to backlogs – and due to public pressure the minister would break the standard rules. Rules that by rights should have been discussed and changed as the backlog increased.

    One can take it for granted the POC academics are just feathering their own nests and are greatly desirous of being able to be nepotistic (to better their chances of getting sex, promotion). The white academics however are pre-emptively being sycophantic to show off their colours to the most powerful group – by a white Dean who has succumbed to once upon a time reasonable demands of collective identity groups (some degree of affirmative action was once warranted) or the loudest groups within universities or simply whatever they are assessing to be the current social trend. It will end in some form of disaster.

    When I was somewhat left a couple of years ago (more economically than socially) and was uneasy with the push for the (Australian) Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation – not so much because of the content, but more because I hated the politicians who were pushing for it and thought it was being set up so the upper class could continue to be toffs. After starting to follow some of the IDWers and reading some of these Quillette articles involving identity politics power plays that view is long gone.

    I’m hoping publications like Quillette will cause more and more of the general public to lodge complaints with their local and federal politicians that will show the unis (or other infested orgs) as failing and force them to act.

  12. Sarah Bond and Danel Padilla Peralta are pathetic excuses for academics. The author should sue them and the SCS for malicious defamation for falsely alleging that her statements were racist. We need to start taking the fight to these bullies.

    • Michael says

      Indeed. In a way, they represent all that is currently wrong with the humanities in academia. Note especially their shocking inability to think logically. I’d like to believe that most classicists do not agree with the claims that Bond and DPP make, but are too scared to say so lest they be called racist or sexist or not progressive enough.

    • A search for Sara Bond and Dan-el Padilla Peralta in which databases all refereed publishing scholarship in the sciences and humanities returned 2 published items. Sara Bond published one article in Science denouncing and Dan-el Padilla Peralta published one article on the actual length between stages of ancient itinaries in the Roman World compared to the reported length in ancient texts. I don’t predict tenure at Princeton Univ. for the latter currently an Asst. Professor there, if that is his entire published corpus of work.

      • Nice work. These people are charlatan “scholars”. Deep down they probably know it, and that goes a long way to explaining their ridiculous emotional and irrational responses when challenged in what should be an intellectual discourse.

    • Christopher Manion says

      Well, speaking of Classics, both Jesus and Socrates said that perfect justice comes only in the next life.

      In this life, we have to put up with them.

  13. Donald Collins says

    One has to wonder then if these folks that shouted you down felt they had earned the ability to do so because they think they are somehow above you, either by being smarter and more enlightened of instance, or because you were not part of their mob.

    In either instance they used their hierarchy of ideals to judge, and it won’t be long that that same sort of hierarchy will defame them for through those very ideals.

  14. Julie Ortiz says

    Question. Weren’t women during the time known to be in the same clasd as slaves?

  15. James M. Wilson says

    I’d suggest getting a hold of Dr. Jordan Peterson. He and other academics are working on a project they’re calling “Heterodox Academy” to stand as a counter to the very forces you ran afoul of in San Diego. I imagine they’ll be looking for a good classicist and your demonstrated willingness to fight the Post Modernists makes you just the sort of scholar they’re looking for.

    • Bill Green says

      Heterodox Academy is the brainchild of Jonathan Haidt, but both he and JBP would be on the author’s side in this exchange.

    • Samuel Skinner says

      Heterodox Academy used to allow comments but proceeded to eliminate and purge all the past ones. They are not trustworthy- they follow the pattern of sucking up to the left in order to be purged last, a position that is unstable and never works in the long run.

  16. Fickle Pickle says

    But does or can studying the Western Classics enable anyone to understand the instantaneously inter-connected quantum world of the 21st Century?
    Or even begin to understand, let alone change the description of our situation in the long paragraph below?
    Or even the nature of ones own subjectivity?
    Which by the way is socially constructed especially by TV.
    Check out The Social Construction of Reality by Peter Berger – it is now somewhat dated.
    Ways of Seeing by John Berger
    The various books by Edward T Hall
    What if the dreadful situation in which we now all unconsciously trapped is the inevitable outcome of the rigidified self versus other all objectifying world-view or paradigm created by the Classical mind, and not the presumed failure to live by its principles?

    Ordinary religion science and culture seek to experience, to know, to gain and advantage with respect to, and gain control over what is mysterious, what is unknown, what is threatening. Ordinary religion, science and culture want to achieve absolute power for human beings.
    The quest for power or control over the unknown is the collective pursuit or aggressive search of mankind, in the midst of , and on the basis of, the universal human reactions of egoic fear, sorrow and anger,, or the universal denial of un-conditional relational love..
    To affirm, as the world culture of scientism does, that the world is merely materiality – limited, dying, and, effectively, dead – is, itself a kind of aggressive affirmation of power, a collective cultural manifestation of a dissociative disposition that is narcissistically self-absorbed, deeply afraid, and deeply depressed by sorrow and anger.

  17. Socrates says

    We need to support scholars that loose their jobs or sources of income because of SJW attacks and political correctness. I hope all those who gets pushed out make GoFundMe campaigns and get ample support.

  18. Here’s a link to a video recording of the meeting, which I am currently in the middle of watching. Thus far it has been very illuminating, especially the speech by Prof. Dan-el Padilla Peralta which begins about 32 minutes in:

  19. Hi
    You are dealing with Barbarians.

    Time to lawyer up in my view – they appear to have traduced your public reputation.

    Would be happy to chip in for a lawyers opinion.


    Harvey Smith

  20. What I find confusing is the obvious. No attempt toward a color blind meritocracy. People being rewarded on the basis of the color of their skin or gender. This can’t go well in the long run. A lack of competence is well on its way to being assumed as more and more fields lower entrance requirements to show their moral superiority. .

    Think of the medical field. Do you really care about the color of your surgeon or their competence? It’s already happened in law enforcement and emergency services.

    The worst part is the bigotry of low expectations that starts in kindergarten in public school. The education field starts out bigoted.

    I have been involved in school choice projects for several decades. One project in the late 90’s floored me. Scholarships were offered for private education through a rigorous application process. Black single moms applied in droves. They wanted better for their kids. It’s an issue that appeals to a wide segment of society but is beat down by unions and bureaucrats. Let’s see how well a focus on academics and high expectations fares against SJW and low expectations. More competition!

    The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen when it comes to choice.

    On another note, we have found Khan Academy very helpful as more than a supplement for mediocre teachers. I envision something similar for higher ed that brings in the best scholars for those seeking knowledge.

    I have heard Jordan Peterson talking about the possibilities. I also appreciate Heterodox Academy. My big question is what good is state accreditation in this unbrave new world the socialists are forcing upon us?

    • quidnunc says

      “Think of the medical field. Do you really care about the color of your surgeon or their competence? It’s already happened in law enforcement and emergency services.”

      This assumes that there is an equivalence between the two cases when a more charitable interpretation suggests a restriction to particular “value-laden” disciplines and topics along with tradeoffs between values for the overall health of a discipline*. You’ve provided a counter example in the form of law enforcement which presumably is enhanced by a particular cultural competence in policed communities.

      Regarding the “color of a surgeon”, see the “political correctness” section of this article written by Elizabeth Anderson, particularly the distinction between context of discovery and context of justification*:

      …but read the whole thing. You may notice the caricature she complains about resembles a particular kind of thinking i.e. “sjw” and “anti-sjw” discourse aka people on the internet are dumb philistines repeating 25+ year old talking points. It might help to know that smart people have thought about these issues and that popular discourse about social justice isn’t the same as the interests of the people associated with those concerns

      * setting aside how the demarcation doesn’t work in practice:

      • “This assumes that there is an equivalence between the two cases when a more charitable interpretation suggests a restriction to particular “value-laden” disciplines and topics along with tradeoffs between values for the overall health of a discipline*. You’ve provided a counter example in the form of law enforcement which presumably is enhanced by a particular cultural competence in policed communities.”

        Got it. You think the police sargents and paramedic exams should be graded on a curve only for minorities. I see that as a form of bigotry.

  21. Robert Peacock says

    I read this with interest. I am not a Classicist but I have come across Sarah Bond. Before Christmas someone RT’d her tweet of celebration at having a Wikipedia article written about her. As a Wikipedia editor, I was curious. Who was this woman I’d never heard of and why was she on Wikipedia? Answer: she shouldn’t be. Nothing on her Wikipedia page suggested she meets Wikipedia’s guidelines on notability. All the references are either her own blog posts or journal articles or bare bones biography on academic sites. It seemed like hagiography/self publicity. I raised this basic issue of notability and referencing in good faith with the editors responsible but they could not answer any of the points. In fact, their lack of rigour was embarrassing for academics. Head scratchingly ignorant. Where were all the independent reliable sources on her if she was notable? I couldn’t find them. But their argument amounted to just re-asserting her notability and ignoring me.

    Her article is still there of course. I don’t have the time to argue with disingenuous people with too much time on their hands. If anyone else does, be my guest. Nothing I’ve read here enhances her credibility. Although ironically, if she kicks up enough of a stink with things like this, she might create the column inches to pass Wikipedia’s notability threshold!

    PS. Whoever brought the fact she’s part Jewish into it, leave it out. Your anti-Semitism is not welcome.

    • It’s not anti-semitism to notice the correlation between extreme left wing views and Jewishness. Are we supposed to ignore the fact that the Frankfurt School was largely Jewish? Derrida and the bulk of the ‘French’ post-modernists? Third wave feminism?

      I have no clue about this Sarah Bond person, but a quick search for her publications brings up relatively little. Her Jewishness is not the issue in this case, but I completely disagree that we should close our eyes to rather obvious over-representation in certain movements.

  22. Brad Castellano says

    So if Einstein was a racist does that mean E does not equal MC squared?

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  24. Associate Professor says

    Telling Padilla in public that he only got his job because he was black reinforces Team Woke’s narrative that people who value the notion of Western Civilization are actually racists.

    You then compounded the issue by telling your side of the story not via a Medium post, not in National Review, but in a “race realist” / HBD magazine.

    Dr. Williams, are you trying to make the Woke Classicists’ case for them?

    • Associate Professor, if Dr Williams’ telling is accurate she did not, in fact, tell Padilla he only got his job because he’s black. Team Woke is intentionally misrepresenting what she said.

      Admittedly, I’ve only read Quillette for about a year, so I don’t know their history, but I haven’t found the writing here to tend towards race realism (what is HBD?). Some commenters mention such things, but it doesn’t seem to be a focus of the website. I certainly don’t come here for such things.

      I don’t find your statements accurate or compelling. If these reasons are why Woke Classicists are criticizing Dr Williams then they have no reason at all.

      • Samuel Skinner says

        HBD stands for human biodiversity. Aside from the politically incorrect areas of intelligence and personality, it also covers other items, like adaption to high altitude, selection for eye and hair color, differences in sprinting ability and blacks inability to swim.

        Since the state faith is racial egalitarianism, all levels of it are anthema in polite society. The difference between it and scientific racism is the advent of large scale genetic testing.

        @Jack Nimble
        “That is a standard right-wing talking point, used by Clarence Thomas among others, to discredit affirmative action policies.”

        That is a bit like saying that ‘shooting people in the head causes them to die’ is a standard Catholic talking point. Is what she said true?

        “Quillette is the unofficial digest of the intellectual dark web”

        Those guys are not HBDers.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Samuel Skinner

          You: “….[HBD] also covers other items, like ….. blacks inability to swim….”

          The news that blacks can’t swim will surely come as a surprise to blacks who have won Olympic medals in swimming, such as Enith Brigitha of Curacao, Anthony Nesty of Suriname and Simone Manuel of the US, who set an Olympic record in the 100m freestyle in 2016.

          It’s bullshit like this in the comments sections that gives Quillette its reputation as a safe space for ‘race realists’ and HBDers.

          It is true that, when matched for sex, age, weight and height, black swimmers on average have less body fat and thus less buoyancy than white swimmers–but how much of this difference is genetic adaptation isn’t clear. Source –

          The bottom line here is that cultural and economic factors can’t be ignored when talking about athletic differences between whites and blacks:

          “……..Warm seas and golden sandy beaches and are standard icons in tourism images of the Caribbean. So too are hotels with deep blue swimming pools. Surrounded by so much water, one would expect Caribbean people to be expert swimmers. They are not…..The majority of Caribbean swimming pools are owned by hotels and cater to tourists. Race colours the pools. Most of the people in the pools are white visitors, while those cleaning or serving cocktails at the pool-side bar are Black locals….. hotel swimming pools are the continuation of the old colonial project — white people at play, cooling off in the water, in a country club style setting. Black people at work, sweating in the hot sun. Not allowed in the pools.

          Most people in the Caribbean don’t have access to swimming pools. If they want to learn to swim, they must do so in a natural body of water such as the sea or a river…..

          Swimming is part of the cultural capital of a middle-class lifestyle. The poorer you are the less likely you are to learn to swim or visit a pool. The spectre of colonialism lurks. The high drowning rates among Black people is merely another symptom of the after-life of slavery…..”

          Source –

          • Fancy living on an island – and yet complaining about lack of access to a swimming pool…

      • Shaun Richards says

        There is a link to the video of the conference embedded in the article. Based on what I saw, I think her account is accurate. Padilla argued that POC authors should be published in academic journals not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of skin colour alone. Within academia, publishing output is linked to hiring and tenure. In my mind, she was merely drawing attention to the obvious implications of this type of race-based publication policy in terms of Padila’s own career. Having advocated for race-based policies, I don’t see how he could be legitimately offended by the idea that he had been hired on the basis of race, rather than merit. As William’s pointed out, she preferred to operate under the assumption that he had been hired on the basis of merit.

    • (Someone didn’t read the article)
      She didn’t claim he got his job because he was black. She said she assumes Peralta got his job out of merit. Also whom are you quoting in your quote “race realist”?

      • Jack B. Nimble says


        In the video at the 49 min mark, Dr. Williams says to Dr. Peralta “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I would prefer to think that you got your job because of merit.”

        She seems to be saying that official university policies on diversity and inclusion automatically call into question the qualifications and credentials of any academic hires from under-represented groups. That is a standard right-wing talking point, used by Clarence Thomas among others, to discredit affirmative action policies.

        And HBD [human biodiversity] and race realism? @Associate Professor might be referring to Amelia Lester’s claim in Politico Magazine that Quillette is the unofficial digest of the intellectual dark web [ ]

        • Jack B. Nimble, I would have thought the same thing about what Dr Williams says without the context of the prior 49 minutes, Dr Peralta’s own words, and this article. As with so many things context matters. Dr Williams addresses her statement in this article and it doesn’t seem political in any way.

          I still don’t understand why anyone would think this website was focused on HBD and race realism. I don’t really keep up with the intellectual dark web folks, but I have perused their writings and videos and I don’t recall seeing any kind of focus on such things from them either.

        • Shaun Richards says

          Her point was that the race-based publishing policies Padilla was advocating would call into question the qualifications and credentials of minority scholars.

      • A brief look at Peralta’s publication history dispels the notion that he was hired on merit, by the way. My university library (top 3 in North America) reports 5 publications. For someone employed at Princeton, that seems woefully inadequate.

    • Defenstrator says

      Race realist magazine? Please do not project your ignorant bigotry on to this place. I understand that free thought is scary for academics these days, but your fearfulness is no reason to project your delusions into other people in order to justify and rationalize your prejudices.

  25. A bunch of people in a university system they have within their grip, with almost no accountability, left to their own devices for half a century; and, funded by guaranteed student loans coupled with the fallible belief college is the make or break for every child.

    Not that I think it will happen, but the day a better way comes along to train children without supporting these very harmful, virtually useless, and extremely expensive faculty positions can’t come soon enough.

    • Ben D. says

      There are a few smaller colleges and universities that still value the pursuit of truth. Most were founded after 1970 in deliberate reaction to the signs, already clear then, of what was coming in the mainstream universities, and has now fully arrived. Check out the Cardinal Newman Society for more info.

  26. Lost in America says

    This reminds me of the plenary speaker at a recent conference for teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Prior to the conference, the announcement that this person was the plenary filled the room with excitement. I knew nothing of this person and based on this reaction, looked forward to what I could learn from her.

    The lecture she gave amounted to nothing more than calling people ‘racists.’ For example, correcting someone’s pronunciation was “racist.” Saying, “You don’t know who Bart Simpson is?” Is “racist.” An anecdote on a bunch of guys (who work in NYC’s Financial District) ribbing another guy on his pronunciation was “racist.” The speaker is not American. It seemed to me that she doesn’t understand certain aspects of American humor, and that teasing is part of the bonding ritual (or it was when I was growing up in the Midwest.)

    I couldn’t help wondering how it could be that someone from another country/culture could enter our country/culture and dictate to us what amounts to her own racist interpretation of our behavior.

    A middle-aged white man (a rare bird in this milieu) offered during Q & A that embarrassment is part of learning a new language. It is an alienating experience that one just has to work through. He added that he encourages his students to push past it. That great learning can come from making blunders.

    This was dismissed as “racist” of course.

    And what was there to learn from this person about teaching? Absolutely nothing. Yet the faces of the (mostly female) audience beamed with Evangelical zeal. I left before they started stepping down to the speaker to receive their communion wafers.

  27. A bunch of people in a university system they have within their grip, with almost no accountability, left to their own devices for half a century; and, funded by guaranteed student loans coupled with the fallible belief college is the make or break for every child.

    Not that I think it will happen, but the day a better way comes along to train children without supporting these very harmful, virtually useless, and extremely expensive faculty positions can’t come soon enough.

  28. Honestly I’m only surprised that the author was surprised. This is way things go now.
    Perhaps the best way to understand it would be to correctly identify this leftism as religion. The author interrupted a revival meeting. Imagine what might happen if a militant athiest came to the podium at a meeting of the Southern Baptist conference and started questioning the divinity of Christ or some other key doctrine. I’m not in any way saying what happened is OK, but it’s expected. We all have these things thrown at us regularly now. How many diversity presentations have you had to sit through in annual training at work for example?
    Of course this religion of “wokeness” is now given at least lip service everywhere. Much like the Church in the Middle Ages, no matter what you believe, everyone must kiss the bishops ring, nevermind what kind of villain he might be.

  29. Saw file says

    Thanks for the link, but No thanks for the headache I got from reading it.
    This guy is completely unhinged. Certainly no shortage of narcissism or egotism either.
    Reading his diatribe at causes me to wonder why he is even in the Classics field. He obviously loathes it.
    That could be the point though. Tear down what you loathe from the inside. It’s quite insidious.
    If anyone else reads the link, i suggest that you check out the comments

  30. Girleeeee says

    Other than programs that train student in practical disciplines (medicine, STEM, etc.), universities are becoming increasingly useless.
    The subject in every department is always the same, the goal of research is always the same. The purported subject of study is always besides the point, and it all comes down to issues of marginalization of the purportedly aggrieved, etc. You come away with no more knowledge about the subject at hand than when you started.
    This is why students start to avoid these departments when choosing majors. They are useless in imparting, not only practical skill, but even a fund of knowledge or skills for learning.
    The universities will start to lose their power, when people start to realize what a waste of time it is to “learn” anything from the associated professors.

  31. So glad to see the SCS taking the brave and principled position of telling a woman to shut up and never talk to them ever again. Powerful.

  32. Yassine Motaouakkil says

    Hello, I took a literature class in my final year of university and everything outlined here was put on display. It is a wonderful field overrun by careerist-stalinist-philistines that have regard for truth. They regurgitate without actually thinking out what they’re saying. I hope this gets out of the academy as soon as possible. What happened to what MLK said about not judging ppl by skin color? utter rubbish. This is an exploitation of collective guilt and institutionalization of Foucauldian nihilism and envy.

  33. As a graduate of the University of Iowa, I am saddened — though not surprised — at the anti-intellectual stance of one of its employees. Before I got my masters thirty years ago, a fellow graduate student told me in a class that “I don’t care what you think.” Embarrassed silence from the professor and other students prevailed, but no one spoke out against that nonsense. Apparently, it’s gotten even worse since my time there.

    This article represents just another example of the fact that those who preach loudest for “inclusion,” “tolerance,” relativism, standing up to bullies, etc. are the most exclusionary, least tolerant, hypocritical bullies and cowards in modern society.

    Since government control of ideas is anathema to the First Amendment, all these government employees should be stripped of their ability to dictate what is or is not “proper thought.” I dare say that if there were a complete separation of government and education — no funding taken from taxpayers to pay for “education,” no government-financed loans/grants/etc., no government-funded research, etc. — and schools were forced to rely on actually pleasing their customers and make a profit or close, 90+% of this ridiculous illiterate, irrational, anti-freedom, anti-thought BS would quickly disappear.

    Let some of these idiots be forced to work at Starbucks or drive an Uber and maybe they will learn from their stupidity. At the least, the infection warping the minds of young people would be kept to a minimum.

    • Re your penultimate paragraph- thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Someone sees the state as the main problem. Yes, if government were out this problem could not have grown. Universities cannot be free if monies are collected at gunpoint.

      This photo from 1957 tells the story of America’s collapse:

  34. giallopudding says

    Your experience illustrates how deep the cancer of identity politics has pervaded our culture. Western civilization is probably dead ,but doesn’t know it yet. Our once great culture has been infested with people determined to undermine and usurp all the ideas that created the most free and prosperous nations on the planet. To the lamebrain leftist revolutionaries, the only good white (ie: descended from Enlightenment ideas) culture is a dead one.

    • “Our once great culture has been infested with people”

      So why not tell us who (((these people))) are. . .the jewish Frankfurt School.

  35. Emmanuel says

    The author of that article has bigger balls than most men.

  36. Sounds like you need a lawyer to sue SCS for harassment and discrimination as well as violations of your First Amendment Rights…

  37. C. White says

    I could be wrong, but I think the majority of African Studies scholars are themselves black. This discipline needs to become balanced, so journals of African Studies should no longer accept articles from black scholars but only from Asian and Caucasian scholars, regardless of their academic knowledge or ability in the discipline, until intersectional balance is achieved.

    This probably should be extended into Black History Month and African-American literature as well, where there is a distinct lack of Asian and Caucasian contributors compared to African-American contributors.

    It is important to achieve only intersectional balance in all disciplines, rather than excellence based on merit or natural interest and inclination.

    • quidnunc says

      Presumably classics is not just another ethnic studies discipline so it’s a one way criticism unless it’s to be reincorporated alongside them as a study of a tradition interesting only to one ethnic group. If it’s to be defended it’s from the grounds of universality of ideas which might in turn call for a more inclusive course work.

      Whether that leads to more diverse classrooms is questionable if there are other reasons why philosophy or classics courses are so white compared to other “soft” majors.

  38. The author did say Professor Peralta, out loud in a forum of peers, was only there because he was black. At best, hers was a rather hamfisted comment uttered in the heat of the moment. Of course, if the vision for the field advocated by Peralta prevails, people will be in their positions perhaps not exclusively but prominently because of their race and/or other categorical attribute.

    I’ve never understood Classics as an independent discipline. Any discipline in the humanities has three functions: 1) to produce scholarship, 2) to develop the next generation of scholars and regenerate itself, and 3) to teach undergraduates. Could not each of those functions by Classics be better served within the contexts of History, Literature and Philosophy departments? Especially if you move the definition of “classics” away from the study of ancient Greece/Rome and their influence on Western culture? It not, why not?

    Not my fight, though. It will be interesting, however, to see how the battles for the souls of academic fields unfold over the next couple decades.

    • Lowell Kirkland says

      Classics without the Latin and Greek languages is not Classics.

    • Andrew Worth says

      “The author did say Professor Peralta, out loud in a forum of peers, was only there because he was black.”

      That is a lie.
      “you may have got your job because you’re black, but I prefer to think you got your job because of merit”

      Plain English, but to rephrase it in the hope that you might understand, she’s saying she doesn’t know how if he got his job as a result of racism, but she hopes he got it because he deserved it.

    • What part of “may” is it that you do not understand? Clearly the English language is not your forte either.

  39. Holy shit, the way these people talk is straight out of “A Confederacy of Dunces.” Too funny.

  40. A Smith says

    You should really consider suing for defamation. I see there are transcripts of the speakers. Is there a recording of your statements? If your account is accurate, the email clearly maliciously mischaracterized your statements, and caused you to loose several paid positions not to mention caused you to endure emotional distress (which is worth potentially quite a lot in a court of law). I think a hefty monetary penalty and a record of the case might help beat back the most insidious tendencies of academic SJW mobs. Food for thought.

    I hope heterodeox academy grows large enough and diverse enough in specialty to begin to supplant some of these other organizations infested with intellectual rot.

  41. Helen says

    A horrifying account of the continued decline of American academia. Continue the good fight.

  42. Ben Angell says

    You suggested a black guy only got his job because he was black. You can’t pretend to be an innocent martyr for free speech.

    The people on that panel said some crazy things, but you can’t respond with incivility, discrediting a man by insinuating things about his employment.

    People like you make it incredibly difficult for the rest of us to take issue with any of the disturbing suggestions made on panels like this one, because we lumped in with the likes of you (and some of the conspiratorial nutcases posting underneath this article). Think before you speak.

    • Ben Angell, are you saying that Dr Williams’ account is inaccurate? If she’s telling the truth about what she said then you, and a few others here, are intentionally misrepresenting her statement. It really is tiring to read these kinds of distortions from all angles of a topic.

    • That isn’t what she suggested. She posed that question rhetorically to make the point that he probably got it on merit, as it should be, and that it would be wrong for anything else to be the case. She even admitted to the fact that she wasn’t as articulate in the moment as she would have liked and that it was easily interpreted as what you asserted, not as she meant it. She also stated that had people been willing to get both sides before acting she would have happily clarified her statements, but histrionics of attendees during the event and others after prevented any examination of reality.

    • Saw file says

      You’d have to do go serious mental gymnastics to think that that is what she suggested.
      Besides, they prevented her from speaking prior to that.
      Did you even watch the video?

    • Perhaps she did, and that may have been a breach of etiquette and rude, but what of it? She didn’t assault someone. She wasn’t a threat. At worst she was mildly offensive.

      I find it rather galling that the left, which speaks of diversity and inclusiveness, will toss someone out for being offensive. Offensive conduct is part and parcel of liberalism and multiculturalism – namely, what is offensive to you might not be offensive to someone else. (After all, we are told not to criticize clitoris chopping on those grounds).

      At worst she deserved a rebuke and a cold shoulder. Her treatment exposed the heavy handed nature of the left, the Alinksy-like impulse to de-person (otherize) anyone who doesn’t agree with their ideology.

  43. Pinkot says

    lol. That’s all I’ve got to say. We are lost. The future is a racist authotitarian dystopia.

  44. Alexandria applehans says

    As I attended the event I will say you do a great job of painting a sympathetic picture of yourself. In reality your comments and outbursts were inappropriate and suggesting the speaker was only employed due to the color of his skin and not his collection of work was the cherry on top. Several individuals I spoke with the next few days were disturbed, believing you set our community back years.

    • I don’t need to agree with the conduct of the writer to know that I disagree on the most fundamental level with the people who spoke at this event. And the hyperventilating you do in the last sentence is enough for me to doubt your own testimony.

      • Morgan Foster says

        As the saying goes: “Who am I going to believe, you or my own eyes?”

    • Alexandria applehans, as benita canova mentions “we have video”. Could you point to the timestamps in the video you hear inappropriate outbursts? Dr Williams starts speaking about 42 minutes in – after the floor was open for discussion and she was called on. The only outbursts I hear after that are panelists interrupting and challenging her. Are there other points at which she speaks and I just missed them?

      And finally, there have been several commenters claiming racial animus that simply isn’t there if you listen and understand what she’s trying to say. And she clearly articulates what she was trying to say in this very article. If you argue that she said things at the conference that could be easily misconstrued then I agree… but that isn’t what anyone has argued to this point.

      I don’t know anything about your community, but from the outside it appears you and others making these same statements are doing more harm than Dr Williams verbal clumsiness.

    • Saw file says

      @Alexandria applehans

      I watched the video.
      Your comment is ludicrous and an insult to the author, and almost every person who read the article and commented here.
      And as to you insinuating the author was “suggesting the speaker was only employed due to the color of his skin”, then my eyes and ears must not be functioning properly. Your weaselly syntax can’t make me disbelieve what the video clearly shows. You’re gas lighting isn’t working with me.
      And because other’s are too polite to say it, and because I can’t stand smarmy little turds like you, I’ll give you an honest reply to your comment.
      If you where there, you are a liar.
      If you weren’t there, you are a liar.
      I will also point out that, the ones who are really setting the” community ” back are those such as the panel speakers and those such as yourself, not the author.

    • Kencathedrus says

      As a professor I fully believe one of the purposes of Higher Education is to teach students not to take offense even at seemingly racist or bigoted comments. From watching the video it’s quite obvious that Dr. Williams was trying to make a point about people prefer to acquire status through merit rather than skin color. Admittedly it was a little clumsy, but completely forgivable. Higher Education personnel must learn to develop a thicker skin and deal stop being whiny brats.

    • If I were the black guy, I’d be far more concerned with his weak publication history than some strange lady asking him a question at a conference.

      From what I can find through my university catalog, he has 5 publications. Princeton. 5 publications. His track record screams ‘diversity hire’.

      • mark miner says

        I want to see a full list of DPP’s publications. Do you have them conveniently available, Jim?

    • Andrew Worth says

      Alexandria applehans, I watched the author, who started speaking at the 45 minute point in the video. You are a liar, her description of what she said is accurate, and if anything she was charitable towards the disgraceful conduct of others in the room.

      All fields of study self-select the students involved in those fields based on the interests that teir adherents have. When we talk about “the Classics” we’re usually talking about the ancient Greco-Roman world, in todays America those wishing to study that ancient culture will likely have a cultural affinity for that history, those wishing to undertake African Studies will also likely have a cultural affinity for the history of that continent, so why should you or anyone else expect there not to be this self-selection and this self-selection not to result in there being a dearth of “diversity” in both of these disciplines?

    • I have bad news for you. The whole thing is now online so people can actually watch what happened and judge for themselves. And the judgement has not been favourable to pearl clutches such as yourself. Quite the contrary. Far from progressing the discipline the general consensus is that you should be fired for incompetence.

    • Prof says

      Alexandria applehans,

      Without any doubt, Dan-el Padilla Peralta is far more charismatic than Mary Frances Williams. Nonetheless, he (Padilla) is an absolute disgrace for your whole field. He was the one suggesting that the color of one’s skin constitutes “merit.” And the room applauded. (You say you were there. Did you applaud, too? If so, shame, shame on you.) This is the way that you destroy one-time serious journals and serious fields. Now, we all knew that classics is becoming less and less popular among undergraduates. What we didn’t know is that classicists at America’s top research universities are intellectually bankrupt. One could have argued (and I personally would have been inclined to argue) that intellectually rigorous disciplines with a long tradition have a place in a modern university, even if they are not cost effective. If CS ends up subsidizing classics to some extent, then so be it. But philistines such as Padilla, and the endorsement of such philistines by top scholars in the field, makes that argument a lot more difficult to sell. Unless you’re approaching retirement, I do hope you have an alternative career plan, because your department may just be closing in the not too distant future. Padilla’s talk is just another nail in your discipline’s coffin.

    • As if further evidence of the sheer bad faith and ignorance of these imbeciles were required…

  45. Alphonse Credenza says

    Superb! Your presence there and this article are worth more than you can imagine. Keep writing and persuading!

    We will in time dramatically cut state funding of higher education and asphyxiate these pernicious ideologies. And it will happen, not only through persuasion of the undecided, but through confrontation and relentless attack upon the ideological progenitors who feed at the trough of the State.

    Attack with better ideas and fact and truth — their castles are built on quicksand and they all fall if we are resolute.

  46. I’ve never understood Classics as an independent discipline. Any academic department in the humanities fundamentally has three functions: 1) to produce scholarship, 2) to produce scholars, and 3) to teach undergraduates. With respects to what is bounded by the term “Classics,” could not all three of these functions be better served in most universities in their History, Literature and Philosophy departments? Especially if you move away from the definition of the field being the study of ancient Greece and Rome and their influence on Western culture?

    Moving on to the kerfuffle that is the subject of this piece. The author did say, in an forum of peers, that Professor Peralta was only there because he was black. Dr. Williams argues that was not what she meant, but the understandable implication (and umbrage) taken is that she believes he’s otherwise unqualified.

    If the vision of Classics advocated by Professor Peralta prevails, people will be in their positions precisely, while perhaps not exclusively, because of their racial and/or other identity categories. He’s just saying a little more openly what most diversity advocates bend over backward to avoid acknowledging: that it will be a quota system. But does that mean the quotas will be filled by otherwise unqualified people?

    Given that the humanities these days produce hundreds if not thousands more PhDs per year than the global academic system needs to regenerate itself, I think it’s hard to argue that the people vying for positions will not be qualified in a technical sense. Should race and/or other identity category be considered in the academic hiring process and in the distribution of opportunities? Given that “merit” is not and can never be truly objective, maybe why not? The accumulated advantages of privilege are so profound that if you look at any supposed “meritocracy” in America– elite colleges, top-tier law firms, executive levels of major corporations, etc.– they are overwhelmingly populated by white people from upper-middle class or better backgrounds. In a country that will be majority minority within thirty years, maybe that’s a problem.

  47. I only re-posted because I thought the commenting system ate my original post. My second post, however, is a more fully articulated outline of my thinking.

  48. Philip says

    The description of that room, a room ostensibly full of adults, gives the feeling of The Twilight Zone.

    At the same time, I agree with Ben Angell that chosen tact of the author in the discussion period was misguided. Perhaps she was too shocked by the content of the papers, because of a preceding unfamiliarity with the philosophy, to be able to pick an inroad with any traction. Stating in bullet point form the wish list of people on the opposite side of the philosophical spectrum from the SJW’s is going to lead to the exact thing that happened. It will be a worst case scenario, comically grotesque political stunt show from that point on.

    Look at it this way. The buzzwords of the SJWs – diversity, inclusion, equality, marginalization, the phobias – were all invented as direct replacements (however consciously or subconsciously) of the catchphrases of the Lockean enlightenment tradition: democracy, liberty, equality (before the law), responsibility, reason, truth, etc. A person may use the Lockean words as though they are common ground, when in fact they unmask you as the enemy to people who are triumphantly replacing those words on purpose with their own set of words. Just think about that woman’s (patently absurd) comment on not being a member of Western civilization.

    As someone who migrates between different philosophical contexts all the time (America is not an easy place to pin down), I think a person who loves the tradition of western civ, generally speaking, needs a number of cloaking devices. More pointedly, I think they need to stop using the Lockean catchphrases, which as stand-ins for thought are no longer useful, and come up with on-the-fly arguments for those positions all over again. In other words, at that particular microphone, I would recommend explaining that studying the classics gives people the ability to transcend themselves – and thus provide excellent opportunity for racial minorities to transcend their own circumstances, by giving them a far better context in which to advocate for justice in our own society. Start the argument for pursuing value over again, without catchphrases. When you love something, don’t recite your marriage vows to prove it. Demonstrate your love with spontaneous words that show the authentic adoration.

    The only way to really make a person think is to say words they think they haven’t heard before. If they can easily attach one of their labels to you, it is over. In rooms where people have gathered around the shrine of combating what they define as hate, the last thing that will ever want to do is let them think they know you.

  49. I don’t really share to a great extent the opinions of the author about the Classics, but one thing is very very clear. Tenured professors, holding real power in the academia, such as Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Serena Connolly etc., have qualified as racist (just like that) and deprived of due process their non-tenured not-powerful colleague, taking away from her a source of revenue.

  50. Dan-el Padilla Peralta reminds me of the guy who sees you smoking a cigarette and comes up to you to ask for one. With a short pause, he then asks you for a light after which you’re wondering if he wants you to smoke it for him.

  51. scribblerg says

    Yawn, yet another whiner who went along with the nonsense until it hurt her directly. Am I to believe that up until this conference that Ms. Williams was unaware of how “intersectionality” was infecting her field? One giggles just writing this sentence. While she’s filled with brio now, after having her career effectively ended for speaking truth, does she not get that it was her cowardice of the past 20-30 years that got her here? I’m not being mean – I’m speaking to her and about her as a sentient, responsible adult in a free society. Like why didn’t she go public when the first hints of this garbage surfaced so long ago? Easy – she went along to get along, as so many of us do to keep our jobs and sanity.

    Of course she’s not wrong in her account. But she – and many here – are wrong about where we are in the conflict with the Left. WE’VE ALREADY LOST THE WAR. This is what defeat feels like. The Left has dropped the mask and i simply eliminating all dissent in the way the Leftists cadres and hacks have done since the dawn of socialism. Shame, call us bigot, demonize us – while destroying ever institution in our society by design. That’s their plan.

    This isn’t something run amok or crazy. It’s exactly what the Left wants. And the fact that she and we cannot do a damn thing about it means we are already lost.

    Simple truth. It will take force to remove the left from their positions of power, particularly in the universities. Politics doesn’t work – we know that now. Sitting on the sidelines and shrieking and clutching peals won’t help – uhh, what’s left? I know, none of you want to see this but that’s cuz you are still asleep.

    • The “left” is the jewish communists- who have been running this asylum for over 100 years, through their ownership of the money hegemon [Federal Reserve].

      “Some call if Judaism- I call it Communism”

      Rabbi Stephen Samuel Weiss
      New York City, 1935

  52. Bugbear says

    I watched the video on youtube of the event described. What seems most egregious is how this Pedilla – Peralta “scholar” claims to spend his time: scouring the internet for evidence that not enough POC’s are represented in the Classics.


    I came away devastated. If this is what passes for scholarship, we’re doomed. And the way in which he began his talk — he WAS going to talk about the language — but instead is going on and on about his hurt feelings…

    People like him and his “allies” are dumbing down the university. Obviously.

    And that Chipmunk-voiced Bond woman — cutting off Williams — not letting her finish her point — and making it sound forbidden though I still — honestly — can’t hear what’s wrong with it…

    In any case, Peralta is unwittingly explaining why POC’s aren’t getting published.

    • Susanna Krizo says


      Yes, this is the reason I decided not to pursue a higher education. I wouldn’t have lasted one semester.

    • IsiahBerlinWall says


      Quite. Difficult though it is for me to type through all this tar and feathers (Oxford classicist, ergo guilty of anything and everything a priori – ah well, it is what it is) you’re quite right about the smoke and mirrors here.

      Pedilla-Peralta was a scholar of enormous intellect and potential, potential which was given free rein and voice all the way up to the Princeton appointment by just about everyone except the US visa office.

      He has no personal grounds at all for the grievance he is spouting here; in fact, his story lends the lie to any myth of cultural repression.

      I await with interest his edition of Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes or monograph on the indispensibility of Nubian oarsmen to Roman naval hegemony in the Aegean. This is just smoke and mirrors.

  53. Elton H says

    The “adults” in academia act like this at a professional conference. We should not be surprised that the students act this way as well. The snowflake generation had snowflakes for professors.

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  55. Eugene Alper says

    Thank you, Ms. Williams and Quillette, for the important material. Good luck to us all!

  56. Andrei Aroutiounov says

    These sessions should be video recorded and posted on YouTube. Then everyone can decide what is right. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  57. I’m sorry that your words about Dr. Padilla were misunderstood. I can see now what you were trying to say. But if I had spoken that clumsily and inadvertently caused someone to hear what he heard, I would have included an apology to him in this piece. That there is no apology for the expressed (if not intended) implication that he did not merit his position will only reinforce the general public view that you meant what everyone thought they heard.

  58. They are trying to usher in another Dark Age controlled by religion (SJW is a religion) that was ended – surprise! – by the resurecction of the Classics. But this comment was such a Freudian slip that I nearly dropped my laptop laughing:

    “Because we are still about cronyism and supporting a very small group of people in many ways this can oftentimes silence other people. I too have had problems with whether to call people out or whether to say things, whether we should be anonymous or whether we should have a name attached to all the allegations that we put against people, but we have to think about the past of Classics and the present in order to make it welcoming for the future.”

    If this doesn’t describe SJWs, then nothing does.

  59. Susanna Krizo says

    They are trying to usher in new Dark Age dominated by religion (SJW is a religion), that was ended – surprise! – by the Classics. But this comment certainly took the cake. What a Freudian slip!

    “Because we are still about cronyism and supporting a very small group of people in many ways this can oftentimes silence other people. I too have had problems with whether to call people out or whether to say things, whether we should be anonymous or whether we should have a name attached to all the allegations that we put against people, but we have to think about the past of Classics and the present in order to make it welcoming for the future.”

    If this doesn’t describe SJWs, nothing nothing does.

    • This is weird. I tried to post my comment, and it kept on vanishing. I guess there was a problem on my end. Apologies for repeated comments.

  60. Pingback: How I was Kicked Out of the Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting – Quillette – BREAKING-NEWS.CA

  61. Smith says

    Looking at Sarah Bond’s Twitter, I see an activist, not a professor.

  62. Wow I’ve never been so annoyed with someone I mostly agree with! The substance of so much of what you say is so spot on, but I find that hard to admit because of your snarky, dismissive, rude, and self-important treatment of the opinions and people you disagree with. I mean, are all those [sic]s really necessary? Or the constant assurances of you credentials and intelligence? Or the incredibly dismissive language when quoting your “adversaries”? Come on! This reads like a pissed off diary entry. I can only imagine that in person, backed into a corner and understandably nervy, you were even harder to agree with. I really hope your cause finds a kinder, less angry standard-bearer because you are right about so much.

    Or maybe just step back a little and realize that those in the cave applaud and reward each others’ observations of the shadows, and that communing with them is the only way to get them on board. Don’t you think these lessons are still valuable today? Isn’t that much of your point?

    It’s your job to get people to agree with you, not the other way around. It’s like The Dude said: You’re not wrong, Walter, you’re just an a-hole.

    • ga gamba says

      I appreciate Plato’s cave allegory, and that said I say thank goodness for the right-on arseholes. They’re saying “get out of the cave.” Irrespective of the arguments, some will choose stay because they’re enchanted by the shadows. Worse is when they demand others stay in the cave with them.

      I suspect our over emphasis of empathy, therapeutic education, and the power of the mob have made many too fragile to stand up for principles as well as unable to tolerate those who do.

      • Plato disagrees.

        The point of the cave allegory is not to give you cause to criticize or berate the unenlightened with Plato and Socrates chuckling alongside you. It is intended to be instructive in how to draw the cave prisoners to decide on their own to ascend to the light and join the Republic.

        Readers of the Republic often stop in Book VII where they think the allegory of the cave is over–somewhere around where he says they would put him to death. Those people miss the point by removing the allegory from its context. Enlightenment is not for one’s own sake, but for the sake of the Republic.

        It is the duty of the enlightened “to go down again among those prisoners [and] share their labors and honors, whether they be slighter or more serious,” in order to “bring [enlightenment] about in the city as a whole, harmonizing the citizens by […] making them share with one another the benefit that each is able to bring to the commonwealth.”

        Plato understood the inclination to be an outright a-hole to the frustratingly self-satisfied cave prisoners, and he gives clear instructions against this. We’re not talking about empathy or therapeutic education, we’re talking about how to bring prisoners who love their chains to see the light, for the good of the City. It’s fine if you want to be a jerk to the unenlightened, but leave Plato out of it.

    • Morgan Foster says


      How often have I been told, on other occasions, that women of color have a right to be angry and sarcastic in public discourse?

      Mary Frances Williams does not?

      (Is she white, by the way? I didn’t find a photo of her and I’m pretty sure she’s not the Mary Frances Williams who is a Georgia state legislator. Anybody?)

      • @Morgan Foster

        Yes, it is very frustrating when confronted with this kind of argument, and the impetus to respond in kind is totally understandable and natural.


        If we are genuine in the belief that the study of Plato (et al) is valuable, and that they have real, relevant lessons for us to carry on today; if we’re to take Plato’s lesson seriously, and if part of our project is to impart the wisdom of the Greeks onto our fellow humans; if we have read the Republic and believe it to be right and true; oughtn’t we to look to where he gives us clear, straightforward instructions on how to proceed as enlightened ones trying to free the cave prisoners?

    • X. Citoyen says


      Perhaps you should extend the same charity you advocate. Here’s Republic 516e (of the same translation, Bloom’s), which comes right before the bit you quoted:

      “Now reflect on this too,” I said. “If such a man were to come down again and sit in the same seat, on coming suddenly from the sun wouldn’t his eyes get infected with darkness?”

      “Very much so,” he said.

      “And if he once more had to compete with those perpetual prisoners in forming judgements about those shadows while his vision was still dim, before his eyes had recovered, and if the time needed for getting accustomed were not at all short, wouldn’t he be the source of laughter, and wouldn’t it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it’s not even with trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead up, wouldn’t they kill him?”

      “No doubt about it,” he said.

      Real philosophers—meaning people who know the truth—always sound like fools or arseholes to the mob, especially if they’re unaccustomed to dealing with the mob. The right attitude of a Platonist toward someone telling the truth, however awkwardly, is sympathy, not condemnation. So I think you should go give the Republic another read. Maybe the Apology, too. You know that one? That’s the dialogue where Socrates is condemned to death for not pandering to the mob.

      • Kat says

        @ X. Citoyen

        Yes indeed! And so, Plato explains, though the enlightened of course at first will seem silly and pitiable to the prisoners, it is nevertheless their duty to stay there and join with them, in order to convince them to leave and come to the light. To engage with their silly, pointless games, not to berate them, and certainly not to try to force them.

        The problem is with stopping where your excerpt stops, instead of reading on to the passage I quoted. They go together. To stop where you’ve stopped is to give the impression that Plato/Socrates doesn’t think we should bother with trying to draw anyone else towards enlightenment because they’ll surely reject it. Of course that’s not his point.

        As I stated in my first post, I have so much sympathy for Ms. Williams due to the truth she speaks. And yet, the way she speaks will not change anyone’s mind. And it just so happens that Plato can inform us on how to accomplish that. I apologize for my own awkwardness in coming off as condemning anyone.

        • X. Citoyen says

          I’ve been listening to liberals take this line for years. Someone in a roomful of academic loons speaks the truth or part of the truth and outrage ensues. The liberal ignores all the crazies (so long as they’re progressives) and critiques the critic’s delivery, as if it were actually relevant.

          I’ve got to be honest here, Kat. I think you’re telling yourselves this because you can’t or won’t acknowledge that you’re surrounded by progressive fanatics and that you’re all responsible for letting them in. You’ve walked around on eggshells so long that you no longer remember what normal civility looks like.

          • Kat says

            [several days later and so running the risk that this conversation has run cold, but nevertheless:]

            It sounds like you’re contending with something other than what I am saying, but I do understand your frustration. I almost wish I had been there, so that I could say here that I did not applaud, that I had been there to stand and give my piece, or at the very least, to walk out after the appalling treatment of Ms. Williams. You’re completely right in your implication that the presenters were completely uncivil. I have close to zero sympathy for them or for most of their expressed ideas.

            I’m not really interested in liberals or intellectual dark webbers or a lot of the other stuff popping up on this comment thread, although I do see why folks find this relevant. And yes, when people act like ignorant slaves to Wokeness, I tend to not engage them–not because they’re Progressives, but because engaging at that level is as useless as trying to explain to my toddler why she can’t have another muffin. I -am- interested in Plato and in preserving Classical Studies. Style does matter. Delivery is relevant. I cited Plato to back my point, and my point still stands uncontested. Delivery is the difference between scoring points with your own side versus actually having a shot at changing someone’s mind. It feels good to shout people down from above, but that’s all it accomplishes.

            I lament the reality that these people (i.e. the panelists and their disturbingly complicit/admiring audience) are in the positions of power they’re in. But it is the reality we live in and want to change. We’re just going to lose more and more influence if we continue to think that delivery doesn’t matter, if the only people we are speaking to are the people who already agree with us. And sweeping institutional change (the kind Plato advocates, at least) does not come quickly or easily, but slowly and patiently.

            I have to add that Ms. Williams very clearly responded the way she did because she was backed into a corner and under attack, rudely and wrongly. The panelists had every responsibility to welcome her and her statements with generosity and open-mindedness. The style -and- substance of the panelists was way off point. At least Williams had substance going for her.

          • X. Citoyen says


            I invite you to consider a possibility.

            Let me start by saying I use “liberal” in a more pedestrian sense—for people the psychologists call high in agreeableness and openness. Most academics (who aren’t radicals) fit this description and, based on your remarks, I infer you have the same disposition. This is a good thing. Most people I know are liberals, and they’re good people. They’re especially good at building a consensus in a roomful of disparate people. They’re able to generate a common understanding between people of good will with conflicting ideas and beliefs.

            But the liberal’s strength becomes a weakness when the people in the room are not of good will—when they’re bad actors—or when they’re beholden to a destructive ideology. The liberal will persist in seeking that common ground and the right words to find it. Just look at your words to me: You said you understood my “frustration.” You were looking at it like a good liberal. When I suggested there were no words to persuade such people, you immediately took it as frustration on my part, that I was despairing at being unable to find the words that, as a good liberal, you believe must be there.

            Again, none of this is a knock against you. I simply want to invite you to consider the possibility that you’re not dealing with people who can be reasoned with or persuaded. Maybe you’re dealing with Meletuses and Anytuses who will say and do whatever it takes to advance their cause and increase their power.

  63. Dan-el Padilla Peralta of Princeton may indeed have been hired because of his skin color. He isn’t intelligent. He said that there was something nefarious about ’91 – 98% of published contributors to Classics journals from 1997 – 2017 being white’. During that time 72% of American adults were white. And I’m sure an even higher percent of European adults were white. So why would he expect a low percentage of white people to be published? Furthermore, most black people aren’t interested in the Classics because most black people are self-absorbed and only want to ‘learn’ about black people. And most hate ‘Western Civilization’, which the Classics are the basis of. And just as a practical, statistical reality, how could more black people study and be published in the Classics without reducing the number of black people studying and being published in African Studies or all the numerous leftist indoctrination fields like Sociology? As he says, it’s a zero-sum game. Does he want future America-haters to be turned into people who have respect for Western Civilization by studying the Classics?

    As for the USS Midway: if you want to read a couple of excellent books about WW2 naval and carrier battles, try ‘Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors’ and ‘Neptune’s Inferno’.

  64. I don’t know but “civilisation” isn’t the word I’d associate with hysterical nutjobs like that Williams woman.

  65. Doc Broom says

    Dr. Williams, your words serve as a warning as I head off to a regional history conference this weekend. We are no longer in an academic environment that seeks truth, so if we are seeking truth, we will be come the pariah. I have a friend in Medieval Studies, who has had similar experiences. It is time to begin to pursue alternatives to the academy as we have known it. Not sure that looks like — but I am more and more attracted to the private professor model, pay me and I’ll teach you. But unfortunately, the corporate model with accreditation and a stamp of approval from government and corporations is more “important” than the truth.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Doc Broom

      Would you consider offering Quillette an article about the conference when you return?

  66. As I see it, this is first and foremost a legal issue. If the author’s comments are accurate, Padilla Peralta is openly advocating against hiring or publishing white scholars merely because they are white. How does this not violate Federal discrimination law? How do his comments not constitute a ‘hostile work environment’ for his white colleagues? How is this person allowed to serve on hiring and tenure committees?

    Scholars advocating race-based hiring and publication practices need to be brought to court repeatedly until this nonsense stops.

      • Diversify Knowledge says

        Stating that you will not publish articles by members of a certain race is not asking for a place at the table; it’s using your place at the table to keep others out of the conversation.

  67. Area Man says

    It was clear very early on that there was political advocacy afoot. Do people’s legs not work? Is simply walking out no longer a viable option? These fanatics can only take the power if the audience’s silence & stillness is interpreted as acquiescence.

  68. So you have met a panel of mediocrities in the field who cannot produce scholarship, most likely because they are thick.

    • DBruce says

      Classical scholars have been unfair to Mediocrates due to unconscious bias triggered by his name.

  69. DBruce says

    We never cared about those dusty old books.
    Still, better a hypocrite than an NPC … (watch the video they are classic NPC)

  70. I’m not sure I agree with what Sarah Bond says about citations. I mean, you might think that the main purpose of citations was to allow readers to follow up a claim you’ve made – e.g. if I make the claim that Sarah Bond said X in something she wrote, I’ll cite it with a page number so that anyone who wants to make sure it’s true can look it up and check it. That’s something that’s neutral with regard to sex and ethnicity. Now, obviously, who gets cited more in a particular field will depend mainly on the set of people who’ve been especially influential in a field. In the (Western) classics, a field which has a particular place in European culture, that will be mainly white people, just for demographic reasons. Classics is also unusually old for an academic field, and that means there will be lots of scholars (e.g. Wilamowitz) who lived in times when female emancipation wasn’t as advanced as it is now. I’m also not sure we should refrain from citing people who we disapprove of morally, since, if we applied that approach consistently, we wouldn’t be able to cite anyone before about 1950.

    • Prof says

      “I’m also not sure we should refrain from citing people who we disapprove of morally, since, if we applied that approach consistently, we wouldn’t be able to cite anyone before about 1950.”

      Thank you for that comment. I just had a light bulb moment. What if that’s precisely the point? Get dead people out of classics? (Just dwell on that thought for a second.)

      • Well, quite. I mean, if you take the view, ‘We shouldn’t cite people against whom allegations of impropriety have been made,’ then that should surely prevent you from citing or discussing texts by e.g. Julius Caesar, whose actions led to the death of more than a few Gauls. And if you do think it makes sense to discuss Julius Caesar (perhaps, among other things, because discussing someone’s works doesn’t imply total moral approval), then there would seem to be no reason not to cite a modern scholar that you disapprove of…

  71. codadmin says

    Padilla is a racist. Those who oppose him should try and get him fired for his blatant racism.

  72. Serenity says

    “… in 1971… at issue in the case [Griggs v. Duke Power Co.] was Duke’s hiring criteria for certain jobs, which included a high-school diploma and a minimal score on an IQ test. The plaintiffs argued that those requirements disqualified too many black job applicants, and amounted to employment discrimination. The court agreed, ruling that the burden of proof is on the employer when hiring criteria has a ‘disparate impact’ on minorities. If minorities were underrepresented in a company’s workforce, the employer now had to prove that discrimination was not the reason…

    Differences in outcomes were now prima facie evidence of discrimination. We had moved from a focus on the rights of minority individuals to the preferential treatment of minority groups. In less than a decade, the goal had shifted from equal opportunity to statistical parity.

    ‘…the further we get from the era of widespread discrimination against certain minority groups, the more the federal government discriminates in favour of such groups.’ …

    affirmative action in practice today is racial discrimination.

    …as Thurgood Marshall once put it to fellow Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, ‘You guys have been practicing discrimination for years. Now It’s our turn.’“

    “Please Stop Helping Us. How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed“ Jason L Riley

  73. I’m amazed at the naivete of this essay, which seems to hinge on the false notion that there is no merit to scholars of color offering their perspectives on the ancient world and that to allow them to do so is “discrimination.” It reifies the trope that the field of Classics only focuses on Great Men. Williams is clearly not an archaeologist – context is key – but what’s appalling is her lack of curiosity and obtuseness in dealing with any differing opinions to her own. Peralta’s essay on his experience of this event is much more nuanced should give us all food for thought:

  74. Quote from the most brilliant mind of the modern era, Forest Gump: “Stultus est sicut stultus facit”.

    • Smartassacus says

      Corrigendum: melius “stulte facit”.

  75. Dick Gezinya says

    Great article. The behavior described by the author’s colleagues is appalling. That being said, the author fucked up when she asked if Padilla got his job because he’s black. These people will push your buttons. You can’t take the bait. That’s how they win. What is the correct term for people like Padilla? I like “cultural vandal.”

    • I first heard a joke about dick gosinya in 1965: “What happens when Fonda Peters marries Dick Gosinya?”

  76. Padilla’s zero-sum racial politics is as irresponsible as his Responsibilist philosophy that puts ethics ahead of knowledge.

  77. Johnny Redux says

    Thank you for standing up for the Classics against this group of speakers (two in particular on the panel – the first and last speakers), who seem dead set on destroying the classics by turning them into Women Studies or African Studies. Somebody teaching the classics actually saying that “Western Civilization” is a “construct”? Or that the idea of Western Civilization was “created during WWI”? Disturbing, to say the least.

    And the black professor, in his brief speech, saying such things that White (male) authors need to “take a back seat” to black authors, “relinquish their privilege”, and “de-colonize” Classics departments. But, to top it off, in response to Mary Williams’ reasonable and passionate arguments, he states, inter alia, that he wishes that the “white supremacy” classics would “die a swift death”. And the (mostly White) audience members clap, like trained seals, to his attack on the subject that they have dedicated their careers, and their race?!!

    I see most colleges going under in the near future – as least the liberal arts and humanities. Nothing but communist propaganda. One could get a better education from their computers at home, and reading actual books, than sitting in classrooms headed by these assorted buffoons.

  78. Indignant complaints about the unfairness and illiberalism of the red guards will not win you the culture war, nor preserve Western Civilization. You must crush your enemies using whatever means necessary, liberal or illberal, for the stakes are too high. Marginalize them, humiliate them, have them arrested on false charges. Do what you must. This is the only way to deal with a terroristic, anti-civilizational cult. Otherwise one day these brainwashed children will murder us in our sleep and the newspapers will tweet about how it’s sad but we deserved it — before eventually just rewriting history.

    What would the great heroes of antiquity have done?

  79. MoreTemperate says

    Once again I am struck most of all by the ill will and mean-spiritedness dominating what now passes for discourse. Had there been any semblance of real dialogue – I.e. listening, engaging, asking questions to check that you have understood your interlocutor, a search for common ground or a polite agreement to disagree – then the author would not have had to write this article, Tim Hunt would still be at UCL and we would have been spared the grotesque spectacle of the slut walks.

  80. Will those that are looking for racism every chance they get ever spot it in the mirror?

  81. You’re only mistake was in not realizing you were talking into a cult recruitment meeting.

    • Janet says


      For those who say they can’t understand why academics would be against meritocracy or want to destroy their field, there are two explanations.

      1) These academics know exactly what they are doing. They believe that everything in the world can be reduced to power relations. And they want more power for themselves. If they don’t succeed in their power grab, then they will lose power. It is a zero sum game for them and since they have already decided that there is no such thing as truth and fairness, they feel entitled to be just as tendentious as they want to be.

      2) They are like cult members who have lost all perspective and don’t realize to what extent their “normal” is anything but. Going through grad school in the humanities and continuing in academia is in many ways like joining a cult. You learn strange new vocabulary and ideas about life. The work is so intense that you don’t have time to socialize outside of academia or really socialize at all (you are too busy teaching 2 classes, taking 3 classes often with ridiculous work loads, writing papers for conferences, for publication, working on your 100+ book reading list for your comprehensive exams, applying for fellowships, going to department talks, grading, grading, grading, grading, shopping, eating, doing the laundry, trying to get at least 4 hours sleep tonight). Your advisor really does have a lot of power over you and your future and it is easy to exaggerate that power even further. In short, your entire identity shifts in ways that you are not even aware of and you actually start believing some really weird things.

  82. Its important that your (Francis Williams’) write-up should remain on the web so that future generations can source one more bit of raw evidence to bolster the claim “I told you so”, when making the case that all people (men and women, black and white, all religions, etc) had been better off and free-er 50 years ago in say 2019, before the era of deep prejudice swept the era of scholarship aside. I am quite certain the barbarians at the conference gate will wish for the days when someone presented exiting new findings rather than, once again, trot out the “he’s so evil” mantra in 2070.

  83. Fun House says

    What is most egregious about this display is that Peralta says himself that people should be published because of their skin color. Then, when the author here REFERS to that, everyone goes ballistic. He even issues a “war whoop” to indicate that she’s fallen into the trap.

    What frightens me most about this and other cases like it is that it might make the case for not hiring people of color. The more I read about this sort of thing, the more I want to stay away from them – marginalize them — what have you. It raises questions as to whether “they” are the ones destroying the university, dumbing it down, making it as inhospitable as, I dare say, the predominantly black neighborhood where I live — where gunshots ring out quite often…in other words, a disposition towards violence that plays out, in academia, in the manner seen at this conference.

    I don’t want to believe this. But the evidence seems to support that diversity doesn’t really work for some people.

    I experienced this many years ago as a TA — back in the days when I could actually get the black bitch in trouble for the horrendous way in which she treated me for daring to question her flagrant bigotry. And the white sycophants — the whole thing — saw the handwriting on the wall and now, here we are, and I’m struggling not to hate them.

    • Mark Miner says

      Thanks for this, SS.
      Here’s some poetic venom for you:
      I call them Team Eidolon, a collective under the leadership of Social Media Queen Bee Donna Zuckerborg.
      What did anyone expect after the name-change to SCS?
      The big question is how much FB money is being pumped into this “new, improved” APA to drive all this wokeness.
      —Mark “Didaskalos” Miner

      • Mark Miner says

        As for Donna’s book NADWM, I made the mistake of buying it at the SCS, because HUP had a good pile of them. I threw it away soon after, and I may never buy a book in dead-trees form again. I’m preparing an Amazon review of it titled:
        Hot internet Diarrhea run cold, cold, cold.
        I spent 5 Jan reciting Homer’s Iliad I-VIII in Greek, with a Japanese-language student reciting I:1-150 in Japanese for a little multi-cultural frisson. But as for the rest of the SCS, they were inside with All That Wokeness. We knew the Animal Farming, the Evergreen Colleging was coming for us after the 2013 name-change from APA to SCS. And now it is here.

  84. You were sleeping and got caught. Had you not been sleeping then you would have known your comments would get you in big trouble.

    Universities across the West are basically compromised. Now they’ve been transported to Bizarro World. Which means the problem is much worse than you think. For example, the experts missed that 9/11 was coming and that the 2008 financial crash was coming. They got China wrong, and Russia wrong. Things that were kinda important and we needed to be right about, we got wrong. All thanks to the universities in the West. What else have they screwed up that we don’t know about just yet? I’m thinking a lot.

    Will the West survive this?

    • Namerous says

      The short answer is the west is dead. There’s a chance we experience a revival with the ascendance of an emperor, but most likely we’re in for another dark age. The violence is coming.

  85. Peter Tobias says

    Ms. Williams, I’m sorry to hear about your experience at the conference. That disagreement could not be accepted but was fought with exclusion and ban is a bad sign of the health of the association. Will it survive, but more importantly: how will the field of classical studies survive?

  86. Lesley Ragsdale says

    Honest question: Why *does* classics need to overwhelmingly focus on Greece and Rome? Why doesn’t it also look at the Ancient Near East? At the assorted “barbarians” of Continental Europe? At Egypt, which obviously influenced Greece in any number of ways?

    If classics really is the repository of “Western Civilization” why not focus on everything that went into the pot to produce Western Civilization?

    I know pretty much nothing about classics as it’s currently taught so this content may very well be strenuously covered.

    However, the author’s statements really do look like a doubling down on Greece and Rome at the expense of everything else, even things which are obviously quite relevant to the emergence of Western Civilization.

    • In Pol Sc it is much worse. Professors must exercise self-censorship if looking for tenure. BTW. Roman classics Juvenal & Sallust will soon disappear into thin air for their satires about Jews and other Levantine migrants.

    • Classics is defined as Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, basically everything around the Mediterranean. Egypt, or Aegypt, was a part of Roman Empire.

      Classics without Greece and Rome is not Classics.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @Lesley Ragsdale

      You make some good points. I like to use the 2nd century AD astronomer and geographer Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria as an example of ancient cultural mixing:

      “…..Ptolemy wrote in Koine Greek and can be shown to have utilized Babylonian astronomical data. He was a Roman citizen, but was ethnically either a Greek or a Hellenized Egyptian….”

      Plus his work survived for many centuries only in Arabic translations, until the Greek originals were finally re-discovered. From the Wikipedia article “Ptolemy.”

    • X. Citoyen says

      Why *does* classics need to overwhelmingly focus on Greece and Rome?

      Sometimes one answers one’s own questions:

      I know pretty much nothing about classics…

  87. Alison Mark says

    The first texts to be studied when preparing for what were then ‘O’ Level exams (in Britain at circa age 15, in my case) in Latin and in Greek were by Julius Caesar “De bello gallico’ and Xenophon ‘Anabasis’; both about military – indeed colonial – expeditions, with various unpleasant aspects.How are ‘woke’ classicists going to make these politically correct for god’s sake. Thanks and respect to this contributor.

  88. In Pol Sc it is much worse. Professors must exercise self-censorship if awaiting tenure. BTW. Roman classics Juvenal & Sallust will soon disappear into thin air for their satires about Jews and other Levantine migrants.

  89. Wilson Dasilva says

    I read the whole article (pffff) and listened to the commentary in the video, in my opinion, the author had good points, but a very poor delivery. She started by saying “I will probably offend all of you”, not a good start when you are trying to be persuasive. Her choice of words when addressing Mr. Padilla caused the uproar, she pointed the finger at him and said “You may have gotten your job because you are black” the room erupted and anything she said after that was not heard. She then said “But I would prefer to think you got it because of merit.” Once again poor delivery, because everyone heard the part that seemed very racist, the second part which explained her point was lost in the uproar. I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, and I painfully learned that to get your point across you have to craft your words carefully, otherwise your points will be derailed before you have a chance to conclude your presentation.

    • X. Citoyen says

      You’re either young and don’t know how civilized adults are supposed to behave, or you’ve internalized the low expectations for adults that get lower every year. And we’re not talking about just any adults; we’re talking about scholars—or, rather, the hollow drums that have taken the place of scholars.

      of course, there’s another possibility. I’ve heard the blame-the-speaker line most often from faculty trying to persuade themselves that it’s not the audience. After all, blaming the audience would require acknowledging that the university has been taken over by half-witted fanatics. Better to keep one’s head in the sand.

    • Not everyone is an orator. Mary Frances Williams is a bad speaker, but it is not the reason to lynch her. Can’t people just let her finish first? Even a bad speaker can still deliver her point across if you allow her to speak and digest them carefully.

  90. Anastasia Christakos says

    Mary, we the Greeks are used to it. Throughout the centuries, it’s either kudos or book burning. Either that, everything being misconstrued to fit in their view of history and humanity. Here, this will give you an idea of what’s going on in some other parts of the world with classics- New Zealand.. Θερμος δε Ψυχος -Hot or Cold.. very appropriate.

    • Anastasia Christakos says

      I forgot to add- I think the kids did a great job here..

  91. Andy Patton says

    As to the idea of ‘ “popular engagement” to determine research topics, and questioned the value of traditional notions of Classics, asking why so many students wrote their dissertations on great works of classical Greek and Latin literature, instead of topics like indigenous writing in the Americas and technical writing.’

    I know of one scholar of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) background. One of her research areas is the Seneca language and the cosmology embedded in it. She has also been engaged in the project of decolonizing the curriculum. And…while not a scholar of Rome, she studies Rome, its thought and history in some depth as a fascinated amateur.

    Her example might suggest that there is no necessary binary choice between decolonization and the study of Classics—and in particular, classical language.

  92. Just to start off, I nearly dropped my laptop when I saw this gem of a Freudian slip:

    “Because we are still about cronyism and supporting a very small group of people in many ways this can oftentimes silence other people. I too have had problems with whether to call people out or whether to say things, whether we should be anonymous or whether we should have a name attached to all the allegations that we put against people, but we have to think about the past of Classics and the present in order to make it welcoming for the future.”

    If the first sentencce doesn’t describe SJWs, then nothing does.

    I must also say how fascinating it is to watch how this generation follows the pattern of the destruction of Imperial Rome. Endless war, internal fighting, and class divisions caused people to resort to religion (SJW is a religion) and to discard education. Dark Ages ensued and the only reason we got out of it was – surprise! – the resurrction of the Classics. Any time a group of people can’t get what they want through logic and reasoned argument, they resort to religious talk, mystical “experiences” as the rule since these can’t be proven wrong using the scientific method. So naturally they must go against the Classics since they are the foundation of science. Let’s hope we don’t all die off before we can send this tidalwave of insanity that seeks to destroy more than just the reputations of a few select scholars.

    • This is strange. My comments appear and disappear and then re-appear. Maybe there’s a problem in the system. Again, apologizes for repeated comments.

      • Reziac says

        Happening everywhere WordPress is found, thanks to some recent update behind the scenes. It’s also why some of us now have to log in for every comment. WordPress delenda est.

  93. Jimmy H says

    Thank God I’ve never studied in the US if this is the ugy hybrid of McCarthyism and Stalinism one encounters. Horrendous characters who will kill academia

    • Avid Reader says

      You could come here to Oz, where in at least one major University they have removed, from the Law Faculty, the requirements that a student needs to “demonstrate understanding” of various statutes. I pity the public, who will be able to find a lawyer that knows there is a statute, but is completely unable to apply it, much less argue it in a combative courtroom.

    • Reziac says

      The problem is McCarthy was right — we _were_ being infiltrated by Stalinists (see Yuri Bezmenov’s interviews on Youtube). By 1960 or so they had a good solid foothold in academia, and now we’re going into our third generation educated by folks who have never known any academic environment that wasn’t steeped in Marxism.

      Such infiltration was not so necessary in the rest of the world, which was either already under communist control or lacked America’s patent will to resist (now sadly depleted, if not so badly as in western Europe).

  94. SkepticProf says

    Look, there exists video and audio evidence that the author did NOT (that is, that she responded that he “may” have gotten his job for the reason *he* proposed, but that she preferred to think it was because of merit.) This is an open-and-shut case of malicious defamation.

  95. Smartassacus says

    Look at Mary Beard’s pathetic response to this article when Toby Young asked her about it directly on Twitter: .

    Beard: «I was at the event and my account if what happened would be rather different from that. ! »

    Young: «As the editor of the piece, I checked it very carefully, both against the video footage of the event on YouTube and against a transcript of everything that was said up until MFW left. In that regard it’s 100% accurate. But, of course, room for interpretation nevertheless.»

    Beard: «I think it is not a question of the strict accuracy (yes you are right it agrees with the transcript, and thanks for checking).. it was the feeling of the room I guess, those unquantifiables that dnt come over even in film, the expectations etc»

    She has no evidence or facts to contradict Mary Frances Williams so she just says it doesn’t feel right.

    So much for “scholarship”.

  96. jimhaz says

    Mary sounds like a genuinely concerned teacher.
    Sarah Bond sounds ONLY like a foolish dominating bitch.

  97. Nakatomi Plaza says

    This is why I’ve completely lost faith in academia as a force for social justice. Say you’ve got a Latino academic in a tenure-level position making six-figures complaining about the horrors of social injustice because transgendered black women aren’t equally represented in Greek studies or whatever bullshit. Surrounding this tenured professor are a roomful of adjuncts and scholars from outside the system (of all backgrounds and ethnicities) who are all struggling and making considerably less per hour than the tenured staff with no benefits. The inequality and lack of opportunity between these two groups is painfully, undeniably obvious. Will our academic hero say anything in defense of their underpaid peers? Never. Will they relinquish the benefits of membership in the upper 10% to do anything for the people beneath them? Hells no.

    These people don’t care about injustice. They certainly don’t care about the human beings around them. They only care that the problems of ordinary plebs don’t become an inconvenience to them and their determination to warp reality in the most flattering and self-serving manner possible.

    • X. Citoyen says

      Surrounding this tenured professor are a roomful of adjuncts and scholars from outside the system (of all backgrounds and ethnicities) who are all struggling and making considerably less per hour than the tenured staff with no benefits. The inequality and lack of opportunity between these two groups is painfully, undeniably obvious. Will our academic hero say anything in defense of their underpaid peers? Never. Will they relinquish the benefits of membership in the upper 10% to do anything for the people beneath them? Hells no.

      I saw this with my own eyes. The social justice types weren’t concerned about the plebs beneath their noses. They were too busy fighting for Justice and Humanity to be bothered doing anything about the 60% of classes being taught by grads and post-grads working contract to contract with instant dismissal hanging over them. Ironically enough, in my last years of grad school I chose teaching assistant and research assistant positions over teaching positions because, under the bizarre rules of university contracts, a teaching or research assistant was more protected from the mob and the whims of the bureaucracy (and better paid per hour worked) than a lecturer. Younger grad students wondered why; those who’d taken teaching positions didn’t need to ask. They knew every lecture might be their last.

      I never resented the indifferent faculty. But I couldn’t bear to look at the self-righteous poseurs denouncing Injustice while standing on the backs of their own serfs.

  98. Loopz says

    I teach at a Masters programme in Musicology (for those who don’t know, this studies the history and analysis of classical music). I read the article on Wednesday and though: ‘Classics without Latin and Greek? This is crazy’. Yesterday I was told that assuming that my Masters students will be able to read classical musical notation and follow a score is not inclusive enough. Musicology without notation and scores? Well…

  99. Ron says

    @Nakatomi Plaza: Amen! The people on this panel care about justice as much as the communist overlords in the ex-communist countries cared about justice and the working class. But they do care about power.

  100. Well, on one point these people were right: they are not “Western civilisation”. Just western.
    As a European I feel like a Greek might have felt had my ancestors the Romans patronized about the “true” meaning of Greek culture and civilisation.
    Yes yes, in both cases imperial might proves decisive. It is a fact. Not a case that the meeting was hold on a warship. How symbolic.
    But civilisation is another matter.

    This was just another case of American cultural imperialism dictating how the history of other peoples and countries *must* be taught in order to conform with their McCarthyst vision.

    *America first*, always, even when you talk about people who never were and never will be “American”.
    Imperialists always wore the mask of social justice and progress. It is good for “them” to be ruled by us. Pax Americana. Ubi solitudinem faciunt, “pacem” appellant.

    These people are simply American firsters, but in denial. How surprising (not).

    • You think study of the Classics originated in and is dominated by the US? Interesting thought, but aren’t the Classicists being denigrated mostly dead Europeans?

  101. Dominic Allaway says

    Being accused of ‘harassment’ for a, at worst, poorly phrased statement as this individual was reminds me of a employment case I had last year.

    An experienced manager, spotless record, promoted twice, politely and calmly asked a Polish employee to please not speak Polish whilst she, the manager, was conducting a meeting; other employees were being distracted. Result: the manager is accused of ‘racist harassment’ and sacked.

    62 years old and on the scrapheap for speaking the ‘wrong’ way…

  102. Jerome Barry says

    It would appear that market forces, far more than progressive justice, are to be responsible for the elimination of Classics departments, the dismissal of Classics faculty, and the closure of Classics journals.

    Even so, we’ll always have Basil Gildersleeve

  103. Dennis says

    Back in 2009 or 2010 Ian Morris was invited to UT Austin for the major classics talk of the year. He was pushing a milder form of the same idea, basically saying that classics as a discipline has to provide equal space for non-Western cultures and literatures. His idea was strongly criticized by all commenters from the audience, including left-leaning professors like Tom Palaima. I’m pretty sure Gagarin would have been present, but he didn’t “grab the mike” from any of his colleagues. I doubt there would be such criticism today. One of the creepiest things about the left is how they don’t care of even notice how mutable their morality is. They have truly been given over to a reprobate mind.

  104. Andrew Worth says

    The reaction to Mary Williams comments was like that of a mob, knock her down and trample her.

    We can only hope that the mob was not typical of SCS membership and that the bulk of the mob had self-selected from the wider SCS community because they were aware that the speakers would be talking the type of identity politics that they found appealing, that saner SCS members in the know didn’t waste their time going to this particular session.

    But that’s probably grasping at straws.

  105. Emblem14 says

    The level of charity on display for Williams here is predictable but ridiculous. She’s a terrible articulator of the thoughts she was trying to convey. Her statement which caused the uproar could not have been better designed to leave the impression that she was imputing that Padilla Peralta was an affirmative action hire – a clear insult that one could plausibly infer contanted a tinge of racial animus, especially considering the previous statement on “Western Civilization”, which everyone know now doubles as code (in some quarters) for white supremacy.

    • You need to read Peralta’s assertion that he SHOULD have been hired because he’s black. I think he might have had more reason for taking umbrage if William’s had said “You weren’t hired because you are black” – which, in fact, was her actual point.

  106. Emblem14 says

    The level of charity on display for Williams here is predictable but ridiculous. She’s a terrible articulator of whatever she was trying to convey. The statement which caused the uproar could not have been better designed to leave the impression that she was imputing that Padilla Peralta was an affirmative action hire – a clear insult that one could plausibly infer contained a tinge of racial animus, especially considering her previous speil on “Western Civilization”, which anyone with any political consciousness knows now doubles as code (in many quarters) for veiled white supremacy, and, fair or not, is therefore a “contaminated” term.

    How is it that some people see her comments as totally innocuous and some as clear evidence of racism?

    Easy – the statements at issue are both “motte-and-bailey” propositions, in that some words and phrases simultaneously have a superficial yet banal interpretation (the Motte), and a much more controversial or radical interpretation (the Bailey) on the other.

    “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I’d prefer to think you got your job because of merit.”

    Terrible application of rhetoric. Awful optics. The second sentence, which attempts to mitigate the assumption of the first sentence, (that he IS an AA hire, and therefore inferior to a meritorious hire), is not going to processed neutrally after the initial emotional impact of the first sentence. “may” can be operating in the first sentence as either “maybe”, as in, “we don’t know”, or “given that”, implying an obvious truth. Which interpretation do we think the audience was inclined to assign, given the larger context (“I’m probably going to offend all of you”)

    Audience perception drives which interpretation becomes the “true” one, through complex social interplay.

    Williams shot herself in the foot by making a statement that can be plausibly interpreted as racist, which subsequently contaminates her entire personage and any other valid points she was trying to make by placing them in a highly negative context of “this is what a racist thinks”. Stupid stupid stupid.

    The tragedy is, Peralta set himself up to be undermined by his own logic, if Williams had taken a different tack After all, you can’t simultaneously argue that scholars of color should be systematically given preference in publication and then claim offense when people observe that this means people will be getting opportunities “because” of their race or gender. Peralta of course takes offense at the implication that any scholars benefiting from affirmative action are any less meritorious than those they would be replacing, because he thinks structural racism is nullifying genuine merit. He doesn’t see what he’s doing as undermining merit, but rather that putting a thumb on the scale against status quo bias is necessary to achieve it.

    There’s an interesting debate to be had there, but clearly Williams is not equipped to represent her “side” in it without undermining her own case.

    • Andrew Worth says

      Emblem14, the audience was hostile to her perspective. I don’t believe that any approach she could have taken would have resulted in her getting a fair hearing, this situation of suppressing voices that support of free speech and individuality, and promoting identity politics and the new racism has become mob rule, it’s just sad to see such an anti-freedom agenda become dominant amongst those teaching the history and civilization of the Greco-Roman world, upon which modern Western culture is in large part based.

    • X. Citoyen says

      Seems to me it’s the armchair quarterbacks in the comments that have lost perspective. Peralta delivers a speech proclaiming that only blacks and Hispanics should be published in classics journals. A speaker puts a few awkward questions to him, and a roomful of alleged scholars erupts in outrage and rushes to the podium to grab the mic from her.

      Yet, out of this whole shameful and shambolic event, the fault you zoom in on is her rhetorical strategy? She should’ve nuance to the left, pivoted to the right, tucked and rolled back before saying…what, exactly? What exactly should she have said—or rather could she have said? Did you read Peralta’s oxygen-deprived rant on Medium? That contains the real lesson of this story: How godawful the academy has become.

      As for Peralta himself, have you noticed that he’s had every accolade, award, and scholarship bestowed on him, including professorship at Princeton, despite publishing absolutely nothing of consequence? He has a couple of minor papers, a book review, and two puff pieces in Zuckerberg’s Eidolon—that’s it. His Wall Street Journal hagiography (one of many cited in his Wiki page) proclaims him the greatest classicist of his generation. Yet the dissertation of this unrivaled scholar, which was accepted in 2014, has never been published. How come the dissertation of the greatest scholar of his generation hasn’t been published when he’s published nothing else of note? What exactly does his greatness consist in? I think I know the answer.

      • Emblem14 says

        Like it or not, the delivery of unpopular views matters. Aesthetics and rhetoric matter a lot. Logical coherence is probably last on the list of things that have persuasive force. On an emotionally charged subject, people are not going to react calmly and rationally and one needs to be able to anticipate the standard responses to certain provocations in order to avoid falling into traps.

        Peralta let out a whoop and Bond said “we all saw that coming” when Williams made her glaring unforced error, because they had a better read of the social dynamics at play than did Williams. Williams is now resorting to a “babe in the woods” defense after saying something anyone can immediately see was highly inflammatory and counterproductive.

        Was it a genuine case of “unfortunate” phrasing due to nerves? Who knows, but one thing is certain – when you combine ambiguity of intent with stumbling into a taboo, all it does is drive the partisans to their respective corners, and sets back any hope of a productive discussion.

        If this is a culture war, the competence of the soldiers matter. Williams is not competent to be on the front lines and in this case, seems to have fumbled a live grenade which subsequently blew up in her face.

        • Andrew Worth says


          You are correct in that the views she was expressing were unpopular and that her audience was not thinking rationally but, rather, was running on emotion – as is typical of lynch mobs. But hey, lets not blame them for acting like a lynch mob, lets blame their victim for being nervous.

          • Andrew Worth says

            I’ll add that this running on emotion is at the core of the “woke” problem that’s at the heart of the mess that is academia today, rational and polite discourse has been replaced with emotions, with hatred being the wokes first response against those expressing non-woke views. Hatred that takes the form of a knee-jerk reaction to as quickly as possible suppress the voicing of dissenting opinions.

      • rumplebum says

        No, no… he was proclaimed ONE of the greatest classicist of his generation, not “the greatest”. How silly throwing your credibility away like that just to score a really cheap point? The rest of what you have to say doesn’t really matter now.

        • One of the greater- greater is comparative, greatest is superlative- there can be only one greatest.

      • rumplebum says

        Why has mu comment been suppressed? This is quillette. What is the matter with you?

    • Prof says


      You’re right, she didn’t express herself very well, and I doubt she convinced anyone who wasn’t already convinced. However, now that this has happened, those of us who are not classics scholars got a glimpse of the way those supposed scholars now think. And it’s an abomination. I used to think that classics were the last bulwark of the, ahem, classical humanities, but now, thanks to Mary Frances Williams, I know better. If administrators want to close down classics departments across North America, then good riddance, I say. Competent scholarship on the subject will continue to get published in Europe.

    • Dominic Allaway says

      When someone contends that ‘Western Civ’ is ‘code’ for ‘White Supremacy’ you immediately know that you’re in the presence of a person who has a personal axe to grind and/or is little more than an unthinking repository of whatever supposedly left-wing view they believe that they are required to hold in order to be seen as ‘left-wing’ and therefore a ‘good person’.

      I refer you to the excellent 4 part series of articles on Western Civilisation on this very website to cure you of your partiality and, hopefully, venom. It will explain why these two terms are not synonymous. One reason is that it was the best that Western Civ has to offer, many of its leaders educated almost from the cradle in the Classics, that fought and died fighting against genuine white supremacists in the US Civil War and WW2. Another, and better, reason is when on earth did the likes of Homer or Cicero or Shakespeare argue for the supremacy of white people? They didn’t!

      Genuine ‘white supremacists’ are your Southern Confederates, Nazis, the BNP; you know, people who want to oppress, enslave and murder anyone who isn’t white, as opposed to anyone who contends that W Civ is mostly a good thing – remember that definition of ‘white supremacy’, the correct definition of that term? To assert that this scholar – nervous (but brave), tweedy (I was looking for but saw no leather elbow patches), erudite, possibly something of a ‘cat lady’ (no disrespect – I may be completely wrong) – is even in the same philosophical ballpark as members of groups like these is a truly ridiculous and comical assertion.

      It is also simply downright nasty – but since you are ever-so-bravely anonymous you can afford to be nasty about a nervous old lady, can’t you?

      It is reading comments like yours that remind me why I left Facebook and Twitter.

    • Jon Burack says

      If the academy – and blacks in the academy – cannot deal with the obvious harmful effects of affirmative action – the academy is on the way to ruin. You likely know as well as most blacks do that the question of whether one is an affirmative action hire or a merit hire is real, all-pervasive, destructive and inevitable. If merely hinting at it is a crime, I am sorry, but no amount of greater sophistication in presenting the idea would have saved anyone. Your explanation here, somewhat tortured but worth considering, would have resulted in your being persecuted every single bit as much as Williams was. This barbarism is not a matter of style, but of substance. It must be confronted bluntly, as bluntly as possible, no matter who it “offends.”

  107. Asparagus Tip says

    The universities have to collapse. They are not savable.

    • Government universities must go, along with fed regulation and subsidy.

      “Private University” = free university- the only kind that should exist.

  108. Andy Barrette says

    Mary, I suppose you are in duress at the moment. I am so sorry for the PC gunfire that has been directed at you. All I want to say is that your words have inspired me (and I assume countless others) beyond expression. We feel your pain and your words resonate with us. We were raised under the flag of cultural tolerance, only to realize that the bearers of that flag intend to subvert the local culture that we are inevitably loyal to out of love. I believe that the information age is exposing the poison that progressive dogma has been injecting into our culture, and I have great hope for the generations who are growing up now, with access to viewpoints that oppose the corrupt establishment. You are indeed an asset to your field and to society at large. May you find a community to embrace you wherever life leads you. God bless you.

    • Thumbs up, Andy Barrette. Hey Quillette how about thumbs up, thumbs down clicks.

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  111. Jon Burack says

    That great “classic” bard of our own day put it well”

    My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
    False gods, I scuff
    At pettiness which plays so rough
    Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
    Kick my legs to crash it off
    Say okay, I have had enough
    What else can you show me

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  113. Richard Di Lorenzo says

    My interest in the Classics really began in the fall of1990. I was in my car on the first day of what I was calling my “sabbatical” (The 7th year in which a field is allowed to go fallow to rejuvenate) This, although I was a home builder who married young after a History degree in college, had two children the second of which was entering college that fall. On the radio was a PBS program that had Mortimer Adler speaking to the New York press club, and explaining “Why the Classics.” The main point that struck me quite forcefully and had me enroll in St Johns College Masters level program of Liberal studies was that it was idea content that made a book a Classic. The average book concerned itself with perhaps 2 or more ideas of the 103 Great Ideas, (easily found on line)
    and a book could be considered better and better the more ideas were delved into. He spoke of the various writers who wrote books touching on numerous great ideas. To just name a few, Eternity, Change, Equality, Form, Emotion, Love, Will, Matter, Nature, Time, Art History, Poetry, Metaphysics, Rhetoric, Pleasure and Pain, and on and on. What struck me was how much sense it made! I did not then, nor can I now, find a reason to believe that any race, any gender, or any other slice of identity would not be “included” in the study of the Great Ideas found in the Classics. Trying to go back and find something in an authors lives that does not meet with currently accepted norms and rejecting them for something that was culturally normal then seems absurd. It is at best childish. Think of it. We have a parent who was 90% good. However, we discover that they didn’t like Jews. So, we reject them out of hand. We discover that one or another of our parents despite their years of fidelity to our upbringing had an extramarital affair. Reject them out of hand. And so on and so forth. Any “micro aggression” that a parent committed was sufficient for rejecting them “out of hand.” That is what it has come to.

    More importantly, I cannot find in the Great Ideas anything that a normally intelligent and curious HUMAN BEING would not find compelling. Is a Black person not interested in the idea of Necessity and Contingency? Is a woman not interested in the idea of Immortality? And so forth and so on. An idea expressed by Aristotle on Metaphysics or an idea expressed by Hannah Arrendt is NOT valid because of their sex. It is valid because it a part and parcel of the Human Condition.

    The next summer I had, at 42 years old applied to the Masters Degree program at St. Johns College where I found a wonderful experience awaiting me. The study of the Classics was wonderful to my mind. The students, men, women alike were respectful, curious, highly intelligent, and fair minded. The Tutors as they called themselves were exemplary. Men and women alike! The fact of the matter was that my mind actually became a superior instrument by the reading of books that actually contained great ideas. It forced one to “dwell” on the meaning of an individual sentence. Aristotle is truly amazing.

    I have been curious how things are going now at a place like St Johns, and whether the wonderful program they had then is still intact. I am not overly optimistic after reading this sad article. The fact that the group applauded was sad, sad, sad. But, ideas will just go underground until the dark age passes as it will, when once again sanity returns.

    • Wonderfully stated,Richard Di Lorenzo.

      This group’s platform is troubling. Citing the work of minorities sounds like a very positive step. However stifling free speech is extremely troubling. Their treatment of Ms. Williams is reprehensible.

      Maneuvering dissonance is an essential part of living. This kind of oppression of free speech is happening on college campuses across the country, and spilling into society. Professors are afraid to speak out because they fear for their jobs. The number actually being fired is growing. It’s very concerning.

      Social justice warriors aren’t just at all. If you step outside of their platform they demand your head; your job. It’s a psychological war zone.

      My hope is that this nonsense peaks sooner rather than later so that we can get back to some semblance more civilized communities.

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  115. Currently spinning in their graves: Edith Hamilton, and Mary Renault. Both women. Oh, that’s right, they are white. Oh what rancorous, infantile actions on the part of this ‘symposium.’ It IS important to be inclusive and to be open to many ideas of interpretation and expansion of ideas in the Classics. But we have to take them as a foundation, from which some malleable ability to re-infuse it with new ideas — but not at the destruction of its foundations — and new voices. Much like the American Constitution. We can not erase or ‘destroy’ the beginnings of the Classics, nor the men — yes, white men primarily — who wrote them. I would have liked to have heard that in a public symposium, Prof. Williams’ statements could be heard all the way through before being lambasted and then preempted by being silenced and dismissed. And her being fired from her position and from membership just makes my head want to blow up. Weren’t the Classics where we learned of polity, civility, and freedom of speech? What I find most damaging is that so many of the ‘New Classicists’ are often never deeply from the foundation and long reading of them, but almost ‘sui generis’ appear like Venus on a clamshell, or insinuated into the classrooms like some bad annunciation bring bad news rather than good. Historically, fewer and fewer students which to consider the Classics as study, which is why it is dying out. And even when such universities as CUNY Graduate Center and other major universities promoted enrollment in these courses, especially to women, people of color, and many other new voices, there was a trickle of response. That is a fact. It is not that people are being told they are not welcome, it is a matter of there not being an interest acted upon to begin with. I am all for opening the Classics to new voices and interpretation, but you do not do that without first understanding the origins, language, and ideas that it all began. You cannot build a home by building the roof first. This is sad, and offensive to me. It shows a trend I hear more and more about. I think what data I would like to see is how many minority communities actually want to be a part of the Classics to begin with. On that data, one can then determine honest truths about percentages, wherever they fall. And costs? I had a basic entry to the Classics when I was in high school and college. But the most important way I learned about them was on my own. In libraries — free — and with a very basic thought: This literature, these ideas, intrigue me deeply. I want to know more.’ This version of what goes on in academia would have me running right back to the solace of independent study.

  116. Jett Rucker says

    I must say, I don’t find the successful operation of the USS Midway (I served aboard a destroyer tender during Vietnam) particularly heartwarming. Saying that one did could be a right-wing-flavored form of virtue signaling, it strikes me. Though it might indeed have been a relief after the academic conference.

    Indeed, lives were at stake in the Midway’s operation – Iraqi and other such lives on the ground, far more-so than those aboard, or from, the Midway. And through the successful operation of the Midway, many of these lives were destroyed.

    Iraqi lives matter, just like black ones. Or white ones. Or American ones.

  117. Randy Guthrie says

    Blacks have an average IQ of 80. When you touch on that they go crazy. An IQ under 70 is considered mentally retarded.

    • Andrew Worth says

      There’s no such thing as a racial collective IQ, there are only the IQ’s of individual human beings, so, while the claim that “Randy Guthrie has an IQ of 60 might have value, trying to draw any conclusions on an individuals IQ based only on the fact that they are a member of this or that wider social, racial, gender or cultural group is moronic.

      • Brian Appel says

        “There’s no such thing as a racial collective IQ”

        Actually, there is. Read the book “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind” by Gustave le Bon. It is an early book on mass psychology and goes into some detail on crowd minds, and racial minds. It is a masterpiece of scholarship.

        He also wrote a sequel of sorts called “The Psychology of Peoples” which I also recommend highly. It examines collective racial minds, mostly in a European setting. It explains why groups with roughly equivalent average IQs can vary so much in the countries they produce.

        There are many other books on this topic, but these are the best because they are pure scholarship from one of the French Greats and not pushing any lying agenda.

        • Andrew Worth says

          Brian Appel, you either didn’t understand my comment (despite quoting the relevant passage) or you haven’t understood the vintage of the books you’ve been reading. “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind” was published in 1895, a decade before the first accepted IQ test was created.

          “There are many other books on this topic, but these are the best because they are pure scholarship from one of the French Greats and not pushing any lying agenda.”

          You might be surprised to learn that our understanding of the human mind has advanced considerably over the last 120 years.

        • Andrew Worth says

          I’ve had a look through The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, it’s obvious that Gustave le Bon confuses, or a least uses the term “race” to crowds when he should really be using the word “culture”, race has a genetic basis, culture does not, and it is for reasons of culture that the Italians, and before them the Greeks once had the most technically advanced civilizations in Europe with the most formidable armies, but now do not.

          In the pages of The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind that I’ve quickly read Gustave le Bon compares the behavior of crowds of various European “races” English, French, Spanish, Russian etc, these crowds might act differently, as might a crown of angry London dock worker compared to a crowd of Bristol bakers, but the different behavior is due to factors that pertain to the lives of the people involved, not their genes.

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  119. drlorentz says

    Dr. Williams’s part of the video begins at 45:00, in case anyone is interested in seeing how she was bullied and misinterpreted.

  120. John Reid says

    The Long March through the Institutions is nearly complete. The battle has been fought and won and now it is time to pick off the stragglers. We are the Reign of Terror / Stalinist Purge phase or its equivalent. Nowadays you no longer lose your head, you only lose your job. Stragglers like Mary Frances Williams must learn to clap and smile on cue.

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  122. I enjoyed your article and was ‘onside’ until…

    “And that ship, in turn, not only represents but is, in fact, the true defender of the West, its civilization, and its values.” …referring to the mission control centre for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Yes it does represent America and her vassels’ present values, however – are the values of invading countries under known false pretense something to celebrate?

    If this is truely your opinion then I’m for destroying the Western Civilization as it is – which is what the SJW are all about.

  123. ChpLvr says

    As David Burge says:
    1. Identify a respected institution.
    2. kill it.
    3. gut it.
    4. wear its carcass as a skin suit, while demanding respect.

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  131. Teiresiant says

    I am old enough to remember the early 80’s when the teaching of Latin in inner city schools was promoted as a way of overcoming all the disadvantages that are still present, one would say even permanently rooted now, in poorer areas of our cities even in pubic school systems which theoretically should be offering the same quality of educational experience at all of their physical schools, but, of course, are not.

    Watching the Mary Williams portion of the video from the 45:00 minute point, I see someone nervously trying to make points in an honest and polite, but not rhetorically polished way. Instead of saying “I think I am going to offend everyone,” someone more rhetorically adept would have said “I have listened carefully to the interesting and important ideas put forward by the panelists and would like to offer here for consideration a few alternative viewpoints.”

    MW then says what she should have led with and could have phrased better, something like: “Over the last thirty years we have tried hard and in most cases modestly successfully—we have a long way to go—to teach Classics in women and gender studies, alongside other areas of world literature and culture, and engaged with important modern issues of all sorts: war, imperialism, political systems, economy, social discrimination by class, slavery and slavery by another name, etc. What I would like to propose is that we also make sure we continue to emphasize the important notions of personal liberty, democracy and freedom of thought and expression that our own constitution has derived from Classical cultures and that likewise are so at risk in the current political climate.”

    It is troubling to then see that the two mentions she makes of our being western culture are immediately categorically and forcefully denied by a panelist in a breach of the principles of intellectual discourse that are so at risk in our general politics and society. Being interrupted and confronted in such an extreme way naturally heightens her anxiety and puts her on the defensive.

    The rest (the remaining 3 minutes) is now history…and hysteria.

  132. For some centuries, Western Civilization was sadistic, conquering, colonizing, converting others. Is it now turning masochistic, happy to be spat upon and flagellated. Do we believe the others will be more humane, if they become powerful enough?

  133. James West says

    Wow – I greatly enjoyed learning Latin, Vedic, and some Greek 30+ years ago, and had not paid attention to what had happened to classics departments in the interim. Very sorry to see this. Much sympathy, Dr. Williams.

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  135. I’m problematic says

    If this is the price for admitting women into the academy I’m open to rethinking it

  136. Oliver Cromwell says

    Nice enough but you win nothing by contrition.

    Attack! Attack! Attack!

    • Prof says

      The SJW crowd is winning the war in academia, but there’s a catch. They’re a parasite that’s killing the host. They may win, all right, but once they do, they’ll be just as dead (or unemployed, as the case may be) as the departments that they destroyed. STEM should survive (though not necessarily unscathed), simply because it’s too useful to do without. The same can hardly be said about classics.

  137. anglicanxn says

    It seems that this organization thinks that the only way that Classics is going to survive is if it stops being Classics. We have truly entered the end of rationality, and we will soon end civilization, replacing it with emotive mobs.

  138. mark miner says

    On 1/10, SCS President Mary Boatwright took to her bully-pulpit on the SCS blog and said the
    following, which MFW calls a “flagrant mischaracterization” in her Quillette piece.…/letter-president-mary-t-boat…
    “One occurred when an independent scholar attending a panel told Princeton Assistant
    Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta that he got his job because he is black.”
    On 1/14, MB corrected this mischaracterization, gave the MFW quote correctly, chose to
    “stand by the substance” of her remarks, and failed to apologize to Mary Frances Williams.…/presidential-letter-january-…
    “The video makes it clear that what was said to Prof. Padilla Peralta was: “You may have
    got your job because you’re black, but I would prefer to think you got your job
    because of merit.”
    MFW is, as far as I know 3/7, still fired, due to the perception that she made a direct attack on Professor Padilla Peralta, and this perception can be traced directly to this statement by SCS President Boatwright.
    Taking this as a teachable moment for my fellow Latin teachers how would those two statements look in Latin?
    1/10 Unus occurrit cum magistra sine institutione [Scilicet, MFW] Professorem
    Padillam Peraltam conductum esse cutis coloris causa dixit.” (Direct discourse, indicative.)
    1/14 (and 1/5!) Forsitan tu conductus esses cutis coloris causa, sed te conductum esse credere mallem meriti causa. (Pluperfect subjunctive passive, direct discourse, second person.)
    The pluperfect subjunctive passive (the Latin more generously than the English) indicates an acknowledgement on MFW’s part that she is speaking contrary-to-fact in “conductus esses.” The idea that people should be published, and thus hired, cutis coloris causa, was, after all, coming from Professor Padilla Peralta, and MFW’s comment was only pointing out the negative consequences that would inevitably ensue from the racialist system proposed by Dr. Padilla Peralta.

    —Mark Miner

  139. Christopher Manion says

    Please read Eric Voegelin and Hans Jonas on gnosticism. They’ll clear things up.

  140. Your need for a racial dig (“You may have got your job because you were black…”) during your comments really negated anything you had to say. Now you are playing the victim card.

    • Peter Kriens says

      Well, although you only viciously quote the first part of her sentence, paradoxically Peralta argues that he should be hired because of the color of his skin.

  141. Thomas Sculco says

    I was a Classics major at Brown University and went on to a career in academic medicine. The study of Latin and Greek taught me many things but especially how to problem solve, a true mental discipline necessary in any career. My classical education broadened (not narrowed) my view of how our civilization evolved. The wisdom, liberty to speak openly in political debate, respect for ethical behavior are the foundations for our modern society. Academicians like Dr. Padilla threaten the freedom of thought, speech and pursuit of excellence. We cannot allow, under the guise of diversity and racial profiling a dumbing down of scholarly publication. Publication in any discipline should be based on merit and not the color of one’s skin or one’s gender.
    It is a true shame to see the extremes of academic thought promulgated on our impressionable youth with little counterpoint of alternative opinion: scary authoritarian lack of tolerance for free speech and expression masquerading under righteous platitudes. This has historical reference and catastrophic consequence.

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  144. What is most astounding about this article is not the SJW-thuggery it describes, but the fact that an otherwise intelligent woman regrets having stood up for what is right, and losing her little job in the process.

    This betrays a certain lack of logic: surely she can see that her time is now up, and that no doubt she would have been soon axed to make space for some differently-abled-person-of-color?

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  146. Mary – I hope you will consider legal action against those who have committed acts of slander and libel against you. The real damage to your career must be in the 7-figures. The real damage to our culture by such violent charlatans is incalculable. Please fight.

  147. I have been wondering why this sort of thing happens. Maybe a projection from academic studies of the evils and racism of history, onto a previously normal situation. It also has a bit of “The emperor’s new clothes” with a good dose of Senators Mc Carthy’s witch hunt which is actually quite funny when you look at it

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