Education, History, Literature, recent

Higher Education’s Medievalist Moral Panic

On September 19, the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS), a 36-year-old organization of academics specializing in the history, culture, and literature of England before the Norman Conquest, hastily voted to change its name. Indeed, the vote was so hasty that the organization had no idea what its new name ought to be (it is soliciting suggestions from members). Nonetheless, the majority of its 600-odd members were certain of one thing: they no longer wanted to be associated with the words “Anglo-Saxon.”

In the view of many of those members, that term had become tainted, appropriated by an assortment of white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis that calls itself the “alt-right.” During the Charlottesville, Virginia melée of August 11–12, 2017, which included a supremacist’s murder of a woman by car attack, the white nationalists who marched had carried banners and standards incorporating iconography that, if not always precisely Anglo-Saxon in inspiration, was certainly medieval: Templar crosses, the double eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, and in one case, a Germanic rune beloved of neo-Nazis that was used during Anglo-Saxon times.

More ominously, Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 people in an anti-Islamic shooting spree at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019, wrote a 74-page manifesto which included a quotation from a poem by Rudyard Kipling that has been garbled by white nationalists and given the title The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon. Kipling had actually titled his 1917 poem The Beginnings to memorialize his grief and anger after the combat death of his son during World I. Provoked by German atrocities, Kipling wrote in his refrain, the normally peaceful “English began to hate.” White supremacists posting on the Internet have altered that refrain to read “[T]he Saxon began to hate,” tying the poem to Northern European ethnicity. Tarrant might have read one of the versions of that alteration that have appeared on numerous white-identity websites, sometimes accompanied by artists’ romanticized depictions of supposed Anglo-Saxons in chain mail and leather leg-thongs. Patrick Cruzius, charged with murdering 22 people in El Paso, Texas, in a shooting rampage on August 3, 2019 that seemed to target Hispanic immigrants, cited Tarrant’s manifesto—although not Tarrant’s reference to The Wrath of the Saxon—in a manifesto of his own.

A statement from the ISAS’s advisory board accompanying its September 19 announcement of the planned name change read: “It has sometimes been used outside the field to describe those holding repugnant and racist views, and has contributed to a lack of diversity among those working on early medieval England and its intellectual and literary culture.” But there was something more at stake: During the run-up to the announcement the majority of the board and at least one of its officers had resigned, some of them very publicly, issuing statements excoriating the organization for failing to tackle issues such as “racism, sexism, inclusiveness, representation” and turning a blind eye to sexual abuse of female scholars in the field. The ISAS’s executive director, Robin Norris, also handed in her resignation, stating in an email: “We made you wait too long for change.” The term “Anglo-Saxon” had become an all-purpose grievance nexus for the academic Left—and also a nexus of professional embarrassment and self-doubt for scholars who like to think of themselves as tolerant liberals and feel vaguely ashamed that most of the people taking an interest in Anglo-Saxon studies happen to be white and that a lot of them are men.

Even if there had been no white-supremacist issue, a name change might have been in order for the ISAS, founded in 1983. “Anglo-Saxon” as a catchall name has been regarded by specialists as intellectually problematic for many decades. For one thing, the Germanic-origin Angles and Saxons who participated in the early-medieval invasion and settlement of Britain after the Romans withdrew in 410, had been joined by numerous other tribesmen: Jutes, Frisians, and others hailing from what are now Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Baltic states. Furthermore, genetic evidence indicates that those warrior-invaders extensively intermarried with Britain’s Celtic population, itself genetically intermixed with the Romans who had ruled Britain from the mid-first century.

The Celts themselves had been relatively recent intruders (around 800 B.C.) who mingled themselves into the pre-Celtic gene pool of the builders of Stonehenge and similar monuments dating from millennia earlier. And even after England became “Anglo-Saxon,” Viking invasions from Scandinavia overran nearly all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms during the eighth and ninth centuries, flooding them with Viking genes and Viking words and customs. Even after the Scandinavians were mostly driven back by the end of the ninth century (although England had a Danish king, Canute, who reigned until 1035), foreign immigration continued in the form of traders, missionaries, travelers who stayed on, and royal and noble brides from the Continent. At least three decades ago scholars abandoned the term “Anglo-Saxon” with reference to the various Germanic-origin dialects spoken and written in pre-Conquest England; the preferred term nowadays is “Old English.”

Still, it is fair to say that England during the half-millennium before 1066 did have a culture that could be called distinctly Anglo-Saxon. The Angles and Saxons gave their names to territorial swathes of England that persist to this day: Essex, Sussex, East Anglia. Their Old English dialects replaced other spoken languages in all but the remotest corners. Medieval monks writing in Latin called that tongue Anglice. Specifically, the West Saxon dialect spoken in Wessex, the southwestern English territory of King Alfred the Great (ca. 847-899), became the preeminent literary language of pre-Conquest England. Nearly all extant Old English prose and poetry, including the famous narrative poem Beowulf, were written down in that West Saxon dialect. There was even a distinctive “Anglo-Saxon” script for those writings, distinguished by the long, pointed tails of many of its letters; it looked completely different from the scribes’ Latin scripts. Poetry in Old English used a complex alliterative metrical scheme common to northern languages but unlike anything to be found in Latin or the languages of continental Europe. It was understandable that from 1983 until fairly recently the words “Anglo-Saxonists” were generally unproblematic.

What happened to make those words suddenly problematic in 2019 was the emergence of postmodernist and post-colonialist theory as the dominant ideology in university literature departments. The Gospel According to Edward Said—that academic scholarship in literature and history has been no more than a self-glorifying project of Western imperialism, tainted by notions of Western European (read white) superiority—became a baseline assumption among English professors and even many academic historians. It took a while for medievalists to latch on, since medieval studies is a highly technical and thus conservative discipline demanding training in arcane languages, manuscript-reading, and other skills. But latch on some of them eventually did. In 2001, Eileen A. Joy, then a graduate student specializing in Old English literature at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, filed a doctoral dissertation, “Beowulf and the Floating Wreck of History,” arguing that “Anglo-Saxon England” was actually a “cultural construct” formed by “the negotiations and interactions between scholars and their subjects” and shot through with “discourses of…dominant ideologies” promulgated by the imperialism-infected nineteenth-century British scholars who had published and edited the first Old English texts.

King Alfred the Great statue in Winchester (wikicommons)

There was a grain of truth to this rhetoric that has undoubtedly made Anglo-Saxonists who like to think of themselves as multiculturally attuned progressives uneasy. A cult of King Alfred as unifier of England flourished during the Victorian era, inspiring many a statue and encomium. Walter Scott’s 1819 novel Ivanhoe, with its Anglo-Saxon hero standing up to Norman occupiers, encouraged many English and their progeny in North America and elsewhere to identify ethnically with their real or imagined forbears of pre-Conquest times. The nicknames “WASP” (“White Anglo-Saxon Protestant”) and “Anglo” have become all-purpose descriptors of Americans who might be white but who don’t even necessarily have English blood. A nineteenth-century fad for recreating Gothic architecture accompanied the Anglo-Saxon craze—although Gothic architecture itself dates from the thirteenth century, long after historic Anglo-Saxon hegemony in England had disappeared. It is also true that only a tiny percentage of scholars working in the Anglo-Saxon period are non-white for whatever reason: racism, lack of interest, or the generally dismal job prospects for Ph.D.’s in the humanities.

Eileen Joy went on in 2004 to found the BABEL Working Group, a “collective” of radical scholars “devoted to more present-minded medieval studies, a more historically-minded cultural studies, and a misfit heteroversity.” After a stint as a tenured professor at Southern Illinois University she quit academia in 2013 after founding Punctum Books, a print-on-demand publishing firm whose eclectic titles include critiques of capitalism, explorations of “queer theory,” and The Medieval Disability Sourcebook. She also became a point woman in a loose affiliation of radical medievalist gadflies who tasked themselves with calling out other medievalists over alleged acts of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and other sins of incorrect attitude.

One of the first targets was Allen J. Frantzen, a respected scholar of Old English—and, as it happened, an openly gay man—who had taught at Loyola University-Chicago for 35 years until his retirement in 2014. In 2015, Frantzen posted an entry (since removed) on his personal blog, “How to Fight Your Way Out of the Feminist Fog,” that decried feminism as “a sour mix of victimization and privilege” and echoed the diction of “men’s rights” websites in urging men to take the “red pill” of resistance. Joy and others signed a petition in 2016 to the Medieval Academy of America, the nation’s premier medievalist organization, demanding what amounted to a censure of Frantzen as “misogynistic” and “bullying.” The Medieval Academy declined to take action—but not before a sizable number of other Old English scholars had circulated a statement declaring that a “majority” in their field were committed to be “welcoming to all others, irrespective of identity.” During the summer of 2017, Joy surfaced again in an article about medieval studies in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she declared: “The field has been rather proud of its resistance to critical theory, which then just attracts even more people to the field who themselves want to be resistant to theory and see medieval studies as a safe place—a safe place to be elitist, a safe place to be white, a safe place to be Christian, Eurocentric, misogynist, etc.”

At around the same time, in July 2017, complaints about how “absolutely…white” Anglo-Saxon scholarship was specifically alleged to be began to surface in radical-medievalist blogs. Adam Miyashiro, now an assistant professor of English at Stockton University in New Jersey and a self-described “product of the multiethnic mix of Asian and Polynesian peoples” in Hawaii, fretted online that the ISAS’s annual meeting in Honolulu that year featured papers mostly delivered by white (plus a few East Asian) scholars on specialist topics dealing with features of Old English philology and the strategic significance of battles against the Vikings. Miyashiro seemed particularly incensed that ISAS had rejected a paper of his own titled “Beowulf and its Others: Sovereignty, Race, and Medieval Settler-Colonialism.” According to Miyashiro’s proposed paper, Grendel, the monster that the hero Beowulf defeats in the poem, was actually “an indigenous person with a specific biopolitics.” Miyashiro’s paper “linked a non-European reading of Beowulf to the contemporary issues of white supremacy that plague Anglo-Saxon studies, and medieval studies more broadly.” In turning down his paper, Miyashiro argued, the ISAS had committed “erasure of the native.”

That summer was the summer of Charlottesville, and the fact that some of the white-nationalist participants had sported medieval-looking paraphernalia sparked alarm among academic medievalists. It mattered little that the number of wannabe medievals taking part in the white-supremacist demonstration had been small: “dozens” was the way National Public Radio had described them. The apprehension extended well beyond the leftist fringe. For example, Daniel Donoghue, an English professor at Harvard whose scholarship generally eschews the trendy, emailed me that he and his editor had agonized over whether to change the title of Donoghue’s then-forthcoming monograph, How the Anglo-Saxons Read Their Poems. “It was a conversation we wouldn’t have had, say, two or three years ago,” Donoghue wrote. “[B]ut I’d prefer to avoid any association between my work and vile racists.”

In October 2017, George Washington University hosted a pair of back-to-back all-day conferences devoted to alt-right appropriation of the Middle Ages and its alleged encouragement by academic medievalists. The Frantzen controversy came up as an example of professors’ alleged tacit encouragement of violence against women. The main target for denunciation, however, was Rachel Fulton Brown, a historian of medieval religion at the university of Chicago who had waged an online feud with Dorothy Kim, then an assistant professor of medieval English literature at Vassar (she has since moved on to Brandeis). Brown had defied, in a sarcasm-laden blog post, a demand by Kim after Charlottesville that medievalist professors use their classrooms to assure their students that they were not white supremacists. Kim, a Korean-American who describes herself as a “woman of color,” was one of Joy’s clients at Punctum Books, with a line of projected titles condemning “digital whiteness” in medieval studies. She was also a regular speaker on the medievalist conference circuit, where she participated in panels on “whiteness,” “diversity and inclusiveness,” and a need for “decolonization” in medieval studies.

Brown was already under fire from the academic Left over her much-publicized friendship with the gay conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who had just been accused of fraternizing with white nationalists in a lengthy Buzzfeed expose. Other medievalists accused Brown, who had tenure at Chicago, of bullying the tenure-less Kim. This time the Medieval Academy was more responsive. The organization publicly announced that it had established an ad hoc committee designed to protect its members from “verbal abuse, discrimination, bullying, and harassment of any type.” Several members of the Medieval Academy’s board, along with its executive director, sent a sympathetic private letter to Kim offering her a free membership and waiving her registration fee at the organization’s annual meeting in 2018.

In July 2018, Eileen Joy’s BABEL Working Group, in conjunction with another organization, Medievalists of Color (Kim and Miyashiro are both on the board), launched a campaign to boycott the May 2019 meeting of Western Michigan University’s Medieval Institute’s annual conference, a typically huge (3,000-person) annual gathering of medieval scholars on Western Michigan’s campus in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The organizers of the May 2018 conference had declined to bar Brown, on grounds of “intellectual and academic freedom,” from a session titled “Whiteness in Medieval Studies 2.0” at which Dorothy Kim was a featured panelist. The session’s organizer, Seeta Chaganti, a professor of medieval English at the University of California-Davis, announced her refusal to participate in any future conferences in Kalamazoo. The decision not to keep out Brown (who did not in fact attend the session) “allowed a false conception of academic freedom to undermine true academic freedom,” Chaganti wrote in a statement.

BABEL’s “open letter” calling for a boycott of Kalamazoo in 2019 complained that the Medieval Institute had rejected sessions proposed by BABEL, Medievalists of Color, the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, and similar groups that would have dealt with such “self-critical” topics as “How to be a White Ally in Medieval Studies 101,” “Decentering Privilege,” and “Toxic Medievalisms: Misuses and Abuses of the Medieval in Contemporary Culture.” The Medieval Institute countered that many of those topics were already covered in sessions sponsored by others that it did approve, and that it in fact did allow BABEL to sponsor a single session on “whiteness” at the 2019 conference.

Meanwhile Joy had fastened her social-media sights since 2017 on yet another male Anglo-Saxonist—and ISAS member—even more prominent than Allen Frantzen, accusing him in a series of Facebook and Twitter posts of being a “serial sexual predator” of campus women for at least three decades. Since, as far as I know, no actual alleged victim of this man has come forward publicly to accuse him, and an email I sent him asking for comment went unanswered, I am not going to name him. But Joy’s Twitter rants against this scholar, which include excoriations of ISAS for demanding “proof” of the allegations instead of promptly expelling him, have gained credence among other female medievalists.

It was in this over-seasoned stew of #MeToo allegations, aggressive social-justice ideology, the likely pressure on younger scholars of trying to make a living in a branch of the humanities for which there is declining demand, and moral panic over association, no matter how tenuous, with murderous white-supremacist deeds that the ISAS seems to have collapsed into a profound identity crisis. On September 10, Mary Ramboran-Olm, an independent scholar with no formal university affiliation, announced at a “Race Before Race” conference in Washington of medievalist and early modern scholars that she was resigning her position as board member and second vice president of ISAS. In an interview with Inside Higher Education she said that her fellow Anglo-Saxonists “seem to be one of the least equipped and slow to move ourselves into the 21st century with regard to tackling racism, sexism, inclusiveness, representation” and other issues.”

Medievalists of Color promptly issued a statement of support, describing Ramboran-Olm as “a woman of color in an organization so dominated by whiteness that it has not yet ceased referring to itself by a name that attracts and empowers white supremacists.” Two days later, on September 12, Irina Dumitrescu, a professor of English and medieval studies at the University of Bonn, announced that she, too, was resigning from the ISAS board. She cited, besides the “issues of racism” that the organization had failed to deal with, its “protection of sexual predators and abusers.” That seemed to be a reference to the professor accused of serial sexual predation. Yet although Dumitrescu called herself a victim of “abuse” in her resignation letter, she named no names.

Perhaps the ISAS, in rushing through a vote to change its name just a week later, was simply atoning for its distinct, if admittedly slight, association with murderers who might have seen a mangled version of a Rudyard Kipling poem about “Saxons” on the Internet. But it seems as likely that relentless ideological pressure from a rump group of leftist scholars with agendas and bullying issues of their own led the Society to capitulate to a passing social-justice fad that sees racism and misogyny everywhere. One thing is certain, though: It’s no longer okay in academia these days to call yourself an “Anglo-Saxonist”—even if you do happen to studying long-dead people who called themselves Angles and Saxons.

 

Charlotte Allen has a Ph.D. in medieval studies from the Catholic University of America. She has written frequently for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and First Things. You can follow her on Twitter @MeanCharlotte

Featured Image (wikicommons)

Comments

  1. To summerise:

    Racist ‘people of color’ are angry that the study of white peoples medieval history is largely dominated by white people themselves. Worse, that it’s dominated by white people who don’t hate and despise their own medieval history.

    These ‘racists of color’ seek to ethnically cleanse these white people from the study of their own history, so they can rewrite it through the filthy lens of their own fascistic, racially supremacist ideology.

    I hope white medieval scholars fight back against this blatant assault on their profession.

  2. Beowulf and the Floating Wreck of History”.

    I reckon over the past dozen or so decades, and especially post-WWII when higher education became available to the masses, there have been thousands of dissertations, papers, books, etc. written about Beowulf. Which means, it’s probably quite difficult to find anything new and original to research about him - and many others, for example Shakespeare and his many characters.

    Critical theory offered a new and, frankly, easy way of examining these subjects. Pick a lens, be it feminist, the other, etc., and then copy-paste an oppressor-oppressed narrative to use to condemn. Cite a few frogs to buttress the claims. Or use the same gambit to attack some other fella’s research for an imagined foul or slight to an oppressed group, real or fabricated. Catch any grief from an advisor or the dissertation committee and accuse of an ism or an obia. As time marched on and the old guard retired, it’s likely those who replaced them were far more amenable to the assertions.

    Voila! Paint-by-numbers PhD.

  3. No more white guilt.

  4. It is one thing to disagree with someone politically and hope that ones own views triumphs. This is perfectly normal. However it is quite another thing entirely to try and ruin the life of someone who disagrees with you politically.

    Such an attempt encapsulates the type of personalities involved in the PC witch-hunts . I am surprised that more is not made of the obvious personality disorders / deep level neuroses associated with those involved.

    If I was to witness a man on the street racially abusing a random stranger unprovoked I would assume that the man is laboring under some sort of defect of reason . I would assume not unreasonably that he has an underlying personality disorder and that the racial abuse is a symptom of this disorder.

    In a similar vein it is clear that the type of people who accuse others of being racist, sexist etc on the flimsiest of pretexts have serious personality disorders and or/ anger issues. It clearly goes much deeper than whatever the apparent matter at hand is.

    I wonder if PC ideology makes its strongest proponents vicious attack dogs who have no compassion for those they seek to destroy or perhaps it is a case that the ideology attracts these sort of people in the first place.

  5. Meanwhile Joy had fastened her social-media sights since 2017 on yet another male Anglo-Saxonist—and ISAS member—even more prominent than Allen Frantzen, accusing him in a series of Facebook and Twitter posts of being a “serial sexual predator” of campus women for at least three decades. Since, as far as I know, no actual alleged victim of this man has come forward publicly to accuse him

    I am done with adult women who strike from the shadows with anonymous accusations of rape and/or sexual abuse.

    Any woman who doesn’t have the courage to publicly identify herself by name when she makes her accusation is unworthy of the justice she claims to seek.

    And I would include those women who do publicly identify themselves, but then keep their alleged rapist/abuser’s names secret. I don’t believe these women, either, and I presume that their rape claim is made solely for the purpose of earning street credit as a feminist.

    These days, any time I hear of another woman making a rape or sexual abuse claim, my first and continuing thought is: “Prove it!”

    There have been too many frauds, too many lies, for me to ever again simply believe.

  6. “that decried feminism as “a sour mix of victimization and privilege”

    What an apt description.

    “At around the same time, in July 2017, complaints about how “absolutely…white” Anglo-Saxon scholarship was specifically alleged to be began to surface …”

    I would imagine Hebrew studies is overwhelming Jewish. Is there any evidence of people of color being turned away or discouraged from medieval studies?

    It is really disheartening how few today have courage in the face of bullies. Sometimes my cynical side says they get what the deserve. This article is reminiscent of the PC knitting wars, featured earlier this year.

  7. In short, they have been shamed into turning against themselves…they might as well just fold their tents and go home.
    Who in their right mind would want to join an organization that cannot defend their very raison d’etre…

  8. The ‘PC ideology’, to use a medieval analogy, is a besieging enemy that wants to break down the castle walls and instil its own king on the throne.

    Their tactics are exactly what you would expect of an alien, besieging enemy.

    It’s just that the ‘castle walls’ are now represented in different ways, ways like medieval history.

    The enemy wants to colonise every aspect of the western ‘castle’, including its history.

    Whatever drives them is irrelevant, all that matters is that they are driven back.

  9. But it seems as likely that relentless ideological pressure from a rump group of leftist scholars with agendas and bullying issues of their own led the Society to capitulate to a passing social-justice fad that sees racism and misogyny everywhere.

    I’m not at all convinced that this is just a fad. Feminism has been one of the most dominant ideologies in the West for over a century, and it only seems to be getting more and more radical, and more powerful, as time goes on.

    Why would feminists ever stop pursuing their agenda, when they’ve been so successful so far? They’ve taken over governments, companies, institutes of higher learning; I heard they’re giving lectures about gender and theoretical physics sponsored by CERN - something which my naive dad found hard to believe, at first.

    This isn’t a fad, it’s a war, and until we start treating it as such, we’re doomed to be on the losing side.

  10. The human race is going to have to get through its head that women are just as capable as men, if not more so, of being lying goddamned scum.

  11. I don’t think the war is going to be won by nice blocks in academia, or any nice blocks from upper-crust educated polite societal circuits at all.
    We don’t hear a lot of stories of production workers being run off a plant for using n-word or cat-whistling to a female co-worker. Even the most rabbid of activists discover, it doesn’t play well for them once they bring their manifestations to the people, who just “trying to get to work”, or “just getting my breakfast, so f… off”. Every attempt to “cancel” somebody from humble background, (like they tried to cancel that kid, who raised tons of money to fight cancer, holding sign at football games, by discovering his un-PC tweets from 10 years back), caused uproar, and eventually blew back in their faces. Simple people not easily rationalize away common sense with some buzz words and not easily offended by being called names.

  12. @PeterfromOz

    I agree with your overall assessment. However the Rules of Engagement are also the problem. Under the current atmosphere the more shrill and hysterical the claim or argument, the more apt it is to prevail. If the target calmly asserts he can not intelligently respond to hysterics but would being to rationally discuss the matter and the evidence, he is decried as dismissive an lacking empathy. Lacking empathy is now tantamount to a major character flaw on par with racism. There is no longer detachment in debate, it is all about emotions and feelings. Today calmly coolly and rationally discussing an issue is considered toxic masculinity. These are not the actions of mature individuals. How one debates or reasons with persons so developmentally stunted is beyond me.

  13. My mom was reading Ivanhoe while she was pregnant with me. That’s why she named me Cedric (after Cedric the Saxon). I finally read Ivanhoe this year and really like the book. I was shocked at the Antisemitism of the main characters (particularly Robin Hood), but also surprised at the humor injected (as if Scott was making fun of bigotry, kind of in Mark Twain fashion). It is also worth noting that the Jewish characters in Ivanhoe came out on top (Ivanhoe’s benefactor being Jewish and his love interest being the daughter of his benefactor). I say all this to point out that obviously whiteness and maleness and Anglo-Saxon-ness were (and are) assets in the West, but dealing with stereotypes, bigotry, etc., doesn’t have to be through the means of censorious, angry, sanctimonious groups cancelling what they consider less-righteous people. My recommendation would be to take a page from Scott and (1) assume the oppressed group you are defending is tougher than you think (because they probably are); and (2) inject a little levity (we can always do with a little more of that in our discourse).

    I know my comment has little to do with the article, but I had thoughts and I shared them. So there you have it.

  14. I think in general it’s best to think of debate not as being aimed directly at one’s opponent, but addressed to the audience. You aren’t going to convince our current crop of Resenters (for lack of a better word) of much, simply because their world view is based on received wisdom, and a challenge to that is a challenge to their fundamental sense of identity.

    The audience on the other hand tends to be more likely to be looking for the means to deal with questions or internal conflicts they themselves hold, and hence are more receptive to arguments based on reason and facts. @gagamba’s recent slicing and dicing of @JackBNimble’s misunderstandings of international corporate taxation has been, for me, a delightful example of that.

    Something also worth keeping in mind is that most of us are products of current trends in education, which tend to be shallow, self-referential, and avoidant of the tools useful for dealing with complexity and nuance. I do think making high schoolers learn to draw the nude from life is the best antidote to that - nothing holds a teen’s attention better - but oddly enough, some people object :slight_smile: But failing that, I think literature and history are wonderful resources to learn these tools and how to use them. (See Cedric’s post above.)

  15. Strong evidence that @HalifaxCB is correct in saying that comments should be addressed to the audience, not to the crazies.

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