War-Monger & ‘The Bell Curve’ advocate/apologist Andrew Sullivan attacks The New York Times & Dan-el Padilla Peralta for attacking the ‘The Classics’!
Headline: He Wants to Save Classics From Whiteness. Can the Field Survive?
Sub-headline: Dan-el Padilla Peralta thinks classicists should knock ancient Greece and Rome off their pedestal — even if that means destroying their discipline.
Read the first comment from ‘Pat’ in Virginia, that places Andy’s hysteria into a kind of perspective, that councils restraint.
Why will I stop reading Juvenal, Lucian, Plato, Aristotle etc.? Andy just needed to work himself into a fit of political hysteria, because it is his habit of being.
In 2017 The Scientific American published this on ‘The Bell Curve’:
He’s back. Recent college protests have propelled Charles Murray into the news cycle again, and his resurging book sales show the publicity’s not all bad. Attempts to fully discredit his most famous book, 1994’s “The Bell Curve,” have failed for more than two decades now. This is because they repeatedly miss the strongest point of attack: an indisputable—albeit encoded—endorsement of prejudice.
‘The Scientific American’ missed this devastating 1994 review of The Bell Curve, by Charles Lane, in the New York Review of Books:
Added February 6, 2021
Where does the reader of Mr. Sullivan’s essay find Dan-el Padilla Peralta in Rachel Poser’s essay? In the classroom, doing what a teacher does, teaching students! These two paragraphs demonstrates the prima-facie value of Dan-el Padilla Peralta and what he stands for: a committed critique within his area of speciality. What does education mean? The ability to apply critical thinking to any set of problems, beliefs, ideologies?
To see classics the way Padilla sees it means breaking the mirror; it means condemning the classical legacy as one of the most harmful stories we’ve told ourselves. Padilla is wary of colleagues who cite the radical uses of classics as a way to forestall change; he believes that such examples have been outmatched by the field’s long alliance with the forces of dominance and oppression. Classics and whiteness are the bones and sinew of the same body; they grew strong together, and they may have to die together. Classics deserves to survive only if it can become “a site of contestation” for the communities who have been denigrated by it in the past. This past semester, he co-taught a course, with the Activist Graduate School, called “Rupturing Tradition,” which pairs ancient texts with critical race theory and strategies for organizing. “I think that the politics of the living are what constitute classics as a site for productive inquiry,” he told me. “When folks think of classics, I would want them to think about folks of color.” But if classics fails his test, Padilla and others are ready to give it up. “I would get rid of classics altogether,” Walter Scheidel, another of Padilla’s former advisers at Stanford, told me. “I don’t think it should exist as an academic field.”
One way to get rid of classics would be to dissolve its faculties and reassign their members to history, archaeology and language departments. But many classicists are advocating softer approaches to reforming the discipline, placing the emphasis on expanding its borders. Schools including Howard and Emory have integrated classics with Ancient Mediterranean studies, turning to look across the sea at Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant and North Africa. The change is a declaration of purpose: to leave behind the hierarchies of the Enlightenment and to move back toward the Renaissance model of the ancient world as a place of diversity and mixture. “There’s a more interesting story to be told about the history of what we call the West, the history of humanity, without valorizing particular cultures in it,” said Josephine Quinn, a professor of ancient history at Oxford. “It seems to me the really crucial mover in history is always the relationship between people, between cultures.” Ian Morris put it more bluntly. “Classics is a Euro-American foundation myth,” Morris said to me. “Do we really want that sort of thing?”
Ian Morris makes plain what Sullivan dare not face: ‘“Classics is a Euro-American foundation myth,”.
Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
‘Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.’
This content was originally published here.