Inspired by having to turn in midterm grades.

“I would teach for free; you have to pay me to give grades.” — Me, not true, but it feels that way at times.

stock image of old report card, with many columns and numbers that make little sense.

Someone new to the North American system might be shocked at the amount of grading. Nearly every course…


Image of Erasmus

I occasionally describe myself as a “humanist”. This behavior puts me at odds with professors of humanities in general, at least according to a recent article in Antigone Journal by Eric Adler:

It is one of the many oddities of contemporary academic life that few humanities professors would deem themselves…


Maurizio Bettini is well known among classicists. His important scholarship applying anthropological methods to Ancient Rome has been translated into English, and he has been the Sather Lecturer at UC Berkeley (2018). His public scholarship, however, seems less well known among anglophone classicists. Germany and France are better served with…


John Locke, coloured stipple engraving by James Godby after G.B. Cipriani. Wellcome Library, London (no. V0003673)

This was originally going to be a different post comparing Marks’ book with Hayot’s Humanist Reason. Although it would have made a pretty good review essay in NYRB (as if they’d publish me!), it proved unwieldy for a blog post. What follows, then, are some moderately connected thoughts about Johnathan…


This post explores a few features of the contemporary discussion about classics by analyzing Jonas Grethlein (JG)’s opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Let me make a few disclaimers before I start. (1) I am approaching the essay as symptomatic of common intellectual features. I am neither interested nor…


Just the book cover, which is simple and has author’s name on the top, white on black; and the title below, black on white.

Published in February 2021 for the Times Literary Supplement by HarperCollins, Jew’s Don’t Count is a short polemic directed primarily at progressives in the UK. Baddiel draws attention, through various arguments and anecdotes, to the ways that many leftists dismiss antisemitism as less important than other types of racism. I…


Two years ago, I started this blog to comment on an SCS statement about social media and anonymity. In that post, I pointed out how it seemed to be a reaction to a blog post critical of Mary Beard. To be clear, Beard is not to blame if I say…


I’ve been struggling to decide if I should write about James Kierstead’s (JK) unfair response to Johanna Hanink’s A New Path for Classics. A few years ago, I came to the conclusion that JK is not the sort of writer who can be trusted to represent arguments fairly, a writer…


This essay lays out my current thinking about the institutional role of the humanities (and classics). I still have lots of reading and thinking to do, but forcing myself to lay out some basic questions and hypotheses will help focus my continuing research. I am pulling back for a wider…


I recently read Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms in Italian. I was struck by the texture of the work which has Ginzburg’s academic standard Italian with extensive quotations from the transcripts of the Menocchio trials. For example, Menocchio:

«Credo che chi non fa mal al prossimo non faccia…

Maximus Planudes

The online pseudonym of the other online pseudonym Leopold “Poldy” Bloom. Really, tho, who I am doesn’t matter.

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