How Nasty Was Nero, Really?

In The New Yorker, Rebecca Reed reports on modern historians’ efforts to rehabilitate the Roman emperor Nero, whose name has become synonymous with corruption. Depictions of Nero as notorious are “based on a source narrative that is partisan,” Thorsten Opper, a curator in the Greek and Roman division of the British Museum, told me recently. The museum has just opened an exhibition that, if not quite aiming to rehabilitate Nero,…

Veteran’s microphone cut off when he discusses Black people’s role in establishing Memorial Day

Who is this nobody Memorial Day keynote speaker who dared to make white patriots feel discomfort by bringing up facts that trigger their racism?  It’s not history unless it affirms my world view, right? Where does the lying America-hating fake news media come up with these stories? There so bias!! A ceremony organizer turned off a microphone when a retired Army lieutenant colonel began sharing a story about freed Black…

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Half a Life (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 22) Lwaxana Meets Cogsworth

Rewatching ST:TNG The teaser sets up another comic episode with Lwaxana Troi, and the first few acts deliver accordingly. This time, Lwaxana (Majel Barett) sets her sights on Doctor Timicin (David Ogden Stiers), a reserved scientist focused on saving his world’s dying star. This episode has many long scenes of Space Science, some of which exist simply to be interrupted by Lwaxana’s antics, but one is an overlong bridge scene…

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A friend asks: “Would it be bad form to point out the typos in my class materials?” My answer: Probably yes.

After I posted my grades for this term, I made a dumb typo in this celebratory meme, and a friend pointed out the error on social media. Another friend, who is just starting a new grad program, asked: Curious, would it be bad form to point out the typos in my class materials? I’d say that correcting an instructor’s proofreading errors is probably not the best way to start an…

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Drumhead (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 21) Federation Loyalist Tramples Justice

Rewatching ST:TNG An earnest, somewhat heavy-handed analysis of a Federation loyalist who is willing to trample justice in order to expose a conspiracy. An unusual episode, full of misdirection, and casual references to past episodes in a nod to the complex world-building that helped the Star Trek franchise mature. While the script engineers the plot so that Picard can save the day with yet another speech, along the way it…

Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books

A good article analyzes the strong cultural reactions to voluntary changes made by the companies that manage the “Potato Head” toy line and the books of Dr. Seuss. Cries of “censorship” and “cancel culture” rallied passionate citizens who defended their nostalgic memories of childhood and sought targets for their rage. I just read an article on new allegations against Peter Yarrow. I knew that he was convicted of sexually assaulting…