Notes and News from the Archive


Historians love archives. Archives are collections of unique materials available only at the archive and so when you visit one, you get your hands on materials that you cannot get anywhere else. Sure, some archives are moving to put their materials online. If you are one of the towering intellectual figures of the twentieth century or if you won the Nobel Prize single-handedly twice, your papers are online and accessible by anyone with an internet connection. But that process is expensive and most archival material is stored in boxes just waiting for researchers to come visit.

Those boxes can contain all kinds of things: diaries, notes, drafts of books, correspondence, pretty much whatever the person donated for preservation can be in there.  And historians get to go through it all. Vern Jensen, a professor I knew at the University of Minnesota, called it, “reading other people’s mail and calling it ‘work.'”

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Whither Milo? Or the Fall and Fall of Revilo P. Oliver


Milo Yiannopoulos has been thrown from the clown car that is the Alt-Right. Often called a “provocateur” (I prefer “professional douchecanoe”), Milo has had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. He’d carved out a nice little living for himself peddling racism, sexism, tran/homo phobia,  and various other hates on the lecture circuit.That was fine with the Alt-Right. No problems there. But once he seemed to endorse pedophilia, that was a bridge too far for them. Simon & Schuster cancelled his book contract (but it appears he keeps the non-refundable $250,000 advance). He was going to be the keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference  (CPAC), but now that’s off. And, facing a mass walkoff of Breitbart’s writers, Milo has been forced resign from his gig there. In the space of about 36 hours, he lost it all.

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Not My President: Something Trump and I Agree On!

It seems our new President doesn’t like the job much. Unlike the old family business, people aren’t forced to do things just because he says to do them. The press won’t do as they’re told and hence they are the enemy. And the courts keep overturning his favorite Muslim bans so he’ll see them in court! call a mulligan and do the whole thing over because the first one was only for practice and totally didn’t count.   Did you think they were serious the first time around? You’re the one being defensive!

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Getting to know your Alt-Rightists: Julius Evola

Julius Evola has been in the news lately as an inspiration for Steve Bannon. Who is he? Even digby, a really, really smart political blogger admitted she “had never heard of this philosopher before.” It seems a little Evola education is in order, even if some Alt-Rightists poo-poo the idea that Evola has any influence in the Trump administration (although they do so with an “if only” kind of vibe).

Let me say two things up front:  First, and I seem to be stressing this a lot, THIS IS NOT NORMAL! It is not normal that the New York freakin’ Times is discussing Evola as having a role in the Executive Branch of the United States government. Definitely not a bit normal. Don’t let it become normal. Second, Evola is worse than you think, even if you go into this thinking Evola is going to be worse than you think. One of Evola’s books, which you can buy in a new edition (but please don’t), is titled Fascism as Viewed from the Right. Be warned.

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The racially superior should know more about evolution

Milk!  It can do more than give you a quick heart attack on a hot summer day, it can also be a symbol of white supremacy provided you don’t know a lot about genetics or evolution.

This latest bit of news comes from the protest staged by famous weirdo Transformer ally performance artist Shia Labeouf (even Louis Stevens had problems getting his art projects off the ground). Shia’s “HEWILLNOTDIVIDEUS” project was shut down after the livestream was hijacked by white supremacists and become a “site of violence.”  Some of the folks (Volk?) who were responsible for shutting the installation down were white supremacists who drank a lot of milk. These fine young scholars chose this because they saw some scientific studies that European populations have higher percentages of lactose tolerance than other populations. The persistence of lactose tolerance into adulthood is genetic so it must be racial as well, right?  Hence, they think that drinking a beverage that most of us associate with childhood shows them to be studly, racially-superior manly men!

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Nazi Punching Problems

Let’s get the easy part out of the way right off the bat:  No, you should not punch a Nazi:

  • You shouldn’t hit people.  Violence is not a good thing.  This was explained to me when I was six and my mom told me that I wasn’t allowed to bite my sister, get this, even if she made me really, really mad! So: no hitting.  Ever.
  • It might not be robbery, but it is definitely assault and battery. Illegal, is what I’m saying.  I’m sure the judge would not be swayed by the, “I thought he was a Nazi!” defense.  It isn’t like law says, “Don’t strike people unless you really want to.”
  • “But Nazis are violent!”  Right.  And you aren’t. That is one of the many reasons you are better than them.
  • “I was defending myself!”  If someone physically attacks you, absolutely defend yourself!  I’m a big advocate of learning how to defend yourself. If someone is taking a swing at you, however, their political ideology is the least important thing about them.  Their haymaker right will hurt regardless.

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How can the statement be antisemitic when it doesn’t even mention Jews?

On January 27, 2017 President Trump commemorated the Holocaust without mentioning Jews.  The Jews of Europe were, of course, the chief victims of the Nazis. For many Jewish organizations, Trump’s omission was not just a mistake, but an insult to the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust.  On the other hand, Richard Spencer, a leading Alt-Right ideologue celebrated what he termed the “de-Judiafication” of the Holocaust. Trump’s spokesmen (I use the gendered noun purposefully), with the calm, measured judgment for which the administration is known, called criticisms of the statement “pathetic” and “asinine.”

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