Author Archive for cudozier

Classical Shirts Mask Hate with Humor

“Culture Wars” is a store on the custom apparel website TeePublic.com that advertises itself as “designs in support of European culture and civilization.” Like another online apparel store that Pharos has documented, “Culture Wars” offers many shirts with classical images and themes that promote both coded and explicit racism, homophobia, and misogyny. But whereas the previously documented site promoted a violent and hyper-masculine vision of the classical past, “Culture Wars” takes the approach of attempting to mask much of its hatred with humor.

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Classical Antiquity and the fear of “White Extinction”

As has been widely reported, the alleged shooter in the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand subscribed to a racist conspiracy theory that national and world governments are trying to eliminate white people by encouraging immigration of non-white people, intermarriage between white people and non-white people, abortion, and, in the more paranoid versions of the theory, violence against white people. This theory fuels racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia and can inspire violence like that seen in Christchurch: the shooter killed fifty Muslim worshippers and injured fifty more. He titled his manifesto “The Great Replacement” after a version of this theory articulated in France; in the U.S. this theory has often been known as “white genocide” or “white extinction.” The Christchurch shooting brought this theory widespread attention but it has a long history among hate groups and, more recently, in more mainstream circles. And as with other hateful ideologies, Greco-Roman antiquity is frequently invoked in support of it, by giving legitimacy to the idea that white people are somehow endangered.

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Greco-Roman Antiquity in the Pseudo-Academic Journal of White Supremacy

The Occidental Quarterly is a white supremacist publication designed to look and feel like a peer-reviewed journal in order to give itself credibility as a platform for racists and anti-Semites. Its articles are available only to paid subscribers (except for those also published on its sister platform, The Occidental Observer, which Pharos has also documented) but the titles of articles published in the journal make clear both its hateful politics and the assumption of many of its contributors that Greco-Roman antiquity can be used to authorize those politics.

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Update to the Onomasticon of Classical Pseudonyms and Avatars

Last fall we launched the “Onomasticon of Classical Pseudonyms and Avatars” to collect examples of people using classically-themed pen-names and images in support of hatred. This week we’ve added four more examples to our database:

  • A misogynist whose work we’ve documented before but whose choice of name — “Atlas” — we hadn’t commented on
  • A xenophobe masquerading as a stoic philosopher by using the name “Marcus Aurelius”
  • A contributor to a white supremacist website who uses the name “Titus Quintus,” which might either be a garbled version of a famous Roman general or might only be two Roman praenomina thrown together
  • A racist YouTube channel with an illegible Latin name: Verbo Tempestas

Our full discussion of each can be found in the Onomasticon itself along with the other examples we’ve documented so far.

Classical Antiquity the Go-to Trope for White Supremacist “Politician”

Augustus Sol Invictus is a white supremacist and former U.S. Senate candidate. As Pharos has documented, he admires Greco-Roman antiquity so much that he legally changed his name to one that invokes ancient Roman imperial and religious associations. Although the SPLC notes that Invictus has “faded from the scene” since he was the headline speaker at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, nevertheless his website, The Revolutionary Conservative, continues to feature new content written by Invictus himself and other contributors, and also maintains an active presence on social media. A look at the material he has published lately reveals that both his commitment to racist politics and his belief that Classical Antiquity supports his views remain strong.

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Degrading Murals “Civilize” Native Americans with Latin Textbook

In the fall of 2018 Dartmouth College decided to remove from campus a set of murals depicting Eleazer Wheelock meeting the Native Americans living in New Hampshire, where he founded the college in 1769. The murals have drawn protests since the 1970s for their racist depiction of Native Americans and the room in which they were displayed — a dining room for faculty — was closed in 1979. Since then the murals have been accessible only by special arrangement but were still located in a central location on campus that implicitly endorsed their representation of Native Americans as unsophisticated people who need to be “civilized.” The murals explicitly make Classical education part of this “civilizing” project.

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“Western Civilization” means Classics…and White Supremacy

Earlier this month Iowa congressional representative Steve King, known for his xenophobiasupport for white supremacy, and long history of promoting racist politics, was quoted by The New York Times asking “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” No one has defended King for asking this about “white nationalist” or “white supremacist,” but Texas congressional representative Louie Gohmert said that it’s “a fair question” to ask “when did Western civilization become a negative?” and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said “I am unsure who is offended by the term ‘Western civilization’ on its own.” If Scott were to look into it, he would find many different people, including classical scholars arguing that “Western civilization” is coded language for white supremacy, even in response to King’s latest remarks. But it’s important to keep reiterating the case. Just this month a member of the professional association for classical scholars prefaced a racist attack on a scholar of color by insisting on the need for classical scholars to protect Western civilization. And we need to reiterate not only that “Western civilization” refers to a racist ideology, but that those who use it as King does are referring to Greco-Roman antiquity.

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“Warrior” apparel invokes antiquity for violent White Nationalism

Warrior XII” sells t-shirts and other apparel that “embrac[e] the warrior mindset and the essence of what it means to stand on the thin blue line, serve in our military, or simply be a patriotic American.” The “12” of “Warrior XII” is a slang term for police. Their designs include slogans such as “I’ll control my guns, you control your kids”; “If you can’t be safe, be deadly”; and “Die a Hero, or live long enough to become the villain.” Warrior XII also sells several shirts that invoke classical antiquity, including designs such as “Spartan Helmet,”  “American Spartan,” and “SPQR.” As Pharos has documented, both the Spartans and SPQR are favorite sources of inspiration for white nationalists, and on closer inspection what might at first seem to be nothing more than a line of shirts for gun enthusiasts turns out to be a platform for xenophobia and coded white supremacy.

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Ancient fables said to prove that all women are “inveterate liars and deceivers”

One of the foundations of misogyny is a set of generalizations about women that justify their oppression. Authors in the misogynist and increasingly violent “Men’s Rights Movement” like to prop up their hateful view of women by pointing to ancient evidence as “proof” that these generalizations are true. In an article entitled “No Fable,” the misogynist Douglas Galbi, whose personal webpage and contributions to A Voice for Men have been documented on Pharos, cites the example of the ancient Greek woman Thais to argue that all women are deceptive and value material wealth over everything else. Like the rest of Galbi’s work, this article is meant to support one of the fundamental (and fundamentally wrong) claims of contemporary misogynists, that it is men, not women, who are oppressed in what Galbi calls today’s “gynocentric” culture, and that this oppression has very old, even ancient, roots.

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Pursuit of truth said to be unique to the “White West”

Altright.com is a website founded by white nationalist Richard Spencer that Pharos has previously documented. An article on the site entitled “The Will to Truth” argues that white Europeans should be considered superior to “the darker races” because “men of white descent” are the only ones who value the “Socratic idea of truth,” a possession that Europeans can “trace back, with justice, to our very origins in Ancient Greece.” It goes on to argue that “Should the White West perish, the love of truth perishes with it.” Read More→

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