Magazine | October 10, 2016, Issue

From the Newspaper Archives

The Roman Citizen & Chronicle, August 26, 410:

. . . unclear at this time who, exactly, is conducting a long-term interaction with the people of Rome. Some local politicians have used the work “sack” to describe the series of spirited encounters between Roman citizens and the undocumented visitors from the northern regions who have arrived within the borders of traditional “Rome,” but it’s impossible at this early juncture to define either their motive or their specific ethnic makeup.

Alaric the Visigoth quickly claimed responsibility for the series of attacks early yesterday morning but has so far offered little in the way of proof that he and his “Goths” are behind the loosely organized collection of lone-wolf-style operations. Local officials and experts have called for more investigation into the root causes of these disturbances, noting especially the complicated and hard-to-navigate Roman citizenship rules that have created such a powerful backlash to the north, and religious scholars maintain that Alaric and his army are followers of what is essentially a peaceful religion that worships a deity who appears as a fire-

breathing dragon wearing a necklace of human skulls.

Some have suggested that the Roman warlike “culture” — which has made powerful weaponry such as spears, javelins, maces, and even assault axes readily available to anyone with enough coin — is ultimately responsible for the “clash of narratives” now unfolding in parts of northern Rome.

Outreach efforts in schools and temples designed to welcome new visitors from the north are ongoing but currently underfunded by the Republican-controlled Senate, which includes many senators who represent rural and more traditionally “Roman” regions, and who have veered closer and closer to a xenophobic and racist outlook. Many in fact still use the term “Roman Empire,” which has been criticized by progressive groups for its racist and privileged . . .

The Hastings Advertiser, October 16, 1066:

. . . learning about the diversity and culture from across the Channel, such as the multitude of sauces and ways to prepare egg-based dishes.

Already, citizens of Hastings and its surrounding areas are rolling their “r”s and taking a bit more pride in their appearance and their home décor. This “invasion” — a complicated word that can mean many things, depending on the racial and ethnic makeup of the speaker — has been more like a “merger” of two cultures, both finding a balance after an uneasy and fraught relationship.

For his part, William the Conqueror — and while he and his team acknowledge the aggressive nuance of that honorific, they quickly point out that in their native language of French, the word has a more romantic, even erotic, connotation — has made it clear that his culture doesn’t permit the subjugation of another. And while it’s unclear right now whether the French army intends to stay, the sheer number of rapes and maraudings taking place suggests that it does.

It should be remembered that King Harold and his forces have also taken part in invasions and rapes during his rocky tenure as King of the Realm, lending context and nuance to events now unfolding . . .

The Vienna Times Diplomat, September 28, 1529:

. . . colorful banners, exotic music, and the tantalizing smell of roasting lamb and doner kebabs.  The scene outside the gates of Vienna was a delightfully chaotic array — more like a church fair or feast day than what some Viennese conservatives are calling, with scant evidence, a “siege.”

Suleiman the Magnificent reposed in splendor, enjoying the dates and sweets from his homeland to the east. “I’m a peaceful person,” he murmured recently to a journalist. “I really have no particular issue with the people of Vienna. I merely ask that they subjugate themselves to the Ottoman crown and either convert to the True Faith of Islam or pay a tax. Or, you know, other stuff. But let’s keep this upbeat.”

Indeed, experts and religious scholars echo Suleiman the Magnificent’s interpretation of his faith, and military strategists suggest that the “siege of Vienna” — as it is already being called in the populist press — is nothing more than a state visit accompanied by flaming catapults.

“The important thing here,” said Geerst Trondleheim, lecturer in Cultures and Diversity at the University of Vienna, “is to remember that it’s okay for foreign visitors to camp out by the city gates. The wall we built was, in many ways, a racist act, an ‘othering,’ if you will, and this is the natural response to that. Let’s not overreact. I, for one, would like to hear the voices and perspectives that Suleiman the Magnificent would like to share with us.”

It is not clear whether Herr Trondleheim’s head was one of those spotted on pikes surrounding the Ottoman camp, but his delegation to the visitors was greeted with a noisy and affectionate volley of arrows and . . .

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Trade or the Trade Establishment? Robert D. Atkinson’s “Four Myths about Trade” (September 12) are almost correctly stated; which is to say, incorrectly stated. “The first assumption is that America is the ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Honestly, the thought of her becoming president makes us feel a little faint, too. ‐ Hillary Clinton abruptly left a 9/11 commemoration at Ground Zero, stumbled off a curb, and ...

Crass Couture

Will we look back on Trump's tenure as an era of refinement and elegance because he said “Excuse my French” after he dropped the effenheimer?
Politics & Policy


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The Age of Miscalculation

On August 7, 1998, more than 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Americans learned three names most of them never had heard before: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda. On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered a ... Read More

Jay-Z Joins the Ranks of the Insufficiently Woke

Rapper and mogul Jay-Z announced his company’s new partnership with the National Football League and has made much of the social-justice Left furious: I think that we forget that Colin [Kaepernick]’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct? So, in that case, this is a success; this is ... Read More