Persona non grata

So it’s finally happened. I’ve been officially declared a “persona non grata” by the elected leadership of the Platypus Affiliated Society — the Organizational Committee or OrgComm, if you prefer (in a delightfully Soviet portmanteau). An e-mail was sent out earlier today specifying that I’m no longer to be invited to any of its functions or events, and even actively discouraged from attending. Of course, this proclamation was circulated “internally,” on the Platypus listserve, but as everyone knows these things are never that secret anyway.

For many of you, this will come as quite a surprise, considering my outspoken support for the group in the past and repeated arguments against calls to boycott or shun it. Now, it would appear, I myself am to be shunned by the very group I’ve publicly defended on numerous occasions. Let it be known that I do not rescind any of these arguments, as I still consider most of the motions that counsel disengagement with the organization either pointless or unprincipled. In fact, despite the advice of the many who’ve told me I’m “better off without them” or assured me that “Platypus is just holding [me] back,” I continue to find the stated goals of the organization honorable and most of its methods unobjectionable, whatever complaints may be made regarding its needlessly vituperative internal rhetoric. Also, though some others treat the entire outfit as some kind of sad joke — and find its various panels, fora, and publications overwrought, if not simply boring — I stand my past statements that I often find them illuminating and insightful. Continue reading

Thomas Jefferson: American Jacobin?

The American revolutionary
on the French Revolution

Image: Portrait of Thomas Jefferson

On Independence Day, in anticipation of Bastille Day, here’s author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson on the French Revolution: Continue reading