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CSotD: Several Juries are Out

Here we are, more or less.

That is, I think Marc Murphy takes a bit of a verbal shortcut in describing the Chauvin jury as “sequestered,” since they’re locked in now, but they weren’t during the trial, and it came up in the discussions after they were sent off to consider their verdicts.

ICYMI, the defense argued that, because they weren’t sequestered, they might have seen references to the case in the media even without watching the news, which the judge had ordered them to avoid.

A specific example was Rep. Maxine Waters’ statement Saturday night that protesters should “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if Chauvin were acquitted.

Much is being made of the judge’s saying the defense was free to try an appeal based on that, but he also reminded counsel that the default is to assume that the jury has obeyed his instructions.

That is, you can’t just say it might have happened. You have to show that it did.

That’s a steep hill.

 

Keeping in mind that, as inept as the defense has seemed, and as hopeless as their task has appeared, Jen Sorensen correctly notes that they only have to instill one juror with a case of reasonable doubt.

 

Meanwhile, Tom Tomorrow does a masterful job of pointing out the prevalence of illogic, prejudice and plain damn foolery currently dominating the system.

Anyway, the Chauvin jury is locked in now and we’ll see how long it takes for them to agree on the charges.

I’m concerned that they will find him guilty on one or two of the lesser charges and the streets will explode because he was acquitted on the major one.

Which is the gist of Murphy’s cartoon: Pent-up fury has been building for a long time, and there are, effectively, two juries examining this case.

One of which is bound by the restrictions of the law and one of which is free to make decisions based on how they feel.

Yesterday, we laughed at stupidity, but (A) this is not funny and (B) nor is it an issue of stupidity.

Great minds have pondered the distinction. Case in point:

 

Existential Comics contrasts Thomas Hobbes with John Locke.

Viewpoints that are clearly right or clearly wrong don’t last in the marketplace of ideas very long, and nothing in either of their views is simple, but my own opinion is that Hobbes argued in order to prove what he already felt, while Locke broke away from that in order to question commonly held beliefs.

And, as the punchline notes, things were better ordered back when everyone did as they were told, though, of course, Hobbes wouldn’t have bothered writing his book if everyone really did obey the King.

The Readers Digest version being that Hobbes erred by endorsing the Divine Right of Kings, while Locke erred in assuming that, freed of strictures, people would make good decisions.

Our Founders sided with Locke, which either means they endorsed freedom or that they were elitists, depending on the preconceptions you bring to the conversation.

 

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals mocks those who question studying the past (I think), and the cartoon ran simultaneously with Cornel West’s passionate defense of the classics, in which he decries Howard University’s decision to drop their Classics department and fold its faculty and classes into other departments.

I agree that classics matter. He notes that Frederick Douglass believed that, to which I would add that Marva Collins used classics in teaching black inner city at-risk youth.

But I’d temper it by pointing out that you were never allowed to major in classics at Howard and their move is based on the low number of students who were taking the courses in the department.

And by the fact that the classics faculty seems okay with the transition, apparently hoping that kids will take a course in Greek epics in the English department that they wouldn’t have signed up for if it felt like they’d be studying “Western Culture.”

Whatever that is.

 

When I based a children’s serialized story on Theseus and the Minotaur, I discovered, first of all, that Theseus was a real jerk and, second, that the story documents a conflict between the Minoan goddess-based civilization in which women were roughly equal and the emerging Greek culture in which they were kept nearly in purdah, the separate world we associate with Muslim and Hindu cultures.

So I made the story (illustrated by Marina “Rinacat” Tay) about Ariadne instead.

 

And when I wrote about Perseus, not only did much of the action happen in North Africa, but it appeared from the source material that, while they disagreed on whether Ethiopia meant Ethiopia or Libya, it sure seemed that Andromeda was African, and my artist on that project, Christopher Baldwin, drew her accordingly.

 

“Clash of the Titans” be damned.

Greek Culture isn’t all that “Western,” nor is the Bible, and the more you look into the Classics the less you find they have to do with Northern Europe.

And we never had complaints about white Perseus marrying black Andromeda, but I heard from two newspapers about furious Greeks threatening boycotts over a series of Roman myths they felt had been stolen from them.

Which they had, but we only said so in the teaching guide, not in the stories (illustrated by Dylan Meconis) that ran in the paper.

Rome is the start of actual “Western Culture” but they were damn late to the party.

For which reason Virgil went to great lengths to show that Romans were descended from the magnificent Greeks, not those brutish Etruscans that Aeneas and his colonizers found hanging around the place.

Though Troy, whence Aeneas came, was closer to Turkey than Greece, which edges us even further East.

Nearly to Gilgamesh.

The whole concept of “Western Culture” being not so much an urn as a crock.

And, BTW, a proper study of “Classics” includes writers like Laozi and books like the Bhagavad Gita.

Studying classics helps you understand the underpinnings of a modern, diverse culture.

The challenge being making it all go from theory to practice.

The jury is still out on that, too.

Which, speaking of classics …

 

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
April/20/2021
@ 11:41 am

One really can’t discuss a “European” culture in the Classical period; what has come down to us was rather a “Mediterranean” one. Angles and Saxons had their own cultures, of which next to nothing has come down to us aside from forms of government based on watery tarts flinging swords.

Anything else we can still call civilization in the Old World would be found to the east and south of the Mediterranean. To the north, not so much, until at least a full millennium AFTER the Roman Empire was taken over by Christian fundamentalists.

#2 Mike Peterson
April/20/2021
@ 5:32 pm

And even the stories of watery tarts were Norman, not Anglo-Saxon.

The Anglo-Saxons left us Beowulf and little else. But here’s what else:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1383379240809205772.html

#3 Carl Laws
April/21/2021
@ 8:57 am

Mike, thanks for the link to Ms. Churchwell’s article. It’s quite an eye-(and brain-)opener.

#4 Becky
April/21/2021
@ 2:18 pm

Great post today. I like putting things in historical context. Langston Hughes tops it off nicely.

I second Carl Laws’ comment. So much information there, and so many links to follow up — a treasure trove.

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