Clodius the Cross-Dresser

By Martijn Icks In December 62 BCE, Rome was gripped by a bizarre scandal. Publius Clodius Pulcher, a young man from a noble family, had been caught trespassing in the house of one of the most prominent and powerful men in the city: none other than Julius Caesar. He had been trying to sneak in... Continue Reading →

The Amsterdam Colloquium: Some Thoughts

By Martijn Icks On June 21st, Edwina Hagen and I organized the colloquium “Character Assassination! Media and Mudslinging from Caligula to King Gorilla” in Amsterdam. We invited experts on various periods in Western history to discuss practices of character assassination from an historical perspective. Comparing various case studies, we hoped to shed light on some... Continue Reading →

Traitors to Turkey

By Martijn Icks Ethnic minorities are particularly vulnerable to character attacks. Last March, Dutch parliament passed a motion urging the political party DENK to stop publishing intimidating video clips about MPs with Turkish roots. Signatories expressed their concern that MPs were attacked “primarily on the basis of their descent” rather than because of their political... Continue Reading →

As Crazy As Caligula? [Part 2]

By Henri van Nispen Caligula is clearly a case of imperial madness and hardly suitable for serious reflection upon today’s problems. I care to differ. It is a set phrase to say that every historian reflects his own interests as well as those of the Zeitgeist. Pondering the ruler of his day, the German medievalist... Continue Reading →

Trumpism as Brand Commodification

The so-called Trump Bump is a gift that keeps on giving. Traditional news outlets and their social media competitors for advertising dollars, liberals and conservatives, and even Trump and Putin all benefit from the commodification of public interest in the Trump White House.

On Authenticity and Character Assassination

By Jennifer Keohane While the heat and humidity have made those in DC lethargic and prone to staying inside and binging on Netflix, on Twitter, it’s always a perfect 75 degrees with conditions ripe for character assassination. My case today comes from the recent wave of primary elections ahead of November’s midterms. In New York’s... Continue Reading →

Selfish Teachers

By: Jennifer Keohane Can you undertake a character assassination campaign against a profession? We at CARP Lab have had rousing debates about whether groups of people can be targets of character assassination. After all, we tend to think of character as traits stemming from individuals. Things like honesty and humility are individual characteristics. Of course,... Continue Reading →

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