Category Archives: Culture wars

Harvard History Professor to Lead Monticello

Jane Kamensky, new President of Monticello. Courtesy of Harvard Crimson. Photo credit Soumyaa Mazumder

by James C. Sherlock

She is certainly qualified.

On Oct. 17 the Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced that Jane Kamensky, Harvard history professor and director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, will be the next president of Monticello.

From an interview with Harvard Crimson.

  • “The combination of celebration, commemoration, and reckoning that takes place at Monticello in 2026 will not only do all those things, but will show America how to do it,” she said.
  • Kamensky said she looks forward to engaging the American public, especially young people, in a “shifted tone of conversation about American ideals and imperfections and possibilities,” she said.

“Show America how to do it” is an aggressive vision, but we wish her well.

There is evidence that there are mines in that field. She needs to try to carefully clear them, not set them off. Continue reading

Conservative Boycotts Work

by Kerry Dougherty

In the first month after Dylan Mulvaney began promoting the Anheuser-Busch beer, sales of America’s most popular beer dropped 26.5% while Modelo’s were up 13.5%. The Mexican beer quickly toppled Bud Light as America’s best-selling beer.

Likewise, the June “Pride Month” boycott of Target resulted in a 5.4% drop in that company’s second quarter profits and caused Target to revise down its yearly numbers.

These are cautionary tales. Pay attention, Eventbrite.

The online platform that allows event organizers to distribute and sell tickets was targeted yesterday by Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin after he learned that Eventbrite unceremoniously dumped a “Protecting Women’s Sports with Riley Gaines” event at the University of California at Davis.

Riley Gaines, the champion collegiate swimmer who was forced to compete against Lia Thomas, a biological male, is on a mission to keep men out of girls sports. Continue reading

Foreign Student Influence in Students for Justice in Palestine Chapters at Virginia Universities and their “Allies”

Caption: “Show up, share, and support the resistance movement! Let’s keep the momentum going” GMU SJP member

by James C. Sherlock

The SJP organizations at three Virginia state universities, the University of Virginia, George Mason University, and the University of Mary Washington, have been active since October 7th on the Hamas side.

Some attempt to thread two needles simultaneously: to separate Gazans from their elected government, the terrorist organization Hamas, and to separate Israelis from Jews.

In celebrating the October 7th slaughter, those are distinctions without a difference.

We’ll look at the influence of foreign students in Virginia universities’ SJP chapters, then the GMU chapter, and then briefly examine the progressive/Marxist “intersectionality” of SJP to see the extent of who and what we are dealing with.

The results are interesting, but not surprising. Continue reading

Lee Statue Meltdown

by James A. Bacon

At one point during the decade-long debate over Confederate statuary, the logic of the Taliban, er, progressives, was that the statues should not be commemorated in highly visible public spaces, but could be relegated to battlefields, cemeteries and museums. If the statues and memorials must be removed, that seems to be a reasonable fallback position, and we’ll see if and where it is honored.

But the statue to Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, where the leftist electorate is infected by a rabid animus towards its enemies, will never be seen again. Not in a battlefield, not in a cemetery, not in a museum. In the Peoples’ Republic the attitude seems to be: we’ve got the power, we’ve got the statues, you can’t have them back, and by the way, f— you, we’re going to destroy them, and you can’t stop us.

The news is out that organizers of the “Swords into Plowshares” project has melted down the Lee statue, which had been torn down in 2021 and the fate of which had long been the subject of litigation. The deed was done at an out-of-state foundry; the metal will be recycled into some form of progressive artwork.

John Reid, chair of The Virginia Council, released the following statement:

The Virginia Council denounces in the strongest possible terms the vile, vengeful, and repugnant act of destroying in a blast furnace the Robert E. Lee statue that stood for decades in Charlottesville.

Rejoicing in the destruction of historic statues and paintings and gleefully comparing it to the “execution” of a “rabid dog” reveals an alarming and juvenile belligerence. Only a weak and sick society allows this to happen, and it ought to be an extraordinarily disturbing sign about the future of this country. Continue reading

Crime and Punishment in Charlottesville

by James C. Sherlock

UVa and Harvard are the two campuses most often cited by the national and world press as homes to the worst actors after October 7.

It is easy work.

I posted a column on Saturday making a series of recommendations for actions by the University of Virginia to protect its Jewish community and rid itself of those that threaten it.

That was my response to the infamous support of UVa-funded organizations for the slaughter of innocents in Israel by Hamas, a group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Kill Jews “by any means necessary” they wrote.

Read the column.  I named them.

Now I have been told by the Executive Director of Hillel at UVa, Rabbi Jake Rubin, that the President’s office and law enforcement “have been incredibly responsive, helpful, and present during this difficult time.”

Good start, and Virginians thank them for it, but it does not answer the questions about enforcement of state and federal laws.

So, there is more to do. Continue reading

“Hate” Speech Does Not Make Students “Unsafe”

Scene from “Clockwork Orange”

by James A. Bacon

There is a widespread notion among militant leftists at the University of Virginia, as there is in universities across the Commonwealth, that exposure to objectionable ideas causes “harm” to those who hear them and, thus, should be suppressed. This logic is a totalitarian wolf in sheep’s clothing. While I do not countenance the banning of speech — even the speech of those who would happily ban mine — I do believe this leftist trope must be combatted forcefully in the marketplace of ideas.

We observed this thinking in the run-up to the speech by Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, which highlights the role of social contagion in the spread of transgender identity among teenage girls and the potentially irreversible damage of hormone treatments and sex-change surgery.

Shrier is Public Enemy No. 1 to transgender activists, and their social media accounts lit up once word got out that The Jefferson Council and its partners were holding a Q&A event with Shrier on the Grounds. I won’t bore you with the serial misrepresentations of Shrier as a transphobe and a hater. Rather, my intent here is to explore the logic that speakers with views like hers are unwelcome at UVa. 

“Unfortunately, knowing that the university is OK w allowing hateful ppl to come to this school (pence, pompeo, other hateful republicans) it is clear that ‘free speech’ and ‘bipartisanship’ is valued over the safety of their students,” messaged one writer in a QSU (Queer Student Union) account. [My bold face.] Continue reading

Transgender Issues — Whose “Centerpiece,” Youngkin’s or the Post’s?

by James A. Bacon

The latest Washington Post spin on its recent public-opinion poll about transgender issues in Virginia schools is a window into the unconscious biases of WaPo reporters and editors.

Here’s the lead (my emphasis):

Education is an important factor for many Virginia voters this fall, but transgender issues, one of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s most controversial education cornerstones, is a low priority for voters, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.”

A 70 percent majority of registered voters say that education is a “very important” factor in their vote for the Virginia legislature this year, whereas about half as many (34 percent) say transgender issues are very important to their vote.

“I’m not seeing in the data that the trans issue and how that is playing in public schools is a big driver right now in the electorate,” said Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

The message: Youngkin has made transgender policies a “cornerstone” of his education policy, but Virginians aren’t going along. Continue reading

Virginia Beach School Board Adopts Controversial Youngkin Policy

from The Republican Standard

The school board for Virginia’s largest city has adopted controversial guidelines announced by the Youngkin administration.

Under the new rules, teachers and students have the right to call transgender students by their birth name and the pronouns of their biological sex.

The Virginia Beach School Board initially opposed the governor’s order but reversed course on Thursday amid a lawsuit brought by two parents.

As The Virginian-Pilot reports:

“For the past year, the school board and community have been embroiled in a debate surrounding these policies, with LGBTQ advocates arguing the model policies could put transgender and nonbinary students in danger by forcibly “outing” them to unsupportive families or hiding their gender identities. Continue reading

Hatred of Jews at UVa – A Pot Brewed in the Faculty Lounge Boils Over

PHOTOS of smiling infants hang next to their bullet-ridden coat pegs in a bloodstained nursery devastated by Hamas terrorists. A little girl’s bicycle lays in a bullet-ridden yard. Credit

by James C. Sherlock

Israel was attacked by Hamas on October 7.

On October 8, this letter was issued in Charlottesville.

“Events” were “a step towards a free Palestine.”

On October 11, President James Ryan issued a strong message condemning the savage Hamas massacre in Israel. He deserves credit for that, but has not gotten it on the grounds of the University.

Also on October 11, Jewish students at the University felt it necessary to address the University community in the Cavalier Daily. Continue reading

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up…

Hmmm…. Gendered negotiation of urban spaces among transgender persons in Pakistan: dismantling the colonial binary. Sounds interesting.

Actually, I’d be more interested in gendered negotiation of rural spaces among transgender persons in Pakistan…. as in, rural spaces controlled by the Taliban. I’d also like to know more about dismantling the pre-colonial binary. You know, the binary in traditional Pashtun culture that cloaks women in burkas, denies them education, and sentences them to death when they commit adultery.

Even more fascinating would be discussing the Pashtun practice of bacha bazi, in which adult men have sex with boys. That would make a riveting lecture.

Does anyone in Women’s and Gender Studies programs anywhere in the country study that?

“Completely Ignored by Our School”: Roanoke College Swimmers, Part 4

Roanoke College swimmer Susanna Price (screenshot/WSLS on YouTube)

by Scott Dreyer

At Hotel Roanoke on October 5, members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team calmly and clearly delivered blistering indictments of what they described as failed, unresponsive leadership at their school, the NCAA, and USA Swimming. Some of their gut-wrenching stories about being forced to train, compete, and share facilities with a biological male are recorded in Parts One, Two, and Three.

Roanoke College team captain and swimmer Kate Pearson (screenshot/WSLS on YouTube)

At times choking back tears, team captain Kate Pearson painfully described the sense of emotional abandonment the girls felt, as they realized the school they had loved for years [and sent lots of tuition money to] was led by people who were turning both a blind eye and deaf ear to their concerns.

Pearson: “We tried numerous times to ask the school for support, but each and every time we were told to deal with it ourselves, or told nothing at all. The school refused to send out any information to our parents, and we were informed that even if our entire women’s team decided to stand together and not swim, and emphasized the unfairness that was happening, our coach would be allowed to have a ‘one-athlete’ swim team. Continue reading

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of UVa’s Transgender Movement

by James A. Bacon

I learned a lot about transgender activists and advocates at the Abigail Shrier event at the University of Virginia last night. Some are bitter, angry people who hurl non-stop invective. Some are close-minded but willing to engage in rational conversation. But at least one is courteous, friendly and willing to engage in a thoughtful, one-on-one exchange. I look forward to having lunch with her next week.

Shrier, the author of “”Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” was herself polite, charming and attentive. Even as more than 100 protesters were chanting and demonstrating outside Minor Hall, she remained unflappable inside the auditorium under questioning that ranged from skeptical to hostile.

Shrier is the object of venom in the transgender community because her book dared to ask questions that many do not want to be asked. While acknowledging the gender dysphoria is real and those who suffer from it deserve compassion, she argues that much of the transgender “craze” is a social contagion mainly affecting teenage girls, that “affirmative” treatment such as testosterone shots and top surgery are fraught with ill-understood risks and dangers, and that a legion of affirming educators, counselors, and even medical doctors have abandoned science in favor of ideology. She elaborated on those themes in a Q&A session hosted by the Jefferson Council in partnership with the Young Americans for Freedom and the Common Sense Society. Continue reading

“We Were Silenced”: Roanoke Swimmers, Part 3

Roanoke College Swim Captain Bailey Gallagher, explaining the emotional manipulation she endured at the hands of school administrators. (screenshot/WSLS YouTube page)

by Scott Dreyer

As reported in Parts One and Two, ten members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team held an “NCAA — Save Women’s Sports!” press conference on October 5 at Hotel Roanoke, to draw attention to what they described as “emotional blackmail” and “neglect” at the hands of their school administrators, NCAA, and Swim USA.

Although huge headlines seldom spring from our corner of Southwest Virginia, this story has made national and international news. The New York Post, established in 1801 by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, described the significance of the swimmers’ actions this way: “The very public aspect of Thursday’s event was in sharp contrast to the culture of fear and silence surrounding the issue of trans women in women’s sports.

“When The Post interviewed female swimmers who had to compete against Lia Thomas for an April 2022 story, the majority of parents and their daughters would not allow their names to be used in the story for fear of being shunned, shamed or even retaliated against.

“’This was a historic day,’ activist Kara Dansky, president of the US chapter of Women’s Declaration International, told The Post after speaking at Thursday’s press conference.”

Roanoke College women’s swim team (front row) and supporters at press conference at Hotel Roanoke, Oct. 5, 2023 (photo/Scott Dreyer)

Senior Team Captain Bailey Gallagher, 20, summarized the lifelong love of the sport all the girls alluded to but how they all felt blindsided. “I’ve been a swimmer my entire life, when my parents enrolled me in a ‘learn to swim’ program as an infant, and I have been swimming ever since. My first competition was at age 5, and now at almost 21, I see my journey coming to a close.

“This is my senior year, my final year to practice, race, and celebrate with teammates that I now consider to be some of my best friends. Swimming is more than just a sport for me. It’s a part of who I am. It has given me discipline, the ability to multitask, a great work ethic, a healthy lifestyle, and some of the very best people to call friends. Continue reading

“My Defeat Was Written in Biology”: Roanoke College Swimmers, Part 2

by Scott Dreyer

As reported in Part 1, in a move hailed as “historic” and “first in the nation,” members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team held a press conference at Hotel Roanoke on October 5 to highlight the emotional, mental, academic and physical trauma they have been experiencing this semester.

In essence, the women were protesting a student who swam for Roanoke College on the men’s team two years ago, took a year off to experience a sex change, and then returned this semester to swim on the women’s team.

Award-winning swimmer and woman’s rights leader Riley Gaines opened the press conference by putting Roanoke College administrators and other “adults” who failed their students on full blast. Continue reading

Roanoke College Swimmers Stand Up for Equality

Roanoke College women’s swim team (front row) and supporters at press conference at Hotel Roanoke, Oct. 5. (photo/Scott Dreyer)

by Scott Dreyer

At noon on Thursday, October 5, the Hotel Roanoke’s Washington Lecture Hall was the scene of a press conference featuring ten members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team. Aided by Riley Gaines and several women’s rights groups, they sought to shine a spotlight on what they portrayed as gross negligence and “emotional blackmail” at the hands of Roanoke College administrators, the NCAA, USA Swimming, and, by extension, state and federal politicians who have allowed them to suffer in many ways. Continue reading