Make Comparisons Great Again
Donna Zuckerberg

Or are you hoping to use Donald Trump and his ancient doppelgängers not to help understand Trump but to highlight the continuing importance of the ancient world? Is it your response to the angst you feel as a humanities scholar at being constantly forced to justify your relevance, or even your existence? Are you trying to make classics great again (for a very narrow definition of ‘great’ as ‘widely acknowledged to have value’)?

This paragraph and the two that follow should be required reading for anyone writing a thinkpiece on classics and the modern world. “Cui bono” is exactly the question that so many of these pieces fail to answer, so too often they come off sounding like flimsy and half-baked attempts to make the classics seem “relevant” (a term whose arm-waving lack of specificity has always bothered me). I’m glad that Eidolon has been running these meta-commentaries on the “ancient/modern thinkpiece” trend — and pushing its own authors to do better. I’d like to think that this will help raise the general level of discourse around the subject.

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