Our cultural betters are always on the lookout for signs of white supremacy and its key cognate—toxic masculinity. And the latest thing that has caught the worried eye of the culturati is an apparent fascination, supposedly expressed by Very Online Males, with ancient Rome. The odd twist of this story is that women in increasing numbers are apparently asking men in online relationship platforms how often they think about the Roman Empire.
The Washington Post was alarmed enough to publish a feature on this troubling phenomenon.
It’s been almost 2,000 years since the Roman Empire reached the historic peak of its power. But many men still contemplate it — quite a lot.
A new social media trend prompting women to ask the men in their lives how often they think about ancient Rome reveals that it crosses the minds of many men on a weekly basis. Even daily. Or more — to the surprise and confusion of their loved ones.
“Three times a day,” answered one woman’s fiancé in a TikTok video. “There’s so much to think about,” he explained, eliciting a stunned look into the camera from his soon-to-be wife.
“They built an entire world-dominating society,” another man exclaimed when asked by a bewildered-looking woman to justify why he contemplates ancient Rome.
It seems to elude the Washington Post and other hand-wringers about toxic masculinity why women might have hit upon this question for prospective dates: Fondness for ancient Rome is likely a good proxy for the kind of old-fashioned masculinity that is nowadays forbidden by political correctness. And sure enough the Post, practicing its trademark ventriloquist journalism, found “academic experts” to deplore this threatening trend:
According to historians, one explanation could be that Western societies have historically overemphasized the aspects of Roman history that are associated with masculinity in the popular imagination.
The first thing that comes to the mind is “an image of the Roman legion, the imperial eagle and that sort of military aspect — along with gladiators, which has a long association with masculinity and power,” Hannah Cornwell, a historian of the ancient world at Britain’s Birmingham University, said in a telephone interview Thursday. . .
“Ancient Rome was of course patriarchal and violent,” Lewis Webb, a historian of ancient Rome at Oxford University, wrote in an email. “But it was also a diverse place: there were numerous forms of masculinity, women could have agency and power, and there were multiple gender expressions and identities, as well as various sexualities.”
I doubt that this last paragraph is what is inspiring men to think about ancient Rome. Soy boys perhaps, and likely the secretary of transportation. But needless to say it is prompting lots of worthy new memes:
Time to bring back toga parties on campus I say.
P.S. Back in the 1950s when homosexuals in Hollywood like Rock Hudson and Anthony Perkins were deep in the closet, the code phrase gays used to identify themselves to fellow travelers was, “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” (As in Dorothy Parker.) I’m hoping “Are you a fan of Rome?” will become the code phrase manly young men will adopt. It will drive the libs nuts.