The “Cult of Robert E. Lee”

Meet Laura Fairchild Brodie, visiting Professor of English at Washington and Lee University.

Professor Brodie has created quite a stir with a recent publication for Harvard Magazine titled “Harvard and the Cult of Robert E. Lee.”

You probably can already guess where she takes the story. A bunch of racists at Harvard, notably Charles F. Adams, admired Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy because they saw in the South fellow white supremacists who had simply been defeated and deserved respect.

Included among these racists were Teddy Roosevelt and eventually his cousin Franklin.

Or maybe if they weren’t racists (though Brodie thinks anyone who opposes the general government is culpable), they were just guilty of “toxic masculinity.”

She is an expert on that, too. Note this stimulating op-ed at the Washington Post, “The Toxic Masculinity Behind Civil War Monuments.”

Brodie is undoubtedly in favor of changing the name of Washington and Lee. She despises the man. More importantly, she despises anyone who thinks highly of the man. Why? Because clearly they are racists.

The circular logic is par for the course. Brodie has read what her fellow Harvard alum have said about Lee. She just doesn’t believe it. More accurately, she is an ideologue who cannot see past her own concept of “America” to understand that some people were more accepting of real diversity in America. Not everyone had to think alike and people of different backgrounds could “get along.”

Not if you are a radical third-wave feminist who would make Charlotte Perkins Gilman blush, except Gilman was also a racist so she would be persona non-grata in Brodie’s click of literary friends.

It seems that Brodie suffered a bit of a backlash to her ridiculous article on Harvard and Lee and took down her personal website.

Regardless, her stupid piece made great podcast fodder. I discuss Brodie, Lee, and Harvard on Episode 571 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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