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From "What Princeton Did to My Husband" [by Solveig Lucia Gold]

Solveig Lucia Gold, Joshua Katz's wife, rises to the doleful occasion of the dismissal of Katz, the renowned professor of classics at  Princeton.  Princeton "has revoked my tenure and dismissed me," Katz writes. "Whoever you are and whatever your beliefs, this should terrify you." The headline of his op-ed in the WSJ (5/25/22): "Princeton Fed Me to the Cancel Culture Mob."

Solveig Lucia Gold, a Princeton alumnus, reflects on this turn of events in Common Sense

<<< In 2022, it seems, all sex is to be celebrated—except between older men and younger women. Student-teacher relationships are unwise for all sorts of reasons, and Joshua will be the first to tell you why. But when the same people who think that children can consent to puberty blockers claim that a 21-year-old woman cannot possibly consent to a relationship with her professor, it’s hard to take them seriously.

Let me tell you about our relationship. We wake up, we compare Wordle scores (and Dordle and Quordle), I make him exercise. We clean the dishes from the night before while singing made-up songs about bears, he chides me for not squeezing out the sponge, we spend some hours apart writing, I tell him what I want for lunch, he makes it for me, we go back to writing, we pick a new recipe to cook for dinner, I chop the onions, he minces the garlic, and then I make him dance with me around the kitchen. We’re weird, but we’re extremely well-matched.

My point here is that we are a relationship of equals. Power transfers back and forth in any relationship, and my relationship with Joshua is no different. But ask anyone who knows us: I am the alpha.

And as much as the naysayers have tried to get me to feel ashamed about my husband, I am tremendously proud of him.

I am proud to be married to a man who owned up to his one big mistake and repented for it. A man with courage of conviction, who did not walk back his comments about anti-racism when his colleagues demanded he do so. A man who did not let despair and depression win, even as lifelong friends deserted him overnight.

The prospect of no longer teaching at Princeton is devastating for my husband: He loved his job, and he has given his entire adult life to the university. The relentless bad-faith efforts to destroy his career and reputation have driven him sobbing into my arms more nights than I can count.

I suppose Padilla Peralta, who last year made a splash in the New York Times Magazine for his stated desire to destroy the existing discipline of Classics, is getting his wish. As was widely reported, Princeton’s department last year voted to eliminate its language requirement for undergraduates. Now it has eliminated its most legendary language instructor. The great irony is that the elimination of the language requirement was, in part, to encourage students to take ancient languages other than Latin and Greek . . . and Joshua was the only member of his department qualified to teach multiple such languages: Egyptian, Sanskrit, Tocharian, Syriac, Akkadian, Old Norse, Old Irish, etc. Indeed, Joshua’s earliest academic publications concerned Native American languages. His work was the least Eurocentric in the department.

And then there is the chilling message Princeton has sent to Joshua’s colleagues and to academics everywhere: step out of line politically, and we will find a way to bring you down. Show us the man, and we’ll show you the crime. 

Perhaps Joshua’s tormentors have no skeletons in their closets—but then again, several senior administrators who have served in the last few years are or have been in romantic relationships that would now violate Princeton’s official policies. The Ivory Tower is a house of cards. And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say, I’ll almost be glad to see it fall.

May 21, 2022

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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