Journalist Kari Lydersen is an author and assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University. She's on to discuss her article at The New Republic, "Can Liberal Evanston, Illinois, Atone for Its Racist Past?"
As the crow flies, so shall it stop flying and settle down in a tree to watch the Romans dig a mass grave. Only a few miles north, as the crow flies, of Cambridge, England. As the crow flies, so shall it caw, and eventually fall to Earth, its feathers carried off by ants to build their ant-bowers, its flesh fattening the Cambridge worms, its bones turned to tinker-toys for Iron Age toddlers out of which to build tiny bone-henges.
But let us leave the subject of that tragic Iron Age crow that didn’t survive the Roman occupation. Few did, and not just crows. In point of fact, not a single person, crow, worm, nor it matters not what animal species, living or dead, today survives from the Roman occupation of Britain. Yet a certain song survives. A song of frogs. So, that is something.
Let us also leave aside all those dead humans, crows, and other species, and observe the Romans digging. What are they digging, here in Iron Age Cambridge? Why are they not enjoying the sunrise with a bowl of Romantic porridge flavored with borage and sorrel? Because they have their orders. They have gone from hut to hut in hamlet after hamlet, interrogating the occupants. They threatened to rape the women, cut parts off the men, or break the bones of babies to get at the truth.
They needn’t have bothered with threats. The humble Iron Age Britons, most of whom would have admitted to still being in the Stone Age, and proud of it, readily gave up the “guests” they’d been harboring.
In total, about five hundred fugitive frogs were discovered and arrested that day. The frogs were frog marched out to the village square, to where a mass grave was dug in view of the roundhouse, and were, one by one, executed by dagger and thrown into the pit.
Astonishing: there really was a mass grave of frogs in this area dating from the Iron Age. It’s both SuperTrue® and regular true. Really. Look it up!
What’s SuperTrue® about it is, of course, the story behind the remains, the conspiracy behind the tangible evidence, the rumors and innuendo by which an overactive imagination can make sense of the random clues. For example, there’s the possible fact that there were rumors the Romans believed to be true, about a frog prophet, King of the Frogs, whose army of followers – and, yes, the collective noun for frogs is indeed “army” (again, look it up!) –... read more