1. How Mosquitoes Changed Everything by Brooke Jarvis
They slaughtered our ancestors and derailed our history. And they’re not finished with us yet.
2. The Sparta Fetish Is a Cultural Cancer by Myke Cole
The myth of the mighty warrior-state has enchanted societies for thousands of years. Now it fuels a global fascist movement.
That the legend has little to do with the real Spartans would be an academic point, but this myth has now turned malignant, with laconophilia taking on darker and ever more dangerous tones. The stylized Corinthian helmet worn by King Leonidas in 300, the 2006 hit movie mythologizing the Spartan role at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.E., is now most often seen on T-shirts, flags, and bumper stickers above the Greek words “ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ,” or molon labe, which translates to “come and take them,” the Spartan king’s apocryphal, defiant response to Persian ruler Xerxes’s demand that the Greeks surrender their arms. For pro-gun advocates, molon labe has become a rallying cry of resistance to perceived government overreach.
The metastasis of Sparta worship in the “fake news” age offers an object lesson in how to rewrite the history of a people and a culture, pressing them into the service of hard-line political movements marked by racism, nationalism, and tyranny. How did the Spartans, who ceased to be a real political force more than 2,100 years ago, come to hold such a widespread, and increasingly pernicious, influence on contemporary society?
3. The village that lost its country by Dave Stamboulis