Ethics Observations On The University Archeologist’s Obelisk-Toppling Tweets

To topple, just read the diagram backwards!

University of Alabama at Birmingham archeologist Sarah Parcak tweeted detailed instructions on how to bring down an obelisk over the weekend, using 12 detailed tweets  as George Floyd rioters in the college town  tore down a statue of Charles Linn, a Confederate Navy captain and one of the founders of Birmingham . She then coyly suggested that “there might be’ an obelisk in downtown Birmingham,” and that the obelisks “might be masquerading as a racist monument.” There is, in fact, a Confederate monument in Birmingham, and it is an obelisk. Sure enough, it was targeted by rioters.

The esteemed professor began by saying her comments were a public service announcement.

“PSA For ANYONE who might be interested in how to pull down an obelisk* safely from an Egyptologist who never ever in a million years thought this advice might come in handy,” she wrote. “There might be one just like this in downtown Birmingham! What a coincidence. Can someone please show this thread to the folks there…Just keep pulling till there’s good rocking, there will be more and more and more tilting, you have to wait more for the obelisk to rock back and time it to pull when it’s coming to you. Don’t worry you’re close!… WATCH THAT SUMBITCH TOPPLE GET THE %^&* OUT OF THE WAY IT WILL SMASH RUN AWAY FROM DIRECTION. Then celebrate. Because #BlackLivesMatter and good riddance to any obelisks pretending to be ancient Egyptian obelisks when they are in fact celebrating racism and white nationalism.”


  • So, as I read this, a professional archaeologist whose field involves preserving and studying the various monuments and artifacts of past civilizations actively advocated tearing down monuments and statues erected by past American societies.

How could she possibly defend her tweets in light of the mission of her field?  Egyptian obelisks were entirely erected by slaves. Well, she can’t, but then integrity and political activism are often incompatible.

  • The open pretense of just giving out information when the obvious intent is to facilitate property destruction and historical censorship is both cowardly and dishonest.

Parcak apparently thinks this “I’m not really doing what I’m obviously doing” act is cute. In fact, it is revolting.

  • How is Twitter justifying leaving her tweets up? They aren’t trying, and they can’t justify it.

The platform’s foolish decision  to interfere with the President’s tweets has left it with an impossible task if it is serious about even-handed policing of its users’ messages.

  • Following her tweets, Birmingham demonstrators managed to damage but not topple the obelisk-shaped Confederate monument she referred to.

Imagine if moral luck had stepped in, and one or more of the vandals had been killed or seriously injured carrying out her instructions.

  • Of course her tweets were an abuse of her position as a professor and her authority as an archeologist.  Also of course, her craven employers refused to directly condemn her conduct, though it is a federal crime to use any facility of interstate commerce, like the internet, to aid or abet participation in a riot. A university spokesman said,

“These are not the opinions of the university. Our 45,000+ students, faculty and staff often use social media to express thoughts that do not necessarily reflect the voice of the university.”

They are, however, the opinions of a university faculty member being sent directly to an overwhelmingly student audience using the prestige of the institution and the faculty member’s authority in its field to attempt to provoke illegal activity.

12 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The University Archeologist’s Obelisk-Toppling Tweets

  1. She studies and protects and preserves monuments to men who, when capturing *black* prisoners from Nubia, randomly picked people from the crowd and gave those people a treatment that would put Walking Dead’s villain Negan to shame.

    I guess she thinks we should preserve monuments to people who crushed the skulls of Africans as a past time.

    • I legitimately chuckled at the content of her tweets.

      “They are secretly honoring slavery while pretending to celebrate the culture of the peaceful, liberty-loving Egyptian Pharaohs!”

  2. The open pretense of just giving out information when the obvious intent is to facilitate property destruction and historical censorship is both cowardly and dishonest.

    Parcak apparently thinks this “I’m not really doing what I’m obviously doing” act is cute. In fact, it is revolting.

    This has been the standard play for the American media, academy, and countless other public-opinion formers likely for longer than I’ve been alive. If open revolution in the streets by dehumanized, pampered attack dogs doesn’t make that point clear by now, I’m sufficiently certain that it will never be made clear. It would be as though the forces of sedition would have to wear matching uniforms, carry flags, and have the word ‘sedition’ in their self-affected title to be recognized. I’d think, perhaps, the results of McCarthy’s slap down have been a slow-burning disaster. Who could’ve seen all this coming? Now we know. Or do we? Alas, I couldn’t flee to tiny, monarchical Liechtenstein. Its immigration is too controlled. It’s almost as though being small, monarchical, and closed has some stabilizing effect, making it both an ideal destination and an impossible one. C’est la vie!

    It would seem the next, most intelligent move (after the country catches wise to the game, in a theoretical and probably fictional universe) would be for Trump to turn over the entire workforce of the FBI and jail every Democrat, but of course, “most intelligent” is a relative term. When the other side’s already fighting an open war using dimwit surrogates led about by their flagrantly uncoded and shamelessly public communications, one can hardly excuse a defensive party playing along with the pantomime. “The German bombs falling on London were ‘arguments’ against their unfair treatment at Versailles,” and other such fluff.

    I imagine a drunk attempting to assault my wife and assuring me it was only a joke after thwarting him several times. It’s stupid enough not to totally incapacitate him with swift and blinding violence (or die trying, as the case may be) after a first attempt. This current nonsense makes me imagine a husband who apologizes for being too hard on the drunk after the fifteenth. Such an irresponsible wretch is unworthy of his wife, to whom he owes protection. He fears the negative opinions of the drunk’s peers more than the increasing number of his spouse’s bruises and is probably therefore the greater criminal of the two. He burns his wife on an altar to please the lie which is their paper god to preserve a peace which will only last until they want another thing which isn’t theirs to ask for.

    When we cede the ability to define reality to our enemies, we’ve lost the fight. This fight was lost before I occupied my mother’s womb. The tide turns only after making a firm pledge of loyalty to Reality itself, but that sort of thing has a side effect of wrecking precious personal worldviews. The other side effect is peace and prosperity. Decades of trading in our loyalty to the Real for the purported utopian end of peace and prosperity, dangled all the while like a carrot on a stick, have led us unerringly to wars and fires in the streets.

  3. I hope Parcak isn’t Jewish. If she is, any projects or facilities with which she is involved need to be alerted to keep an eye on her around any Ramesses II artifacts.

  4. Of course, thet instructions posted are not for toppling an obelisk, but for erecting one. Ancient peoples, being not nearly so coddled as we are, were understandably loathe to put in huge amounts of labor into taking apart what had taken so much labor to set up. The ancient Egyptians had a very pragmatic tendency to repurpose old monuments, with the current pharoah simply plastering over the names of his predecessors and having his own name carved in its place.

  5. Well, I’m headed to the gun club. I need to check zero on a few scoped rifles.
    Everybody keep your flints knapped sharp and your powder dry!

    “Stand your ground, don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war,
    let it begin here.” – Captain John Parker on Lexington green.

    • I’ll be honest, if any of those black bloc ass clowns show up in front of my house, not waiting to be fired upon.

      • Jim, I’ll be honest, I’m afraid this is just the beginning. I’m not sure I’d say that it has risen to the level of outright insurrection yet, but it’s getting there.

  6. So let’s rewrite history. Austria has done it (still full of Nazis), e.g.
    We are in the business of changing historical fact: unfortunately for morons, a simple memorial does not change the historical record.
    We are doomed, And the current liberal/progressive agenda of colleges and universities is creating a generation of anti-American, totally ignorant, voters of the future. I worry about what my son will be facing (though he is smart enough to perceive what’s happening).

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