Saturday, 22 December 2018

Happy Christmas holidays!

To all my followers and your families:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

2019 will be a crucial year in many regards: I expect a lot of negative aspects and I am crossing fingers for many positive ones too!!
Lots of news for sure!

Merlin x

Photo credits to Southern Living (

Thursday, 6 December 2018

When you think that things could not get better... but they do

Hello everybody,

This morning's post seemed an exception as I had been away for about 7 months without writing anything.

But I had good news, so why not sharing those too?

First of all, the British government finally published the White Paper for immigration in the event of a no-deal Brexit. I was expecting bad news and some were... but not as much as I thought. Maybe some of us will be able to stay and allowed to carry on a normal life.
Although I have not much hopes for a nice outcome post-Brexit, it would be nice if the focus was not on migrants all the time.

Happiest news of the day: I got an article on the blog of the university of Leicester!!

Really happy I was featured on the blog for the first time.

Goodnight and best wishes :-)

Merlin x

Update: Video on Rai Storia (I appear for 1 second near the end)

Me, Richard Armitage and his terrible fans

Hello everybody,

This is an unusual post and steers away from my Brexit ramblings and general sorry state of British politics.
I will probably come around to write a post about that too (WTH with all those 'proscription' lists on Twitter!), but it can wait a couple of days because I still have to write my Christmas cards.

As some of you know, both as a hobby and as something I like to observe for my scripts, I follow the career of several actors (male and female). In one of my online wanderings I came across a blog about British actor Richard Armitage (he is in #BerlinStation on Channel 4 at the moment) and it seemed, strange but true, that the sort of conversation in the comments was civil. Clearly, nowadays being civil or respectful towards your fellow human beings must have gone out of fashion.

So, from discussing Richard Armitage's attitude to his vanity and nose, well... I ended up being told I'll be sunk as an historian as I have no capability to understand the difference between 'literally' and 'non-literally'. I would be careful to make such assertions if I were her, as nearly half of her country's entire voting pool believed someone who could make America great again (some historians are part of his fanbase too, better she starts lecturing them now).

Seriously, look down (sorry for extralarge size): 

Do you think she gave up after being sent a link? As what he said was not EXACTLY the same words she expected, she doubled down (doubling down is trendy these days, as anyone who has discussed with Femi on Twitter knows!).

Therefore I ended up being told to quit my studies because I clearly don't know personally Herodotus. SERIOUSLY. 

As I am a foreigner, I often lack the necessary English words to reply quickly to statements. 

But I can still understand the difference between hating something about myself, being obsessed with it and also self-loathing. My mum would be horrified to be told off after saying to me "you're obsessed with your weight" when in fact I just hate the fact I am not skinny. The gall of her! She should stop talking to me altogether *facepalm*.

Apart from the fact that upsetting a non-native speaker with "if you don't understand the difference in language, you may as well give up" (evidently this blogger thinks that here in UK degrees are handed out like candy to us), I am appalled that this historian person, whoever she is, lacks so much perspective in life that not knowing Richard Armitage personally is the same as not knowing Herodotus in person. For instance, Armitage is still alive and I am pretty sure he would laugh at your ridiculous statement too.
As much as I can agree that things do not need to be taken out of context, there is a limit to everything. I am pretty sure that there are bigger fish to fry in her fandom than someone saying "he is obsessed with his nose" and that post above says more about her and her general attitude to other people than anything about me or my 'supposed' lack of source critique skills.

Clearly, her 'triple down' comment could not be missed either.

Of course it is her blog and I will refrain from commenting ever again.
However, after someone makes you aware you have crossed a line and you should not be that rude or disrespectful to a person you never met or known, I would have expected an apology instead of a response similar to "fuck off to another blog if you don't like my language": at that point, you have clearly demonstrated your awful attitude towards other people, both in your field and out.
Anything she wrote reflected badly on her, surely not on me or my presumed lack of skills as an historian. Having said that, she was even guilty of her own sin because she, too, assumed I was a rubbish historian from three comments on an actor's fan blog (I would understand if she had read my dissertation, right?).

Yes, she can feel the temporary satisfaction of 'slapping' people in the face on her blog. Fair enough. Yet, not even Mary Beard ever treated students of history like she does (I am sure of this, firsthand experience), despite writing several academic books and appearing in countless TV documentaries. Often I find myself in conferences where the least experienced person has 2 PhDs and I don't remember anyone addressing me like that, maybe because they would be called out as they are acting like arrogant and pompous arses.

Perhaps the anonymity provided by the internet makes everyone more arrogant, bold and rude. I would not know as I put my real face and name to my profiles, despite in the past I even had death threats.
I leave those 'silly' games to bloggers who, maybe, are not so brave to disrespect others 'in person' and completely fear accountability.

Simona Merlin Chesters

“There cannot be authoritative readings of past texts, since the meaning changes every time they are read” (Moreland 2001: 113). 

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Italexit, la UE e gli italiani all'estero: il dibattito va aperto

Buongiorno a tutti!!

E’ da un po’ che non scrivevo sul mio blog, quindi prima di tutto scusatemi per l’assenza!
Principalmente non l’ho fatto per mancanza di tempo ma... siamo onesti, anche per mancanza di voglia! Mi sono anche voluta allontanare dall’ambiente internet dopo essermi laureata, tanto per capire dove la mia ‘carriera’ poteva andare... Procede lentamente ma sono contenta che proceda, al di là della negatività che avevo dovuto sorbirmi durante gli studi. E questi nuovi sviluppi sono principalmente riconducibili a due parole: Unione Europea. Perchè questa tanto bistrattata UE, accusata da tutte le parti delle cose più nefande, ha i suoi lati positivi... anzi, ne ha molti ma sono oscuri alla maggioranza delle popolazioni dei paesi in UE.

Vi sorprenderà sentirlo ma io sono sempre stata un’euroscettica. E lo sono rimasta almeno fino al 2016, quando la campagna pro o anti-Brexit ha cominciato ad essere diffusa in tutte le salse su TV, giornali o social media su territorio britannico. Mi sono direttamente convertita ad essere pro-UE dopo il referendum, forse anche dovuto al fatto che, da cittadina europea in GB, ho cominciato a ricevere attacchi personali (al supermercato locale!) o minacce di morte online. Da persona che mai ha subito attacchi xenofobici, è stato un risveglio alla realtà piuttosto brusco. Mi sono trovata dalla parte sbagliata. Ma niente poteva farmi immaginare che l’incubo era solo all’inizio.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Italiani non benvenuti in GB? I cittadini europei sono tutti uguali!

Mi credete quando vi dico che leggere commenti sotto i post britannici su Brexit mi deprime davvero?? Ma una cosa che mi deprime persino di piu' e' leggere i commenti di italiani sotto ai post (in italiano) che riguardano l'Inghilterra. 

L'esempio (triste) di oggi e' che un attacco xenofobo verso un italiano sulla metro di Londra ( leggi qui ) e' stato preso al volo da diversi razzisti italiani per dire cazzate su una situazione (#Brexit) in un paese di cui non conoscono niente. E sapete perche'? Perche' tanti di questi razzisti votano per M5S o la Lega e non possono ammettere che la Brexit e' la piu' grossa cazzata mai fatta da un paese europeo (nel programma politico di entrambi i partiti c'e' l'uscita dall'Europa).

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