The Daily Ant is excited to report that Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and prominent leftist critic Glenn Greenwald visited the Field Museum’s AntLab midday on Tuesday, participating in a special tour arranged by our very own editor-in-chief, Benjamin Blanchard.
Although in Chi-Town for a speaking and book signing event at the University of Chicago, Greenwald, who is also a co-founder and editor of the media outlet The Intercept, heroically arranged his time in order to fit in the hour-long tour at the Museum. Meeting Blanchard and his advisor, Dr. Corrie Moreau, at the steps of the Museum’s expansive South Entrance, the journalist confessed to Moreau that he calls Blanchard “the nation’s most enthusiastic ant fan”.
Yet the online relationship that led to this embodied meeting got off to a rocky start. In February of this year, Greenwald and Blanchard got into a spat over a tweet that culminated in Greenwald weaponizing a question about ants:
But ants are the ties that bind all wounds. By May, Greenwald was warming to myrmecological joys, responding on Twitter to an ant-based exchange between Blanchard, his brother Joshua, and Greenwald’s (off again, on again) sparring partner, Lawfare editor-in-chief and blogger Benjamin Wittes:
By the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Greenwald had reached full antlightenment:
Throughout the tour, the journalist, most widely known for his reporting on the Snowden files that earned The Guardian the Pulitzer, proved to be an energetic and engaged learner. Marveling at the “intricate” shape and sculpturing of a turtle ant species Cephalotes atratus, Greenwald also enjoyed Polyrhachis rastellata, poetically stating that it “looks like a musical note”.
The excited ant-based banter in the AntLab included a fluent conversation in Brazilian Portuguese with a visiting member of the lab, Dr. Manuela Ramalho. Unsurprisingly, Greenwald found the AntLab’s passion for ants inspiring and “infectious”.
Although the purpose of the tour was ants, some non-ants were also featured. With the assistance of Dallas Krentzel, a mammalogist colleague of Blanchard’s, Greenwald briefly swung by the mammal collections, as well as the colony of dermestid beetles that are used to clean vertebrate skeletons.
In the end, the whirlwind tour of the AntLab and other Field Museum wonders was a treat for all involved – even the ants! An anonymous source familiar with the visit, speaking off the record for fear of reprisals by Big Vertebrate, reports that the AntLab is very much looking forward to Greenwald’s next visit.
Philosopher Joshua Blanchard contributed to reporting, and especially likes the giant cloud rat photo.