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  #1  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:05 AM
Anal Scurvy Anal Scurvy is offline
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Why do black people think Napoleon shot off the Sphinx's nose?

From my recent studies of Islamic history, I'm pretty confident that it was destroyed by a Muslim around the twelfth or thirteenth century.

Recently it's come up that no white people I've talked to know or care who did it but several black people are certain Napoleon did it.

What's up? (And if anyone could give me any more information about the nose being removed, that'd be great.)
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:14 AM
Anal Scurvy Anal Scurvy is offline
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Quote:
A poll conducted on the Internet found that fully 21% of respondents believed Napoleon was responsible for the Sphinx's missing nose. One of the most recent examples of the persistence of this falsehood was Louis Farrakhan's "Million Man March" speech where he said: "White supremacy caused Napoleon to blow the nose off the Sphinx because it reminded you [sic] too much of the Black man's majesty." And the perpetuation of this myth in "Afrocentric" circles was even the subject of a segment of the U.S. television investigative journalism program "60 Minutes."
Never mind, found my own answers. This is what happens when you take classes with activists.

source
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:16 AM
timgregory timgregory is offline
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Possibly because it is commonly used as evidence of long standing racism against black people.

One of the most recent examples of the persistence of this falsehood was Louis Farrakhan's "Million Man March" speech where he said: "White supremacy caused Napoleon to blow the nose off the Sphinx because it reminded you [sic] too much of the Black man's majesty." And the perpetuation of this myth in "Afrocentric" circles was even the subject of a segment of the U.S. television investigative journalism program "60 Minutes."


http://www.napoleonseries.org/faq/sphinx.cfm

I think a lot of white people believe this, too, but don't have any reason to bring it up in conversation.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:16 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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Did Napoleon's troops shoot the nose off the Sphinx?
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:18 AM
Genghis Bob Genghis Bob is offline
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I remember when I was a kid (35 years ago or so) reading in "The Book of Marvels" by Richard Halliburton that Napolean's artillery had shot off the Sphinx's nose while taking target practice.

I've always believed this to be true, in a maybe-I-can-win-a-bar-bet-with-this-knowledge sort of way.
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:27 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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There seems to be a determined effort in Afrocentric circles to present Ancient Egyptians as negroid. Cleopatra, descended from a long line of Macedonians in the wake of Alexander the Great, is particularly misappropriated for this task. You can see from the occasional representation of negroid Africans ("Nubians") in Egyptian art that Egyptians saw themselves in distinct contrast to them.
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2004, 11:51 AM
gluteus maximus gluteus maximus is offline
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Awww, c'mon Anal Scurvy! I can't believe you missed (or dismissed) this scholarly site!

Quote:
Well the Sphinx's nose is gone because when Napoleon invaded Egypt 250 years ago while looking for minerals, his soldiers were so board that they just started to shoot the Sphinx. And did Napoleon care, NO WAY!!!!!!!! All he wanted was his precious jewels.

Lessee... 2004 - 250 = 1754... fifteen years before Napoleon was born! NO WAY!!!!!!!!



Quote:
Well, scientists in the 1960's, they said that it could be impossible for any kind of tomb to be inside the Sphinx. Boy were they wrong. Today's scientists are using things that the 1960's scientists didn't have, RADAR. With the advanced stuff they have today they have found small chambers inside the Sphinx's belly and the head. They think that these chambers would hold problem small warm blooded mammals.
Those people in ancient Cairo just weren't into cold blooded mammals.
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2004, 03:32 PM
furryman furryman is offline
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I believed that for a long time and I'm not black.
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2004, 05:14 PM
Anal Scurvy Anal Scurvy is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by furryman
I believed that for a long time and I'm not black.
Absurd. Maybe you should scrutinize your parents a bit more closely.

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  #10  
Old 01-08-2004, 05:39 PM
aerodave aerodave is offline
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Radar was certainly around before the 60's.
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  #11  
Old 01-08-2004, 05:57 PM
Achernar Achernar is offline
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Originally posted by Anal Scurvy
Absurd. Maybe you should scrutinize your parents a bit more closely.

Oh come on. It's not so bad. I believed that lemmings committed suicide for a long time, and that the coriolis force affects sink drains; does that make my parents deadbeats too?
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  #12  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:07 PM
Governor Quinn Governor Quinn is offline
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My father thought that it was Napoleon's fault, and not only is he white, but he's a Classics major from an Ivy League university.
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  #13  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:24 PM
aerodave aerodave is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achernar
Oh come on. It's not so bad. I believed that lemmings committed suicide for a long time, and that the coriolis force affects sink drains; does that make my parents deadbeats too?
I don't think that's what he meant...
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  #14  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:29 PM
sugaree sugaree is offline
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Originally posted by gluteus maximus
Awww, c'mon Anal Scurvy! I can't believe you missed (or dismissed) this scholarly site!
The good news is that the page was created by an elementary school student named James.

The bad news is that James's teacher must have okayed the math and history found therein.
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  #15  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:30 PM
Max_Castle Max_Castle is offline
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Apparently the local tour guides are perpetuationg this myth. My mother (who I'm pretty sure isn't black) tried to tell me this after returning from a trip to Egypt a couple of years ago.
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  #16  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:33 PM
urban1a urban1a is offline
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I also believed that. I was taught it in school. I'm not black either.

Bob
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  #17  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:48 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is online now
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Right -- it's not exclusively or primarily a "black thing", it's just that it's a common "Non-Urban Legend" that just happens to fit nicely into Bad Afrocentrist History.

For comparison, think of how many people are positive that it was (pick one) (a)Caesar (b) the Christians (c)the Muslims that "burned the Library of Alexandria". Depending on your predisposition to believe the worst about one particular culture or religion, you may be tempted to take one of those claims as deserving great credence.
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  #18  
Old 01-08-2004, 06:57 PM
Max_Castle Max_Castle is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Max_Castle
Apparently the local tour guides are perpetuationg this myth. My mother (who I'm pretty sure isn't black) tried to tell me this after returning from a trip to Egypt a couple of years ago.
Just to clarify, she was told that Napoleon's soldiers shot the nose off, but was not told that it was because of racial motivations.
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  #19  
Old 01-08-2004, 07:35 PM
anansi anansi is offline
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"Black People" do not believe this. This is a common urban legend and as was mentioned it fits in with some afrocentric theory. All black people are not afrocentrists.








Quote:
Originally posted by Walloon
There seems to be a determined effort in Afrocentric circles to present Ancient Egyptians as negroid. Cleopatra, descended from a long line of Macedonians in the wake of Alexander the Great, is particularly misappropriated for this task. You can see from the occasional representation of negroid Africans ("Nubians") in Egyptian art that Egyptians saw themselves in distinct contrast to them.
as far as this goes you're right in that some afrocentrists misrepresent the ethnicity of many ancient egyptians. Cleopatra was a greek.
however, there is abundant evidence that were "negroid" elements to the egyptian population. just as there were asian and semitic elements. The egyptians were definitely African (as egypt is located within africa) just as ethiopians, libyans and other north and east africans are. There were undoubtedly egyptians who walking down a street in modern america would be considered black. this is a tricky proposition though since race is a social construct rather than a biological one.


To bring this back to the OP, one reason why these claims are made is the systematic editing out of history ny trace of "black" people. Within a large part of the last century Ethiopians and Sudanese were not considered black. they were hamitic "Whites", the reasons postulated were the traces of megalithic architecture in these areas precluded the posibility that the builders could have been African or "Black". Afrocentrism is a reactionary response to eurocentrism. they're both silly.
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2004, 07:42 PM
Achernar Achernar is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by audilover
I don't think that's what he meant...
Oh I see. My bad.
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  #21  
Old 01-08-2004, 07:43 PM
Ennui Ennui is offline
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JRDelirious, an honest question(and hijack). I'm aware that Caesar may have caused some damage to the library but evidence indicates it survived until the late 4th century (which would seem to pre date Muslim involvement), is there any credible evidence pointing against Christian perpetration in the libraries final destruction?
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  #22  
Old 01-08-2004, 07:59 PM
Pepsi Classic Pepsi Classic is offline
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Quote:
The good news is that the page was created by an elementary school student named James.

The bad news is that James's teacher must have okayed the math and history found therein
Maybe James is from the future and his math is correct. Did you think of that?
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  #23  
Old 01-08-2004, 07:59 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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I have not cross-checked the sources, yet, but the Bede's Library site has an interesting history of the burning(s) of the Royal Library at Alexandria.
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  #24  
Old 01-08-2004, 08:13 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Mayor Willie Brown is right.

It's never going to end, is it.

Peace,
mangeorge
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  #25  
Old 01-08-2004, 08:23 PM
Ennui Ennui is offline
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[Continuing and hopefully ending current hijack]

tomndebb, it's interesting that the Bede site you mentioned was offered as a dissenting, albeit "Christian apologist" view from the site I consulted, Wikipidia. I wont argue relative veracity of respective cites but I will mention that given the location you post under, if we did argue it perhaps could take place via local phone call (anything to avoid a continued hijack).
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  #26  
Old 01-08-2004, 09:03 PM
lee lee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Walloon
There seems to be a determined effort in Afrocentric circles to present Ancient Egyptians as negroid. Cleopatra, descended from a long line of Macedonians in the wake of Alexander the Great, is particularly misappropriated for this task. You can see from the occasional representation of negroid Africans ("Nubians") in Egyptian art that Egyptians saw themselves in distinct contrast to them.
When I saw the Pharaohs of the Sun exhibit at the art institute, I was struck how much Akhenaten looked familiar. As I am not a sprots fan it took a bit for me ti place his face. There is a strong similarity between the sculpture of him and Scottie Pippen, except the eyes, whick looked more like Brandy's. It doesn't take a determined effort to see Akhenaten as negroid.
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  #27  
Old 01-09-2004, 02:09 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
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Re: Why do black people think Napoleon shot off the Sphinx's nose?

Quote:
Originally posted by Anal Scurvy
From my recent studies of Islamic history, I'm pretty confident that it was destroyed by a Muslim around the twelfth or thirteenth century.
Pish-tosh! Everyone knows it was knocked off in 50 B.C. by Obelix, on a visit to Egypt to help Cleopatra win a bet against Julius Caesar, and....

Um, but seriously, is there any reason to blame anybody but our old friend, Erosion? You can read a bit more here and vote for your favorite Sphinx Denasaling Villain too!
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  #28  
Old 01-09-2004, 03:00 AM
Ludicrous Ludicrous is offline
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I remember visiting the Petra ruins at Jordan. Above the temple entrance there is a carved vase that's crumbling and missing chunks of sandstone. The tour guide stated that Napolean and his troops were in the area at one point in time. It was rumored that the vase was filled with gold and jewels, so the troops shot it in hopes of releasing the hidden treasure that was never there. Seems Naploean's blamed for destroying ancient ruins all over the place.
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  #29  
Old 01-09-2004, 06:47 AM
Diceman Diceman is offline
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Quote:
Um, but seriously, is there any reason to blame anybody but our old friend, Erosion?
I was just about to mention erosion. Let's face it (no pun intended): The Sphinx's nose was a large, unsupported overhang of stone. Structurally, there can be no doubt that it would break off eventually.
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  #30  
Old 01-09-2004, 07:09 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is online now
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Ennui, the point was that sometimes a story that seems to have some face-value(sorry!) historical plausibility, subject to verification, will be vectored forward as proven fact by latter-day comentators w/o said verification, based on how well it fits their perceptions or the point they wish to make.

(BTW the parallel issue HAS been raised here in the SDMB in the past a few times, you may want to do a search to see what was commented.)
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  #31  
Old 01-09-2004, 07:18 AM
chattywine chattywine is offline
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And all this time I'd thought someone had just beeped it too hard.
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  #32  
Old 01-09-2004, 07:30 AM
owlstretchingtime owlstretchingtime is offline
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I have always believed this too (up to reading this thread in fact). It's one of those things that "everybody knows".

I have checked with my (also white British) colleagues and those who thought they knew all blamed Napoleon.

This leads me to suggest that it may be British anti-Boney propaganda (there was a fair bit of this about in the early 1800s). Perhaps the emigrants/immigrants (depending on where you live) took it to the New World with them?

The Sphynx's beard is in a store room in the British Museum. This is not a myth. I've personally seen it.
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  #33  
Old 01-09-2004, 10:00 AM
Kizarvexius Kizarvexius is offline
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I majored in history, and I always believed that Napoleon's troops were the guilty ones. Never heard anything to the contrary, in fact, until I started reading this thread. And I'm as Heinz-57 mongrel European as they come.

It certainly doesn't surprise me, though, that the Afrocentrists, who are always looking for more "evidence" to support their conspiracy theory point of view, would latch onto this story and ascribe racial motivations to the alleged perpetrators. It's pretty typical of their style, actually.
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  #34  
Old 01-09-2004, 01:10 PM
Mort Furd Mort Furd is offline
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So, what? I'm the only mis-informed person who was firmly convince that it was Turkish troops who shot the nose off of the Sphinx?
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  #35  
Old 01-09-2004, 01:26 PM
Slithy Tove Slithy Tove is online now
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Rats, and I was all set to use the pejorative "cheese-eating, Sphinx-de-rhinofacading, surrender-monkeys" in everyday conversation.
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  #36  
Old 01-09-2004, 02:59 PM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mort Furd
So, what? I'm the only mis-informed person who was firmly convince that it was Turkish troops who shot the nose off of the Sphinx?
Perhaps your Turkish troops used bullets made from lead extracted from the Parthenon, thus maximizing their monument-destroying efficiency!


Insert joke about "killing two stones with one bird(shot)" here.
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  #37  
Old 01-09-2004, 03:35 PM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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When the Sphinx was little, his daddy pulled the old "Got your nose!" trick on him and never gave it back.
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  #38  
Old 01-09-2004, 03:41 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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<hijack>
Just inserting a line about Michael Jackson. Somewhere there is a tie-in with this thread.
</hijack>

Carry on.
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  #39  
Old 01-09-2004, 03:57 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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I've always heard Napolean's troops shot off the Sphinx's nose until this thread said otherwise, and I'm whiter'n a snowman's ass.
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  #40  
Old 01-09-2004, 04:27 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Am I the only one who never even heard of the "Napoleon did it!" story until I saw a column about it here at the SD?
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  #41  
Old 01-09-2004, 07:03 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by pravnik
I've always heard Napolean's troops shot off the Sphinx's nose until this thread said otherwise, and I'm whiter'n a snowman's ass.
That's facinating pravnik!

Tell me---what other qualities do you have in common with a snowman's kiester?
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  #42  
Old 01-09-2004, 07:35 PM
kniz kniz is offline
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If you would notice the nose of the Sphinx isn't the only nose that is missing. Archeology has uncovered many figures, statues, etc. which have the same flaws. I have always heard that this is because Muslims consider the nose as important to one's character and if the nose is damaged so is the person. In other words, it is a Muslim insult. As to the Sphinx it wasn't one person, but passing Muslim visitors that each got in a pot shot, which eventually destroyed the nose. Many of the other statues had their noses slowly destroyed by constant swipes at that protrusion, while others may have taken only one shot to destroy.

I had never heard the Napoleon story, just about the painting of the "Last Supper".
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  #43  
Old 01-09-2004, 08:03 PM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by kniz
As to the Sphinx it wasn't one person, but passing Muslim visitors that each got in a pot shot, which eventually destroyed the nose.
Cite?
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  #44  
Old 01-09-2004, 08:07 PM
ReuvenB ReuvenB is offline
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Geez, I had this in my school textbook on Ancient Egypt in 6th grade. I distinctly remember laughing about it. You mean it's not true? Bummer. I believed it until now, and I'm also quite pale.
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  #45  
Old 01-09-2004, 08:44 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
That's facinating pravnik!

Tell me---what other qualities do you have in common with a snowman's kiester?
I'm cold as ice and firmly packed, but turn up the heat and I just melt!
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  #46  
Old 01-09-2004, 08:58 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Waitaminnit... the Sphinx had a beard?!!
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  #47  
Old 01-09-2004, 09:42 PM
t-keela t-keela is offline
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Quote:
There is one fact, however -- part of the Sphinx's beard was recovered from the sand during excavation and is now in the British Museum in London.
http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/EG/GreatSphinx.html
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  #48  
Old 01-09-2004, 10:10 PM
t-keela t-keela is offline
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I was under the impression that the Sphinx was even older than the Egyptian Civilization which eventually grew around it. That the Sphinx was originally a huge lion carved from the natural limestone. It's creators, an even older civilization, are not known. No Egyptian records claim to be responsible for it's construction.

It is supposedly a likeness of Khafre, but this could not be its original likeness since the Spinx is known to have existed AT LEAST 2,600 years before Khafre's reign. From what I've read he (Khafre) had the Spinx re-sculpted to resemble him. It is not certain what the likeness was before. Probably an even earlier pharoah. Who did the same...and so on.

The nose finally was simply weakened to the point that it gave away. The numerous times it was resculpted and erosion, plus whatever vandalism may or may not have occurred. The Sphinx has been repaired many times throughout history. Evidence that even the ancient Egyptians were repairing it over the millenia suggests to me that it probably broke off thousands of years ago and was replaced/repaired as well.

Ultimately to the point of saying to hell with it. That damned lion has been a pain in the ass ever since we moved here.
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  #49  
Old 01-09-2004, 10:23 PM
TeaElle TeaElle is offline
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As, I believe, the first black person to check in here -- I polled my family informally and found that none of us were aware of this particular myth, let alone believers in it.

So, um, more anecdotal inanity to, um, do with what you will.
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  #50  
Old 01-10-2004, 07:09 AM
Walloon Walloon is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by t-keela
I was under the impression that the Sphinx was even older than the Egyptian Civilization which eventually grew around it. . . It is supposedly a likeness of Khafre, but this could not be its original likeness since the Spinx is known to have existed AT LEAST 2,600 years before Khafre's reign.
Since this thread is about separately fact from fiction, I will ask: cite?
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