Sarah Palin: barracuda borealis

Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd

I’m trying to figure out how I feel about Maureen Dowd’s column in the New York Times today, half of which she writes … in mock Latin!!! That’s right. The language of Cicero and Caesar–and, of course, of my guys, Fabius and Scipio–to analyze Ioannes McCainus and Sara Palina.

You loyal readers will know that I am all for the classics, for various reasons including this one and this one. Perhaps Dowd’s column helps. Still, how close to a gimmick she comes, from a writer’s point of view. I get it, but I studied Latin for four years.

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2 thoughts on “Sarah Palin: barracuda borealis

  1. Your two blogging entries bemoaning today’s mass ignorance of Greek and Roman history, and of thought, were never more relevant, since at least a passing acquaintance with this area of knowledge should be part and parcel of an educated person’s intellectual foundations.

    I think a culturally and historically literate society would never have voted George Bush into office. It is ironic that modern Americans – who are considered en-masse the best “educated” in history – should have voted in (twice) a president who, arguably in comparison to any of his 42 predecessors, is the least educated in terms of the sort of general knowledge which all “educated” people should have.

    The prospect of a President Palin would be a joke in a culturally and historically literate society. But, incredibly, at least nearly half of Americans take her seriously, and thereby make ignorance a virtue

    The phenomena of the likes of George Bush and Sarah Palin, are the chickens coming home to roost from the marginalizing of history and culture in the schools over the last couple of generations.

  2. Well, as you’ve noticed by now, I’m being careful in this blog to keep it about book-writing and away from politics. But you’ll also have guessed by now that I’m inclined to agree with you.
    There is a long tradition in America of anti-sophisticationn (very different from un-sophistication). It reminds me of Nietzsche’s ressentiment. Certain parts of the country seethe in frustration and, instead of analyzing the causes of what might hold them back, vent their resentment at anonymous and abstract “elites”. Then, along come demagogues who know, quasi-Goebbles-like, to fuel and kindle this resentment. You’ve seen some of it in certain political rallies in recent days.
    I’d like to weigh in on all this in a post, but I have to figure out how to do it discreetly, since, obviously, I wouldn’t want to pre-empt my employer.

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