Friday, March 19, 2010

Reasons to Learn Latin; #3974

[The respective mayors of Sydney and London; Julius Caesar (left) and Boris Johnson]

A couple of articles for some light reading of the weekend. Firstly an entertaining and insightful piece by Boris Johnson (mayor of London) on the value of learning Latin. Here's a taste:

...there are times when a minister says something so maddening, so death-defyingly stupid, that I am glad not to be in the same room in case I should reach out, grab his tie, and end what is left of my political career with one almighty head-butt.

Such were my feelings on reading Mr Ed Balls on the subject of teaching Latin in schools...
(Thanks to Rogue Classicism for bringing this to my attention)

And closer to home Charles Purcell (of Chaser fame) imagines what Caesar would be like as benevolent dictator of Sydney.

If Julius Caesar was in charge of Sydney, we wouldn't still be arguing whether to build a cross circus maximus or integrated rail/ferry/chariot link. No longer would the scrolls and papyruses of the day have headlines like "Welcome to SnailRail", "Ferry system slow than horse-drawn buggies", "ancient Egyptians got to work quicker than Sydneysiders - study". Caesar would declare: "I came, I saw, I ordered the building of an integrated transport network." He would order construction immediately and no senator would dare object, lest he be sent to govern the barbarian provinces of Gaul (aka Mount Druitt).

The benign dictator would announce that Sydney's much-needed second airport would finally be built - in Mosman.
Don't miss the article's comments if you're a Terry Pratchett fan.

(Thanks to Lilian for bringing this to my attention)

5 comments:

lilian.thigh said...

*points at Boris Johnson and backs away slowly* ...He was on the Thank God You're Here rerun the other night! There was a clip of him, back in the election race for mayor. The interviewer asked him about 16 times how much his new buses would cost, and he kept avoiding the question. They both sounded like broken records. ...He WON the election?? O_o If I see him in the streets of London I'll give him a thumbs up for the Latin, though.

I'll assume you enjoyed the article, then, sir. :)

Off on holiday tomorrow. I'm afraid I've forgotten the one phrase of Italian you taught me, though it contianed the words 'gelato' and 'por favor'. But I could always pack a brick.

Mike Salter said...

Ed Balls...what a singularly appropriate name. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hey sir, Laura here. I have come down with every symptom you can think off and wont be at school tomorrow unless I miraculously improve. And because I can’t breath I cant sleep and am so very tired and irritable that you probably wont want me in class. So, to my point, there are only four of us so if im doing my exam with an extra 2 weeks then I think the others should get the option too. Mum called up the office and they said it was best for me to get better so ill probably see you after the holidays with a med cert. Hopefully ill see you tomorrow, but dont hold your breath. Have a good holiday sir!

jm said...

hi laura, thanks for letting me know. get better soon, and don't worry too much about the test. we'll work something out when you come back next term. i'll talk to the others about their options as well.

chandra said...

I visited and telegraph.co.uk and came to a conclusion that i can never learn Latin! thanks for this wonderful blog!


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