Imagine that you are a teacher of Roman history and the Latin language, anxious to impart your enthusiasm for the ancient world — for the elegiacs of Ovid and the odes of Horace, the sinewy economy of Latin grammar as exhibited in the oratory of Cicero, the strategic niceties of the Punic Wars, the generalship of Julius Caesar and the voluptuous excesses of the later emperors. That’s a big undertaking and it takes time, concentration, dedication. Yet you find your precious time continually preyed upon, and your class’s attention distracted, by a baying pack of ignoramuses (as a Latin scholar you would know better than to say ignorami) who, with strong political and especially financial support, scurry about tirelessly attempting to persuade your unfortunate pupils that the Romans never existed. There never was a Roman Empire. The entire world came into existence only just beyond living memory. Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, Romansh: all these languages and their constituent dialects sprang spontaneously and separately into being, and owe nothing to any predecessor such as Latin.

Instead of devoting your full attention to the noble vocation of classical scholar and teacher, you are forced to divert your time and energy to a rearguard defence of the proposition that the Romans existed at all: a defence against an exhibition of ignorant prejudice that would make you weep if you weren’t too busy fighting it.

Richard Dawkins (via Fake Steve Jobs)

09.10.2009 • Permalink

The Punisher: War Zone, Abridged

OK, so the Punisher goes to a fancy mob dinner, but instead of serving food, he serves BULLETS and shoots everyone except this one guy he kills by shoving a chair THROUGH HIS HEAD (and he should totally have said “have a SEAT, sir”, but the Punisher is the silent type OK?) So when all that killing is done, he finds Jimmy McNulty, who’s all like “I’m handsome, me” and throws him in a giant kitchen mixer for glass and then McNulty is all “wait until they get a load of me” “Boo hoo, I’m ugly now, call me Jigsaw” and the producers cross their fingers and hope the SAW franchise won’t sue. Then McNulty, I mean Jigsaw, springs his brother from Arkham some asylum and his brother says fava beans apple sauce and kidneys is a delicacy in Sweden before he eats a fat nurse (seriously!) while Jigsaw stands there laughing like the Joker a maniac. Meanwhile, the Punisher is in his Batcave base, somewhere in the NY subway system, which he probably got cheap from Lex Luthor in a Marvel/DC crossover, when Microchip (Wayne Knight) shows up and the Punisher is all “…Newman” but then he’s sad, because he shot an undercover cop, which is the only real drawback of being a vigilante. So he goes to the dead cop’s family to ask forgiveness, but they’re still mad at him, so he goes back to his lair. But Jigsaw wants some money that was stolen, so he goes to the dead cop’s family, because before he was dead he was maybe corrupt or something (?) and the Punisher has to stop them and they go to jail because he doesn’t kill them for some reason. Which is actually sort of good, because Jigsaw makes a deal with the FBI and tells them about some Russians who are selling WMDs to Arabs in Queens, which may sound racist to some, because not all Arabs in Queens are terrorists, but I should point out that since the Punisher only seems to kill Italians and Irish, somebody’s gotta keep an eye on those Arabs in Queens who are shopping for WMDs, you know? Anyway the plot is foiled and Jigsaw goes free, which sucks for the Punisher, but is probably good for New York, because hey, 9/11, am I right? So Jigsaw and his brother find Microchip and kill his mother (his mother, people!), and kidnap the dead cop’s wife and daughter, but the Punisher finds them by blowing up a parkour dude with a BAZOOKA in downtown Manhattan, which is frankly LUDICROUS and also FUCKING AWESOME, and then he kills everybody dead until the final standoff where he can either save the little girl OR Microchip, but not both, so he saves the little girl (duh) and Microchip gets shot in the head. (It’s OK because the Punisher told him he wouldn’t feel a thing.) So the Punisher kills Jigsaw, but seriously for real this time, by bludgeoning him close to death, then impaling him and then throwing him on an open fire to burn and he’s all like “fuuuck” and “aaaah” as his face comes open at the seams, and the Punisher watches to make sure he’s dead, just in case. (Let’s hope there weren’t more WMDs coming through customs that week) When he comes out of the house, the dead cop’s wife forgives the Punisher for making her a widow, which is good, since vigilantes are necessary because of WEAK LIBERALS and SOCIALISM. Detective Soap gets mugged, so the Punisher shoots the mugger (duh!) and Soap says “oh God, his brains are splattered all over me”, but at least he didn’t sleep with his mother like he did in the comic (although he didn’t know she was his mother). In the end, Garth Ennis doesn’t get any credit for this storyline either, even though all the good bits are taken straight from a story arc he wrote like 7 years ago, just like the last movie about the Punisher, so watch out Marvel offices, because maybe the Punisher will punish YOU, but probably not, because you’re all owned by Disney now. The end.

04.10.2009 • Permalink