15 March 2010

International “Stab a Roman Tyrant Day”

Around this time of year, most people are excited about St. Patrick’s Day. Since it’s an excuse for me to wear my green sport coat (which I originally purchased just so I could make a Riddler costume for Halloween), I’ve got no problem with the Holiday. But I’m much more excited about another mid-March event . . . the literal mid-March event. The annual observance of the Ides of March, when Julius Caesar learned that he should have listened to the warnings and worn his Kevlar toga to the Senate, and Will Shakespeare got a killer tag-line: “This summer at the Globe kheater . . . BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!”

Yes, it’s International Stab a Roman Tyrant Day. Caesar deserved to get stabbed. He was ambitious. I know this because Brutus told me he was ambitious. And Brutus is an honorable man. So are they all, all honorable men.

Actually, I don’t recommend any of you go out and stab a Roman dictator today. You’ll have a hard time finding one, first of all, even before we consider the legality issue. You can’t just go around knifing a high-ranking official today and expect that Cicero will get you off with clever Latin word constructions. I instead recommend that you celebrate the day by either reading Shakespeare or taking a plastic knife and jabbing the guy at the office who hogs the copy machine. If he doesn’t yell out “Et tu, Brute?”, then you really need to give him a history update. He will thank you for it next year at this time when somebody again lunges at him with a plastic knife in mid-March.

Today is also the anniversary of the death of H. P. Lovecraft. He, however, wasn’t stabbed to death by furious pro-Republic senators. It was just Bright’s Disease, which is a lot less tragically romantic. Lovecraft's last writing was a description of his symptoms. A writer to the end.

Since today is an excuse to read Shakespeare, I’ll just post a chunk of “The Speech” so you have shortcut to enjoyment. Ah, the joy of public domain!
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,—
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men,—
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.