This really cracked me up. Remember the anecdote I told about the conversation I overheard awhile back between two students? To keep you from clicking and reading through that long post again, here it is:
I’m reminded of a conversation I overheard on the USC campus back when I worked in an office, and took long daily walks around the campus and downtown area. These two boys were walking behind me, and one of them was bitching about having to take a course in stupid history — as if anybody cared about that.
His friend, however, protested that learning history was important to understanding our world, and he got the first kid to agree, reluctantly. I almost applauded, but in keeping with my lifelong habit of hanging back and observing, I didn’t (anyway, they may have found that a bit… condescending).
But then I heard the first kid say, “Yeah, OK. But this was, like, 500 years back! Who needs to know about that?”
The friend felt compelled to walk back his position: “Well, maybe not 500 years! Let’s not be ridiculous…”
I just kept walking…
Well, that kid who was willing to defend history — up to a point — was an absolute classical scholar compared to the one who wrote this note:
I will never recover from this student email. pic.twitter.com/Jzj5nyGKsa
— John Penniman (@Historiographos) November 28, 2023
The 1900s! Had they developed writing that early?
I wonder what he would think about Paul’s 20th-century speakers? He’d probably confuse them with Cato the Elder, if he’s heard of him.
Ever since I read that, I’ve tried to reconstruct the train of thought that led to that question, but I haven’t arrived.
Did he think the prof would respond mockingly, saying something like “Hey, why dontcha cite the Magna Carta, or… I know!… the Code of Hammurabi!…”?
I’m thinking about quoting the sages William “Bill” S. Preston, Esq., and Ted “Theodore” Logan here, but that would take us all the way back to 1989…