Immer Drummer


Just when I was beginning to think the neoconservatives had reached the nadir of ignorance with people like Jonah Goldberg and David Frum, along comes Harvard grad Bill Kristol to flaunt his ignorance.  Bill was so thrilled that someone had put up these mock lyrics to a Harvard Fight song:  Illegitimum non carborundum that he posted a link on his blog.

Archons of Athens!

Some old geezers will remember the gag Latin, "Illegitimis non carborundum est," facetiously translated as "Don't let the bastards wear you down."  The joke lay in giving it the appearance of the gerundive of obligation with the subject (illegitimis) in the dative case.  But, what had been a semi-literate gag in the 1960's is now impenetrable to the brain trust at the Weekly Standard.  Dative shmative.

I remember once telling Pat Buchanan about some political prediction the young Kristol had made.  Pat laughed his laugh, saying "That guy--he never gets anything right."

Pat was right.  If we do not laugh at these poor fellows, we shall have to cry for the Americans who actually read them.  If only their mistakes were confined to the grammar of dead languages and did not extend to the grammar of dead Americans and Iraqis.

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.

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