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March 14, 2010

Kids today (at Language Log):

[The teacher] described the unmannerly behaviour of his pupils during a solemn lecture, a presentation to which a wider audience was admitted. He had ordered a slave to call the students in. They hardly budged, continuing to chat, laugh and sing the top hits of the day. Finally, they condescended to enter the hall, yet their lackadaisical attitude roused the ire of those already present and made them resentful. Finally the lecture could begin. The students, however, were winking at one another, were talking about this, that and the other, about charioteers, mimes, horses, pantomimes, and fights among students. Some students lolled about like statues, arms folded, while others picked their noses with both hands at once, remained utterly unmoved while everyone applauded, forced enthusiastic members of the audience to fit down. Their behaviour could be even more disgraceful: they clapped at unsuitable moments, prevented others from applauding, strutted ostentatiously through the lecture-theatre and tried to lure as many people as possible out of the hall by concocting false messages or by spreading round invitations to the baths.

Choice conversations from Nixon’s White House (at The Edge of the American West):

Nixon: I do not mind the homosexuality. I understand it. (14-second beep to hide personal information) But nevertheless, the point that I make is that goddamit, I do not think that you glorify on public television homosexuality… even more than you glorify whores. Now we all know that people go to whores. …we all have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? What do you think that does to 11 and 12 year old boys when they see that? …You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.

Ehrlichman: But he never had the influence that television had.

I guess the underlying theme here is the derangement of youth by television. And mimes.

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