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Saturday February 23rd 2019Tim Candler9

 

    Today is Saturn's Day of the week. As a God, one of his many jobs was agriculture, and when Romans got all worked up about him they chose to give him a special day in December which was all about sacrificing a beast or other in a temple and after the serious religious duties were over everyone gave gifts and proceeded to feast in a saturnalian manner. Of interest in this area is the word Vomitorium, which was a passageway out of which the audience could spew forth at the end of something like a Roman sporting event, the great majority of which were basically untoward and very suspect, not to mention the array of foodstuffs and beverages available from Ancient Roman vendors, and possible the more delicate of Romans might well have spewed forth whilst leaving the entertainment through the vomitorium. Interesting too, apparently the Latin word vomitorium doesn't appear in written form until well into the 4th Century, and by the 4th Century Roman's were considerably more delicate, many of them had given up on Saturn and replaced Saturn's special day with the new official religion of Rome and they celebrated Jesus' birthday and there's a whole bunch of possibilities around those early Christmas Communions, many of which might been brushed under rugs and stamped on by the tutored. These days vomitoria are called voms and voms are how actors and actresses get on and off the stage, I'm told.

 

Past

    

   I mention all this as a result of an aggravating internal dialogue on the subject of Untutored. The thing is, one argument suggests that technological progress has robbed us of the more poetic understandings of meaning and as a result technological progress has absconded with understandings of ourselves which might be incredibly useful in an age of plenty which apparently is increasingly devoted to more and more plenty and less and less of everything else. Oh sure there's always the possibility of re-education programs, an iron fist that directs meaning and disappears the disobedient, takes away our washing machines, cheese burgers and so on. It's been tried before and it'll be tried again, and here you're talking to someone who spent many of his formative years in one detention or another and has no hesitation calling down chilling disciplinary action for wide swaths of a given population, knowing in his heart that in the longer run a good chance it ends badly, unless you count the resounding presence of, "Aportez ce vieux whisky au juge blond qui fume." It was a particularly fierce French teacher who insisted I couldn't spell because he couldn't read my handwriting, and you know full well you're on the receiving end of a mental anomaly when they tell you to write a sentence legibly a thousand times.  If you're interested it's the French quick brown fox typing pangram, and you got to love the French, none of this jumping over lazy dogs stuff, their pangram roughly translates to "Bring this old whisky to the blond-haired judge who smokes."  Mind you the exercise, which itself had to be repeated several times, was most excellent preparation for factory work.

 

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