Monday, June 27, 2016

I learned this in 7th-Grade Latin.

A long time ago--back when war was still raging in Vietnam and on college campuses and Richard Nixon was president
--I sat in seventh grade Latin class and learned something that went beyond declensions and conjugations.

There was to be on Friday evening a seventh grade dance and Mr. Beal, our stern ex-Marine vice principal, had issued an edict: boys attending the dance had to wear a sports jacket and a tie.

To the assembled 12 and 13-year-olds in class, this seemed like the ultimate outrage. Blue jeans and t-shirts we de rigueur, and a step back into "Leave it to Beaver" clothing seemed all wrong to us.

I remember protesting to our Latin teacher, Mr. Comeau, who, despite being a Latin teacher, seemed a fairly cool guy. 

Mr. Comeau had a response that silenced everybody. In response to why we had to dress up he said, simply: "You're less likely to roll on the floor like a zoo animal if you have a jacket and tie on."

In short, there was a civilizing effect derived from authority.

I think about this because it seems, once again, that the world has spun off its axis.

England has no government. 

Our government has ceased to function. 

We no longer have a functioning Supreme Court. Our voting system is filled with fraud and inefficiency. Our tax code, all ten million words of it, excuses the malefactors of great wealth and punishes the working man. And on and on.

We seem to be throwing civilization away with both hands. 

And, of course, we do the same in advertising. We tell ourselves anyone can be creative and a great idea can come from anywhere. Ignoring completely, Malcolm Gladwell's thesis that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master anything.

No, we prefer to eschew civilization's jacket and tie. And roll on the floor like zoo animals.

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