I got the tax return done on time again but had to take a vacation day to do it. Yes, yes, if I were more motivated and organized, I could have completed it without last minute heroics, but as I’ve written before, it’s like pulling teeth. Come to think of it, I would rather go to the dentist.
The alumni association sent its annual ballot to elect an alumni “fellow”. Colleges and universities have been lambasted (in my view, justifiably) for their ideological uniformity, political correctness, and antipathy toward the society that gives them succor. But occasionally one sees a reminder that the ivy was planted long before today’s fads arose and will still be around long after they’re gone. That’s because the faddists haven’t seized permanent control of the language.
Balloting was open to “graduates of the first degree” or higher, a quaint description for alumni who hold at minimum a bachelor’s degree. I glanced at my dust-covered diploma, which is written in Latin on a plain parchment. “Praeses et socii” (President and Fellows) of the university, it begins, and the Latin seemed to give all that cramming, footnoting, regurgitating, and bloviating a little patina of dignity.
Mao’s revolution damaged but didn’t erase Chinese cultural history. The beauty of literary Chinese still resonates with millions and bespeaks the persistence of culture. (For an interesting, not-too-technical article that compares ancient Latin and Chinese, please see the following.) When the postmodern left begins to offer meaningful rituals (and I don’t mean Kwanzaa), or even hummable tunes for the hoi polloi, that will be time to worry about the demise of western civilization.
Today is Tax Freedom Day 2005, the day in the year when we are done paying for that civilization and go to work for ourselves. © 2005 Stephen Yuen