The Ides of March or how to annoy your co-workers today

Why is March 15th considered the Ides of March?

The term Ides comes from the earliest Roman calendar, which is said to have been devised by Romulus the mythical founder of Rome. Whether it was Romulus or not, the inventor of this calendar had a penchant for complexity. The Roman calendar organized its months around three days, each of which served as a reference point for counting the other days:

  • Kalends (1st day of the month)
  • Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months)
  • Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months)

So, why was Caesar warned to beware of the ides of March?

Caesar was appointed Roman consul and dictator, but before settling in Rome he traveled around the empire for several years and consolidated his rule. In 45 B.C., he returned to Rome and was made dictator for life. He was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C., by a group of conspirators who believed that his death would lead to the restoration of the Roman Republic. However, the result of the “Ides of March” was to plunge Rome into a fresh round of civil wars, out of which Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew, would emerge as Augustus, the first Roman emperor, destroying the republic forever.

Shakespeare immortalized this day in his play Julius Caesar. And though murder should not be celebrated, we somehow still find ways to make light of this day. Case in point, my co-workers fully expect me to quote Shakespeare, or more to the point, Julius Caesar all day. With that un mind I thought I’d share 10 one-line quotes you can use in the office today. Beware, over use may lead to an insurrection.

  • “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” …
  • “Cowards die many times before their deaths; …
  • “Men at some time are masters of their fates. …
  • “Et tu, Brute?” …
  • “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!” …
  • “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
  • Beware the ides of March.
  • You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
  • “What a terrible era in which idiots govern the blind.”
  • “But, for my own part, it was Greek to me.”

Works cited (Because yes, my finger is still wrapped up tight)

infoplease.org The Ides of March

History.com Julius Caesar

1984 meets 2017

poster_1984_lrg

The newspaper USA today wrote that George Orwell’s 1984 has sold 47,000 copies since Don the Con was elected President. That’s up 10,000 from last year. Some of you may think this is a knee jerk reaction, but after Kellyanne Conway mentioned “alternative facts” as a way of explaining the misrepresentation lies reported by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, sales skyrocketed.

Here is a summary of the plot of 1984.

Winston Smith is a member of the Outer Party. He works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, rewriting and distorting history. To escape Big Brother’s tyranny, at least inside his own mind, Winston begins a diary — an act punishable by death.

As I write this, Don the Con has now lied about the number of public attendees at his inauguration, lied about knowing there was wide spread (up to 5, 000,000 Hilary votes) voter fraud as a way to explain his loss of the popular vote. Yes, he is trying to re-write history.

He has announced today the wall will go up, even if Mexico isn’t paying for it. And has stopped the EPA and national parks from tweeting science facts as they pertain to climate change. He has taken down the climate change page from the White House web page, and oh did I mention, he is forbidding science agencies from talking to the media or sending out information. He is also calling for the taking of Iraqi oil,(putting our troops there at risk) and called out for the removal of the ban on torture.  Talk about the age of Big Brother!

This is unAmerican and very very scary for all rational thinking people. So what does all of this have to do with 1984? Well the parallels between what Don the Con is doing and saying and the novel cannot be stressed enough. In fact it is quite easy to see America, and I can’t believe I am saying this, may be moving towards a Dystopian society or at least one that Orwell envisioned 68 years ago.

5 1984 Quotes

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

You are a slow learner, Winston.”
“How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
“Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.

1984

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

“What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?”

What indeed can we do? I for one will not simple stand back and watch as the country eats itself. I will not only keep a dairy in order to stay sane, I will use it against the oppressor until he screams into the night. I will call, I will Tweet, I will march, but I will not let the insanity of lies, deception and the rewriting of history take hold. And if you are afraid of losing your mind, I suggest you do the same.