Friday, February 04, 2005

Those Kids Today

Actor John Vernon has passed on. We are of course reminded of his most heroic role: Dean Wormer in Animal House. Dean Wormer took on the sisyphean task of attempting to instill a love of learning and a sense of responsibility into those incorrigibles of Delta House. That he failed should have been no surprise.

Misanthropic frat boys continue to be the bane of their betters, as evidenced here. That this has always been so can be seen from the following quote by Pope Pius II dating back to 1458.

We can almost imagine John Vernon delivering these lines:
“They have no concern for music or rhetoric or the metrical art. Oratory and poetry are almost unknown. For them, all study in logic is futile disputation. You rarely find anyone who owns the works of Aristotle and other philosophers. The students at the new university devote themselves largely to pleasure and are avid for food and wine, nor are they restrained by any discipline. Day and night they roam about inflicting injuries on citizens and their heads are completely turned by the shameless women.”

(As quoted by Jacques Barzun in “From Dawn to Decadence”)


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