FAMILY VALUES, ROMAN AND REPUBLICANI have a link to Mr. Sobran's site over there in the right-hand area, in case you'd like to read all his other stuff that I keep forgetting about before the embargo expires. Or, as far as that goes, I also seem to have a link right here.
by Joe Sobran
[THIS COLUMN IS EMBARGOED UNTIL MARCH 19. If you forward it after that time, please use the entire page.]
It was around this time of year over two millennia ago -- in Lent, just before St. Patrick's Day -- that Julius Caesar was struck down. Of course Rome was not yet a Catholic city, let alone Irish, but it had a powerful criminal element, its senate.
Thanks to Shakespeare, the official version of the story is still familiar and easily accessible on the Internet. But the Bard's play deals only with the last few days of Caesar's life (plus the aftermath). It has nothing to say about what would now be the most scandalous fact of that life: Like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Julius Caesar owned slaves.
True, they were probably white slaves, so Al Sharpton's ancestors presumably weren't among them, which may be why the civil rights leader's name isn't Al Caesar. Caesar, muttering his scathing contempt for cowards, showed up for work that day despite the misgivings of his bitch Calpurnia (in colloquial Latin, his "ho") and her astrologers, as well as a homeless Soothsayer.
It was then that the conspirators -- led by Caesar's friend Brutus (who may also have been his bastard son, being the child of Servilia, one of Caesar's old squeezes, as Plutarch reports, though of course the media, including Shakespeare, play down such eye-popping details), Cassius, and Casca -- struck. After the others had stabbed Caesar, he stopped struggling when Brutus let him have it right in the groin (another fact the media have skipped over).
Rome was shocked. Caesar had just come home in triumph after vanquishing the once-popular Pompey. He'd seemed to have a promising future as dictator.
Now Brutus faced a delicate problem, challenging all his great gifts as an orator. How to placate the angry mob, which had adored Caesar?
At Caesar's funeral he explained that he and his fellow conspirators had felt they'd had no choice if Roman liberty was to survive. Sounded reasonable.
But then it was the turn of Mark ("Born to Raise Hell," his tattooed biceps proclaimed) Antony to do the talking. When the terms of Caesar's will were revealed, the inebriated crowd went nuts and tore the city apart. It was the wildest St. Patrick's Day Rome has seen to this day. He'd left every Roman citizen seventy-five -- count 'em! -- drachmas. And a drachma in those days, before the Federal Reserve System, was worth something.
If anything happened to George W. Bush today (oh, heaven forfend!), how much do you think each of us would get? Not being stupid, the Romans didn't have paper money, and their coins are still a lot more valuable than ours. So much for modern progress.
By the time of his death, Caesar had already had two children with Egypt's Cleopatra, the alleged "serpent of the Nile." As Shakespeare put it, in his typically lewd way,
She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:
He ploughed her, and she cropped."
Then Antony too went to Egypt and did some ploughing of his own. Two more kids. Not that Cleopatra was actually such a femme fatale, but to quote Shakespeare again, "Our courteous Antony, Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak ..." I used to have a buddy like that. "I never turned any down," he'd say. If he were here today he'd make a good Republican presidential candidate.
I doubt that John Edwards is a faggot, as Ann Coulter says, but the GOP might be in better shape if Rudy Giuliani were one. Giuliani, who is not on speaking terms with his offspring, seems determined to revive ancient Roman family values, perhaps including infanticide.
In the heydays of the Kennedys and Bill Clinton, not so long ago, satyriasis was thought to be the Democrats' affliction. How times do change. These days the only Republican who turns any down is that human paradox Mitt Romney, a/k/a Mitt the Monogamous Massachusetts Mormon. He is still, after 38 years, in the embrace of the first and, so far, the only Mrs. Romney. Well, at least Giuliani doesn't own any slaves, unless they are sex slaves.
In the Harry Truman era the GOP asked the voters a simple question: "Had enough?" Well, the voters have had enough -- enough, with over measure -- of George W. Bush. Now the party has a new slogan: "Gettin' any?"
Saturday, March 24, 2007
In one of the rare acts of responsibility in my allegedly-grownup life, I actually pay to be an e-mail subscriber to Joseph Sobran's column. I do so largely because I fear that he won't otherwise be able to put beans and bread on his table, purged as he was by the "respectable" "conservative" "movement" (meaning National Review, George Will, et nauseating cetera -- sorry about all the quote marks, but my [irony] [/irony] tags seem to be broken today). Being a paid e-subscriber means that I get to see the columns a week or two before they are generally released, which is pretty worthless as a benefit or privilege. What it really means is that I see something in my e-mail that I'd often like to reproduce or excerpt here, but it's embargoed for a while, and I've usually forgotten it by the time the embargo's up. But, this morning I'm de-cluttering the Outlook inbox, and I find this: