Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Of the Byzantine, two items

Two items from this morning's NYTimes:
An article on Lars Brownworth, who teaches at the Stony Brook School, and has a podcast on the Byzantine Emperors called 12 Byzantine Rulers. I applaud the the very idea (anything about Byzantium is good for people who think multiculturalism, globalism, and its conflicts and influence began in the twentieth century), and also the fact that the podcast seems to have brought the uber-snooty to their knees: "While listeners address him in their e-mail messages with the respectful honorific 'professor,'" the Times writes, "Mr. Brownworth, in fact holds only a BA from Houghton College in upstate New York. He started teaching at Stony Brook only in 1999..." Emphasis, dear readers (?) is mine. Don't get me wrong; I love the Times; that the lesson afforded by podcasting and other democratizing media is worthy of note by them is both ironic and important: intellect will out, and it is still present in the population at large. Houghton must be crowing right now. That, and a teacher's life from 1999-2007 really must be reckoned in dog-years.

Then there was this, which I quote in its entirety, in the World Briefing section:

President Fidel Castro was shown on state television for the first time in three months, standing with President Hugo Chavez at a two hour meeting said to have taken place in Havana on Monday. Mr. Castro, 80, looked stronger but still frail in the images. He dropped from public view six months ago after undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding and was last seen in an Oct. 28 video clip looking very frail and walking with difficulty. His illness is a state secret.

State secrets not being what they were in Byzantium, clearly.

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