Don't say we didn't try!
Last week, we deliberately posted super early about Dannie's plagiarism of the work of blogger Paul Anthony Jones (click here). Our aim was to give Copycat Dan enough time to pull the second installment of his Latin series from the August 14 bulletin or at least to substitute something original. As much as we enjoy watching "One Hand" stew in his own mess, his shameless behavior discredits all traditional Catholics.
So that's why we attempted — unsuccessfully —to intervene. Other people, you know, judge all traddies against His Lawlessness's bad form.
But Li'l Daniel didn't take our gracious hint. Instead, he doubled down by continuing with Mr. Jones's next two explanations of useful Latin phrases. (Click here for the Aug. 14 bulletin and here for Mr. Jones's post on mental_floss.) The intellectual horror in this case is that not only did Dannie keep on plagiarizing like the week before, but he also perpetuated a gross error.
As we did in our previous post, we won't fault Mr. Jones here either. He's simply an enthusiast with no pretension to deep knowledge. However, he got it very wrong when he suggested that the Latin saying Caesar non supra grammaticos ("Caesar is not above grammarians") originated in a rebuke to the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund at the Council of Constance in 1414. To the contrary, the phrase has its roots in antiquity, from the reign of Tiberius Caesar (AD 14-37).
The historian Suetonius tells of a persnickety grammarian, one Marcus Pomponius Marcellus, who criticized a word in a speech of Tiberius. In the same way in which addled Gertie apologists for Dannie respond to criticism of their cult master, an imperial toady affirmed that the usage was proper Latin, or if it wasn't, it certainly would be thenceforward. Never at a non-plus, the exacting Marcellus, after calling the brown-noser a liar, admonished the emperor, "For you, Caesar, can grant citizenship to men; you cannot to a word."*Now, for those of you out in cyberspace who aren't classicists, we can tell you this little episode is very well known among professionals. In fact, it's famous enough to have been included in Norbert Guterman's popular 1966 Anchor Book of Latin Quotations. And, quite honestly, we can't imagine a serious Latinist's never having heard it once or twice from a fastidious prose-comp prof.
But inasmuch as Dannie and his clown crew haven't been formally schooled in humane languages and literature, none of them could possibly know the true source of the saying.** That very real limitation, therefore, should teach them to stay away from anything that has to do with Latin, either classical or ecclesiastical or dog or pig. Should Dannie ever stop trying to pretend to be someone other than the lout he is, he would spare himself — and traditional Catholics — a load of discomfort.
Accordingly, PL suggests he cancel the third, plagiarized installment. We've posted very early again so he's got plenty of time to do it today to make sure it doesn't appear in the Sunday bulletin for August 21.
Second chances don't come too often. Dannie shouldn't pass this one up.
But since it's probable that His Obtuseness will choose not to answer opportunity's knock, at least let him give poor Mr. Jones credit for his work, amateurish as it is.
We'll all be watching sgg.org this weekend.
*tu enim, Caesar, civitatem dare potes hominibus, verbo non potes (Brugnoli's edition of De Grammaticis et Rhetoribus, 22, 2; Teubner, 1963).
** Actually, poor Mr. Jones seems to have conflated the elements of the account of Suetonius and the details of the incident at the council, if we are to believe earlier sources. For example, W. F. H. King, adding to the anecdote on Marcellus, recounts the conciliar incident as follows (Classical and Foreign Quotations, # 2534; Whitaker, 1889):
A later Emperor, however, Sigismund I., disclaimed any such absurd limitations and, at the Council of Constance 1414, replied, to a prelate who had objected to H.M.'s grammar, Ego sum Rex Romanus et supra grammaticam, I am the Roman Emperor and am above grammar. (See Menzel, Geschichte der Deutschen, 3d ed. cap. 325; Buchmann, Gefl. W. p. 326 ; and Carlyle's Frederick the Great.)Now compare the two accounts we've given to that of Mr. Jones's post, which Dannie flagrantly appropriated in his Aug. 14 bulletin:
In a speech to the Council of Constance in 1414, the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg happened to use the Latin word schisma, meaning "schism." Unfortunately for him, he muddled up its gender—schisma should be a neuter word, but he used it as if it were feminine. When the error was pointed out to him, Sigismund angrily proclaimed that because he was Emperor, even if the word was neuter (which it was) it would be feminine from now on, at which point one member of the Council supposedly stood and replied, "Caesar non supra grammaticos"—or "the Emperor is not above the grammarians." The phrase quickly became a popular proverbial defence of the importance of good grammar and spelling.Had Dannie possessed merely a teensy bit of formal training, not only would he have recognized Mr. Jones's apparent conflation of the two anecdotes, but also he would have understood that Caesar non supra grammaticos is a saying, not a quotation. But without an education and disdainful of the stigma of plagiarism, our parroting prelate is doomed embarrass us all by uncritically repeating others.
Dannie and Co. are not the real thing, ladies and gentlemen.