That’s Latin for “greetings, dear friends!”
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Why would someone begin an op-ed with a greeting in Latin?” The answer’s simple, really. It’s because I know Latin! I know Latin, and some Greek, and I went to prep school and read Ulysses there, and I know a bunch of philosophy terms, and probably I have a sweatshirt with the name of my prep school on it that I wear often enough that it’s not clear whether I ever wash it. I frequently refer to my high school years as a “classical education,” my dad works in finance, and my best friend is named after a minor deity from Roman mythology.
Here is how this is going to go: you are going to listen to me. You are going to listen to the things I say, all the poorly-thought-out puns and the self-aggrandizing rhetoric and mildly sexist asides. You are going to hear me say phrases like “object qua object” and “metatextually speaking” and “epistemology”. Sometimes I will also reference people like Aristotle and Sophocles and Cicero. I am going to name-drop these people loudly and frequently, because they are all I have. They are my only friends.
But you will be my friend, too! That is because I am going to keep yelling these things at you until you love me.
Do you want to hear my trenchant analysis of the student income contribution? I promise that it will disturb your paradigm. No, don’t be scared! That is a good thing. It is good to have your paradigm disrupted. And you can’t leave anyway, because I’m not going to let you leave until you love me. Nobody loves me, so you— you have to love me.
Here we go: Did you know that protests about the student income contribution are symptomatic of a deaxiomized dialetic, one in which the Form itself is held to be not-Form? It’s also denotative of our societal aversion to natural law, which itself (natural law qua natural law) is an ingrained truth, the sort easily garnered by the most pediatric intellect from simple verities.
That is my analysis of the student income contribution.
Here is what you say now: “Micah, that is wonderful! I am really happy that you know all of those words. I don’t know all of them, but I bet you know what they mean, too! You are really smart. Here is a hundred dollars and I love you.”
Did you say it?
I can do other things like that too! I can take any modern issue, and I can string together a barely-cogent wisp of an argument regarding it, and then I can paper over the obvious gaps in my knowledge with a bunch of classical allusions and unnecessary polysyllabic words! It is really cool and I bet it will make you love me even more. Wanna see?
The controversy over the renaming of Calhoun College is merely a recapitulation of essentialities best synopsized in Homeric tradition.
Black Lives Matter is enacting rank usury upon the pathologized loan withdrawn by our antecedents in the Dionysian epochs.
Cell phone culture is premised upon its own demise, a modern Icarian fable for our postlapsarian vintage.
I can keep going if you want! Seriously. It is neat!
Do you want to hear a secret? Sometimes, I make up things that aren’t actually issues, and I write arguments about them anyway! Like, see what I did with the phrase “cell phone culture”? That’s not a real thing! I made it up! I made it up just to argue against!
Wait! No! Please! Tell me I’m smart. I need you to tell me I’m smart. My admissions essay for college was titled “A Modern Discourse on the Cultured Mind”! My family’s house has six bedrooms! The furthest west I’ve ever gone was Buffalo, and you’d better goddamn trust me when I say I’d fucking kill myself before I went any further! You are going to love me. You have to. I have a t-shirt that says “Yale” in Greek on it!
Is it my opinions? Don’t worry! I don’t believe any of them anyway. I say epistemology all the time because I think it will make me seem smart. At the core of things, I’m really just a hollow, frigid husk of a human being, a dead-eyed revenant sailing from class to class on the cold, cold wind of my peers’ praise! So, don’t worry. You don’t have to leave, because I’m nobody. I can be whatever you want!
Shit. No. Don’t do this to me. You can’t. I’m so smart. You can’t leave. I am the smartest and so you have to love me.
Deserts, but, like, not the kind with cacti!
Ontological modes of being!