Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

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Critic’s Choice


Supposing newspapers were available in the days of Nero, the morning after the Emperor’s abortive attempt to burn down the Capitol, would have witnessed in the Senate Hall a scene on the lines given below, more or less.
Waving a newspaper Nero growls in the best traditions of a student of Rhetoric: “I feel almost tainted by the scurrilous piece of writing!” A pause. Nero continues: “Look, it smacks of the underground press.”
Before an attentive body of senators in varying degrees of corruption, he sniffs his nose in disgust and adds: “An infamous rag which goes by the name of ‘The Christian Monitor’. What it insinuates is too much for a sensitive soul to bear!”
One senator: “Ave Caesar! ‘Roman Tribune’ is no better. Did you read its editorial? What a gall to run down your policies!” Quoting from the article in question he adds: “The Emperor needs to check his burning enthusiasm for creating a brave new world, which only encourages divisive forces at work….”
Shaking his neronic locks of which he was unduly proud of, Caesar interrupts: “Bah! A conservative paper funded by the patricians! One cannot expect them to smell bacon when it is done to a turn.”
“Ah, here it is!” Nero nearly leaps with joy, “One column in this is worth all the trouble! What a sensitive piece of writing!” He has a tabloid in his hands now. “Read, you must Gaius.” he exclaims, tugging at the sleeve of a portly senator. “My lyre-recital has been well received by the music critic of ‘La Scala’. By Jove I already feel deified!

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