Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

Posted by Ian
 
You may have spotted that not very much has been updated on the MSN homepage during the last 24 hours.
 
Yesterday’s date, 15th March, was a loaded one for both historic and superstitious types. It was the Ides of March: the occasion upon which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and which has since forever been associated with bad tidings and fearful circumstance.
 
I say "forever", but really it’s all Shakespeare’s fault. By laying such store upon a soothsayer imparting the warning "Beware the Ides of March!" in his dramatised account of the Emperor’s demise, the titular bard virtually guaranteed such an invocation would pass into popular mythology. The fact that he portrayed Caesar as blithely ignoring the seer’s warnings, consequently receiving a dagger between the shoulders, imbued the phrase with nothing less than mortal overtones.
 
The word "Ides" refers to a term from the Roman calendar meaning the 15th day in March, May, July and October, and the 13th day of each other month. Until Shakespeare came along to popularise Roman history and rework classical fables, it probably had little resonance. Since the debut of Julius Caesar at the Globe Theatre in London in 1599, the reverse has been true. Not least among those who like to characterise the month of March, with its changing, unpredictable weather and habit for burying the old while championing the new, as a turbulent one.
 
Certainly, historically-speaking, mid-March is a fateful time. On 15th itself, in 1939 Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, after annexation by Adolf Hitler; in 1988 Saddam Hussein began gassing the village of Halabja, ultimately killing several thousand Kurds; in 1961 South Africa left the Commonwealth to pursue its policy of total apartheid; and in 1917 Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, catalysing the Russian Revolution. The 16th is the anniversary of Harold Wilson resigning as Prime Minister (1976), the My Lai massacre where US troops slaughtered hundreds of Vietnamese villagers (1968); the fifth largest oil spill in history off the Brittany coast (1978); and Lawrence Oates, polar explorer, informing his friends he was "just going outside and may be some time" (1912).
 
In truth, and with a bit of patience, you can dig around and find any number of historical catastrophes for any day of the year. Similar to the way Friday 13th is always used as a scapegoat for everyday bad luck, so the Ides of March has become a titanic patsy for the world’s ill-fortune.
 
Saying that, 15th March 2007 proved to be exceptionally unfortunate closer to home. Not only did technical problems prevent us updating anything on the MSN homepage, but I found out that my sister had fallen ill and that my landlord intends to sell my flat.
 
How were the Ides of March for you?
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14 Responses to Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

  1. Unknown says:

    My Mum went into a Hospice, and its her 87th Birthday this month.

  2. David says:

    This week has been quite a stressful one, I was told on monday that my mother in law has sciatica so cant look after my kids for me whilst I am at work i only work 16 hrs cant afford childcare so have to look for night work.  Might have to leave job.  Bumped my car. KIDS BEING NAUGHTY, lady shouted at me in the street because i wouldnt give her directions I was on the phone to my doctor so couldnt just stop conversation, she said i was rude shouted back I was on the phone and that she was rude.
     
    So a pretty horrible week for me.  But I least everyone is  healthy and that is more important but I do believe in these things call me mad.

  3. errol says:

    I had a great day thank you! 🙂

  4. Kiri says:

    I had a history test, during which I managed to strain a muscle and in Science I had an argument with one of the \’hardest\’ girls in school :S  Last night I went to a gig with my cousin so that equalled it out.  I did have a bad time from the 9th until the 12th though because I had shit chucked at me for being weird, then my best friend got together with my ex and they almost had sex, he couldn\’t get it up so…meh.  March isn\’t the worst month anyway.  By the way, I\’m messed up because Friday 13th is my lucky day xD

  5. Paula says:

    my birthday was on the 14 march but as everything had been going sooo unbelievably crap for me for the whole month up until then i have decided to celebrate my birthday in april!

  6. andrew says:

    Its always been lucky for me, its my birthday……… although it was the big 40 this year so not so good

  7. silvia says:

    Yesterday was not a good day…in fact i could feel the knife in my back…Et tu Brute!?
     

  8. Patrick says:

    A minor point – the expression "Infamy! Infamy! They\’ve all got it infamy!" is usually attributed to Kenneth Williams in the film "Carry on Cleo" but it was, in fact, first heard many years earlier, spoken by Jimmy Edwards in the radio series "Take It From Here". The writers, Frank Muir and Dennis Norden, agreed to allow the use of some of their material in the "Carry On" films.

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