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Heroes and villains

Barack Obama | A Latin teacher | Daffodils


Barack Obama, who mercilessly snubbed his successor Joe Biden during a visit to the White House. As gladhander-in-chief Obama greeted excited guests, his former vice president was unable to get a word in. The GOP didn’t hold back in broadcasting their delight at watching the current president squirm. “Literally no one wants to talk to Joe Biden,” tweeted the Republican National Committee.


Cambridge academic and Latin teacher Steven Hunt, who is encouraging colleagues to use the lyrics of Taylor Swift “to help make the ancient language of Virgil and Cicero more accessible to their 21st-century students”, says The Guardian. According to Hunt, translating pop songs can enhance students’ grasp of different techniques used in Roman poetry. It’s also enormous fun. The chorus of Swift’s Bad Blood ends: “Cause baby, now we’ve got bad blood, hey!” Or as Hunt has it: “Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus. Ecce!


Daffodils, which health and safety fanatics have identified as a “terrifying new threat to our lives”, says Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph. Town councillors in Cornwall have banned daffodils from a local playground for fear that children could make themselves sick by eating them. Why stop at daffodils? Ivy isn’t much fun to eat. We ought to tear it all down before “hordes of ravenous children descend and start sucking it up like spaghetti”. And we’ll have to ban mistletoe at Christmas too, in case an innocent member of the public mistakes it “for some exciting new form of vegan amuse-bouche”.