John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to email@example.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Greeks started it
Robin Lane Fox, writing in The Classical World, says that the spirit of competition that led to the creation of multiple festivals in the sixth century B.C. also produced “a culture of the ‘celebrity,’ ... not a culture of great warriors but one of great sportsmen, poets and musicians. By contrast, there are no ‘celebrities’ in the world described in the Old Testament or in the Near Eastern monarchies.” Cities honored their champions with victory parades and celebrated their careers in stories. That tradition, too, lives on in what the 20th century called boosterism.