“The ides of March are come.” So boasted Caesar to the soothsayer at the beginning of the third act of William Shakeaspeare’s play “Julius Caesar.”
The soothsayer responded that they were not gone yet, and Caesar’s eventual assasination, by his friend the “honorable” friend Brutus, proved that the Roman emperor would have indeed been wise to “beware the ides of March.”
The 400 year-old dramatic rendering of Caesar’s real death more than 2,000 years ago has long been the provence of literary academia — a quick google scholarship search finds more than five thousand journal articles that reference the term “ides of march.” But it has also broken through to mass culture. All the touchpoints of an online cultural cluster are coalescing around the day:
l Google trends is chock full of all the terms as well.
l There was a fake internet rumor about Facebook shutting down on March 15.
l And the ultimate piece of modern communications: thoughtfully snarky ecards to send along to your friends.
Some may look at the meme-ization of a historical event and literary classic and sadly hang their heads? But friends, Roman, internet-citizens, lend me your ears. I come to bury that sadness, not to embrace it. Some might consider it ambitious to infuse Shakesperian soliloquy into the fractured Internet community. But ambition should be made of of sterner stuff. A few Shakepearean references are simply bits high culture invading mass culture. Nothing more. And that can be impressive enough.
Maybe it helps the SparkNotes edition of the play retain its place atop the Amazon bestsellers in classic British literature. Or inspires others to hunt down the classic Marlon Brando Hollywood film version. If so, surely glazing over all the cheesy puns clogging up twitter and Facebook streams would make us as noble as Brutus. Am I right twitter handle @shariv67?
If I read one more corny ides of March joke, I'm going to stab my best friend.