Think the global-warming wars are boring? Think climate science is a low-ante, “academic” debate? Think the never-ending, ever-impending trials of Rajendra Pachauri and Steyn/Simberg don’t really matter?
Then the following post is for you.
It doesn’t mention any of that stuff.
Scepticus Augustus the Self-Introducing,
Unique of my Name,
King in the South-Southeast
known as Emperor Negator Negatorium
DEAR COMMENTERS, you can stop now. Our spam-bag runneth over with unhelpful variants on the quibble: “Uhh, err, Scepticus, thy joke is flawed because in Arabic, al-Andalus already means the place of the Vandals. So, technically, thou didstn’t even make that up. Ha ha ha.”
Tell me something I don’t know.
Allow me to demonstrate. Having just wasted a couple of hours on Wikipedia (when I was supposed to be updating my tumblr), I must admit I never realized that…
• Contrary to popular myth, Jesus didn’t invent the sandal—it’s Randal I (the Vandal whose handle, Randal the Candlemaker, affectionately derides his low birth) who first wore the scandalously toe-liberating accessory.
• Randal was a true Dark Ages polymath. Not only did he dominate the Mediterranean in military and footwear matters for almost a century (a remarkable feat in an age when most people, including him, died at 34), he also loved to coin phrases like ‘Renaissance man’ that are still in use today.
• For decades, the pagan meta-chief seemed as invincible on the field as he was on the catwalk; contemporary Iberian coins call him simply ‘Achilles Got[h]orum.’ But Randal’s reign came to a sudden end in 470 CE when his army was literally blindsided by their ancient heels, the Invisigoths, who then melted back into the mist.
• As he lay exsanguinating, the distant ancestor of Charles Martel (the distant grandfather of Charlemagne) is said to have made his final contribution to cliché: “We… never even… saw them coming.”
• Some sources, however, render this as, “I was only… *cough* *splutter*… two days… away from abdication.”
• More than a hundred years later, we still remember Randal as the Last of the Great Vandals.
• His empire passed to his son Rulf, First of the Crap Vandals, who was expected to succeed his father, but only succeeded in failing him.
• To this day, Rulf’s name is virtually a four-letter word in the barrios of North Africa and bazaars of South Spain. People here have never forgiven him for betraying Vandal culture when he Christianised his subjects, forcing them to give up graffiti on pain of Church-ordered community service. To a race for whom tagging walls and overturning waste receptacles was practically a religion, this was a heavy blow indeed.
• But as we now understand, paganism can neither be created nor destroyed, merely converted to a different unit.
• And so it is that in certain exurbs of Seville, people still enjoy nothing better than to render large, expensive machines useless by introducing sandals—or sabotas—elsewhere than they ought to go. And that, boys and girls, is where we get the English word (you guessed it…) u vandálismu—literally a bug, beetle, syntax error or Easter egg. All of which are not only pre-Christian, but pre-Islamic, traditions!
Did you? I doubt it. I’d wager that, even for the pub-trivia tragics, there was quite a bit of new misinformation there. ■
I have more affection for you that I’m sure, in time,
you will come to feel for me.