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.


  1. Sceptimus (or in the good ol’ US of A, Skeptimus), first of your dynastic ancestors,
    you soon will be suggesting that this site be renamed al-Climandalus the place of the Climate Vandals.

    He who controls fake history controls the fake present.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. History was always fake and the more we know, the faker it gets. History is now littered with amateur (or professional it makes no difference) psychologists trying to work out why what happened happened. Why did the Vandals fail? Did they catch religion or did they run out of spray paint or did they catch a nasty disease from wearing those sandals in the wrong environment. We can speculate till the cows come home but it won’t make it fact.

    On a personal note I’m bored of documentaries and history progs being heavily factless and full instead of ‘context’. For which read made up stuff. I’d be ok with the speculation if they made it clear what was documented and what was guesswork and even lay out all the possibilities, rather than the pet theories of the programme historian.

    It’s not like there isn’t a load of interesting stuff that’s never been brought to our attention.

    There’s a three night prog about the Great Fire of London this week, which sounds interesting but I’m not holding out much hope that it will live up to the hype.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. But is real history as fake as fake history and how do you tell the difference if it’s not written by that noted fake historian Scepticus Fakius?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tiny. What is “real history”? Is it just a consolation subject for those who can’t do science?

    “Anything that consoles is fake”
    the real Iris Murdoch

    Even geography may be fake,
    Are you real tinyCO2?
    I am very sceptical of Scepticus, almost as much as I am about Brad, who is quite frankly unbelievable.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Bots spell better than me but I’ll admit that Tiny CO2 isn’t on my birth certificate or stamped on my bottom.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “I am very s[k]eptical of S[k]epticus, almost as much as I am about Brad, who is quite frankly unbelievable.”

    Don’t mince words, chum. You’re clearly muddying the waters with such transparent euphemisms.

    Seriousness aside though, go ahead and say it: my posts can be incredibly believable, but I’m insincere, frankly.

    And you may be right. But without exaggerating, dude: earnestness is literally overrated. It’s not the location of one’s tongue relative to one’s cheek but rather the ingenuity of one’s disingenuousness that counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “And you may be right. But without exaggerating, dude: earnestness is literally overrated. It’s not the location of one’s tongue relative to one’s cheek but rather the ingenuity of one’s disingenuousness that counts”.

    You may be right (I think) but therein lies the problem.

    1984 clearly now is faux future and faux past. Wasn’t Orwell both presumptuous and prescient?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “AFFXN8LY”
    I didn’t give permission to quote my car registration number plate. Have you no respect for a person’s privacy.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Tiny. I reread your 4.16pm post. I understand what you are getting at when you criticize TV documentaries but consider an alternative. You can get information and even some pleasure from watching a programme, even one whose subject is familiar to you, simply because you can observe how the presenter has chosen to present it – what have they left out? what have they linked together that previously you have not done? and so on. I commonly watch science programmes in the same way, even those on geology. I also used to attend lectures upon subjects I myself used to give in my classes, not to learn new facts but to see how the lecturer approached the problems of explaining difficult subjects or condensing a subject into a less than one hour slot.
    In recent weeks I have greatly appreciated some of Al-Khalili’s TV documentaries which have IMO included some truly elegant experiments. A few days ago, I similarly enjoyed a programme upon Jane Austin, not because I learned new facts but because it exposed a new slant – looking at her work via the houses she lived in. An hour, again IMO, well.spent.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sceptimus, Finally got around to checking up on your post. What a mess. Your translation skills of Vandalese into English leave much to be desired [why not avail yourself of GoogleTranslate?] You blathering on about sandals when “sabotas’ refers to an obturator (as I would have thought anyone with an ounce of gunpounder would have known). I would not have been surprised either to read you rabbiting on about Dark Ages casinos and card boxes either. A little knowledge……

    Liked by 1 person

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