June 23, 2008
THE POSSUM SLEEPS TONIGHT: Obama Campaign Drops Faux Presidential Seal.
By the way, though the faux-seal was a mark of both hubris and poor taste, Dr. Weevil emails that contrary to some blogger claims, Obama's Latin was fine:
It may be that 'certe' is a more likely choice than 'vero' for a native speaker to use in this context, but they're all dead, and Romans didn't really have standard words for yes and no. Usually they would repeat the verb: the usual answer to "would you like another slice of pie?" is "I would like" (one word in Latin), and the answer to 'can we?' ('possumusne?') would just be 'we can' ('possumus'). 'Vero' will certainly do.
As I put in a comment over at Beldar's Blog, 'possumus' is just right for 'we can', and 'vero' basically means 'truly' and is also used for 'yes' or 'but, however', or 'moreover', depending on context.
By the way, I never got around to posting on the Spitzer hooker's tattoo, which was (a) perfectly good Latin, (b) metrical, and (c) amusingly ambiguous ('I stay strong/healthy with protection' = 'by insisting on condoms'? or 'with the help of a brutal pimp'? or 'with the help of friends in high places'?) Best of all, the professors at well-known Classics Departments weren't particularly accurate, but the professor at Ave Maria School of Law and the Canadian middle-school history teacher ('Rogue Classicist') got it exactly right.