The Dan Quayleification of Vermont Xenophobes

There’s a famous story (unfortunately apocryphal) about Dan Quayle visiting Latin America and wishing he had taken Latin in high school so he could speak the language. But that little bit of mythical stupidity has been playing out in Vermont, where the suggestion of creating a state motto in Latin brought xenophobic dumbasses out of the woodwork:

Last spring, Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning got a letter from an eighth-grader at The Riverside School in Lyndonville. She was studying Latin, and wanted Senator Joe to introduce a bill to give Vermont a Latin motto. We’ve got “Freedom and Unity,” but no Latin.

As the idea developed, those involved came up with a motto: Stella quarta decima fulgeat. The translation: “May the Fourteenth Star Shine Bright,” is a nod to Vermont’s status as the fourteenth state to join the union. Nice. Poetic in both languages. Benning brought the student to Montpelier and introduced her to the Government Operations Committee, which would consider her proposal.

And what happened when a news station reported about it on their Facebook page? Warning: This may make you want to get the fuck off this planet.

Dorothy Lynn Lepisto: “I thought Vermont was American not Latin? Does any Latin places have American mottos?”

Norman Flanders: “What next Arab motto??”

Kevin P. Hahn: “How about ‘go back south of the boarder’”

Richard Mason: “We are AMERICANS, not latins, why not come up with a Vermont motto that is actually from us”

Judy Lamoureux: “Throw him out of the country tell him to take obama with him!”

Phil Salzano: “My question is, are we Latin, or are we Vermonters? Alright then, English it is…..”

Lori Olds: “I thought this was USA why are they trying to make Americans aliens”

Chris Ferro: “That’s a BIG NO, if you live in the United State YOU need to learn ENGLISH!!”

Julie Kellner: “No, you a USA citizen!.. Learn & understand the language!!!.”

Kurtis Jones: “No cause vt ain’t no Latino area. Leave the motto alone”

Zeb Swierczynski: “ABSOLUTLY NOT!!!! sick and tired of that crap, they have their own countries”

Ken Curtis: “Just when I felt our represenatives could not possibly get any dumber , they come up with this…get real… this is the USA, not some Moslim or Mexican country…stop given in to these people…PRESS 1 for English and forget the rest… worry about the problems you were elected to do”

Ronald Prouty Jr. “No way this is America not Mexico or Latin America. And they nee to learn our language, just like if we go there they want us to speak theirs”

Kristen Wright: “thats un called for this is the usa”

Kelley Dawley: “How do you say idiotic senator in spanish? I’d settle for deport illegals in spanish as a back up motto”

Heather Chase: “Seriously?? Last time I checked..real vermonters were speakin ENGLISH.. NOT LATIN..good god…”

These morons vote. And breed. Sleep tight.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Chiroptera

    “I thought Vermont was American not Latin? Does any Latin places have American mottos?”

    lol

    That’s something I would contribute…to troll the xenophobes.

  • Sastra

    “Quaylification?” Look it up, there’s no such word.

    Just what makes you think you’re quaylified to come up with stupidities on your own?

  • blf

    But, but, those comments are written using the Latin alphabet. Bloody Latins, they even taken over the riting.

  • raven

    At the last poll, 26% of Americans were Geocentrists. Meaning they can’t diagram the solar system, a task I learned in the first grade. (It’s actually going up rapidly, it used to be 20%.)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these morons couldn’t diagram the solar system or even knew that the earth is not flat. Latin isn’t Spanish. It is however the religious language of the Roman Catholic Church. The anti-Latinists should be concerned about that.

    This is starting to look like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. These are the gammas, deltas, and epsilons that do the simple minded work.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    E pluribus moron

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    To be fair, ancient Rome did once consider adopting the official motto “E pluribus unum”, but the Senate turned it down because it was “too American”.

  • raven

    I see the solution here. Watch their heads explode.

    On the reverse of the American $1 bill is The Great Seal of the United States.

    One side says, Annuit Coeptis Novus Ordo Seclorum. The other E Pluribus Unum.

    And those are…Latin phrases.

    I suppose if they feel that strongly about it, they can always send their dollars back to South America.

  • U Frood

    “ABSOLUTLY NOT!!!! sick and tired of that crap, they have their own countries”

    Does even Vatican City use Latin as a day-to-day language?

  • caseloweraz

    So — no latin lovers in Vermont?

  • caseloweraz

    Also, those citizens better get moving on a petition to change the name of the state’s capital city. I mean, Montpelier is French!

    Wikipedia: It was Colonel Davis who selected the name Montpelier after the French city Montpellier. There was a general enthusiasm for things French as a result of the country’s aid during the American Revolution.

  • eric

    Warning: This may make you want to get the fuck off this planet.

    I gotta admit, I find these more funny than upsetting. Its just too ridiculous; another one of those stories that the Onion can only wish it thought up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1246980039 caseyboucher

    Infinitio stultorum numquam desinebat stupefacere me.

  • raven

    Vermont State Name Origin – State Symbols USA

    www .statesymbolsusa. org/Vermont/name_origin_VT.html

    Meaning of the word “Vermont” – French explorer Samuel de Champlain called the Green Mountains of Vermont “Verd Mont” (green mountain) … more Vermont …

    The name of the state itself is…French. It must be shocking to live in a state with a French name.

    Can we send these Qualye-oids back to Quebec?

    And just what are the people in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles going to do? Where will be people in Massachusetts have to go?

  • Taz

    “For English, press 1

    For Spanish, press 2

    For Latin, press III”

  • https://www.facebook.com/joseph.sexton.7 Joseph Sexton

    The most ironic part: the comments are so ungrammatical it makes one wonder what the poster’s first languages are. Surely it is not English. It is nice of them to be so vigilant in defending the honor of a language they cannot speak well.

  • mikeym

    Wait until they discover that the US Marines have as their motto, Semper Fidelis.

  • John Pieret

    And here we just had that most American of sports events … Super Bowl XLIX!

    Non illigitamus carborundum!

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Phil Salzano: “My question is, are we Latin, or are we Vermonters?”

    Are we not men? We are Devo!

  • Larry

    un believable!

    If english was good enough for jesus, its good enough for us!

    Are we not Latin! We are ‘muricans!

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    America: Where ignorance is not just tolerated, it’s an admired trait.

  • Scott Hanley

    I can’t believe these fucking tories all demand everything in English instead of Vermontish. It betrays everything the minutemen fought for.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @3 blf

    It’s worse than that. They have to pay their bills using … eeek!!! Arabic numerals.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @16 mikeym

    Semper paratis — Coast Guard motto

    E pluribus unum — Unofficial US motto

  • drken

    @ caseloweraz #10

    Actually, it’s worse than that as the name of the whole darn state is French for “Green Mountain”. But, I can think of a reason not to have the state motto in Latin. It’s pretentious. In this day and age I like to think we’ve moved beyond our love affair with that dead language.

  • Synfandel

    Taz (#14), you made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

  • peterh

    ““Quaylification?” Look it up, there’s no such word.”

    There is now.

    @ 21: They were the Green Mountain Boys; Minutemen were from Massachusetts.

    22 states have their mottoes in Latin.

  • moarscienceplz

    I say, until they start putting Latin on the dollar bill, they shouldn’t be making mottoes out of it!

    Oh, wait.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Delenda Vermont.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Don’t tell ’em America was named after an Italian. They’ll freak.

  • jimmiraybob

    It’s so bad that even our most patriotic American sport* uses Latin numbers for their prestigious American Super Bowl. I guess it could be worse, they could be using Arabic numerals. When are the sheeple going to wake up and start using good old American numbers. Farkin’ Obama. USA! USA! USA!

    *not named NASCAR

  • D. C. Sessions

    E pluribus unum — Unofficial US motto

    More like “former.” The current one dates to the 1950s, when we realized that the Founders (whose wisdom is unquestionable, due to Divine Inspriation) had foolishly picked a Latin motto instead of a Sanctimonious one.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Not everyone in America is that stupid … 150 million maybe … 200 million tops.

  • Michael Heath

    Chris Ferro: “That’s a BIG NO, if you live in the United State YOU need to learn ENGLISH!!”

    Did Sarah Palin’s change her sock puppet handle?

  • Pingback: Vermont xenophobes horrified at the idea of Latin motto | seemsleg.it()

  • DaveL

    Does any Latin places have American mottos?

    It’s a little-known fact that under Roman rule, the city now known as Avignon had the motto “Git’er Done!”

  • illdoittomorrow

    Jimmyraybob @ 30,

    I’m late to the party here, but my understanding is that this was the last year for Roman-numeral Super Bores Bowls. The NFL will start using Arabic numerals next year, for Super Bowl 50.

    They were forced to by Obama, to distract you from Benghazi, and help along that Sharia Law thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1092933945 mikegarber

    “There’s a famous story (unfortunately apocryphal) about Dan Quayle …”

    Why do you find that “unfortunate”???

  • briandavis

    As if it’s not bad enough that Vermont wants to have a motto not written in American, did you know that many of our schools teach “romance languages”? Don’t we already have too many teen pregnancies? Romance should be taught at home, not by some liberal union-loving government employee.

  • Rasalhague

    what, nobody demanded to know “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

  • Dave Maier

    “Stella quarta decima fulgeat“?? No way, man — the subjunctive mood is un-American! Gimme that good old indicative mood!

  • magistramarla

    I used to teach Latin. Inevitably, every year, I would get one or two new students who were upset because they thought that they were signing up for Latin American studies.

    The one that really got to me was the fundi little girl who told me that she was taking Latin “so that she could read the bible in its original language”. She reported on everything I said to her mother, who did a lot of complaining about me to the administration.

  • llewelly

    raven:

    (It’s actually going up rapidly, it used to be 20%.)

    The poll that found 21% in 2010 was gallup ( http://www.gallup.com/poll/3742/new-poll-gauges-americans-general-knowledge-levels.aspx ) and the 2012 poll that found 26% was nsf ( http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/content/chapter-7/chapter-7.pdf )

    Since the methodology is somewhat different it’s possible the difference is due to methodology rather than a trend.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    It could have been worse, magistramarla. At least your troublesome student realised that the Bible wasn’t written in English, which puts her ahead of a lot of Americans.

  • MattieF

    I’m not a big fan of mottos to begin with – just a way for legislators to pretend they’re doing something. Latin mottos are just a way for them to show off how clever they are while doing it.

    I put them right up there in importance with mission statements.

  • dingojack

    Having read the comments of those elected officials, how about Vermont adopt the motto:

    stulti, stolidi, fatui, fungi, bardi, blenni, buccones*?

    Dingo

    ———

    * ‘fools, idiots, ‘prophets’, mushrooms, dullards, dolts, buffoons’ — Bacchides. Titus Maccius Plautus

  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    Such class, shitting all over an eighth-grader’s idea.

  • Reptile Dysfunction

    I agree with Mattie F. Why doesn’t the Vermont lege spend its

    time on important stuff, like declaring the State Cookie?

  • Kermit Sansoo

    composer99 says: Such class, shitting all over an eighth-grader’s idea.

    .

    To be fair, they probably figured she was Latina. Or worse, liberal.

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    mikegarber@36: I find it unfortunate that it’s apocryphal for two different reasons. First, of course, I don’t like it when misattributed stuff gets propagated. And second, the fact that Quayle wasn’t guilty of this one is sometimes used a defense of him, to try to imply he wasn’t actually an ignorant buffoon who spouted off on things he demonstrably had no clue about.

    I mean, he really did say: “Mars is essentially in the same orbit [as Earth]….Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.”

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Not that I dare correct modus, but (tentatively) wouldn’t ‘e pluribus stultus’ be better????

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Eadhay eskday.

  • caseloweraz

    The VPO has another column on the subject, which tells us that “Stella Quarta Decima” was the motto on Vermont’s coinage when it was a republic.

  • Crudely Wrott

    A recent poll of random Vermonters by Blurry Research (n < small) showed that three out of four agree with this statement:

    Semper ubi sub ubi.

  • kenn

    my understanding is that this was the last year for Roman-numeral Super Bores Bowls. The NFL will start using Arabic numerals next year, for Super Bowl 50.

    I read that the NFL is going to use “50” next year, and then revert to Roman numerals again. They don’t want people referring to next year’s game as Super Bowl L. They are correct in assuming most people are too dumb to know that L is the Roman numeral for 50.