Cultural Literacy: Bread and Circuses

After last night, I can’t think of a better time to post this Cultural Literacy the concept of bread and circuses. The term comes from ancient Rome, as I suspect most people know; it was meant, originally, as a plaint against the declining heroism of the Roman people, who were willing to exchange the Roman Republic for the Roman Empire–to forego the work of maintaining a republic for the spectacle, noise, and distraction of the empire’s conquests and programs–free bread among them–designed to control the populace.

In the context of current American politics, I suppose a teacher could contextualize this to describe how Americans were willing to sacrifice intellect and reason for emotion and nonsense.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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