15 May 2006

On the Scientific Names of Beings Animalculous

Well, in case nobody knows what that line means, it's actually a stanza from a song called "I am the very model of a modern Major General" from a musical called The Pirates of Penzance, by two English gentlemen of the 19th century known as Gilbert and Sullivan


The song is positively hilarious and is perhaps one of the nicest bits of music to listen to when sung correctly. The lyrics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_General%27s_Song are worth a moment of your time, but it's highly recommended that you download the song if you can find it.

So why should anyone care about this crap?

The character goes on and on about things that really have no bearing on his position as a major general. Who cares if he can "write a washing bill in Babylonic cuniform"? Not really a handy skill. But that's really the irony of it: The man has a number of tasks that, at the time, were considered superfluous and at the same time funny, but which nowadays would make him a valuable "team player" with a "versatile employment portfolio" to use some modern business jargon.

And where am I going with this? I don't know. But I must ask: where does one draw the line between padding a CV with useful skills and just blatantly filling space by putting in Cub Scout merit badges for selling lemonade as a skill? Something to ponder, I think.

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