Now that’s a trend story

Pax Arcana

While the rest of the New York Times staff is busy convincing us that cat-loving men are the new black, some on the Gray Lady’s staff actually seem to have uncovered trend stories backed by — hang on to your motherfucking hats — verifiable facts!

In today’s edition, reporter Winnie the Poo Hu asserts that Latin is all the rage among the youngs:

The resurgence of a language once rejected as outdated and irrelevant is reflected across the country as Latin is embraced by a new generation of students like Xavier who seek to increase SAT scores or stand out from their friends, or simply harbor a fascination for the ancient language after reading Harry Potter’s Latin-based chanting spells.

But where you’d expect the next paragraph to start with “While there is no hard evidence to prove there are more students studying Latin, educators from Naples (Florida) to Venice (California) say they’ve seen an increased interest in the language among high school students,” Hu takes your jaded anticipation, drops it to the mat in a figure-four leg lock and makes it scream for mercy.

Check it:

The number of students in the United States taking the National Latin Exam has risen steadily to more than 134,000 students in each of the past two years, from 124,000 in 2003 and 101,000 in 1998, with large increases in remote parts of the country like New Mexico, Alaska and Vermont. The number of students taking the Advanced Placement test in Latin, meanwhile, has nearly doubled over the past 10 years, to 8,654 in 2007.

The rest of the article speculates on possible reasons for the upswing — including the popularity of Latin-ish phrases in the Harry Potter books and simple cultural cycles. But the point is that Winnie Hu was able, in less than 100 words, to support the point of the article. It ain’t proof in the scientific sense, but it’s genuine journalism.

I say lorem ipsum, Winnie Hu. Lorem ipsum to you in all your future endeavors.

A Dead Language That’s Very Much Alive [NYT]

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