Bringing history to the masses

Ordinarily, Britain’s Got Talentdoesn’t have a lot in common with history, though I suppose there will be a footnote onSusan Boylein the ‘History of Reality TV’ when it’s finally published. Or in Simon Cowell‘s autobiography.

But none of this matters toMary Beard, whose excellentTimes Online blog, It’s A Don’s Life, covers subjects that have everything and nothing do with history. Beard, aprofessor in classics at Cambridge and the classics editor ofThe Times Literary Supplement, this week confessed to watching the final of BGT, posting a blog under the header: ‘A classicist watches Britain’s Got Talent‘.

The Times describes Beard as a “wickedly subversive commentator on both the modern and the ancient world”. And she is. Her blog not only brings the old and the new worlds together, it also brings down the barriers between academia and ‘normal’ life. Everything from ‘Great lecturing disasters‘ to ‘Ancient Greeks and Global Warming‘ and ‘David Miliband and his (modest) garden expenses‘ is fair game for the blogging Beard. I particularly like ‘What’s the point of library fines?‘, though the one on Roman jokes is good, too (“That slave you sold me died, a man complained to a nutty professor.Well, I swear by all the gods, he never did anything like that when I had him.”)

Boom boom.