Cicero: The Original Perpetual Politician

Cicero: The Original Perpetual Politician

A glimpse into how separation private and public for politicians has never existed

Cicero the orator, Cicero the historian, Cicero the philosopher, Cicero the epistolarian: Cicero periodically switches literary hats while retaining his characteristic long-winded, ornate style. Regardless of his literary hat, he writes to inform his audience, defend himself and his ideas, and persuade others that he and his ideas are superiority. Particularly in his epistles, Cicero best shows how he does not prescribe to the conventional casual and friendly nature of letter writing, but rather uses his letters to manipulate the opinions of those he addresses. Although he does not intend to publish the letters, the rhetorician composes in his usual literary style, but adds more unapologetic veracity to his letters. Cicero does not subscribe to traditional informal and formal conventions, but maintains a consistent voice and style throughout his writing. Pliny, however, despite his intention to publish his letters, decides to focus on what he says rather than how he says it. Opting for the arguably more traditional letter writing style, Pliny uses simple constructions and less of a political agenda. In ad Atticum 1.13.4, Cicero abuses Atticus’s friend – Pompey, who presents different accounts of Cicero’s character publicly and privately – by employing praeteritio, a crescendo of clauses, and anaphora, demonstrating that his masterful command of language remains even in insults.

Cicero qualifies his assertion about Pompey’s character by using praeteritio to maintain a good public image while hinting at his true opinion. After concluding that Pompey envies Cicero, he writes “nihil come, nihil simplex, nihil ἐν τοῖς πολιτικοῖς inlustre, nihil honestum, nihil forte, nihil liberum” (Cicero 1.13.4). This anaphoric statement clearly denounces several virtues of Pompey that Cicero values. The parallel structure that the anaphora creates shows how Cicero places equal importance on each characteristic. In the following line, Cicero writes “sed haec ad te scribam alias subtilius”, which means that he will discuss these characteristics at a later time because he does not have enough information to formulate his opinion and does not trust the messenger (Cicero 1.13.4). Cicero wants Atticus to digest his conjecture and eventually realize a similar opinion without taking offense. By disregarding the importance of the insult he just made, Cicero effectively pushes his political agenda forth. Even if Atticus never comes to the same conclusion that Cicero has, Cicero provided a safety net by exuding a casual attitude about the matter. Cicero frequently employs praeteritio as he did here for the same purpose; Cicero wants to either persuade others to believe or qualify his opinions until he determines whether or not he will accomplish his political agenda. Cicero seems to write not only to convince people to trust his opinions, but also to convince people to trust him. Pliny, Cicero’s contemporary, also wrote a series of letters, but stylistically they differ in how Pliny’s concerns are less about the political happenings of the day and how to transform people’s political opinions, but more about general philosophical ideas. Pliny does not employ praeteritio to the extent that Cicero does, instead choosing to use letter writing as a method of self-promotion. Pliny always intended to publish his letters, which contributes to the style with which he wrote them. Whereas Cicero thoughtfully worked to create beautiful insults that he qualified, Pliny glossed up his simple writing with complex vocabulary, but avoided controversial topics or gossip in favor of promoting himself.

Cicero uses simple, clear, and accessible vocabulary coupled with complex sentence structure to sarcastically poke fun at Pompey’s failed deception. Cicero’s simplistic vocabulary ensures that his point is clear while complex structure remains a part of his trademark style. While describing how Pompey treats him publically, Cicero pens “Tuus autem ille amicus (scin quem dicam?), de quo tu ad me scripsisti, postea quam non auderet reprehendere, laudare coepisse, nos, ut ostendit admodum diligit, amplectitur, amat, aperte laudat, occulte sed ita ut perspicuum sit invidet” (Cicero 1.13.4). The vocabulary in that sentence is not particularly unusual, but the nested clauses add a degree of complexity, mirroring the meaning that Cicero tries to convey. Cicero wants to show that Pompey’s feelings towards him are simple, but that Pompey expresses them in a complex manner because he presents a different countenance in public than he does in private. Pliny’s style relies heavily on the use of complex vocabulary and simplistic structure. Pliny’s terse style overflows with complex vocabulary that does not work to mirror what he says, but rather acts as a way to flaunt scholarship. Cicero seems comfortable, confident, and competent as he writes whereas Pliny writes for publication, promotion, and self-glorification.

Cicero works his writing to imbue his intended audience, Atticus in particular, with his own brand of political doctrine. Cicero does not separate his work from his personal life, choosing to strive for a positive reputation, regardless of whom he speaks to. Cicero opts to write even what can be considered casual discourse between friends in his traditional, complex style to inspire, amuse, entertain, persuade, and manipulate, in other words, ensnare. Cicero understands that words ensnare the person and pushes his own political agenda through his word choice. While Pliny decides to write in an aesthetic fashion, he misunderstands how to write aesthetically. Pliny writes by using words that are more complex, but these do not necessarily convey his meaning most efficiently, similar to how many college students consult a thesaurus when writing their works. While occasion and intention certainly contribute to stylistic differences, Cicero’s prose ends up making insults sound like compliments whereas Pliny fails to artfully articulate what he means both by using words and constructions.

Cover Image Credit: Wealthy Retirement

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.


To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.


" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.


3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.


4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.


5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs


6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.


7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.


8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.


9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.


10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.


11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.


12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout


13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.


14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.


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