DAILY BRIEFING
Fennomania!

May 12 - I'm back from London and will have something to say about the trip after I've had a chance to collect my thoughts, many of which have yet to clear customs.

For the time being, I'd just like to mention that today is a national holiday in Finland, where they celebrate the 1806 birthday of philosopher, scholar, patriot, and journalist Johan Vilhelm Snellman.

Mr. Snellman spent his entire career fighting to change the official language of Finland from Russian (and sometimes Swedish) to Finnish (and sometimes Swedish). He was responsible for "Fennomania," which was a lot like Beatlemania except that it centered on a guttural semi-Turkic language instead of pop music.

The slogan for Fennomania was "Finnish Finland Now," and although this helped accellerate support for the movement it was also misinterpreted by Russia to predictably unhappy results.

Today is also Limerick Day. The two holidays seem made for each other:

There once lived a Finn named J. Snellman
Who said "Finland's going to Hell, man."
   He then agitated
   til Finnish was rated
the Finn's formal tongue (which was swell, man).

Mr. Snellman shares his birthday with Emilio Estevez (1962), Steve Winwood (1948), George Carlin (1937), Tom Snyder (1936), Burt Bacharach (1929), Yogi Berra (1925), Katharine Hepburn (1907), and Florence Nightingale (1820).

2002, The Moron's Almanac™

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