The word "asininity" just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

There were a couple of times when I was teaching freshman English that I might have liked to have recited the following speech from "The Happy Years." It's an odd little MGM film from 1950 starring Dean Stockwell and a host of other adolescent child actors all wearing suits, ties, and hats, and pretending to be boys at school in 1896.

The great Leo G. Carroll plays the Latin teacher. When he asks the boys to recite their homework, no boy is prepared. There is a series of wonderful closeups as each boy gapes at Mr. Carroll in vacant stupidity. At the end of the hour, after having gone through the entire class alphabetically with no success, Mr. Carroll looks out over the assembled class of boys: "Gentlemen, we have another [checks his pocket watch]...minute. I have in the course of my experience as a teacher had to deal with imbeciles, had to deal with near idiots, but for sheer monumental asininity I have never met the equal of this aggregation. You may go now."



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