The Sooth, the Whole Sooth and Nothing but the Sooth.
Over 2000 years ago, Julius Caesar found himself at the wrong end of a deluxe set of Italian cutlery. It's a historical event that matters very little nowadays to anyone but scholars of Roman history or fans of William Shakespeare. It was, of course, Shakespeare who immortalized the event for us laymen in his appropriately entitled play Julius Caesar. These days only a minute segment of the populace gives a flying rat's ass about either.
Sure, people will still pay lip service to Wild Bill and his oeuvre. This is either to convince themselves or convince others that their level of intellect has not waned much after numerous viewings of Survivor, American Idol or Dr. Phil. Men nowadays are more likely to fall asleep next to their wives at Rent or Phantom than Much Ado About Nothing or The Taming of the Shrew
Classical Roman History also gets the glad-hand. Other than purchasing the collector's edition of Gladiator, I don't think anybody outside of academia cares for anything but the rise and fall of Jessica Simpson's funbags in a Pizza Hut commercial. The average Joe has a better understanding of a (yawn) March Madness bracket than of Spurinna's warning to Julius Caesar.
Personally, I don't think it's a crisis. Eurocentric high-brow culture had a long and illustrious run. It's legacy? PBS, Olive Garden restaurants, a successful and continual run of Mamma Mia! and a richer-than-ever Martha Stewart.
Perhaps it's why I was so jazzed about my student Tomaine's answer, when I queried:
"Does anybody know what Caesar's words to Brutus were after they stabbed him repeatedly?"
"I thought we wuz niggas..."
"Yes, Tomaine. That's exactly what he said."
I'll argue that Caesar himself couldn't agree more.
Beware the Ides of March... at least until the Skanks in the City re-run comes on.