How do I become a Renaissance Man?

From the way I hear peope describe it, it sounds like it’s a pretty good deal. Just the kind of cushy job I’d like, lots of prestige and such.

So, just how exactly do I become a Renaissance Man, and not that I’m complaining, but why is the vocation male only? That must have been tough to get past today’s equal opportunity laws.

first you have to build a time travel machine, then travel to europe to use it…I’d get your shots for just about everything & take lots of antibiotics with you too.

  1. Eat lots of beets.

  2. Subscribe to “Maxim.”

  3. Get a good ass-fucking once in a while.

First, you must learn to fence. I suggest the epee style, since that would translate best to practical use, I think.

You must also become conversationally fluent in Latin and ancient Greek, and be familiar with the works of all the classical masters. If you can pull off writing Latin with your left hand while your right hand writes Greek, so much the better.

You must become a competent performer on a musical instrument, perhaps the violin or the flute. If you’re going more for the “bad boy” Rennaisance Man image, you can learn classical guitar, and watch in satisfaction as a drawing room full of young ladies fan themselves ever more rapidly, wide-eyed and flushed, when you launch unexpectedly into a hot-blooded number you picked up in your travels to the penninsula.

You must also be well dressed. I cannot stress this enough.

It also probably couldn’t hurt to be a master horseman, adept at Greco-Roman wrestling, and able to quote Dr. Johnson at will.

But Lux, consider that the old-timey Renaissance men were also conversant in the sciences, or what passed for science back then. Too bad the bar has been raised and we can’t let Scylla with easy stuff like augery and alchemy and astrology.

Nope, between cranking out long, flowery poetry he’ll have to master particle physics and theoretical astronomy at the very least.

Oh, and the elaborate, flowery poetry? It should be tied to state-craft. Scylla should immediately start work on a sonnet at least, possibly about Bush’s cabinet selections, but definitely including lots of tortured allegorical flourishes.


You are, as usual, correct, Veb. Scylla will want to begin constructing that particle accelerator out in the abandoned barn at the edge of his property posthaste.

Poetry about state-craft is absolutely called for as well. I would respectfully suggest, however, that the subject of Bush’s cabinet suggestions is perhaps a bit narrow in scope for a man of Scylla’s vast intellect. Perhaps some musings in verse upon the changing face of power among nations, decided now in corporate boardrooms rather than on the field of battle.

I know that could’ve been put better, but I’m not the damned Renaissance man here. :slight_smile:

Let’s see. I think I can safely discount Togo’s suggestions.

Let’s look at Lux’s

  1. Fencing with Epee. I really don’t have the wiry body and speed necessary for this tool. Maybe I could try something with the wooden broad swords. I used to box in college, and played blocking back in high school. Does this count?

  2. Foreign languages. Unfortunately, I think I am hopelessly unilingual. From 4th grade through College I studied French, and never achieved full fluency. I am a bad language student.

  3. Knowledge of classes. Check.

  4. Musical Instrument. Man this is hopeless. I am musically inept. It’s like languages. My brain doesn’t work this way.

  5. Well-dressed. My wife picks out my clothes and she tells me she has good taste, so I guess I’m OK here.

  6. I am a master horseman.

  7. I watch wrestling.

  8. Who’s Dr. Johnson?


  1. I’m conversant with science, particularly physics.

  2. I am a published poet. (and pretty quick with a funny farmyard animal story too, I don’t mind saying.) I’ve even posted some of my poetry. Like this.

I’ve never done anything political though. Is that part really necessary?

Is it hopeless, or do I still have a shot?

Hey, don’t sweat it! I’m not Renaissance or male!

On the other hand, neither of us are trying to crank out The Faerie Queen Seduces Dilbert In The Halls Of The Trilateral Commission.

(Totally evil aside: this is from the man who got in a dither over a wedding toast!)

Scylla, might want to bag the whole Renaissance Man thing, stretch back in your Chair of Power–they woulda traded their merkins for onea those babies!–and just settle for mundane contemporary “well rounded”.


And really, thank God for that.

Scylla, boxing is just fine. Marquis of Queensbury rules, of course.

I’m willing to let you cultivate an appreciation of fine music in place of actually learning a musical instrument, and we’ll waive the language requirement in light of your mastery of verse.

Watching wrestling is okay, but only if you do it ironically.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you at least be familiar with Dr. Johnson, though. Tell you what, you don’t have to actually read Boswell’s Life of Johnson, but at least peruse a few synopses, analyses, or something else that pluralizes strangely. You also may want to become familiar with a wit or two, such as Oscar Wilde, and it wouldn’t hurt to be handy with a Shakespeare quote.

Personally, I think you’re well on your way. Although why you’d ever want to leave the Chair of Power, even for this, is just beyond me.

I give you Dr. Johnson:

As for politics, I think all you need is the ability to discuss it intelligently without being such a knee-jerk conservative. :wink:

Well, I may be wrong here, but I do believe that epee is the proper and required weapon for Renaissance Man. Wooden broad swords!!! Boxing??? Blocking Back???

Perhaps you should be aiming for Medieval Man… :smiley:

Sure, you still have a shot! Lotsa people were “Renaissnace folks”, maybe only the ones who got themselves remembered were the opportunists! (I’d rather be deep-fried than ever read Spenser again.)

C’mon, you have a fine knack for barnyard humor; you’re a technicolor natural for political insight! Lord knows George Will and Rush Limbaugh aren’t much competition. Maybe shoot for the Will Rogers/Mark Twain school of Political Abuse.

And about the fencing stuff; it’s probably outdated by now. Affairs of honor tend to be solved by drive-by shootings. Might want to consider exotic asian martial arts instead.

With a deep curtsey,

To become a Renaissance Man:

Be about 5’ tall and balding.

Lose your job at an ad agency.

Take the only available job for you - teaching at an army base.

Teach the trainees Shakespeare.

Fall in love with the Army.

poof You’re a Renaissance Man.