Today marks the death of medieval Scottish scholar, John Duns Scotus. He died in 1308, and he was the man responsible for the creation of the dunce cap. If you’re not familiar with what a dunce cap is, it is a tall, cone shaped hat that you would be made to wear if you were acting like a dunce back in the day. A definite mark of shame. It wasn’t enough for a teacher to just scold the child or put the child in the corner. We’re talking public humiliation. Wear that cap, sit there, and think about how dumb you are. In front of the whole class. Not very politically correct, amiright?
Sctous believed that by wearing this cap, knowledge would flow from the point of the cap, down and into the head of the wearer, thereby making that person smarter. Riiight. As much as this totally didn’t work, something can be said for the motivation that it would provide. A student made to wear the dunce cap in front of their whole class as punishment would probably feel pressure to try harder, study more, or stop misbehaving in order to never face that kind of humiliation again.
How to Celebrate
The next time you want to tell someone their idea stinks, or they are stupid for doing something lame, call them a dunce. You might get some weird looks, but you will definitely sound old-fashioned, well-read, and awesome. Plus you’re improving your vocabulary. You’re no dunce.
Also, in celebration, eat an ice cream cone. Because an ice cream cone upside down is just like a mini, edible dunce cap. Okay, this is a stretch, but really how else can you celebrate Dunce Day? And who cares if it is a stretch? Give me any reason to enjoy some ice cream and you won’t find me complaining.
“Nothing can confound a wise man more than laughter from a dunce.” – George Byron
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