CHICAGO, Ill., April 1, 2007 - In an unprecedented move, Aegis Questions, Inc. has become the first question provider to promote global peace and unity by switching to Esperanto for the 2007-2008 school year. Of the decision, director Mathew Laird says, "With all the death and destruction referenced in the high school canon, we feel it's important that we emphasize our firm denouncement of such mindless violence."
Indeed, a rigorous statistical analysis conducted by Aegis Questions, Inc. shows that up to 70% of historical events and literary pieces referenced by 2005-2006 NAQT IS sets refer to events in which at least one person died, and up to 40% refer to the deaths of more than five people. Conversely, only up to 2% of questions referenced peaceful movements such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or the frequently-misunderstood Conan the Barbarian.
Director Carlo Angiuli said tearfully, "We cannot in good faith ask that the most intelligent high-schoolers statewide dedicate their Saturdays to showing off their knowledge of historical brutality. After my proposal to the IHSA Advisory Committee that we switch to a particle-physics-only distribution was unsuccessful, my thinking went off in a different direction: why not use a language that supports worldwide brotherhood?"
Esperanto is the world's most popular constructed language, claiming roughly one million professionally fluent speakers worldwide. First described in the "Unua Libro" in 1887 by Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof, its goal is to become a worldwide auxiliary language, that everyone can learn in addition to their native tongue. An extensively prefixed and suffixed language, it relies on a small number of core words that can be easily extended to any part of speech. Its alphabet consists of five vowels and 23 consonants with fixed orthography.
As an example of the direction in which Aegis is taking the future of Illinois quiz bowl, questions from the past year included:
Tossup 11: Social Studies (World History)
Also known as "Operation Hummingbird," the more popular name for this event refers to the slaughter of Vortigernís men by mercenaries in Arthurian myth. The SA, led by Ernst Rohm, stood as the only threat to the Nazi Party, and Hitler was under great pressure to lessen their influence. So, Hitler arrested Rohm, who was later shot, and ordered the murder of up to 400 men. What name is given to the night of June 30, 1934?
Answer: The Night of Long Knives
Contrast this with a sample future question released by Aegis Questions, Inc.:
Demandulo 20: Historio (Paco)
La regulo de Hamilton diras ke, vi gxin faros, al popoloj kiuj estas familia, kial cxiu bezonas ke, dauxras iliaj familiuloj. Elpensinta de Auxgusto Komto, fondanto de bonismo, egoismo psikologia diras ke, kvankam ia konduto havus cxi-tian kvaliton, popoloj neniam estas kauxzinta por gxi. La problemo de la tragedio de la popoloj, nomu cxi-tia ideon de etikismo, je la franco por "aliaj popoloj," la ideo de meti aliajn personojn antaux de sama persono.
When asked how moderators would react to this radical change, Laird responded coolly that "Aegis has given much thought to this new direction, and we have been working in conjunction with the IHSSBCA to make sure this goes off without a hitch." Angiuli went on to describe a new section of the IHSSBCA Moderator Certification test that will see moderators tested on their knowledge of Esperanto. "This section is written in conjunction with native-born Esperanto speakers and will help facilitate the fluidity with which moderators read all questions."
Director Nick Matchen could not be reached for comment as of April 1, 2007. He is purportedly hiking the mountains of Tibet on an Aegis-sponsored peace mission.
Aegis Questions is a company devoted to promoting a higher brand of questions for high school quiz bowl. Founded in 2005 by Mathew J. Laird, Carlo Angiuli and Nick Matchen, Aegis today caters to numerous conferences and tournaments statewide. Currently focusing their output on Illinois format, they are willing to write for other formats. Aegis Questions writes for both the Varsity and Frosh/Soph level of play. For more information, visit http://www.aegisquestions.com.