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Diary
By BlueOregon (Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 04:37:57 AM EST) (all tags)

Ah, Thursday ... the weekend is almost upon us. L called yesterday, indicating that L, M, M's brother F, and I might join more of M's friends on the Baltic by heading to Stralsund Friday evening, and then taking the Bäderbahn in the direction of Barth. Plans not yet confirmed, but it would be a nice weekend getaway. The most I've seen of the Baltic is Lübeck.

Verse and worse, links, a mini-retrospective and retro-poll inside.



Maclir asked: what is the country code for india?
The country code for India is .in, but it is more proper to use .na and refer to them as Native Americans.

Today's links:

The Homer-was-a-woman theory of Dalby's book is hardly new, as pointed out both in the review and in the comments/letters, and there is an aspect of the whole project, as further noted with regard to the author's other projects and academic standing, that tends more toward popularization than original scholarly work—that is hardly a bad thing. The review is worth reading, even for its (and its source's) faults, whereas the letters are for the most part knee-jerk pro-con responses that add nothing new. While I cannot claim to add anything new to the discussion, I can at least satisfy my own desire to spew verbiage.

Dalby's suggestion about the sex-gender of the author does differ from earlier theories by Robert Graves (I, Claudius) and Samuel Butler in a number of ways, ways that are interesting in their own right, and one comparison would be how geologists and archaeologists might (and have in the past) approached a similar corpus of information and come to the same or different datings, etc.: different tools and methods, a different disciplinary apparatus. Another might be to go back to R. Hooke & Co. and notice a growing divide between natural science and natural philosophy. The S. Butler approach, one that is mirrored a bit in the silly comment “Women are almost always literature's trailblazers. The patron god/desses of compostion are almost always women, like Saraswati. There's a reason for that,” tends to rest upon certain unscientific gender theories one finds both in the 18th century as well as in such moronic 19th-century works as The Mother Right (J.J. Bachofen)—an influence on/for Graves.

Much of the reaction in the letters deals/dealt with the questions what is the point of this? and what does this gain us?, usually with the answer: nothing. That response is a bit too sweeping for me, though in a certain scholarly context I tend to agree—the context that shows, hey, little new here ... just the citing of Lord & Co. and reciting much of what we already know or think we know. That is to say, ignore the over-the-top headline, and ignore the thesis, which, like the headline, is a bit tacked on—even the reviewer spends most of his time on other aspects. HuSi is a generally literate environment, and so Albert Lord is no stranger to many here. Thus, we are not too surprised about how the study of oral epics and such have changed the way we and scholars look at much literature, canonical and otherwise. That having been said—and the review said it as well—there is a gap between common knowledge and that common knowledge structuring our thought—we sometimes fail to apply such knowledge in the obvious places. This is not too surprising, for even so long after Darwin many believers in evolution through natural selection (lots of random, unintended changes) still see evolution as an agent, speak of how evolution did this so that, and other such nonsense.

Many of those who answer the question what does this gain us? with nothing might say, hey, context is nice and such, but just give me the text—what we want to deal with here is text, not context ... literature. Does Homer's sex-gender or even existence as a single author change how we experience the works? For the most part, no—that's more a matter for editions, encyclopedias, journals, etc. But plenty of other types of context do matter, not necessarily because they provide a right or wrong interpretation or way of experiencing the works, but because such matters do open up avenues, do provide insights, do offer us perspectives we might not just come across on our own. Perhaps that's just the behaviorist, formalist, and friend of Verfremdung in me speaking. I'm less interested in who the author was than I am in the conditions of composition, the environment of experience, the whole range of reception.

My old advisor taught himself Attic Greek way-back-when and enjoyed performing Homer in that mode, reading out loud, exposing and partaking of the tones. That was not my motivation for learning Greek, though when I related this tidbit to my Greek professor, she asked who it was who had done so, I mentioned the name, and it turned out that she and my advisor had done both undergrad and grad together out east, and had taken an Expressionism seminar together.

My connection to Lord is as meaningless, though not quite as distant as my lineage to Liszt—one of those things musicians/pianists do—and is just a matter of my old Serbo-Croatian professor. I might have heard of Lord earlier, but his relevance to my work, tangential as it is, came through studying the Balkans with one of his old students, who focuses on folk epics from the former Yugoslavia (see the gusle) as well as on Roma Lautari.

Two other German literature contexts enter into my appreciation of folk epics and of ol' Troy and such. The review mentions James Macpherson as an 18th-century scholar, but to those of us doing 18th-century German literature, he's just the guy responsible for the Ossian hoax (call it Enlightenment-era trolling, if you will)—he claimed to discover an old Gaelic epic, which was then seized upon on the continent as proof that not only the (Greco-Roman) classics had worth, there were also ancient northern European (Celtic, Germanic, etc.) works of genius, but the Ossian epic was quickly unmasked as a fabrication. It had a much more lasting impact than JT LeRoy, Kaavya Viswanathan, etc.

To conclude: the other point of reference for some of us when looking at Troy and such is Goethe's Faust, Part II, which features Helen (a foil of sorts to the dead Gretchen from Part I) as the embodiment of classical beauty. In Part I Faust's involvement with Gretchen leads to pregnancy and death for mother and child; in Part II we not only have Homunculus, but also the union of Faust and Helen, which produces a son, Euphorion. Some might read Faust II through the lens of Homer and others Homer through Goethe, much like some read Paradise Lost with the aid of the Bible, whereas others reverse the process.

Hezbollah: target civilians—it's what terrorists do
Israel: let's not target civilians, per se, but civilian casualties are fine by us—oh, and sorry, U.N.
Russia: learn from the mafia—don't mess with us, we'll kill all those in the way, including hostages
U.S.: internment camps for the non-military combatants, torture for prisoners, and as for civilians—rape and murder is fine

Years ago I posted the following verse in response to a short comment by ana in one of my diaries.

wie die Zeit vergeht,
wie das Leben in dem
Atem der Welt verweht—

so verjagt uns der Tag,
der von Morgen bis in
die Nacht hinein kreist;
die Schicksal wird bereist.

—darum verbleibe ich im Schatten,
wo man die Uhr nicht seht,
wo man nicht erlebt
wie die Zeit vergeht

I failed to list the author (or title, for that matter, if it had one), and Google has been no help ... it is possible that I transcribed it from one of the many volumes of poetry I had sitting around at the time, but which are not at this moment available to me. I have another suspicion or two about it's origin.

Rejected Hallmark Card of the Day:
   So your daughter's a hooker
   And it spoiled your day
   Look at the bright side
   She's a really good lay.

“Everyone is doing it”—perhaps not everyone, but I've seen enough recent blasts from the past in diaries and comments that I figured I would go through with my own retrospective.

First, the highlights or memories, not tied to any particular story:

  1. First comments in a boiary: by ramses0 and ocelot
  2. Back in the day: comments by CaptainZornchugger
  3. A brief period of productivity: the Q & goat phase, so to speak
  4. The 80s nostalgia series (tv, books, toys, etc.) of diaries: with suggestions from readers, and comments from folks, such as from yh, who wrote, “I keep on forgetting that you're the same age as I am. And therefore remember the same wacky stuff of the 1980s,” and provided a great 3-2-1-Contact link.
  5. Trend toward more verbose and esoteric boiaries: realization that if I was going to write unpopular diaries, I could at least do it on a site where most of the folks weren't asshats, which resulted in a late move to HuSi, though I was an 'early adopter' UID-wise
  6. Haven't 'gone back'
  7. Ah, the dupes: I had fewer than many—only about 30–40 total—though only a few were every really used, and I've forgotten most of them. Quite a few were used while voting in the name-terpy's-kittens-poll

Favorite K5iaries, in no particular order:

Comments by others on HuSi:

  • Your Siren Call (by imrdkl)
    Will, surely be met with ropes, chains, and other implements of impediment on husi. Bunch of deviants.
  • Don't lament the changes to K5 (by nebbish)
    If you want that kind of diary you can go to husi - I don't see why it's a problem. You could even open two windows on your browser and look at both. Website loyalty is a crime.

Comments showing love for me:

  • So (by Michael Moore)
    I take it Neo-Nazism is "in" these days?
  • Need to know more (by Badger Patrol Leader)
    Could you tell me more about the cylinder of oatmeal? That part was hot.
  • Imagine if you will (by MMcP)
    my the screen blurring as I skip over a bunch of meandering nonsense.
  • One Million Dollars Can Be Yours (by egg troll)
    Egg Troll has spoken with one Mr. Joe Groff and he's agreed to extend to you the same offer he made to kpaul. The terms are excellent and Egg Troll knows K5 would be a happier place, so you are urged to accept it.
    Thank you and god bless,
    Egg Troll
    [Please, kpaul, make it stop! (by Joe Groff)
    I will send you one million U.S. dollars in cash if you cut off all of your fingers and never write anything ever again.
    ]

Boy, wish I could say that I miss that place.

Reviews of the day:

  • Chocolate: Ritter Sport Cappuccino—not quite run-of-the-mill, but less special-interest than the yogurty ones
  • Comic: Girls #15—more violence, gun-shot to the head
  • Music: Sherele and Romania from Timna Brauer's Tefila—jazzy folk-dance improve and insanity with a twist of sentiment
< A Day in the Life | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Statistics are human faces without the tears. | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
-1 Samuel Butler... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 05:59:50 AM EST
I can't stand his translations. +1 Lattimore.

That is all.

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.
"...compassion is more than a 16 point word in scrabble." - MostlyHarmless


to tell the truth ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 12:44:47 PM EST

... I haven't read his translation(s).

It brings to mind, however, a few "problems" with Project Gutenberg ... they have to rely on old translations for so many foreign language texts, and frankly, a lot of old translations suck: they're based on bad editions, the translators had sketchy agendas, etc. There are lots of exceptions, of course. The Schlegel Shakespeare translations, even if not still used, are guideposts of a sort. PG isn't the only one with this problem—the English Kafka editions sucked (perhaps still do), and a good German edition only came out 10-15 years ago, and there we're talking about a 20th century author.

But, in recent years, there have been some really great translations of old texts. I remember reading about a very nifty Old Testament (or perhaps just the first five books?) translation from a few years ago, for example.

[ Parent ]
Well, if nothing else, read Lattimore's Iliad... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 03:25:33 AM EST
Book 14 is my favorite because of his take on Poseidon's reply to Zeus' command to stay out of the war. Big difference from Butler's florid resignation IMHO...

Have you seen The Passion yet? Here's a spoiler for you: Jesus dies.
"...compassion is more than a 16 point word in scrabble." - MostlyHarmless


[ Parent ]
Yesterday by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 04:09:15 PM EST
on the train, I sat next to someone reading the Odyssey. He got off a stop before I thought he would, based on his train pass.

I never noticed before that you have the hulver uid on Husi. That's cool.

Nostalgia: K5 was a great ride. Still is, I imagine, for people not-me. Communities like this, I've noticed, turn on a wheel. They have their cycles, spinning upwards, then descending, ground into the dirt. Though the disposition of the wheels appears different for each person on the carriage.

I have a sort of sentimental nostalgia for MUDs. I spent many hours, or years even, immersed in that world. The wheel turned. Maybe there's another one just starting to roll.

The CYOA thread, aside from being crazy brilliant, reminded me of fluffy's short-lived CYOA diary experiment, writing it backwards so that each diary could be linked to the alternatives it offered. I remember wanting to do something similar with rusty's serial story-in-text-ads, but that didn't take off, either. I'm still sort of fascinated by the idea of writing a narrative back-to-front.

--
"later" meant either "when you walk around the corner" or "oatmeal."

And thus, dear reader, [...] by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jul 31, 2006 at 11:45:50 AM EST

[...] our story comes to an end.

[ Parent ]
Statistics are human faces without the tears. | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback