martes, 28 de febrero de 2017


Estos poemas son obra de Rosa Agost, Decana de la Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales de la Universidad Jaime I, y fueron escritos para conmemorar el 25 aniversario de dicha Universidad.

Aquests poemes són obra de Rosa Agost, degana de la Facultat de Ciències Humanes i Socials de la Universitat Jaume I, i fóren escrits per a commemorar el 25è aniversari de la dita Universitat.

Veus de la tardor,
imatges, noves llums.
Raons, pur desig.

Pancartes al vent, 
mocadors i bufandes,
València emmudeix...

Plou l'hivern final,
febrer del 91.
Sabates noves

Parida entre tots,
flors de taronger, romer:
Sapientia nostra.

Revolta per ser,
vint-i-cinc anys de passió. 
Claustre amb rostre nou.

Veus, riures, ulls quiets,
paranimf amb llum de sol.
Memòria present.


25 anys i escaig

Libertas... Sapientia...
I entre totes dues sempre, la revolta.
Desde l'inici, des d'abans del començament.
Dies d'il·lusió,
de debats i rebel·lions;
de petites emocions,
de canvis i neguits,
de descobriment d'ànimes bessones
que ens acompanyaran per sempre més
per camins de crítica i desitjos compartits.
I al capvespre una esperança i, finalment,
la idea que esdevé realitat, amb decisió.

Sapientia... Libertas...
Anys de treballs,
d'empenta intel·lectual,
d'esforç i gaudi a les aules,
de grups a la recerca de la recerca,
de desitjos d'anar més enllà,
de voluntats de no perdre la terra 
que xafem, que sentim i que parlem.

Hores també de solituds silents,
de pors interiors,
de temors col·lectives en temps de noves revoltes,
en temps d'aires viciats per l'estultícia
i la hipocresia de qui mana
amb poder i sense pudor.

25 anys i escaig
des del dia que vam dir "prou!"
enmig de tarongers,
en una plana plena de desig,
de desitjos de cors
que pujaven muntanyes
per aconseguir els drets prohibits...

Hem vist nàixer la idea
i, al voltant de símbols de temps i vents de la terra,
hem vist viure aquesta casa nostra
que creix i es transforma,
que ens arrossega i envolta.

Aturem-nos i mirem-la
i repensem-la de nou,
amb mirada serena, diversa,
emocionada i exigent,
de portes endins i de portes enfora:
mirada constant, dialògica, sincera.

Perquè la volem nostra i de tothom,
conjugada amb múltiples veus,
crítica i en constant moviment,
a la recerca d'un futur que ens pertany
i que ens pertoca gestionar i disfrutar
des de la raó i la passió,
des de la passió i la raó...
Sempre en continu diàleg
i amb la paraula com a eix vertebrador.

Sapientia Sola Libertas est.
Desig de llibertat,
desig de coneixement,
desig de futur des del present.
Obrim portes i finestres.
Eixamplem la casa.

Xafem, sentim i parlem la terra que ens envolta.
Fem viure la vida
i, amb un somriure, sempre... la revolta.

lunes, 20 de febrero de 2017


Oh, hand in hand with Gwendoline,
while yet our locks are gold,
he'll fare among the forests green,
and through the gardens old;
And when, like leaves that lose their green,
our gold has turned to grey,
then, hand in hand with Gwendoline,
he'll fade and pass away!

Andrew Lang, 1884

As a kid, my father often sang me the Swedish translation of this little Victorian ballad. It was on a compilation of KLASSISKA SAGOR with Red Riding Hood on the cover. The Swedish version was also in the common meter or ballad meter form, making it equally singable to "The Rains of Castamere."


According to John Locke (1690, adapted to make the word "child" gender-neutral); “If a child were kept in a place where they never saw any other (colour) but black and white till they came of age, they would have no more ideas of scarlet or green than those who from their childhood never tasted an oyster or a pineapple has of those particular relishes”.
Now let's call the child Mary, teach her the basics of colour on black and white paper, and do the Mary's Room thought experiment:
Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor since her infancy. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or a cloudless day sky, and use terms like 'red', 'blue', and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence 'The day sky is blue'. [···] What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a colour television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?
According to those who devised the Mary's Room experiment, she would learn something new.
  1. Mary (before her release) knows everything physical there is to know about other people/colour.
  2. Mary (before her release) does not know everything there is to know about other people/colour (because she learns something about them on her release).
  3. Therefore, there are truths about other people or colour (and herself) which escape the physicalist story.

We cannot review here all the works which have dealt with this issue, the list is impressive. Very briefly, one can distinguish a divergence (roughly speaking, same meaning but different syntactic structure) from a mismatch (roughly speaking, the grammar and the lexicon of the Source Language (SL) do not make some distinctions which are required by the grammar and the lexicon of the Target Language (TL)) by stating that the former shows a difference in construction (such that he swam across the river translates into French as il a traversé la rivière à la nage), whereas the latter shows a difference in meanings which are equivalent but not identical from one language to another one (such that fish translates into Spanish as pez and pescado, the former being a living fish whereas the latter is the one you eat). More attention has been paid to divergences than to mismatches, for mainly two reasons:
1 divergences have been used to provide arguments in favour of or against transfer-based and interlingua-based approaches,
2 divergences, being a syntactic phenomenon, can be detected and resolved more easily than mismatches which involve a semantic treatment, as there is, in this case, hardly any syntactic trigger.

The case of mismatches is even more problematic, as there is need not only for contextual knowledge but also for extra-linguistic knowledge, as discussed in [Kameyama et al., 1991]. We present below the semantic distinctions emphasised by [Heid, 1993]:
2.1 the TL word exhibits more semantic distinctions or finer-grained distinctions than the SL one, such that fish is lexicalised in Spanish by pez and pescado,
2.2 the TL word exhibits fewer semantic distinctions or coarser-grained distinctions than the SL one, such that the Spanish nouns pez and pescado are both lexicalised in English as fish,
2.3 the TL and SL words do not carry the same semantic distinctions; for instance, such that the Spanish verb madrugar is lexicalised in English by get up early.
We would like to add to the above list:
2.4 the TL or SL share the same semantic features but have different stylistic or pragmatic usage of their lexicalisations;
2.5 the two conceptual worlds between the languages differ; in other words, when we have a conceptual mismatch.
(For instance, for insurance policies one should not make the same inferences based on driving in left hand-side and right hand-side countries, unless the conceptual worlds have been rendered “equivalent”. For instance, the French text extracted from the French UAP corpus: l'adversaire qui prenait son virage complètement à gauche m'a heurté et maintenant il profite de ce que j'avais bu pour me donner tous les torts. Honnêtement est-ce qu'il vaut mieux être saôul à droite ou chauffard à gauche? translates into English as the adversary who took his turn completely on the left [lane] is the one who drove into me, and now he takes advantage of the fact that I had been drinking to make me responsible for all casualties. Honestly, what is the best, a drunkard on the right or a roadhog on the left? Having a Natural Language Processing (NLP) system make the same inferences for the two conceptual worlds could lead to wrong inferences in resolving further coreferences.)
2.6 there is a lexical conceptual gap between the TL and the SL; SL has a lexeme whose meaning is absent in the TL.
We call all the above distinctions “language gaps”. Our interest in resolving language gaps (i.e. when there is not a one-to-one mapping between languages, whatever the linguistic level, lexical, semantic, syntactic, etc...) using a knowledge-based approach along with planning techniques comes from noticing that all earlier work ([Lindop & Tsujii, 1993], [Dorr, 1995], [Heid, 1993], [Kameyama et al., 1991], [Levin & Nirenburg, 1993], [Palmer & Wu, 1995], ...), whatever the approach or paradigm adopted, seem to fail to solve completely (i.e., recognise and generate) language gaps. More generally, if we want to account for all types of “language gaps”, we suggest distinguishing between four major types of “language gap”, corresponding to their level of treatment:

conceptual: when the conceptual worlds representing different realities can be made “equivalent”
pragmatical: when the languages have different conventional ways of expressing a meaning semantic: when the language units share some semantics, most of it overlapping; or hardly share any semantics
lexical: when the languages share semantics but differ in lexicalisation.

We consider the four kinds of gaps as listed in (Figure 1) from a processing viewpoint, specifically, as three sub-problems of the “language gaps” theory for lexical selection in generation: synonymy, hypernymy (including hyponymy), relevancy.
2. Hypernymy. Figure 3 shows a case of hypernymy, that is, when the TL does not make distinctions required by the SL. This case is not difficult in the sense that the TL is not ambiguous with respect to itself, but just from the SL perspective. The fish example shows that in English it does not matter whether we are talking about food or animal with the word fish “conflates” both interpretations in one single word. One might talk about “vagueness” in this case. From the processing viewpoint, in a knowledge-based approach, selecting the appropriate translation candidate for the Spanish pez or pescado is equivalent to search for the least common hypernym of the semantics of the Spanish lexical items.

3. Relevancy
Figure 4 shows the most challenging case of semantic gap. This type of gap does not directly support a translation between SL and TL, but only some approximate translation that we call relevancy. By relevancy, we mean to focus on the most relevant information from the SL text to be carried across to TL to best match the most equivalently relevant information in TL. From a processing viewpoint, this case involves taking into account static and dynamic resources: conceptual world model, “script-like” information, and an engine to draw inferences on the static resources in context. Although we cannot detail the process in this paper, we will illustrate it through an example.
The relevancy process determines for a particular word or phrase in SL (sl11) the set of possible candidates, whether lexicalised or not: words and phrasals (tl21, ..., tl2n), as well as semantic representations (semk). This set will be added to the set of candidates, input to the lexical selection process. The hyper and hypo in Figure 4 stand for hypernymy and hyponymy respectively. The most difficult case of relevancy concerns when SL has a lexical item or expression which meaning is not found in TL. There, the SL lexeme(s) must be given a definiens trying to find the best words in TL to express it, this process might involve using hypernymy and hyponymy treatments and will require an inference engine.
Hyponymy can be understood as a sub-type of the relevancy type: further specifying the meaning of a SL word (sl11) to best “match” the meanings of the words from TL (tl21, tl22), requires contextual processing, but not necessarily extralinguistic knowledge. (In this sense, the hyponymy treatment includes Nirenburg’s notion of saliency which holds at the lexical level only. By saliency the author meant to lexicalise in as few lexemes as possible in the TL, the most semantic information of the input. For instance for madrugar → get up early, we would rightly match the pairs instead of generating for madrugar say get up in the morning before 6am.) For instance, assuming the semantics for fish, pez, pescado, given below, going from English to Spanish might require more or less contextual reasoning to match the SL text:
fish (X) sem: FISH (X)
pez (X) sem: FISH (X), LOCATION (WATER)
pescado (X) sem: FISH (X), EDIBLE (X)
In the presence of LOCATION (WATER) in the context of FISH, the language matcher will try to best match as much semantic as possible in TL, selecting the Spanish pez as in the example I saw many fish in Lake Powell. However, more contextual processing might be involved for the language matcher to find the best solution, in particular in the case of non literal language such as in I liked the fish I had at noon, what was it?, where the event ellipsis EAT has first to be reconstructed ([Viegas & Nirenburg, 1995]), to find that in this context FISH, as a potential theme of EAT, is of type EDIBLE and therefore pescado will be selected. EAT illustrates a case of semk in Figure 4.

Some confusion with respect to semantic gaps seems to come from a widely held belief that an SL which has fewer lexical units corresponding to a greater number of lexical units in the TL is ambiguous from a monolingual perspective, such as in the examples:
fish → pez/pescado (Spanish)
se trouver (French) → stand/lie
The word fish (ditto fisk, Fisch, poisson) becomes ambiguous only with respect to Spanish, se trouver (French) with respect to English. ( There is no consensus on what is underspecification (see [Van Deemter & Peters (eds.), 1996] for different approaches). In this paper, we will consider a lexeme as semantically underspecified when its meaning can be further specified for a particular truth value in context. For instance, fish is underspecified with respect to its ANIMAL or FOOD meanings in I bought two fish. It becomes specified in I bought two fish to put them in the aquarium, and in I bought two fish to fry them with the chips).

Oh... and, like, Spanish has "pez" for /fish as animal/ and "pescado" for /fish as food./ And the Scandinavian languages lack an exact word for the noun "mind" (translating the corresponding word, depending on the context, as "förstând" --reason--, "minne" --memory--, "tanke" --thought--, "själ" --soul--, "hjärna" --brain--, "sinne" --sense--, or "psyke"): I mean, they lack an exact word for /mind/ yet can tell between several different kinds of /snow/ (nysnö --new snow--, kornsnö --granulated snow--, snömos --creamy dirty slush formed on the streets--, kramsnö --malleable snow, ideal for building snowmen, igloos, et al.--, and so on)... A mind is a terrible thing to translate into Swedish, for instance. Seeing these cases through a Whorfian lens...

[Kameyama et al., 1991] Kameyama, M., R. Ochitani and S. Peters. 1991. Resolving Translation Mismatches With Information Flow. In Proceedings of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 1991, pp. 193-200.
[Heid, 1993] Ulrich Heid 1993. Le lexique: quelques problèmes de description et de représentation lexicale pour la traduction automatique. In P. Bouillon and A. Clas (eds), pp. 169-196.

To close with yet another thought experiment: would you rather live in a country in whose language there's a long paraphrase for /death penalty/capital punishment/ and a single easy word for /holiday/ (as in most European languages), or in one whose language has a single word for /death penalty/capital punishment/ and a paraphrase for /holiday?/ I have already made my choice referring to my own cultures (Mediterranean and Scandinavian): the first country of those proposed.


Eglon was not the only enemy ruler with an inherently funny name in the Bible. Deuteronomy gives us the far shorter and easier to spell Og (pronounced as in Mike, Lu, & Og). The only thing Og is noted for is being in possession of a massive iron bed:

For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon (Ammonites)? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

Given that a cubit, as seen in my review of the Ehud and Eglon story, would equal half a meter in decimal measures, the bed would be 4.50 m long and 2 m wide. However, Deuteronomy does not mention the height of the bed of Og. Which I would need to get the whole big picture. Given the proportions, I can only estimate that the bed of Og would be 1.5 m, or three cubits, high.
In other words... what a big bed it would be!

domingo, 19 de febrero de 2017


...har Disneys julspecialare From All of Us to All of You, mer känd i Norden som Kalle Anka och hans Vänner (Kalle har huvudroll i Amazonas-djungeln, delad huvudroll i Husvagnssemester och biroll [snarare cameo] som julsângare för blott en vers ['Tis the season to be jolly] i visan vid slutet av Ekorrar i vâr gran), fängslat tusentals nordiska familje- och vänkvällar vid teven och granen. Det har blivit en kanonisk jultradition vars kortfilmer och lângfilmklipp har upprepats sâ ofta en gâng om âret att ett par tre bevingade ord med detta ursprung har fastnat i folksjälens ordförrâd.
"Hon är säker, gamla Bettan!" "Jag ska giva dig pâ moppo!" "Bravo, excelente, magnífico, espléndido, henom ska vi ha! Yippi!!" Sâdana uttryck har även fâtt liv utanför julaftonsfirandet; de har blivit till bevingade ord. I denna artikel presenterar vi en kort lista pâ de uttryck som vi säkert har hört utanför tv-rummet när det inte är den 24 december (förutom under julfirandet):


Vad sker? Inte sâ lângt borta i Arktis, Tomtefar och hans nissar gör julklapparna och rensläden klara för den stora dagen.

"We've better hurry up, tomorrow's Xmas Day..."
Den här nissens förklaring visar att i Staterna, och andra länder runtom i världen (t. ex. Spanien), fâr ungarna --och de större ungarna-- sina klappar den 25 istället för den 24.

"A cake of soap, a cake of soap, a cake of soap..."
En busig grabb ska fâ en tvâl i stället för julklappar. Sâ kommenderar Tomtefar, och sekreterar-nissen, i grönt, muttrar "a cake of soap" medan han träder in i verkstan.

Schackrutig färg. Använt av tomtenissarna för att mâla schackbräden...

TOMTEFAR: Säg mamma!
TOMTEFAR: Nej, nej, nej. Säg mamma!
(Tomtefar stämplar henne där bak med okej-stämpeln och lämnar den med bläcksidan uppât när han släpper den ariska dockan. Samtidigt rutschar en betydligt mindre feminin rasta-docka ner.)
RASTA-DOCKA: MAMMA! (Hon sätter sig pâ okej-stämpeln och moonar trosornas bakdel, sâ att tittarna fâr se OK-märket, innan hon gâr sin väg)
TOMTEFAR (skrockar): HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (Han fâr ett modellplan i munnen medan han skrattar, och skrockar fortfarande efter att ha tagit ut planet).
Vem kommer inte ihâg den här scenen, ärligt talat? Det blev lite stuk om rasism och sexism kring den, faktiskt...

"A very, very, merry, merry, X-MAS DAAAAAY!"
Som vi har sagt förr fâr andra västerländska folkslag sina klappar den 25. Kan vi dâ säga att svenskarna har ett privilegium?


Vad sker? Frân Norrlands iskyla till den heta och fuktiga regnskogen, där Hacke Hackspett ständigt stör en fotograferande Kalle.

"En symfoni av färg och toner kommer frân djungeln. I detta paradis lever och stortrivs naturens minsta sângare, kolibrin".
Berättaren beskriver Amazonas-regnskogen för att presentera vâran bakgrund.

"Zumzumzum... zumzumzumzumzum..."
Kolibrierna. Hur mânga svenskar har fâtt för sig att de lâter som en barbershop-kvartett?

"Alapapapapapapapa, alapapapapapapaparia!
Alapa, paa-pa, paa-pa, paa-pa, paa-pa!
Alapapapapapapapa, alapapapapapapaparia!"
Hackes läte. Vänj er vid det, det hörs under hela kortfilmen.

"Kolibrier! Dem mâste jag plâta!"
Kalle fâr syn pâ kolibrier och har kameran redo.

KOLIBRIER: Zumzumzum... zumzumzumzumzum...
HACKE (i kosackhatt, kosackdansar): Hay! Hay! Hay-hay-hay!
Kosackdansen är faktiskt lika smittsam i verkligheten som pâ skärmen. Hur mânga har inte dansat kosackdans vid den här scenen i kortfilmen?

"Kom tillbaka, din bofink!"
Kalle till Hacke. Gissa vem av dem som har kortast stubin.

"Barum, barum, barum, barum...
Alapapapapapapapa, alapapapapapapaparia!
Alapa, paa-pa, paa-pa, paa-pa, paa-pa!
Alapapapapapapapa, alapapapapapapaparia!"
Äntligen ger Kalle sig. If you can't beat them, join them!


Vad sker? Den föräldralösa husans djurvänner överraskar henne med att piffa upp hennes salig mors rosa festklänning (som hon inte kommer att ha pâ sig pâ bal, eftersom de avundsjuka styvsystrarna förstör den).

Styvsystrarnas gälla kommandorop övertar den första tredjedelen av scenen.

"Knappt har hon en stund att vila ropar de och hon fâr ila!"
Râttorna visar att de bryr sig om en alltför stressad husa.

"Nâja, vad är en bal pâ slottet... Det verkar nât lângtrâkigt, och dötrist, och trâkigt, och alldeles... alldeles underbart!"
Verkar som om att hon tvekar om hon ska gâ pâ den där balen... vacklar mellan dagdröm (egentligen kvällsdröm) och realism...

"En sân överraskning! Âh, hur ska jag nâgonsin...? Âh... Tack sâ mycket!"
Askungen trycker till sitt bröst den vackra rosa kjolen som hon inte ska ha pâ sig pâ bal... vilken ironi... och att den var salig mammas ger scenen med "Din lilla tjuv!" ännu mera slagkraft...


Vad sker? Disneys tre musketörer Musse, Kalle och Lângben har husvagnssemester, vilket blir mer och mer kaotiskt...

"Oh boy, what a day!"
Musse sätter igâng medan den idylliska villan blir till en soptipps-parkerad husvagn. Det var alltsâ en kuliss... som aldrig mera upprepas i kortfilmen... kanske i skymningen, i utkanten av nästa tätort, vecklas den här kulissen upp igen?

"Jag är jättehungrig!"
Lângben vid frukostbordet, precis innan han anfaller vattenmelonen.

"Det värsta är över; nu blir det nerförsbacke!"
Lângben, som p g a sin egen sâ kallade "försiktighet" skilts ât frân sina vänner, när han ser att de stâr rakt framför en livsfarlig nerförsbacke.

"Jag körde ner er sakta och säkert, va?"
När Lângben âterförenats med vännerna säger han detta med en lätt ironisk klang. Men det klingar ännu mer ironiskt om man tänker pâ den ocensurerade Hollywood-versionen, där popcorn poppas ur majs som stoppas i elkontakter och den okontrollerade husvagnen stormar över ett järnvägsspâr medan bommarna âker ner och rakt innan tâget svischar fram!


Vad sker? Vâra tvâ kärlekskranka vovvar gâr pâ italiensk restaurang och har en romantisk kväll med kraftig frikadellpasta, ljuv musik, levande ljus och parkpromenad.

"Una minuta, una minuta! Jag kommer, jag kommer... (PAUS) Mille diavolo! Nâgon med mig skämta aprillo..."
Tonys första rader pâ svitalienska: detta pidginsprâk är troligast det mest omisskänneliga i scenen.

"Hallâ, Buster... var kan du vara sâ länge?"
Obern Tony, som är van vid att kalla Lufsen Buster, har inte sett honom pâ ett tag.

"Caro mio, caro Buster!"
Liksom Tony talar även kökschefen svitalienska.

TONY: Giva ben till Buster innan han äta mig opp!
KÖKSCHEFEN: Si, si! Ben komma pronto!
Pronto betyder faktiskt hej pâ italienska; strax heter presto. Har kökschefen även plockat upp lite spanska?

TONY: Vad vara detta... hej, jo, titta! Buster sig skaffat ny fästmö!
KÖKSCHEFEN: Sancta simplicitas! Han skaffat sig cocker-spaniel-flicka!
TONY: Li-i-iten vacker signorina, Buster...
Restaurangstaben lär känna Lady: det blir en positiv överraskning.

TONY (till Lufsen): Du lyda Tonys râd och flytta ihop med denna där, eh? Hahahaha...
LADY: Denna där?
LUFSEN: Äh, denna där, denna där... Tony, forstâr du, kan inte... han kan inte klara sprâket särskilt bra.
Detsamma kan sägas om min göteborgske farsa när han talar spanska... men hans italienska och franska är ännu värre!

"SACRAMENTO IDIOTO! JAG SKA GIVA DIG PÂ MOPPO! (Ikväll ska Buster givas det bästa 'uset 'ava!)"
En vredgad Tony risar kökschefen för att ha lagat ben när "Buster" har kommit med sin vackra käresta.

TONY: Buster sägga han beställa tvâ spaghetti spesiale och massa fricadelle!
KÖKSCHEFEN: Tony, hundar icke prata!
TONY: Han pratar med miig!
KÖKSCHEFEN: Ha-ha, han prata med diig, du vara chef. (PAUS) Mamma mia, hundar börja tala mat...
TONY (serverar pastan till Lady och Lufsen): Varsâgoda, de godaste spaghetti i stada!
Kärleken är förresten serverad likasâ med visan som följer och spaghettikyssarna.

Oh, denna natt,
denna härliga natt,
som vi kallar bella notte...
Se vilken syn,
alla stjärnor i skyn,
denna ljuva bella notte...
Questa dolce, bella notte... en visa som lämnar ingen oberörd. Precis som det lâter. 


Vad sker? Människovalpen Mowgli fâr en ny vän i skepnad av svartbjörnen Baloo, som han delar glada och frejdiga stunder med.

"Jag är en doobididoo,
du är en doobididoo,
jag menar doobi-doobi-doobi-doobi-doobididoo!
Baloo presenteras med denna frejdiga trudelutt när han plötsligt stöter pâ en människovalp. This will be the beginning of a wonderful friendship...

"Han är i fara, jag skulle inte ha lämnat honom ensam!"
En oroad Bagheera skyndar fram till gläntan, fruktandes det värsta efter att ha hört Mowglis och Baloos kapprytande.

En vacklande Baloo efter en höger-uppercut frân sin nye sapiens-myndling.

"Inte kittlas! Inte kittlas, jag stâr inte ut..."
Skrattar en nyknockad svartbjörn med en människovalp pâ ryggen. Ser ut som om Baloo är rätt kittlig...

"Har du fâtt spader?"
Sâ reagerar Baloo när Bagheera vill ta Mowgli till byn med sina artsfränder, men sistnämnde har fâtt blodad tand för sin nye vän.

"Han är med mig, jag ska lära honom allt jag kan!"
Världens gladaste björn försvarar sin rättighet till vârdnaden och lyckas.

MOWGLI: Äta myror?
BALOO: Hehe... Det är världens käk, kittlar dödskönt i kistan!
(Stenen under vilken de jagar myror hotar att falla pâ dem)
BAGHEERA: Mowgli, SE UPP! (Lyckligtvis har han klarat sig)
Hur mânga människovalpar har provat att äta myror, egentligen?

Vill du plocka frukter av bästa klass
sâ använd din höger- och vänstertass!
Ett utsökt râd av Baloo: dâ fâr man dubbelt upp med frukt, faktiskt.

"sâ fort du ska ta dig en fin apelsin!"
Egentligen, i originalet, var det frâga om en papaya: "the fruit of the big pawpaw." När man översätter sângtexter avsedda att sjungas i översättning kommer musiken allra först; alltsâ blir det i allmänt fall en fri översättning där man till högre eller lägre grad tvingas förrâda förlagan.


Vad sker? Festkväll hos de sju dvärgarna med joddel, folkmusik, dans, och Toker och Prosit som ställer sig den ene pâ den andres axlar för att ge prinsessan en jämnhög danspartner.

"Jag skuttar gärna kring i dans, men jag har tappat takten;
jag ser den inte nâgonstans... var sjutton har jag lagt 'en?"
Glader, som frejdigt sjunger första strofen.

"Jag... Jag... Jag... TUUUT!" (Butters orgel pâ högsta nivâ)
Blyger fâr självklart scenskräck innan han vâgar sjunga sina rävverser.

"Jag fângade en räv en dag, men räven gled ur näven,
fast jag är lika glad för det, men gladast är nog räven!"
Blygers ovannämnda rävverser.

"Âh hum, vâr sâng är dum, den är ju ingenting:
vad gör det om hundra âr när allting kommer kring?"
Refrängen, som sjungs av dvärgarna i kör.

Den gällaste noten i Butters orgel, som pips av en mekanisk kyckling när denne kläcks ur sitt ägg.

"Atchitemoo... atchitti atchitti, atch... atch... atchoo...!"
Prosit kan inte behärska sig längre och nyser sâ att Toker far till väders som skjuten ur en kanon.


Vad sker? Herr och fru Svensson, innan den första solsemestern utomlands, lärde sig "en hel del" om Spanien som barn tack vare denna pacifistiska historia om en andalusisk ungtjur som vill hellre lukta pâ blommorna.

"En gâng för länge sen i soliga Spanien fanns det en liten tjur som hette Ferdinand".
Berättaren presenterar vâran hjälte, den ende svarte, fredlige och vänlöse kalven i ett andalusiskt landskap.

"Men det gjorde inte Ferdinand. Han hade sitt eget favoritställe ute pâ ängen, under en korkek, och där satt han lugnt och stilla i skuggan hela dagarna... och luktade pâ blommorna".
Hur mânga Svenssons har trott som barn att korken var ekens frukt (och inte dess bark)?

MAMMA: Hör du Ferdinand? Värför leker inte du med de andra smâ tjurarna?
FERDI: Jag trivs bättre här, där jag kan ha det lugnt och skönt... och lukta pâ blommorna...
Det interessanta är bâde mammans och kalv-Ferdis röster.

"Och hon var en sâ fin och förstâende mor, fast hon var en ko... (KOSKÄLLA, Ferdis mamma blänger surt mot kameran)"
Berättarens ord tar Ferdis mamma som en skymf; pâ andra sprâk är "cow" och "vaca" om en kvinna riktiga förolämpningar. En fanastisk brytning av fjärde väggen.

"Allt eftersom âren gick, blev Ferdinand större... (ekens bark har 1 AÑO ristat)... och större... (ekens bark har II AÑOS ristat)... och STÖRRE (ekens bark har III AÑOS ristat, vi ser därpâ en treârig vuxen Ferdinand i jämförelse med eken). Och en dag var han jättestor och jättestark!
Första gângen smâ Svenssons ser bokstaven Ñ i sitt liv. Och en viss "svansk" tjej lär sig att nötkreatur är redan unga vuxna som treâringar.

"Han satte sig, utan att se efter var han satte sig, och han satte sig... RAKT PÂ EN HUMLA!!"
Rakt pâ en humla. Alltsâ den chock man fâr när man oförväntat hör de orden för första gângen.

1:E HERREN: Bravo!
2:E HERREN: Excelente!
3:E HERREN: Magnífico!
4:E HERREN: Espléndido!
5:E HERREN: Honom ska vi ha!
ALLA FEM: Yippiii!!
Talangscouternas reaktion när de ser en av ovannämnda humlestick omtöcknad Ferdinand löpa amok.

"Vilken dag! Flaggorna vajade i vinden! Orkestrar spelade!"
Berättaren verkar vara euforisk. Är det kappsegling eller är det lördag?

"En stor parad tâgade in pâ arenan. (FANFAR) Först kom banderiljärerna. (FANFAR) Och sedan... Picadorerna! Och sedan... MATADOREN, den stoltaste av dem alla! (Efter matadoren kommer det en lakej med värjan pâ en kudde)".
Och sâ lär sig Svensson-ungarna hur en corrida börjar. Och ofta undrar de om alla spanjackerna är verkligen sâ fula.

"Banderiljärerna blev rädda för honom, och picadorerna blev rädda för honom, och matadoren... han blev jätterädd! (Matadoren har frusit pâ sin plats)"
"Banderiljärerna blev arga, och picadorerna blev ännu argare... och matadoren blev argast av dem alla!"
Berättaren beskriver vad som visas pâ skärmen. Det här är poesi i prosaform: lägg bara märke till rytmen.

Ryter matadoren när han har blivit argast av dem alla.

"Matadoren... han gör fula grimaser! (MATADOREN GÖR OLIKA FULA GRIMASER)"
Berättaren beskriver vad som visas pâ skärmen. Ärligt talat... vem har inte gjort âtminstone en av dessa fula grimaser, de flesta av vilka kretsar runt att räcka ut tungan, framför spegeln?

BERÄTTARE: Matadoren tiggde och bad: 
MATADOREN (desperat): Snälla du! Stânga mig! Sparka mig! Gör nânting! HOPPA PÂ MIG! (Han blottar sitt bröst och visar en aster-tatuering, som en förtjust Ferdinand slickar. Därpâ brister matadoren i grât).
BERÄTTARE (desperat): Matadoren var sâ ilsken sâ han grät, för han fick inte visa hur tapper han var, med sin cape och sitt svärd!
Att han i vredesmod slet sitt hâr och bröt värjan med bara händerna är dock det mest ironiska.

"De blev helt enkelt tvungna att skicka hem Ferdinand. (PAUS) Och, sâ vitt jag vet, sitter han fortfarande under sin korkek... (PAUS) och luktar pâ sina blommor (PAUS) och han är SÂÂÂ lycklig".
Slutet gott, som i de flesta sagor. Vilket för oss till nästa filmklipp, ur Robin Hood.


Vad sker? Robin Hood och Lille John bryter sig in hos den elake prinsen för att beslagta "hans" skatt och befria fângarna.

"Hon är säker, gamla Bettan!"
Trigger, livgardist, ironiskt angâende armborst.

SHERIFFEN: Vad i självaste hâller du pâ med, hönshjärna?
TRIGGER: Bara min plikt, sheriffen!
Lât oss konfrontera verkligheten: vem av er har inte haft den här ordväxlingen med nâgon annan? Precis som grevinnan Sophies ordväxling med betjänten James om "samma procedur", har den blivit en julklassiker.

"Prisa Guud! Här kommer skatteâterbäringen!"
Bror Tuck när fângarna fâr en stor del av prinsens skatt inskjutsad i fängelsehâlan.

"Allt mitt guuld! Allt mitt guuuld! Vakter! Vakter! De smiter med allt mitt guuuld!"
Prinsens reaktion när han vaknar och fâr se vad Robin hâller pâ med.

"Sâ fick Robin Hood sin Marion till sist. Slutet gott, som i de flesta sagor".
Berättaren avslutar klippet med en romantisk scen och dessa rader.

"Oohdilelly, oohdilelly, hoppsan vilken dag,
Oohdilelly, oohdilelly, hoppsan...
en... sân... daaaaag!"
Sângen som spelas när Robin Hood fâr sin Marion (vid en sjö upplyst av eldflugor). Egentligen var det en annan sâng som spelades i den här scenen i filmen (i motsats till julspecialen).


Vad sker? Piff och Puff hamnar hos Musse med den i skogen nyss huggna färska julgranen. Räkna alltsâ med kalabalik!

(Bjällerklang, bjällerklang...) Instrumentellt med bjällror och Musses visslande.
När Musse dyker upp med julprydnader visslar han Bjällerklang/Jingle Bells: det är kortfilmens soundtrack, praktiskt taget.

"Vi har ekorrar i vâr gran! (PAUS) Det är ju i alla fall jul..."
Musse när han blir varse om fripassagerarna, som har gjort granen och flera andra prydnader till ruiner. Även om det är mycket svârare att fâ ekorrar i granen här i Europa än i Staterna (chipmunks är ju typiska för Nordamerika, och vâra röda ekorrar klättrar inte upp i unggranar), kan man säga det här när en julhelg blir i huvudsak förstörd.

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, falalalala la la la la;
'tis the season to be jolly, falalalala la la la la..."
Lângben, Kalle och Mimmi sjunger denna anglofona julvisa framför Musses fönster.

viernes, 17 de febrero de 2017


Pynchon's Indicative Naming: Onomatophobia? Onomatomania? Or None of the Above?

In June 1953, when Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr. graduated from Oyster Bay High School, the yearbook editor noted Pynchon had the largest vocabulary in the class. By age 15, our boy-author was already a noticeable onomatophile, or, from the Greek, a lover of words. We don't have any evidence, but based on his earliest available writings, we don't think he suffered from the medical definition of onomatomania: "an abnormal impulse to dwell upon certain words and their supposed significance." Nor was there any mention in our reading that Pynchon may be an onomatophobe, or one suffering from "an abnormal dread of certain words." These medical-sounding definitions come from Stedman's Medical Dictionary.
In the less formal Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary, onomatomania is merely "the preoccupation with words," while onomatophobia is "the fear of hearing a certain word." These descriptors may or may not wiggle themselves into the lexicon of words about Pynchon's vocabulary. Since his earliest efforts, Pynchon has displayed a highly disciplined control over his choice of words, use of words, use of escalating or diminishing rhetorical registers, and rhetorical devices from the obvious hyperbole to the subtler enthymeme (a syllogism with one of the premises implicitly or purposefully withheld for the reader to infer, for example: "All men must die; Socrates is a man; therefore, ..."). All this started with his highschool newspaper "columns" (1952-53) and his collegiate short stories.

jueves, 16 de febrero de 2017


If you are fond of Monty Python and/or edutainment, feel free to take a peek at this episode of Hercules (the animated series): it opens with Eric Idle telling the Prometheus story in an upbeat patter song with typically Disney visuals, which makes it my favourite retelling of the myth:
Prometheus, the most enlightened, was the brightest of the Titans, 
saw us stumbling in the night, decided that we needed light! 
He incurred the gods' revengeful ire for stealing their great secret fire: 
up to heaven, one fine day, lit a torch from the sun and ran away! 
He gave this gift so me and you could enjoy a summer barbecue, 
so food is not a dreadful bore, we eat it cooked instead of raw! [···] 
To pluck the harp and twang the lyre, and found the world's first Grecian choir, 
map out the heavens, study Maths, come home and have a nice hot bath. 
Our forefathers were overjoyed; the gods were fearsomely annoyed: 
guess the pain they went and did to this prominent Promethean kid! 
The punishment was grim and dire for stealing this great gift of fire; 
they chained him to a rock -absurd!- pecked up by a giant bird... 
And, pecked for all eternity, Prometheus alone 
nailed to a rock for all to see; he is no Rolling Stone! 
How could this kindly Titan giver live without his precious liver? 
Every night, despite the pain, his liver would grow back again! 
And every dawn of every morn, that eagle would return to pluck 
his organ out and eat it up; oh yuck, oh yuck, what rotten luck!
In the episode, as in the real-life myth, Hercules disposes of the eagle and sets Prometheus free. But the highlight is definitely Eric Idle's Prometheus song!

The most relevant fact to remember is that it's a Monty Python song (aside from being a Disney song), in fact, Idle himself wrote the tune AND the lyrics, makes it even better, with that typically Pythonesque brand of black humour. To make it even clearer, I first got to know the Prometheus story from its lyrics and visuals! Monty Python+patter songs+edutainment (as in the Oliver Cromwell and Milky Way songs)=always a winning combination.

miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2017



Traducido y adaptado por Sandra Dermark del inglés original, "Body Ritual among the Nacirema."
Febrero de MMXVII

La mayoría de culturas muestran una configuración idiosincrásica. Un único valor o patrón de cosmovisión a menudo deja huella en varios aspectos e instituciones de la sociedad en cuestión; ejemplos de este fenómeno incluyen los conceptos de "omote" y "ura" en la cultura japonesa o de la contaminación femenina en algunas culturas indígenas de las tierras altas de Papúa Nueva Guinea. Aquí, Sandra Dermark demuestra que las actitudes con respecto al cuerpo humano tienen una influencia ubicua y pervasiva en muchas instituciones de la sociedad soeporue.

Los antropólogos se han familiarizado tanto con la diversidad de maneras en que las diferentes clases de gente se comportan en situaciones similares que no es apto que les sorprendan incluso las costumbres más exóticas. De hecho, si todas las combinaciones de conductas posibles no se han encontrado en algún lugar del mundo, es lo normal que sospechen que tales conductas deben estar presentes en alguna tribu aún por descubrir. Este punto, de hecho, ya fue expresado con respecto a la organización de clanes a finales de los años cuarenta. A través de este cristal, las creencias y prácticas mágicas de los soeporue presentan aspectos tan inusuales que parece deseable describirlas como un ejemplo de los extremos que puede alcanzar la conducta humana.
Los rituales soeporue llamaron la atención de los antropólogos, en primer lugar, en la década de 1930, pero la cultura de este pueblo aún resulta bastante difícil de comprender. Son un heterogéneo grupo étnico euroasiático que reside en el territorio colindante al norte con los sápmi del Ártico, al sur con los tuareg del Sáhara, y al este con varias tribus nómadas de Asia Central. Se conoce poco de sus orígenes, aunque la tradición sostiene que llegaron desde oriente. Según la mitología de cada pueblo soeporue, su tribu fue fundada por un héroe cultural diferente: ejemplos se dan como el de Lebasi la Kath-o'lika, que envió grandes canoas a cruzar el gran charco de occidente y expulsó a los enemigos de la Fe de su territorio; Ovatsug Ofloda, que liberó a muchas gentes de la opresión extranjera, llegando a perecer lejos de su hogar en la gran batalla de Lytt-senn; o Ociredef el de Alta Talla, que acabó con la carestía entre los suyos introduciendo entre ellos un fruto subterráneo de allende el gran charco.
La cultura soeporue se caracteriza por una economía de mercado libre, que ha evolucionado en un hábitat natural próspero. Mientras estas gentes dedican la mayoría del tiempo a acciones con fin de lucro, gran parte de los frutos de su labor y una considerable porción del día están dedicados a la actividad ritual. El foco de esta actividad ritual es el cuerpo humano, la sombra de cuya apariencia y salud planea como preocupación dominante sobre la moral de las gentes. Aunque tal preocupación ciertamente no es un fenómeno inusual, los aspectos ceremoniales y la filosofía ritual asociados con ella son únicos en su especie.
El elemento fundamental en que está enraizado todo el sistema parece ser que el cuerpo humano es feo y que su tendencia natural es a la debilidad y a la enfermedad. Encarcelado en un cuerpo tan vulnerable, la única esperanza del ser humano es la aversión de dichas características mediante el uso de rituales y ceremonias. Cada vivienda cuenta con uno o más santuarios dedicados a tal fin. Los individuos más poderosos de la sociedad tienen varios santuarios en sus residencias, y, de hecho, la opulencia de las viviendas se mide a menudo en relación al número de tales centros rituales que posea la residencia en cuestión. La mayoría de viviendas soeporue son construcciones de arcilla y adobe, pero los santuarios de los privilegiados están tapizados con piedras preciosas. La mayoría de familias, más humildes, imitan a la élite aplicando placas de cerámica en las paredes y suelos de sus santuarios.
Mientras cada familia posee al menos un santuario de esta índole, los rituales asociados no son ceremonias familiares colectivas, sino que son privadas y secretas. Por regla general, sólo se habla de los ritos con los niños, y solamente durante el período en que están siendo iniciados en estos misterios. Sin embargo, conseguí establecer suficiente contacto con los nativos como para examinar estos santuarios y que me describieran los rituales.
El punto focal del santuario es una caja, o cofre, que se ha empotrado en la pared. En este cofre se custodian los conjuros y pociones sin los cuales ningún nativo cree que puede vivir. Estas preparaciones se adquieren de una serie de practicantes especializados. Los más populares de entre ellos son los hombres y las mujeres de medicina, cuya asistencia, en ciertos territorios, no puede conseguirse sino a cambio de sustanciosas ofrendas. Sin embargo, los hombres y mujeres de medicina no proveen de pociones curativas a sus clientes, sino que deciden cuáles han de ser los ingredientes y, a continuación, lo escriben en un arcaico lenguaje secreto. Tal escritura sólo es comprendida por los propios hombres y mujeres de medicina y por los herbolarios que, a cambio de otra ofrenda, proveen el conjuro en cuestión.
Los conjuros no son desechados después de haber hecho efecto, sino que son colocados en el cofre de conjuros del santuario doméstico. Ya que estos materiales mágicos son cada uno específico para un malestar determinado, y los malestares reales e imaginados de las gentes son muchos y muy diversos, el cofre suele estar lleno hasta rebosar. Los paquetes mágicos son tan numerosos que la gente olvida de cuáles son sus propiedades e indicaciones, y, por ende, temen volver a usarlos una segunda vez. Aunque los nativos no se expresan muy claro al respecto, sólo podemos asumir que la idea de retener los antiguos materiales mágicos es que su presencia en el cofre de conjuros, ante el cual se realizan los ritos corporales, protegerá de una forma u otra al creyente.
Bajo el cofre de conjuros hay una pequeña pila. Cada día, en sucesión, uno tras otro, cada miembro de la familia entra en el santuario, baja la cabeza ante el cofre de conjuros, mezcla en la pila diferentes clases de agua bendita y procede a realizar un breve rito de ablución. Las aguas benditas son canalizadas desde el templo de agua de cada localidad, donde los sacerdotes llevan a cabo intrincadas ceremonias para purificar ritualmente el líquido.
En la jerarquía de practicantes mágicos, en el rango inferior en prestigio a los hombres y mujeres de medicina, se hallan los especialistas cuya designación se traduce de mejor manera como "hombre o mujer de boca". Los soeporue sienten un horror casi patológico y una fascinación igualmente irracional por la boca humana, cuya condición se cree que ejerce una influencia sobrenatural sobre todas las relaciones sociales. Si no fuera por los rituales bucales, según creen, los dientes se les caerían, las encías les sangrarían, las mandíbulas se les desencajarían, y los amigos y las personas amadas les volverían la espalda. También creen en una fuerte relación entre las características orales y las morales: por ejemplo, hay un ritual de ablución bucal para los niños, que supuestamente mejora su vena moral.
El ritual corporal cotidiano que llevan a cabo todos los soeporue incluye un rito bucal. A pesar de que estas gentes son tan puntillosas en lo que respecta al cuidado de la boca, este rito incluye una práctica que sorprende al foráneo no iniciado, hasta el punto de causarle náuseas. Según fuentes fiables, he logrado averiguar que dicho ritual consta de la inserción de un pequeño haz de cerdas dentro de la cavidad bucal, junto con ciertos ungüentos mágicos, y, a continuación, se mueve el haz de cerdas dentro de la boca en una formalizada serie de gestos.
Además del rito bucal privado, la gente visita a un hombre o mujer de boca una o dos veces al año. Estos practicantes cuentan con una impresionante e imponente parafernalia, que consta de una serie de taladros, agujas, sondas y picanas. El empleo de estos objetos en el exorcismo de los males de la boca conlleva una prácticamente increíble tortura del suplicante. El hombre o la mujer de boca le abre las mandíbulas al suplicante y, empleando las herramientas antes mencionadas, agranda cualquier agujero que la caries y/o el desgaste haya/n podido causar en los dientes. Estos hoyos se rellenan con materiales mágicos. Si no hay agujeros de ocurrencia natural en la dentadura, se extraen grandes porciones de uno o más dientes para que pueda aplicarse la sustancia sobrenatural. Desde el punto de vista del suplicante, los propósitos de esta liturgia son de detener el desarrollo de las caries y atraer amigos. El carácter extremamente sagrado y tradicional de estos rituales es evidente dado el hecho de que los nativos vuelven a visitar a los hombres y mujeres de boca año tras año, a pesar del hecho de que sus dientes continúan desgastándose.
Se espera que, al llevarse a cabo un estudio exhaustivo de los soeporue, habrá una minuciosa investigación en torno a la personalidad de estos practicantes. A uno le basta con ver el brillo en los ojos de un hombre o mujer de boca, mientras clava una aguja directo en un nervio expuesto, para sospechar que subyace cierta cantidad de sadismo. Si esto puede comprobarse según el método científico, surge un patrón bastante interesante, ya que la mayoría de la población demuestra claras tendencias masoquistas. A esto se refiere, por ejemplo, un estudio de los años treinta que comenta una distintiva parte del ritual corporal cotidiano que sólo llevan a cabo los varones adultos. Esta parte del ritual incluye un rascado y laceración de la superficie de la mitad inferior del rostro con un instrumento afilado. También existen rituales especiales femeninos, llevados a cabo más o menos tres o cuatro veces al mes lunar, pero estos compensan la falta de frecuencia con un exceso de barbarie. Como parte de esta ceremonia, las féminas adultas se tuestan en hornos de cuerpo entero durante una hora. Las mismas féminas se hacen insertar gelatinas mágicas dentro de los senos, e incluso inyectar un líquido tóxico en el rostro. El punto teóricamente más interesante es el hecho de que lo que parece ser un pueblo preponderantemente masoquista haya desarrollado especialistas tan sádicos.
Los hombres y mujeres de medicina tienen un imponente templo, o latipsoh, en toda localidad sin importar el tamaño de ésta. Las ceremonias más complejas, que se requieren para tratar a los enfermos más graves, sólo pueden llevarse a cabo en estos templos. Dichas ceremonias no involucran sólo al taumaturgo, sino también a un grupo permanente de vestales y acólitos que se mueven tranquilamente por las salas del latipsoh ataviados con distintivos trajes y tocados.
Las ceremonias de latipsoh son tan drásticas que resulta fenomenal el hecho de que una buena proporción de los nativos verdaderamente enfermos que visitan estos templos se recuperen. Se sabe que los niños cuya indoctrinación no ha sido completada han resistido intentos de que los lleven a dichos templos, ya que "allí es adonde uno va para morir." A pesar de ello, los adultos indispuestos no sólo se muestran voluntarios, sino incluso entusiasmados, a la hora de realizar la prolongada purificación ritual; en ciertos territorios, si pueden permitírselo. En dichas regiones, no importa cuán grave el estado del suplicante ni cuán urgente la emergencia, los guardianes de muchos templos no admiten a los clientes si éstos no pueden entregar una cuantiosa ofrenda a los custodios. Incluso después de que uno haya conseguido y sobrevivido a las ceremonias, los guardianes no permitirán al neófito que deje el latipsoh a menos que este entregue otra ofrenda más.
Se despoja primero al suplicante, al entrar en el templo, de todas sus vestiduras. En la vida cotidiana, los soeporue evitan mostrar el cuerpo desnudo y sus funciones naturales. Los ritos de ablución, de egestión y de excreción sólo se llevan a cabo en la intimidad de los santuarios, donde están ritualizados como parte de las ceremonias corporales. Se desprende un shock psicológico del hecho que la intimidad corporal se pierde de repente con la entrada en el latipsoh. Para dar un ejemplo, un varón cuya compañera nunca le ha visto en el acto de excreción o de egestión se halla de repente desnudo y asistido por una vestal mientras lleva a cabo sus funciones naturales en un recipiente sagrado. Esta clase de tratamiento ceremonial se desprende de la necesidad del hecho que las secreciones son empleadas por unos adivinos para predecir el curso y la naturaleza de la enfermedad del suplicante. Por otro lado, las suplicantes en femenino, especialmente las heterosexuales, hallan que sus cuerpos desnudos son sujeto del escrutinio, de la manipulación y de la presión manual por parte de acólitos y hombres de medicina.
Hay otra clase de practicantes llamados escuchadores. Estos chamanes tienen el poder de exorcizar a los demonios que se alojan en las cabezas de la gente que ha sido hechizada. Los soeporue, cada vez menos pero aún así por lo general, creen que los progenitores hechizan e incluso pueden maldecir a sus hijos. Se sospecha particularmente que las madres echen maldiciones a los niños al enseñarles los secretos de los rituales corporales. El contrahechizo de los chamanes es inusual dada su falta de ritual. El paciente, así de simple, le explica al escuchador todos sus problemas y sus temores, empezando por las primeras dificultades que puede recordar. La memoria de la que hacen gala los soeporue durante estas sesiones de exorcismo es verdaderamente digna de elogio. No es inusual que el paciente lamente el rechazo que sintió al ser destetado durante la primera infancia, y hay incluso individuos que ven el comienzo de sus penas en el efecto traumático del propio nacimiento.
Para concluir, debemos mencionar ciertas prácticas enraizadas en la estética nativa, pero que también dependen de la pervasiva aversión al cuerpo natural y a las funciones físicas. Hay cada vez más ayunos rituales para que la gente gorda adelgace y cada vez más festines ceremoniales para que la gente delgada engorde. El rito de la inserción de gelatinas en el pecho, ut supra diximus (véase el párrafo sobre el masoquismo), se emplea para agrandar los senos femeninos si éstos son de tamaño reducido. El descontento general de las féminas de este pueblo está simbolizado por el hecho de que la forma ideal de senos, talle y caderas se halla virtualmente fuera del espectro de la variación humana. Algunas féminas, dotadas de un desarrollo mamario prácticamente extrahumano, son tan idealizadas y veneradas que llevan un cómodo tren de vida simplemente desplazándose de poblado en poblado y permitiendo a los nativos que las observen a cambio de un precio. Ya se ha hecho mención de las inyecciones de líquidos tóxicos en el rostro y de las sesiones de horneo que estas féminas llevan a cabo para considerarse hermosas (véase también el párrafo sobre el masoquismo), pero también cabe señalar que hay varones tan preocupados por el desarrollo de sus músculos como las féminas lo están por sus senos y caderas. Estos varones que se consideran constantemente faltos de vigor realizan intensas sesiones de actividad física ritual con el fin de desarrollar sus músculos de extremidades, tórax y abdomen. También hay varones dotados de un desarrollo muscular prácticamente extrahumano que llevan una vida privilegiada simplemente desplazándose de poblado en poblado y permitiendo a los nativos que les observen a cambio de un precio.
Ya se ha hecho referencia al hecho de que las funciones de excreción y egestión son ritualizadas, realizadas siguiendo una rutina, y relegadas al secreto. Las funciones naturales del aparato reproductor son distorsionadas de manera similar. El coito es un tabú como tema y está planeado y organizado como acto. Se procura evitar el embarazo mediante el empleo de ciertos objetos mágicos y limitando el acto del coito a ciertas fases lunares. Consecuencia de esto es el hecho de que la fecundación sea en realidad muy poco frecuente. Las féminas en estado se visten de cierto modo con tal de ocultar su condición. El parto tiene lugar en secreto, sin la asistencia de amigos o familiares, y la mayoría de féminas no dan el pecho a sus hijos, delegando esta tarea en sus compañeros varones y/o mediante el uso de un recipiente lleno de supuesta leche mágica, mezclada como ciertos polvos disueltos en agua, siendo la tapa del recipiente una réplica fiel del pezón femenino humano.
Cierto es que nuestra reseña de la vida ritual de los soeporue, por ende, ha mostrado que son un pueblo muy creyente en la magia. Resulta difícil comprender cómo han conseguido existir en nuestros días bajo la presión que se han impuesto a sí mismos. Pero incluso costumbres tan exóticas como éstas alcanzan un auténtico significado vistas con el cristal de la reflexión que nos provee Malinowski al escribir:
"Mirando desde una elevada altura, desde la seguridad de nuestras altas esferas en el mundo desarrollado, resulta fácil ver todo lo cruda e irrelevante que es la magia. Pero, sin su poder ni su guía, el ser humano primitivo no podría haberse hecho dueño de sus dificultades prácticas como ha hecho, ni podría haber avanzado hasta las fases más avanzadas de la civilización".


DAVID’s review

Submitted by
Is the analysis focused on the reflection topic proposed for the assignment (comparing two of the three stories we read this week: “Tuesday Siesta”, “One of These Days”, and “Big Mama’s Funeral”)? 
I would have thought Mamá Grande and the Thinkery offered little scope for comparison as opposed to contrast, until this review showed otherwise! 
Is there enough information and/or are there enough quotations from the stories to support the analysis? 
What was it Gabo said to Rabassa? - I feel as if I've endured a bout with the heavyweight champion of England! Maybe too much [hypotext - from which you could derive too much]. El despensero se acercó a Gerard. - Perdóneme, señor... pero es que ha muerto Tom Cribb – dijo. - Pero, ¿qué dice? – intervino Hornblower. No recordaba que hubiese nadie a bordo que respondiese al nombre de Tom Cribb... Ni tampoco conocía la razón por la cual un despensero debía dar parte a un teniente de la baja sufrida. (Hornblower en España, 167). 
Is this assignment a reflection of a rigorous reading of the stories? 
Nearly as many as Melquiades! I'm unfazed by the amount of homework set. Really enjoyed reading this! 

martes, 14 de febrero de 2017


The most common narrative in temperance fiction begins with a young male who, in longing to exercise the privileges of adulthood and yearning for excitement, allows himself to be lured, usually by a "fast" young man, into a drinking establishment. The subsequent "fatal first drink" launches him into a downward spiral.
In temperance fiction, imagination and ambition were associated with strong drink. Imaginative and ambitious young men were thought to be particularly susceptible to drink's seductive powers. Finding their day-to-day existence boring and unfulfilling, they imagined the possibility of better lives and tried to make their dreams realities. Therefore, they were willing to take risks. Since this leading character was usually portrayed as a sympathetic and appealing figure, the author needed to take credibility to his decision to take that fatal first glass. That is, temperance writers needed to make drink attractive enough to have lured a good young man from the path of virtue without making the intoxication so attractive that the reader would want to follow him. Temperance writers generally acknowledged this dilemma by acknowledging liquor's initial attractiveness, but then going on to explain this attractiveness as a mask behind which the true horrible consequences lurked.
In depicting the moment of the "fatal first drink," and in exploring the relationship of the drinker to his drink, Victorian temperance writers participated in the wider cultural discussion about the nature of free will, as well as of moral responsibility for antisocial acts. Temperance novels and tales should be considered alongsides the many works of Victorian fiction that attempted to express and explore that moment at which a person was transformed from an average man or woman into a social monster.
Much as writers of seduction narratives depicted the seduced as innocent or nearly innocent victims of the seducers' wiles, so temperance writers held innkeepers and devious "fast friends" chiefly, or even solely, for the drinker's downfall. Taking advantage of the (nearly always male) leading character's weaknesses --his dream of achieving a more exciting and rewarding life than the one he knew, and his tendency to trust those who claimed to be working for his interest--, these men and women convinced him that drink would bring him closer to that idealized fantasy world of comfort, leisure, excitement, and elegance. Young women offering drink were always beautiful and always "bejewelled." Seduced by this promise of luxury and beauty that the victim had dared to hope would one day supplant, he took his first drink. The first drink often surpassed expectation. In Mary Chellis's fiction, Casper, a young art merchant, takes his first drink, which gives him "a feeling of exhilaration" that would soon bring him back for a second.
Temperance writers make it clear, however, that while a young man's curiosity and desire for excitement and/or change brought him to take his first glass, the violence and degradation that followed were out of his control. Significantly, given the contemporary (19th-century) debate of nature vs. nurture, temperance writers went to great lengths to depict the drunkard's progress not as a sin or failing on his part, but rather as a seduction and enslavement by liquor itself.
Once a young man had taken that fatal first drink, he was, in the logic of temperance fiction, absolutely powerless to resist future drink. Sometimes a tavernkeeper would covertly pour strong liquor in what was purportedly only lemonade or small beer, or drug a customer's glass of liquor, or even serve liquor to a customer who thought he was only drinking soda water.

Narrators, particularly those who were temperance reformers, often gave elaborate explanations of how a young man came to take his first drink. Generally he believed that, by drinking liquor, he could establish himself as mature, manly, and unafraid of the warnings of parents/guardians, wives/fiancées, siblings, and reformers. His decision to drink represented an attempt to escape the constraints of family and community opinion and to establish some degree of independence. Often, he combined this desire to escape family and communal restraints with an overly optimistic assessment of his own willpower, as he assured himself that he was in no danger of becoming a slave to alcohol, though he knew that others had.
Of course, temperance writers knew that, once he took his first drink, the young man would have within him a growing desire for alcohol. In an 1880 temperance hygiene book for children, Julia Coleman warned her readers that the danger of alcohol lay in its ability to "create such a craving in the drinker that he longs to be poisoned again." A female character in a temperance novel feared that while she herself had "no desire for alcohol, it may be that a single glass might arouse a demon in my breast which would not down at my bidding." Alcohol had the ability to create (or, more terrifyingly, arouse) a desire for itself within the drinker. However, if human seducers and alcohol itself were able to reshape, transform, and even create the (future) drinker's desires, it became very unclear to what extent those desires belonged to the drinker at all. Like accounts of sexual seduction and rape and/or abduction, stories of the drinker's seduction and coercion blended easily into one another.
The drinker's real problem, the seduction metaphor implied, was that he had become alienated from his own desires. Because the drinker's desires were wound up in the fantastic idealized images created by his seducers, they were, in an important sense, no longer expressions of his self, but rather of that of his seducers. Although they took care to establish the illegitimacy of the drinker's desires, the authors of temperance fiction often seemed simultaneously to empathize with those same desires. Some of these temperance reformers' most astute critics noted their seemingly paradoxical tendency to glamourize alcohol. In 1888, Edgar Watson Howe charged that temperance followers made strong drink appear exciting, talking "too much about the pleasure of strong drink, and of its pleasing effects," when in fact "the reputed pleasure in the cup is a myth [···] drinking is an evidence of depravity as plainly marked as idleness and viciousness." Howe found it strange that professed opponents of alcohol so often dwelled at such length upon alcohol's attractions.
Howe was on to something important. Temperance reformers often describe the pleasures of alcohol with striking enthusiasm or even longing. Mary Dwynell Chellis has a rare female drunken character explain her own former fascination with strong drink. Though, significantly, she tries to block the memory, she cannot. A collage of images come back to her: "brilliantly-lighted rooms; the flashing of jewels, and the gleaming of white arms; music, and the fragrance of flowers; the subtle fumes of wine, and whispered words of passion she but half comprehended." In another novel, Chellis has her own temperance-reformer character, her author avatar, acknowledge that "people sometimes crave sparkling stimulants that foam and flash before her; and when imbibed, quicken all the pulses of their lives."
The idea that alcohol increased desire and destroyed contentment remained prominent within the drink discourse through the progressive Victorian era.
There was a significant slippage, even in narratives produced by the most solid temperance supporters, between understanding strong drink as the cause of discontent and instability as its effect. Writers and tellers of such narratives often quite literally meant to convey that alcohol was the source of all social evils and that the individual's willingness to take a drink was the Achilles heel of his otherwise unassailable moral self. Yet many, perhaps even more, tellers of temperance narratives at time used alcohol and the "fatal first drink" as a sort of synecdoche or shorthand for a much more general process of embracing discontent. Drinking liquor, in this understanding, was a moment of discontent; a sign that the drinker had chosen to abandon comfort, home, and steady security in favour of risk and mobility.
To the extent that tellers of these narratives meant the "fatal first drink" more as shorthand for a process of discontent than as the literal cause of all the drinker's woes, they marked the drinker, even before he consumed his first drink, as "discontented," "ambitious," "fast," or "fanciful." When a temperance novel introduced a character as "a restless, ambitious boy," the readers knew that these were future drunkards. In William Constock's novels, one character agrees to take his fatal first drink out of a desire to remain on good terms with another man, who offers to help him out of a failing speculation. Narrators depicted the drinker, shortly after his consumption of his first drink, as engaged in multiple forms of risky behaviour, such as gambling and consuming other drugs. There was rarely a "fatal first dice throw" in these narratives. When there was one, it utterly lacked the weight of the "fatal first drink." The reader simply assumed that, having taken a first drink, the protagonist had completely given himself over to risk and chance.
Read literally, this narrative suggested that alcohol was fully responsible for the drinker's decline. Read as a synecdoche, however, the same narrative suggested that both his drinking and his decline were a natural result of certain related and preexisting character traits, such as discontent, ambition, and fastness.
Temperance writers acknowledged that there was a certain class of giddy and risk-taking young women who seduced men into taking their fatal first drink. Falling under the spell of such a seductress was parallel to entering the dangerous space of the pub.
Almost always, even those narrators employing the language of invasion imagined that the future drinker, through a somewhat voluntary act, opened himself to alcohol's attack. Once a young man had taken that fatal first drink, however, he was, in the logic of many temperance narratives, absolutely powerless to resist future drink. As one temperance physician wrote in 1882, "the smallest sip of the weakest form of fermented or distilled liquor has power to set in a blaze the hidden unhallowed fire." In most of the temperance narratives, the power of the first sip was equally strong even for those with "untainted" heritage.
By taking his first drink, the drinker put himself in the power of evil companions, and, perhaps more importantly, allowed alcohol to enter his body and begin to transform it. The alcohol coursed through his veins, unseating his reason and inspiring in him a thirst for more. It pervaded him entirely and wiped away any positive resolutions he may have had. In fact, ultimately, it wiped away the drinker himself. As one author describes, "there was not much left of him."
The physical bodies invaded by alcohol often were seen in a double character as both the victims and the perpetrators of the invasion. That is, invasion language all too frequently slid into seduction language. The seeming omnipresence of alcohol and the shifting of position between invader and invaded on the discourse of drink made the metaphor of invasion considerably more disturbing than comforting. As on the other levels of metaphorical invasion (and like vampirism, a close thematic relative), alcohol first had to be voluntarily admitted by its victim. He might choose to take a first drink because of social pressure, a desire for excitement, and/or overconfidence in his own powers of self-control. An 1872 textbook describes alcohol as "so seductive in its advances, so insidious in its influence, and so terrible in its triumph." Only after it had gained a foothold in an individual body did it reveal its true nature.
Belle Brain, in her 1897 handbook Weapons for Temperance Warfare [···] Among the excerpts to be read aloud was: "[···] only to pour down that 'raging Phlegethon of alcohol,' than which no river of the Inferno is more blood-red or more accursed." Here is a familiar pattern. Strong drink was worse than other devils because it was, as one 1894 pamphlet put it, a "liquid devil," polluting and transforming the bodies that consumed it. It "permeated" bodies, introducing the disturbing possibility that it could no longer be separated from them.
Alcohol was a particular type of transforming agent. Just as Dracula could not enter a home unless voluntarily admitted, so alcohol could not invade any body without some degree of consent.
Of course, the individual did, almost always, make a choice to take his "fatal first drink." In temperance novels, he often made the choice because of a desire for excitement and an insufficient respect for the advice of his betters. Even before he drank, the drinker --always carefully and repeatedly described as pure, perfect, and ideal-- possessed that one aspect of his character congenial to alcohol. Once he drank, of course, alcohol worked to weaken his will, particularly his will to cease drinking. If alcohol was an invader, one of the first things it did inside the body was to foment an insurrection. It transformed the will, creating an appetite for itself in the invaded body. Drinking, it was common to say in temperance circles, "dethroned reason." As the drinker drank more and more, he became "not himself." He behaved entirely differently than he would have behaved if he had been sober. Yet, if he was "not himself," who was he?
The phrase "dethroned reason," was potentially unsettling, for it suggested that reason was a monarch ruling over the rest of the body: an old metaphor but one not quite appropriate in a free Western world in the aftermath of revolutions. As one temperance physiologist puts it, alcohol released "the brutish part of human nature [···] The beasts of the menagerie may be no fiercer than before but they rage more violently and are more dangerous because the cages are open and the keepers are gone." He followed this wild animal analogy to a thinly veiled analogy to social class: "The lower passions being thus left without a master, the tendency to evil of every sort is greatly augmented." Put this way, intoxication begins to sound less like invasion and more like insurrection. Alcohol is not exactly causing the drinker to be something other than "himself"; it is enabling one part of him to revolt against its betters. As another physiology text explained, when one becomes intoxicated, "the hidden nature comes to the surface. All the gloss of education and social restraint falls off, and the lower nature stands revealed." In the late nineteenth century, poised between the faculty psychology of the early century and the Freudianism soon to come, the status of this repressed hidden nature, this beast within, had become increasingly uncertain. On one level, strong drink was an external force attacking a body that could be imagined as being somehow sound underneath the attack. That is, one could imagine extracting or driving out the invader to reveal a pure and whole body. On another level, though, drink was an infiltrating force not so much itself attacking the body as revealing the body's preexisting fissures and corruption.
Temperance advocates' metaphor of invasion, then, was entirely complicated. Certainly they continued, in many formats, to insist that the nation, the community, the home, and the body were essentially pure though temporarily invaded. However, they interspersed these repeated assertions with the metaphor was in tension. Drinkers, homes, communities, and nations were pure, yet there was something within them that caused them to allow alcohol to enter, and some part of their putatively pure bodies acted as a fifth column on behalf of invading alcohol.
At times, particularly when they insisted upon the metaphor of the perfect body, this characterization seems fairly accurate --both for temperance reformers and for their opponents. Taken as a whole, however, the discouse of strong drink was not a comforting discourse. Often it was too inconsistent and self-questioning to provide any answers, and often the implications of the invasion metaphor were deeply unsettling. Temperance reformers wrestled with the question of purity. They mobilized the potentially comforting metaphor of the pure body beset by external invaders, but they also insistently and continually undermined that metaphor by telling stories in which the invaded body was in some way identical with or sympathetic to the invader. Certainly it would have been possible for them to focus on hoary nativist arguments and to insist upon young humankind's pristine purity. By and large, however, temperance reformers did not take that path. If anything, they seem to have dwelled the most upon those things that rendered the metaphor of the invaded body most problematic, rejecting again and again the comfort it offered.
Temperance reformers were engaged in a process of constructing and destroying a metaphorical pure body. One of the most surprising things about the nineteenth-century discourse of strong drink is how subtly it changed from its early days in the 1830s through the end of the century. Even as they repeatedly told the same old narrative, drink debaters slowly reformulated it, negotiated its terms, and sought solutions to the problems it posed. After the mid-century's last liberal revolutions, as reformers began to tell the story through the language of invasion rather than that of seduction, they drew lessons from their own invasion accounts that they would apply to their reform tactics. If alcohol won men over not through its seductive influence but through its invasive coercion, and if it did so by storming through their bodies replacing their native desires and tendencies with artificial ones, then perhaps reforming women could win men back in a similar manner. More and more reformers, inspired by invasion language, called for women to leave the home, invade the male domain, and reclaim drunkards by force.

"Unlike most female-written fiction in the nineteenth century, temperance fiction does not end with the marriage of the heroine, but, instead, generally begins with the wedding,” and it is almost universally true that the temperance tale “explores the very real problematic circumstances women must face after the ceremony,” rather than the drama preceding the vows.5 The marriage in question begins as a happy, promising, and decidedly middle-class arrangement. The new husband has grand prospects: Smith’s Edward Middleton is a businessman and landowner, Stowe’s Edward Howard is, somewhat more vaguely, “first in the society in which he moved,” and the husband in T. S. Arthur’s “The Drunkard’s Wife” is Doctor Harper. Caroline Lee Hentz’s Mr. Franklin is even more considerable: “a member of Congress, a distinguished lawyer.” Consequently, the wife in each story has good reason to believe that her marital decision has been made wisely; she, her friends, and her proud parents expect domestic bliss to follow in turn.
Then, inevitably, come the bottle and the descent, usually traced through three tiers of depravity. First, the happy and prosperous family is unbalanced, but only slightly, by the introduction of “demon” alcohol. Importantly, the first drink is never entirely the husband’s fault; his essential goodness, despite the dark turns each narrative will take, is not at question.
In what I will call “domestic temperance” stories, the fallen husband begins as a paragon of bourgeois perfection, and never—even at his most degraded—entirely sheds a dimmed halo of his former goodness. Domestic temperance stories maintain continual hope for reformation, and so the drunkard retains enough humanity to warrant such an outcome. This narrative shaping begins early, as each story emphasizes the husband’s non-complicit or uninformed entrance into the dark night of spirits. In The Drunkard a begrudging lawyer, Cribbs, first leads Edward into the tavern and buys his first drink, feigning friendly collegiality. In “The Drunkard’s Wife” the doctor is offered “a good stiff glass of brandy” or wine when making house calls during winter, as a buffer against the cold. The first step is always minute and inadvertent, and the wife bears it with only moderate concern, if she is concerned at all.

The first token of Redburn's descent into evil is his breaking of the temperance pledge. When he accepts grog to relieve seasickness, he wishes guiltily that "when I signed the pledge of abstinence, I had not taken care to insert a little clause, allowing me to drink spirits on the case of seasickness." But break the pledge he does, and, as he puts it, violating the pledge "insidiously opened the way to subsequent breaches of it, which carried no apology with them."
After his first sip of alcohol, Redburn is prepared to associate with drunken sailors and to accompany his friend Harry Bolton into a lavish den of iniquity.

Authors used images of strong drink to structure plots, to signal character types, to embellish a theme, to teach a lesson, and to promote a cause.
The nineteenth-century temperance tale enjoyed success by generally sticking to a formula: a young innocent boy [···] has his first drink of alcohol, [···]. Elaine Frantz Parsons identifies six key features of these narratives: (1) the young male protagonist is a particularly promising young man; (2) he falls largely or entirely because of external influences; (3) he is weak-willed and too eager to please his new friends; (4) his desire for drink overwhelms all else; (5) he loses his control over family, economic life, and/or his own body; and (6) if he is redeemed, it is through a powerful external influence.