Saturday, May 5, 2012

Permission to be Happy, SIR!

Just as there are very very few world class psychos there are also few world class saints
most people are banality on the hoof. Either banal good, or banal evil.

Banal evil can be petty and merely spite or discouragement while banal good can be petty 'kindnesses'

Banal evil takes more work to spread, while banal good resonates.

Just as evil can be passed around i.e. the boss yells at someone, someone is rude to the bus driver who goes home and snarls at his wife who puts down the kids... every step of the way requires a certain amount of sheer rage and a certain energy.

Happiness, however, is spread much more easily.  If someone gives themselves permission to be happy then it becomes hard to stop.  Happiness is contageous.  Rage needs work.

I'm lazy.  I hearby give myself permission to be happy.

Probably Pointless Rant

I just started reading "The Adventure of English".  Why, why, why do these scholars give us a thin paste of words and needlessly diminish the power of the very language they hope to laud?

It's about a sentence in Old English, part of a poem called "The Dream of the Rood" in which the story of the crucifixion is told from the point of view of the cross itself.  Interesting enough when you imagine the time it was written.

Now the author, Melvin Bragg, confidently translates this sentence: 'Ic waes mip blodi bestemit' as 'I was with blood bedewed.'  Fair enough.  But modern German 'bestemit' is 'bestimmt' is it not?  That turns the sentence in an entirely different and, in my opinion, in a far deeper, more powerful direction.

In modern German, bestimmt means 'imagined', 'conceived of', 'dreamed up', thought of, created.

This turns the line into something like "I was in blood created," or "I was, in blood, dreamed."

Not this namby-pamby 'bedewed'!  'sprinkled' 'misted' or any other gentle little word.

Sigh.  I do not speak Old English, but it looks to me that a knowledge of both its descendants, modern English and modern German, can give a bit more insight to the whole business. 

Bedewed, be damned!