Why does the Chinese government actively support Esperanto?

User has mentioned in comment to question the magazine El Popola Ĉinio (“From the People’s China”), and I remember its impeccable glossiness and low-key propaganda.

Argh! I did read about this at a bookstore the other day, in a collection of essays about the posterity of Mao’s Little Red Book. But no, I didn’t buy the book.

The way the book put it, the Communist Party in the ’50s was sympathetic to the aims of Esperanto, and saw it as a suitable, non-colonialist vehicle for getting their message out. I think the book subtly hinted that they were a bit naive about the propaganda efficacy of Esperanto. But in the ’50s and ‘60s, I suspect it was not that absurd a vehicle: most English-language vehicles would likely have been closed.

(Who was that American journalist who’d interviewed Mao in the ’30s, and Mao did an interview with to help prepare for Nixon’s visit? Not all English-language vehicles were closed; but the audience was certainly not as reflexively sceptical.)

Which poem or song best represents Greece in your opinion?

I’m going with the Birds of the Netherworld. stixoi.info: Του κάτω κόσμου τα πουλιά

It’s got a lot of what makes Modern Greek culture so rich:

  • Cryptic, magical dread. The lyricist based it on a nightmare he had; but the song was released in 1974, during the death-throes of the Greek dictatorship—so people assumed what they would about it.
  • A firmly entrenched notion of the Netherworld, continuing from pagan times, as opposed to Christian Heaven and Hell
  • Casual mentions of antiquity and the landscape; not as obeisance, but simply as inheritance
  • And the dark sorrows of the land, that the tourists miss, beneath those gleaming beaches
  • And all against the stern modal 9/4 thud of the verse, and lament of the chorus.

You can have your Dylans; I’ve always thought the Greek art-bouzouki scene did a far greater job of true poetry in its lyrics, even when it wasn’t subording actual Nobel prize winners like Odysseas Elytis. The fact that Greece continues to keep singers, songwriters, and lyricists separate really helps there.

The translations at http://stixoi.info are horrid. Here’s mine.

Time, envenomed, lingers
in the alleys of the Netherworld to find you.
And out of work for thirteen centuries, he seeks
your ark—and to drink your blood.

Flagellators and the Clashing Rocks await you.
A maiden keeps watch amidst the gold.
The Cyclades are hanging from her ears.
And her bed is the Killer’s den.

Hidden are the secret words in the seashell.
Hidden is the magic of the sea in the North Wind.
One day the oil lamp will go out in the house,
and then you will find neither door nor lock.

The birds and peacocks of the Netherworld
are making you a dress of light and night.
Men gnash and grind their teeth:
They leap, they run, and seize you half-way.

Which Quoran has influenced your views the most? Ernest W. Adams has dramatically influenced some of my views and opened my eyes to topics that were taboo to me.

Quoran that’s influenced my views the most, you say?

Jae Alexis Lee.

She may well think I’m stalking her by now, with all the shout outs I’ve been giving her, but there’s a reason for it.

It’s a bad business to rank people, but:

  • You asked about influencing views, not deepening views, or learning more about the world. That rules out my top 5 Quorans. 🙂
  • I appreciate people who challenge my views on the world. They know who they are, because I keep thanking them for it.
  • The social/political domain I think I’ve learned the most about since alighting here is transgender issues. I’m not quite sure how that happened; I think it started with me liking Elliott Mason’s English grammar posts, and then getting everyone he ever upvoted on my feed. 🙂
  • Jae both talks about transgender issues, and challenges my views on the world as a card carrying SJW (or is that Social Justice Cleric?), and she talks about both with passion and lucidity.
  • Jae has also taught me how not to hate comment blockers. Well, how not to hate comment blockers who have a reason for comment blocking I can appreciate, anyway.

Runner up—although again, ranking people is a foul thing to do.

Sam Morningstar. (Clarissa, you’re not surprised, are you?)

Similar reasons, maybe less on the left in identity politics, but again, clear and lucid, both within and beyond his home topic of Native American issues.

I miss Sam.

Oh, and Michael Cobb’s answer mentioned Dan Holliday so I wouldn’t have to.

What languages use the word “ox” as a common insult?

Not a surprise: Greek βό(ι)δι vo(i)ði is used to refer primarily to someone unmannered or dull.

Per the Triantafyllidis dictionary:

2. (μτφ.) μειωτικός ή υβριστικός χαρακτηρισμός για άνθρωπο: α. αργόστροφο· βλάκας: Είναι ~, δεν καταλαβαίνει τίποτα. ΦΡ σαν το ~ στο παχνί*. β. άξεστο, αγροίκο, αναίσθητο· ζώο: Mε πάτησε κι ούτε συγγνώμη δεν είπε, το ~. γ. παχύσαρκο: Έγινε (σαν) ~ από το πάχος.

(metaphor) a contemptuous or insulting description of a person who is (a) slow, stupid: “He’s an ox, he understands nothing; like an ox at the trough”; (b) uncouth, insensitive: “He stepped on me and didn’t even apologise; what an ox”; (c) obese: “he so obese, he’s like an ox”.