READ: Conrad: Youth

The first five pages, I’d decided: nah. The tone is all bouncy and frivolous and a little Hooray Henry. The language is good, but he doesn’t have the magic he had in Heart of Darkness.

Once the first storm hit the ship in the story, the ship was derailed, but the prose was set aright. The amazing use of language was back, just as strong as in Heart of Darkness, though gloomy in a quite different way.

It’s still not a perfect work the way Heart of Darkness is. Heart of Darkness maintains its tone from the first page and the framing scene; Youth takes time to get started. The rueful comments by the narrator about how bold and naive youth is are tacked on, they are not really integrated into the narrative. There’s a couple of passages that veer too close to sentimentality.

But that’s 90% as opposed to 100%. It remains magisterial. It remains what prose should always have been.

Why has booing someone off stage become a negative thing? For whom? All the polite people? The actor stares in my face and asks me a question, am I not allowed to answer him however I please?

More cultural relativism, people. I think Adam Hartline has said it best: Vote #1 Adam Hartline’s answer to Why has booing someone off stage become a negative thing? For whom? All the polite people? The actor stares in my face and asks me a question, am I not allowed to answer him however I please?

I’d like to answer a related question.

In the 18th century, it was normal to chat during a classical music concert. It was normal not to pay too much attention to the stage. It was normal to interrupt music with applause, it was normal to applaud at the end of each movement, and it was certainly not unheard of to boo as well.

The cultural construct of what a classical music concert was about was different then.

Fred Landis is actually getting close in his answer to where I’m going with this. In La Scala, you can still applaud or boo a tenor in the middle of the performance. It’s part of what makes me take opera less seriously as an art form.

But you see, there are two different constructions of classical musical performances going on. The earlier one is a fun night out, with room for audience participation. It’s survived in La Scala, and it’s persisted in jazz concerts (they applaud the solos) and pop and rock.

The conflicting construction is classical musical performance as secular religion. It was pioneered by conductors like Mahler. It said that this is a goddamn religious experience you’re having, not a fun night out, and you’re going to goddamn keep your mouth shut till the end, and not spoil it for everyone else.

I subscribe to the latter, even when it isn’t a classical concert. But one isn’t intrinsically superior to the other. It’s just a different social understanding of what the performance is about.

OK then.

It used to be, OP would argue, that audience disapproval was part of the deal. That if a performance was crap, you had the right, if not the responsibility, to vote not with your feet, but with your catcall.

That comes from a construction of performance which did not elevate the performer, but the audience. It does not treat the performer as a divine messenger (the secular religion take) or as a cherished asset to be nourished, or a fellow citizen who deserves civil engagement (which is I think other respondents’ take). It treats the performer as a hireling. And the audience not as fellow churchgoers, or as fellow citizens not to be impinged on—but as paymaster: if we don’t like the job you’re doing as a performer, we’re going to let you know it. Loudly.

You can argue that a hireling–paymaster relation is grotty, and it’s a good thing we’ve gotten away from that. You can argue that respect in the theatre and concert hall for the audience and performer is a good thing, because it reflects civility in the society at large.

But I’d prefer it if people acknowledge that these are contingencies. People used to think differently. In different contexts (say, standup comedy) people still think differently. The standup comedian is not inherently less deserving of respect than the classical pianist. People’s ideas of what a performance is about have changed; and people’s ideas of what a performance is about are not set in stone for the ages.

What is it called when you get aroused by watching people die?

Vote #1 Vicky Prest: Vicky Prest’s answer to What is it called when you get aroused by watching people die?

No, seriously. Because this answer is just pedantic commentary on her answer, from someone who knows too much Greek, and can look up words on Wikipedia: List of paraphilias – Wikipedia.

Symphorophilia. Literally, “misfortune-love”. Not what I would have picked, because the word could just mean “chance” or “conjunction”. Coined by some sexologist with a dictionary in 1984 (John Money). Does not mean the subject necessarily died, just that they were in some arranged disaster:

A special form of sacrificial paraphilia, for which a suitable name is symphorophilia (being erotically turned on by accidents or catastrophes), culminates in an arranged disaster, such as an automobile crash. Like a game of Russian roulette, it may end in death — alone or with the partner. However, flirting with disaster, rather than suicide and murder is the trigger responsible for autoerotic arousal and excitement. Being the daredevil who will live to risk a love-death again is an essential part of this paraphilia.

Looks like people use it to mean getting off on watching someone dying, but it is more about the risk of someone dying; like auto-asphyxiation is about the risk of choking.

So: no.

Erotophonophilia “erotic murder love”. Three-part compounds in Greek make me nervous. Wikipedia offers the synonym dacnolagnomania “bite horny obsession”, which is… huh? Wikipedia’s entry for the paraphilia is Lust murder. (The entry says erotophonophilia is “gratification contingent on the death of a human being”; but phonos is murder, not just death.)

So: no.

Autassassinophilia. Another John Money coinage.

It’s a good thing John Money is dead. Because by rights he should be taken out and hung, for the cold blooded murder of the Grecian tongue!

John Money, you fricking tosser! Do you think Greeks had no word for being killed? Do you think we Greeks were so clueless, they had to wait for you to come up with the word auto-assassination? And that they didn’t have a notion of killing until the fucking Hashashin of the 11th century?!

SLAP! Auto- SLAP! phono- SLAP! philia, you SLAP! illiterate SLAP! shmuck!

Even that’s crap: it sounds like suicide (killing yourself), not yourself being killed. Biaiothanatophilia “violent death love” would be slightly clearer.

Autassasinophilia (fuck me, that sticks in my throat) is getting off on the risk of getting killed. John Money said that it was a complement to erotophonophilia; Wikipedia cites a psychologist saying no, the autassassinophiliac gets off on just the risk of being killed; the erotophonophiliac gets off on actually killing someone. So the meeting of the two is not necessarily going to leave both happy.

That ain’t watching people die, in any case, so no.

Thanatophilia “death love” or Necrophilia “corpse love”, we know. That ain’t watching people die either, so no.

Hm…. I’m going through the Wikipedia list again.

(Recognising a few that I’m going to put away for future reference. 🙂

Eproctophilia for fart fetish? Proctos is the Greek for anus; what the fuck is E- ? THAT BETTER NOT BE THE FUCKING LATIN FOR “OUT OF”! Ancient Greek had a word for farting, DID YOUR GREEK DICTIONARY SKIP IT?! I’M LOOKING AT YOU, JOHN MONEY! Pordophilia, you IDJIT!

… I should get danger money for looking at this list, the Latin–Greek hybrids are hurting my eyes… And who the hell thought vorarephilia was a good idea? Not just a Latin–Greek hybrid, but a fucking infinitive?! I thought Franklin Veaux had a typo when I saw him mention it.

Is not knowing shit about Classical languages a prerequisite for sexologists?!

Assclowns. (I’m sure there’s a paraphilia for that too.)

Nothing in Wikipedia’s list that matches “arousal by watching people die”. I’m going to Aggrawal’s list of 547 paraphilias: Aggrawal, Anil (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 369–82

… Oh fuck me, it’s worse. Afophilia “sexual stimulation via touch” with an F?! Aphephilia, which is THE SAME WORD?! Allotriorasty: where did you put the -e-?! Autoscopophilia “gratification by looking at one’s own body”, also known as autoscophilia: yeah, if you randomly delete syllables it is. Iantranudia “flashing your doctor”: doctor is iatros, not iantros, and –nudia is just silly.

Assclowns. I’m not even reading the “Greek” any more. And if anyone has this book, for Godsakes, ask me first before you use anything in its glossary. Most of the terms listed have bona fide typos.

Homicidophilia? That’s just the same as erotophonophilia; no voyeurism there.

Taphephilia “arousal from being buried alive” and Taphophilia “arousal from funerals” are of course the same word (“tomb love”), and no voyeurism there either.

I got nothing out of any of those lists. Which is strange, since the whole point of snuff films is this paraphilia.

(Yes, I know snuff films are fictional. Half those paraphilias looked fictional to me too.)

If I were to make up a word for this, I’d take the Greek for voyeurism, “Scop[t]ophilia”, combine it with “death” or “murder”, and come up with thanatoscop[t]ophilia or phonoscop[t]ophilia. I prefer the former.

Thanatoscopophilia. Love of watching death.

Of course, I should not go around making up words for paraphilias. My knowledge of actual Greek is too good for me to be a sexologist.

Vicky Prest, thank you for that. That was actually fun!

What is a Quoran’s worst nightmare?

Quora going broke. And all the content we have built and curated here, going the way of GeoCities.

And remember: is blocked from spidering Quora.

See: Brian Bi’s answer to When, and how, will I be able to download all of the Quora content I have produced, like the Facebook and Twitter feed export options?

What are some common words between Italian and Greek?

There’s a substantial number of Italian loanwords in Modern Greek. Many of those loanwords are specifically from Venetian, rather than Tuscan Italian, because a large part of Greece was under Venetian rule for centuries. (And a large number of Greek islands were ruled by other Northern Italian republics.) Italian was also the language through which Greece was exposed to the West for centuries. Lexicography does not differentiate Venetian and Italian consistently.

The post Ιταλικές και βενετσιάνικες λέξεις στα ελληνικά at the lexilogia forum links to 891 headwords listed as Venetian in the Triantafyllidis dictionary, and 2468 as Italian (out of 47,000 entries.) The post is wrong, because the search they link to also retrieves entries from Kriaras’ Early Modern Greek dictionary, hosted at the same site; but the number is substantial, and I agree that most Modern Greek loanwords are from Italian and Venetian.

As a sampler, this PDF:…, a guide for teachers of Greek as a Foreign Language, gives the following examples of “Italian” loans:

αντένα, βάρκα, βελούδο, βεντέτα, βίζιτα, βίλα, βιολί, βόλτα, γάντι, γάτα, γούστο, κάλτσα, κανάλι, καπετάνιος, καπρίτσιο, κάρβουνο, καρέκλα, κάσα, κασετίνα, κόλπο, κομπόστα, κόστος, κότερο, κουβέρτα, κούνια, λάμπα, μπάνιο, μπαρκάρω, μπαστούνι, μπότα, μπουκάλι, μπουρίνι, μπράτσο, όπερα, παντελόνι, πατάτα, πόζα, ράτσα, ρεντίκολο, ρόδα, σαλάμι, σβέλτος, σερβίρω, σκούρος, σούπα, σπίρτο, στάμπα, τενόρος, τραμουντάνα, φουρτούνα.

antena, varka, veluðo, vendeta, vizita, vila, violi, volta, ɣanti, ɣata, ɣusto, kaltsa, kanali, kapetanios, kapritsio, karvuno, karekla, kasa, kasetina, kolpo, komposta, kostos, kotero, kuverta, kunia, lampa, banio, barkaro, bastuni, bota, bukali, burini, bratso, opera, panteloni, patata, poza, ratsa, redikolo, roða, salami, sveltos, serviro, skuros, supa, spirto, stampa, tenoros, tramuntana, furtuna.

antenna, boat, velvet, feud, visit (esp. to a doctor or prostitute), villa, violin, stroll, glove, cat, good taste, sock, channel, captain, caprice, coal, chair, trunk, pencil case, trick, fruit preserve, cost, yacht, blanket, cradle, lamp, bath, embark, cane, boot, bottle, squall, arm, opera, pants, potato, pose, race, figure of ridicule, wheel, salami, swift, serve food, dark, soup, matchstick or spirits, stamp, tenor, north wind, storm.

Was there anything good about Joseph Stalin?

I’m not a fan, though I did appreciate Sıddäk Ähuja’s answer to Was there anything good about Joseph Stalin?

Taking a line from Testimony (1988 film): he inspired Shostakovich. In a way that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Is it possible for a dialect to be agglutinative but for the “base” language not to be?

Yes, my fellow respondents have rightly raised the definitional issues that would give one pause about agglutinativity.

I’m going to be less scrupulous.

The difference between fusional, isolating and agglutinative languages is a significant typological difference—although of course, as with anything typological, there are shades of grey that it ignores, and square pegs that it seeks to stuff into round holes.

Languages change their typology over time. It is however not expected that two dialect would diverge significantly, through internal forces, into say a clearly agglutinative and a clearly fusional version. If their grammars had evolved to be that distinct, you would expect them no longer to be considered dialects of the same language.

However: intense influence from other languages can accelerate that kind of typological divergence in a dialect. Cappadocian Greek, to bring up the only example I can think of right now, was under intense influence from Turkish, and in fact was in the early stages of language death. The most Turkicised, southern dialects (e.g. Ulağaç) ended up having vowel harmony, and some of its inflection was starting to look agglutinative (although I fear I don’t remember details).

How are Rumi’s poems in Greek?

I swear, folks, I am not bribing Khateeb to ask me these questions!

So yes. Both Rumi, and his son Sultan Walad, wrote some verses in Greek and in Turkish. That he wrote in Greek is no surprise, given that Rumi means “of Rum = The (former) Roman Empire”, where Rumi settled (Konya).

I have linked to most of the Greek verses in Greek Verses of Rumi & Sultan Walad on my website. There is a more recent publication of some more of Sultan Walad’s Greek verses, which I have not included.

I put the page up, because I was concerned that the major source on the verses, the latest attempt to decipher the Greek by Dedes in 1993, was a small publication that I came across by accident: I met the author socially, he was the cousin of another scholar. Noone outside Greece would ever see it; so I decided to put it with its translation online, to make it accessible.

Rumi’s text is very difficult to decipher in particular. Both Rumi and Sultan Walad wrote in Arabic script, and Rumi used no vowel pointing. Rumi’s and Walad’s Greek is just OK, and neither sound to me as anything but second-language. I made a point of including previous attempts to read the text, so people could see how tentative the interpretations are. (There has been one or two comments on Dedes’ interpretations since, published in Byzantine Studies journals.)

I wrote four blog articles on the texts in 2009:

There are two possible answers to Khateeb’s question: how is the language of Rumi’s Greek poems, and how good are they as poems by Rumi.

I would dearly like for someone familiar with Rumi and Sufism to answer the latter. Are they representative of Rumi? Are there any surprises? I’m afraid I don’t know. Does anyone here?

For the language: most of Rumi’s verses are macaronic, switching between Greek and Persian (and in one instance, an imitation of Quranic Arabic). The Greek is archaic, maybe even a little more archaic than we’d expect by the 13th century; but no amazing revelations about the history of Mediaeval Greek. Quite possibly the first poems to rhyme in Greek: Christian Greek got rhymes from Italy a century later. The Greek is halting in places (I think there’s one or two wrong prepositions in Rumi, and Walad uses too many pronouns), but it is intelligible.

As poetry, I prefer Walad’s, simply because they are longer, in just one language, and coherent (though Dedes gave an extensive paraphrase in his edition of the longest poem, to help interpret the allusions Walad makes). The Rumi verses to me sound like you’re catching bits while tuning a radio.

Am I allowed to scrape Quora to backup my answers, or is there a bulk download option?

The interpretation of Quora’s T&C I’ve seen is that you can backup/archive your own content (since you retain full rights to it), but nothing by anyone else.

Quora does not provide this functionality. Of course, Quora does not provide a whole lot of functionality.

There are several third party solutions that have come and gone. The most recent I’ve seen is:

Stefan Delic’s answer to Does Quora have any plans for a feature to allow listing and downloading of a persons own answers in bulk? (as plain text)

The one I’ve used quite happily is:

Brian Bi’s answer to When, and how, will I be able to download all of the Quora content I have produced, like the Facebook and Twitter feed export options? (as HTML)