Why is Atatürk not widely seen as equivalent to Hitler or Mussolini? Why is Atatürk not condemned in the West like other dictators?

As I said about another question to Snežana Đorić (Снежана Ђорић): thanks for the A2A, Hinrich, as if I don’t have enough of a bullseye on my back already.

It’s an interesting question, and it’s also one that’s not going to get many dispassionate answers. I’ll expand on the answers given by Gustavo Pedroso and Markus C. Dehning.

What does it take for a country’s ruler to be demonised in the West?

  1. Not being a dictator, obviously. Only the Portuguese burn effigies of Salazar.
  2. Not necessarily being totalitarian. The current post-Soviet rulers of Central Asia are regarded as eccentric rather than evil.
  3. Being repressive against your own people? We Westerners would like to think so, but really, no. Pinochet did not capture the imagination of the whole West like Hitler did; and if Hitler had stopped with imprisoning dissidents and communists, he’d be a footnote.
  4. Displacing populations? By the standards of the early 20th century, ethnic cleansing was a good thing, it meant less hassles down the road. Just ask Edvard Beneš. I’m glad he died a broken man, but the number of people that do, I suspect, is me and a couple of unrepentant Sudetenlanders. Certainly no Czechs, very very few Germans, and the rest of you have either never heard of the Beneš decrees, or think it served them right. It’s only fairly recently that ethnic cleansing became unpalatable.
  5. Massacring ethnic groups? Well, Atatürk wasn’t responsible for the Armenian Genocide, and I’ve heard on Quora that he thought those who did were embarrassments. What he was responsible for with other ethnic groups in Turkey, during the Turkish War of Independence, is controversial. There are a lot of Greeks who do consider what happened under both the Ottoman and the Kemalist regimes a Greek genocide; and among them, Atatürk is demonised. Whether what happened did constitute a genocide is controversial (more so than for the Armenian genocide), and hasn’t engaged the Western imagination as much.
  6. Going to war with the West. I’m sorry for this unwelcome piece of Realpolitik, but it’s patently true. It’s easier for the West to demonise an enemy of the West than a friend of the West.

The criteria for demonisation, I would argue, are genocide and being an enemy of the West. The former is disputed for Atatürk (and certainly does not constitute mainstream Western opinion); the latter is not the case. So that’s why.

Mussolini, to take another example, was an enemy of the West, but did not participate in genociding Jews (though they certainly treated them poorly). Because of the weakness of the Italian army in WWII, he ended up ridiculed rather than demonised.

Another two-fer for demonisation, genocide + enemy: Saddam Hussein.

The case of Pol Pot (genocide, enemy of West but not actively warring with the West) suggests that genocide is a more potent criterion than being an enemy.

Why are Cretan murals done so well compared to Roman ones?

What you’re seeing as Cretan murals, dug up from Knossos, look shinier and more vivid than anything dug up from Pompeii, don’t they.

It’s almost as if… their painting is modern.

And indeed, they are. When you see Cretan murals in situ, they are mostly modern reconstructions; the original bits are the dull looking, barely coloured flecks.

In fact, because of the tenuousness of the reconstruction, the subject matter of the murals can be gotten gloriously wrong.

The Saffron Gatherer: before

The Saffron Gatherer: after

Which English words and expressions have a different meaning in Indian English? For example, the word propose is used in India in a way that never existed elsewhere.

Fellow Quorans of India, there’s a surprising omission in this list, which I’ve seen repeatedly on Quora, and indeed on Ravi Indra’s answer to this question: https://www.quora.com/Which-Engl…

In India Z alphabet is pronounced as (Zed) but for others it is (zee)

Alphabet is used in the subcontinent, where the rest of the English-speaking world uses letter (of the alphabet).

What is your favorite passage from the ‘Gnostic’ gospels?

Gospel of Thomas for me as well: Parable of the assassin:

The kingdom of the father is like a certain man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand could carry through. Then he slew the powerful man.

I can’t blame the Jesus Seminar for considering it plausible, precisely because it is so shocking. The Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus preached, being not only the inheritance of the meek, but also the slaughter of the strong.

And of course, on the looney tunes spectrum, the parable of Christ the Axe Murderer in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. This is Wikipedia’s subdued summary:

The text describes the life of the child Jesus, with fanciful, and sometimes malevolent, supernatural events, comparable to the trickster nature of the god-child in many a Greek myth. One of the episodes involves Jesus making clay birds, which he then proceeds to bring to life, an act also attributed to Jesus in Quran 5:110, although Jesus’s age at the time of the event is not specified in the Quran. In another episode, a child disperses water that Jesus has collected. Jesus, aged one, then curses him, which causes the child’s body to wither into a corpse. Another child dies when Jesus curses him when he apparently accidentally bumps into Jesus, throws a stone at Jesus, or punches Jesus (depending on the translation).

When Joseph and Mary’s neighbors complain, they are miraculously struck blind by Jesus. Jesus then starts receiving lessons, but arrogantly tries to teach the teacher instead, upsetting the teacher who suspects supernatural origins. Jesus is amused by this suspicion, which he confirms, and revokes all his earlier apparent cruelty. Subsequently he resurrects a friend who is killed when he falls from a roof, and heals another who cuts his foot with an axe.

Or, as I like to retell it as a party piece:

  • Once, the boy Jesus was making clay pigeons, and animating them. And they flew away. And it was all very nice.
  • A kid says to Jesus, “Hey! You can’t do that! It’s the Sabbath.” So Jesus smites him dead.
  • Another kid sees this, and says “Dude! WTF?!” So Jesus smites him dead too.
  • Another kid bumped into him. Smites him dead too.
  • The parents of the village go up to Mary and Joseph, and say, “You guys have to leave town. Or at least teach Jesus to bless rather than curse. We’re running out of kids here.”
  • And Joseph yanks Jesus’ ear. And Jesus says “You’d better watch out who you’re messing with.”
  • So they take Jesus to the rabbi, and the rabbi starts teaching Jesus. Hoping to turn him away from a life of smiting.
  • And Jesus says some gnostic stuff about celestial spheres and secret passcodes; “oh, and btw: Only Joking.” And brings the kids back to life.

What are the cultural differences between different countries’ versions of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette?

Why yes, I do watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Why do you ask?

… Yes I am male and straight. Where are you going with this?

Only the Australian versions though. I find the US originals boring. Hence me asking the question.

A few things that stand out for me with the Australian versions, to get this started. As I’ve found the US original boring, I don’t know for sure what doesn’t happen in the US version.

  • No Fantasy Suite. In many ways, we pride ourselves for not being prudes like Americans; but I can’t see a show like Love Island being made here either. Yes, we had the infamous Turkey Slap incident on Big Brother 2006 (Transcript of the turkey slap; it was on the webfeed, not live TV), but that was not shrugged off as amusing by the viewership, and it occasioned prime ministerial condemnation, as well as the expulsion of the guys involved. At any rate, the option of a Fantasy Suite was offered the first Bachelor, he said no, and no Fantasy Suite has shown up since.
  • A lot of intertextuality. Nina from Bachelor 3 squeeing, when she realised she’d be topping the record for longest kiss on TV, made in Bachelor US. The men in Bachelorette 2 mocking each other as “international models”, referencing a villain in AU Bachelorette 1.
  • A lot of camaraderie between the suitors. Quite blatant ongoing backslapping in The Bachelorette. The contestants on the Bachelor are shown as more on edge and jealous, which has occasioned criticism as stereotyping. Yet it’s been clear from interviews (including an undercover journalist in Bachelor 1) that most female contestants have bonded with each other a lot more than with the only occasionally present Bachelor. And that was even before Megan and Tiffany became a couple after Bachelor 4.
  • The Bachelors have been ciphers. The Bachelorettes have been permitted to have personalities. This was particularly obvious with Bachelor 4, who was a contestant in Bachelorette 1: his personality was surgically excised between the two shows.
  • Less cheese and more silliness on group dates. Sumo-suit athletics are over-represented.
  • Still lots of talk of journey and lifetime commitment, but less blatant talk of matrimony than on the US show.

(Australia) Hypothetically, Would having an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Prime Minister make any noticeable changes to Australia?

Adam Giles:

Adam Graham Giles (born 10 April 1973) is an Australian politician and former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (2013-2016) as well as the former leader of the Country Liberal Party (CLP) in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament. Giles was the first head of government in Australia to have Indigenous Australian ancestry.

Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory is a Royal Commission established in 2016 by the Australian Government pursuant to the Royal Commissions Act 1902 to inquire into and report upon failings in the child protection and youth detention systems of the Government of the Northern Territory. The establishment of the commission followed revelations broadcast on 25 July 2016 by the ABC TV Four Corners program which showed abuse of juveniles held in the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre in Darwin.

The executive of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory said that Turnbull undermined the royal commission by permitting Chief Minister Adam Giles, who had ultimate responsibility for the events at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, to have a say in drawing up the terms of reference. Peak Aboriginal organisations, including the Northern and Central Land Councils, AMSANT, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and legal groups, were also critical of Martin’s appointment. The federal Opposition said they were not consulted in the drawing up of the terms of reference, and called for the appointment of two Indigenous co-commissioners.

Ray Douglas’s and Peter Webb’s answer is right: even if the PM were Charles Perkins (Aboriginal activist) or Michael Mansell, it’s naive to think that one person can up-end an entire system. Parliamentary democracy doesn’t work like Roman imperial politics. (Come to think of it, neither did actual Roman imperial politics.)

The sainted Gough Whitlam did make a difference, just as the somewhat less sainted Lyndon B. Johnson did in the US. That took leadership, but it also took timing. Gough or Lyndon in 1920 wouldn’t have achieved as much.

Are all English periphrastic constructions (e.g. the present perfect) instances of grammaticalization?

Yes to what Clarissa Lohr said, and no to what Darius Vukasinovic said. (You still at Monash, Darius? I live in Oakleigh.)

An auxiliary verb is by definition a grammaticalisation, since it is no longer a content word. I have spoken does not have much to do with possession, I will speak does not have much to do with desire, and I shall speak does not have much to do with obligation, and I am speaking does not have much to do with existence or equivalence.

I said “have much to do”, not “is unrelated to”: the past meanings do colour the present grammatical meanings. But you can use I will speak in contexts when you don’t particularly want to speak at all. In fact, there’s a nice passage in the Memoirs of Sylvester Syropoulos, which illustrates the corresponding change in Greek quite well: the Emperor says to the Patriarch “you want to speak in favour of Church Union”, when it’s clear the Patriarch wants no such thing. That’s Greek “want to” grammaticalising into “will”, exactly as was happening at roughly the same time with English will.

Of the auxiliaries of English, to be is more contentious, because there was not a lot of content there in the verb to being with. But there is clearly a difference in syntactic scope between I am a walrus, I am red, and I am speaking. That too is consistent with grammaticalisation.