What’s the most recent song you’ve cried to?

My close followers will have noted a bunch of posts lately on Greek songs that move me. This is another one.

What have I done to you, to make you smoke. 1968. Lyrics: Lefteris Papadopoulos. Music: Mimis Plessas.

stixoi.info: Τι σου `κανα και πίνεις

The lyrics are nowhere near as indirect and allusive as some I’ve posted. It’s a torch song that first appeared in a movie, after all, not part of a concept album. And its language is visceral. Too visceral in fact for me to do justice to it in English. Not “smoke”, but “drink cigarettes” (idiomatic in Greek). Not “stare at the floor”, but “your eyes are nails on the floor”. Not “my heart breaks”, but “my insides spasm”.

And the music is a dignified, steady, impassioned lament.

I’m crying again.

What have I done to you, to make you smoke cigarette after cigarette,
and your bitter eyes be nailed to the floor?

Tell me, why won’t you let me, with two kisses,
take away the dark cloud from your murky eyes?

The pains that stab you are double pains for me,
the tears you cry are dripping into my heart.

If you only knew how my insides spasm for you,
standing so far from me and speaking not a word.

My wordless mouth, my extinguished moon,
I curse the hour and the fateful moment.

I’ll give up everything for you, everything: I’ll die,
just so no sigh will ever touch you again.

How many ‘ask to answer’ requests do you typically receive on Quora?

Five-odd a day?

Some are odd.

Nick Nicholas’ answer to Do you feel differently about A2A questions, compared to questions you find on your own?

Some of my most fun answers are from insane, WTF A2As; Jeremy Markeith Thompson and Habib Fanny have been especial culprits.

A lot of them are scattergun (he’s a linguist guy! he’s an Australian guy! he hates Quora Inc!), and they sit guiltily in the in-queue until I give up.

I had a queue of maybe 300 a few months ago, that I hadn’t even noticed were there (Quora UI for the win). I tried to cut down on the backlog for weeks. Quora UI Fail eventually saved me: the really old answers just disappeared from my queue one day. (They disappeared on different days on mobile and on desktop.) One of them occasionally burbles up, from the depths of time…

How did Richard Nixon’s parents react to him becoming President?

As others point out, they were dead by 1968. However Hannah Nixon lived until 1967, and Frank Nixon until 1956. So they saw him Vice-President, and she fretted over how he looked in the Kennedy–Nixon debates.

How they reacted to him making Vice-President would be evidence enough of how they would have reacted to him becoming President. They were proud, of course. The way Nixon recounts it in his Memoirs, both parents encouraged him on no matter what: Frank from his death bed encouraged him to fight back against Harold Stassen during the California primaries; and while Hannah convalesced from an operation, Richard told her not to give up, only to be told by her never to give up—she’d just read an article about him being in the political wilderness.

Richard Nixon was a maudlin kind of a guy, but I believe the anecdotes: I wouldn’t have thought either is implausible behaviour for parents proud of their son’s political success.

There’s a moment in Oliver Stone’s Nixon when Hannah is asked by a reporter how she feels, and she says something frosty about her main concern being that he does right by God. That’s intended as foreshadowing, but the film is meticulously researched, and I do remember it sounding familiar. I haven’t found a trace in the Memoirs or in Ambrose’s biography; but Nixon reproduces the note Hannah gave him in the family bible on his Vice-Presidential inauguration, which he kept in his wallet for the rest of his life. Without the frostiness, the note says the same thing as the movie Hannah:

“You have gone far and we are proud of you always—I know that you will keep your relationship with your Maker as it should be for after all that, as you must know, is the most important thing in life.”

Are Turks appropriating European culture?

Greek neighbour here. And hello to my neighbours!

“Cultural appropriation.”

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

I also happen to think that as a cultural critique, the notion of “cultural appropriation” is so vague, so clumsily wielded, so thoughtlessly conscripted in identity battles, that it deserves to be subverted by deplorables. Which is what this question sounds like.

Cultural appropriation is not cultural borrowing. Cultural appropriation is making bits and pieces of an oppressed culture your own, without acknowledging the origin and context of the bits and pieces, and without respecting the bearers of the source culture.

Believe me, Atatürk did not make everyone wear a hat instead of a fez, and wear a tux, as a gesture of disrespect to the Franks.

I’m Greek, and I have my own conflicts and questions about whether Turks are Europeans. I have the same questions about Greeks.

But, my “European” friend, that’s the price you pay for cultural hegemony. Your culture really is no longer your own. Every swarthy Other out there gets to partake of the culture you guys have been evangelising.

And you know what? That’s a good thing.