What happened next?

This blog does not get that much exposure. Oh well.

I’m going to tell you a story, those who do read this. At the end, whoever guesses correctly what happened next, gets a prize. And whoever comes up with the funniest incorrect guess as to what happened next, gets a prize. I’ll give it 24 hours. The prize will be either a sonnet in your praise, or a cartoon.

Carlos Matias La Borde, for reasons which will become obvious, you are not eligible to guess. Though there will probably be a cartoon of the incident anyway, featuring you.

And tomorrow, I’ll discuss what happened next, and what I think of it. Hint: whatever happened next had nothing to do with Carlos.

Once upon a time, there was a Quora user named ME, who was a gentle, irenic, supportive cuddle-bunny of a business analyst.

At the same time, there was another Quora user named Carlos. Carlos was a witty prankster of a poster, and his default bio said as much:

occasional shitposter and TW ’16

The term shitposter was new to me, but by analogy to shit-talker, its meaning was clear enough.

shitposter: Urban Dictionary

A person who regularly submits terrible or nonsensical posts to an internet forum.

Shitposting: Know Your Meme

“Shitposting” is an Internet slang term describing a range of user misbehaviors and rhetoric on forums and message boards that are intended to derail a conversation off-topic, including thread jacking, circlejerking and non-commercial spamming.

So, Carlos is admitting to writing disruptive posts to Quora on occasion. I’d noticed some good snark from Carlos, but admittedly nothing that quite merited that name.

Recently, I heard a recording of Carlos’ voice. As often happens, the poster’s voice was not what I expected it would be. Because he says he’s a prankster, swears a bit (as befits a pedagogue of programming), and is youngish, I assumed he’d have a high-pitched, Quentin Tarantino kind of voice. Instead, Carlos had a mellow, West Coast baritone.

I rushed to compliment Carlos:

… You don’t sound like a shitposter at all, Carlos! What Martin Silvertant [complimenting him] said. Even your “for fuck’s sake” was more subdued than I expected!

Carlos responded courteously:

That’s how I get away with doing it in real life so much.. I’m normally not flying off the handle at every turn, I just swear a lot, but do it in a normal fashion.

As to the shitposting, it’s not constantly, but I do it from time to time:

Carlos Matias La Borde’s answer to Is it considered rude not to update an answer with a “thank you” if it receives a lot of upvotes?

And yes, I trust you will agree that the said answer is a hilarious exemplar of the genre.

OK, men and women of Quora.

What happened next?

Would modern Greek speakers understand Longus, Daphnis, and Chloe in original Greek?

I’ve written a couple of answers where I’ve translated Classical Greek using only my knowledge of Modern Greek—although I was being overly permissive about understanding Classical grammar.

So. Daphnis & Chloe, 2.5.


Thereupon, he burst into loud laughter with a voice unlike that of a swallow or nightingale or swan. At the same time, he turned into an old man like me and said: `Philetas, it’s no trouble at all for me to kiss you, for I want to be kissed more than you want to be young again. Consider this: Is this gift good for you at your age. For old age won’t help you or keep you from chasing after me once you have had your single kiss. But I’m hard for the hawk to catch or the eagle or any faster bird, if there is one. I’m not a boy, even if I look like one, but I’m older than Cronus and all time itself. I knew you as a youthful shepherd pasturing a broad herd on that mountain over there, and I sat beside you as you were playing your pipe beside those oaks yonder when you loved Amaryllis, but you didn’t see me. Yet I stood right next to the girl. It’s a fact that I gave her to you, and now you have children, good shepherds and farmers.

Translating with only educated Modern Greek:

Here, laughing a very ??, they let off a laugh such that either a swallow nor a nightingale similar to me becoming an old man. “To me, O Philetas, it is no pain to kiss you. For I probably want to be kissed, or you would become a young man. But look if the gift is to you according to age. For old age will not benefit you towards not expelling me after one kiss. I am hard to hunt, and to a hawk and an eagle and if any other vulture sharper than them. These, I am a child and if I think a child, but even older than Cronus, and that whole year. And I ?? you distributing ?? in that mountain the broad bucolics and I was by you ?? towards those ??, because ?? of Amaryllis, but you did not ??? me though indeed next to the maiden ??. So I gave you her, and already there are children for you, good natured bucolics and farmers.

ἐνταῦθα πάνυ καπυρὸν γελάσας ἀφίησι φωνὴν οἵαν οὔτε χελιδὼν οὔτε ἀηδὼν οὔτε κύκνος ὅμοιος ἐμοὶ γέρων γενόμενος· «ἐμοὶ μέν, ὦ Φιλητᾶ, φιλῆσαί σε πόνος οὐδείς· βούλομαι γὰρ φιλεῖσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ σὺ γενέσθαι νέος. ὅρα δὲ εἴ σοι καθ᾽ ἡλικίαν τὸ δῶρον. οὐδὲν γάρ σε ὠφελήσει τὸ γῆρας πρὸς τὸ μὴ διώκειν ἐμὲ μετὰ τὸ ἓν φίλημα. δυσθήρατός εἰμι καὶ ἱέρακι καὶ ἀετῷ καὶ εἴ τις ἄλλος τούτων ὠκύτερος ὄρνις. οὔτοι παῖς ἐγὼ καὶ εἰ δοκῶ παῖς, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦ Κρόνου πρεσβύτερος καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ παντὸς χρόνου· καί σε οἶδα νέμοντα πρωθήβην ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ ὄρει τὸ πλατὺ βουκόλιον καὶ παρήμην σοι συρίττοντι πρὸς ταῖς φηγοῖς ἐκείναις, ἡνίκα ἤρας Ἀμαρυλλίδος, ἀλλά με οὐχ ἑώρας καίτοι πλησίον μάλα τῇ κόρῃ παρεστῶτα. σοὶ μὲν οὖν ἐκείνην ἔδωκα, καὶ ἤδη σοι παῖδες, ἀγαθοὶ βουκόλοι καὶ γεωργοί

Can they understand it? It’s not Thucydides, the vocabulary and syntax isn’t that bad. But as with other classical texts: they will miss a lot.

Why is it that the Oedipus myth resonates so much with a Westerner (Generic collective)?

Thank you for your A2A, Daniel.

Jessica Lee has given an excellent answer; Vote #1 Jessica Lee’s answer to Why is it that the Oedipus myth resonates so much with a Westerner (Generic collective)?

I’m answering more because Daniel isn’t convinced:

As for the myth, it appears that the Westerner is afraid of being caught up in some spooky path of subordination to some higher authority. This is sorta the opposite of the Chinese Dao concept whereby one can “see” one’s fate and future trajectory if one observes himself and his relationship to his circumstances through deep insight and meticulous attention. But there must be more I am not seeing here.

I’m grateful that Daniel is resuming the challenge. Let me expand on Jessica’s answer, and ask them to weigh in.

Greek tragedy works on the notion that the protagonist has a flaw (typically pride), which prevents him from seeing the Right Way. His punishment is merciless and disproportionate. The protagonist is not a hero: he is not praised for his flaw, and the romanticisation of the rebel which the West has embraced is a recent child of romanticism. The protagonist is not a monster either; the audience is moved to pity, because the flaw is something that audiences recognise in themselves.

So. The Greek tradition in the West works with Oedipus’ story as follows.

  • We accept the Way, but we also fear the Way, as merciless and unfair.
  • We are fascinated by the individual’s struggle against the Way. We see ourselves in it, even if we disapprove of the individual’s rebellion.
  • We value Oedipus’ flaw, because it is also one of our most cherished treasures as a species: our pride in our intellect.
  • The defeat of Oedipus reflects our fear that our intellect, which sets us apart from the animals, cannot save us from a cruel Universe.
  • The defeat of Oedipus is horrific, which reflects a visceral strain in Western story-telling (shared in unexpurgated fairy tales and mythologies); transgression of taboos is used to communicate moral lessons, and horror at the cruel universe.

So, you tell me Daniel. Which of these does not sound like the traditional Chinese way of viewing the universe?

What is your personal pretentious Latin motto?

You know, I don’t have one.

But I do have several Ancient Greek ones, and those tended to end up in Latin in the West.

Πάταξον μέν, ἄκουσον δέ will do. Verbera sed audi.

“Verbera sed audi.” CloudyQuotes.com

Themistocles, when Eurybiades, commander of the Spartan fleet, raised his staff to strike him. In Plutarch’s Life of Themistocles, Chapter XI.

“Hit, but listen!” Or, to emphasise the Greek contrastive particles more: “You can hit me if you want. But you WILL listen to me.”

Verbera sed audi. Yeah, that will do.

What is your favourite Zeibekiko song and why?

My fellow Greeks have made excellent choices. So I have to choose another one.

My choice fails Achilleas Vortselas’ criteria. They are the right criteria, they are what makes a zeibekiko such a joy to dance to. But I’m choosing a zeibekiko which isn’t as danceable, isn’t as heavy, isn’t as underworld, but is just as great, and is in its way, transcendent.

At Nick Nicholas’ answer to What are the top 5 best Greek Songs of all time?, I named one such zeibebiko: Mikis TheodorakisOne Evening.

This is the other one by Theodorakis. Drapetsona. 1960. Lyrics: Tasos Livaditis.

Drapetsona was, then and now, a working class suburb of Peiraeus. And the lyrics match.

stixoi.info: Δραπετσώνα. The original performance by Bithikotsis, with Hiotis’ virtuoso obbligato.

Built with blood. Sorrow with every stone.
Bitterness and sobs with every nail.
Yet when we’d get back from work each evening,
me and her, dreams and kisses.

The wind and rain would beat it down,
but it was a haven, an embrace, a solace.
Ah, our little house, too, had a soul.

Take our wedding crowns, take our geranium.
There’s no life for us in Drapetsona any more.
Hold my hand, and let’s go, my love.
We’ll live, though we’re poor.

A bed and a cradle in the corner.
Stars and birds through the holes in the roof.
Sweat and sighs with each door.
A sky in each window.

And when the evening came,
the lads would party in the narrow alley.
Ah, our little house, too, had a heart.

Take our wedding crowns, take our geranium.
There’s no life for us in Drapetsona any more.
Hold my hand, and let’s go, my love.
We’ll live, though we’re poor.

What are your reasons for upvoting an answer? Would you say you’re very strict or generous with how often you use it?

Is Kittie Eubank the only other person who will admit this?

I upvote answers because they are written by my friend on Quora and I know they’re an expert in their field, so even if I don’t personally have enough knowledge to know it’s a good answer, I trust my friend.

I’ll be even more craven:

If you’re my friend here, I’m generous with upvotes. I will upvote you by default, as acknowledgement that I’ve read your answer and liked it. I can withhold upvotes, if (a) the answer is way outside my areas of interest, and I don’t really want to see more, or (b) the answer is not up to the standards I expect.

If you’re not my friend, I’m moderate with upvotes. I will upvote if it is a good answer. I will admit that I will be likelier to upvote if I agree, but I won’t upvote if I agree and the answer is lazy, and I may upvote if I disagree but the answer is well-argued.

If I keep liking what you have to say, of course, I will end up moving you into the friend column.

Is a rotational presidency a good idea for a future re-united Cyprus?


I get the symbolism, and the symbolism is important. It would demonstrate that, whatever the demographics and the history, both communities are equal in the State.

It would work brilliantly if the presidency in Cyprus were a ceremonial head of state position, a symbolic Father/Mother of the Nation gig. The problem is that the presidency in the current Cypriot state is not ceremonial.

The 1960 constitution was pretty close to this power-sharing arrangement, by giving the Turkish Vice-President veto powers. Greek Cypriots complained that this was unworkable, and wanted it changed—which ultimately led to the 1963 intercommunal violence.

I don’t know the details; I don’t want to know the details, and I sure don’t want to get into a debate about them. But if the veto powers of the Vice-Presidency could trigger 1963, then turn-taking of presidential power could end up doing the same, lamentably.

You would want a lot more to be settled around checks and balances, a culture of political parties with bicommunal engagement, and a hell of a lot more Cypriotism (Cyprus First), for that system to be workable. (Or, just make the presidency ceremonial—but you’ve still got to fix the other issues anyway.)