Posted by Dennis » 5 Comments »
This came through on one of the listservs:
This is some of the worst bad Latin we’ve seen.
“My infancy … because … my traveling money … I seek … O Romus! … ???”
Try something like this:
ACADEMIAE ROMANAE ADSVNT MEI PVER PECVNIAQVE
UPDATE: I’ve touched a nerve. Something calling itself “Psy” had this to say:
um…who the hell cares…it’s a comic…you know…HUMOR? Latin is called a dead language for a reason. Cause no one gives a ****.
You can guess what I’ve censored, and why I rejected the comment.
Psy, I like my humor to be humorous and literate when appropriate. Take a look at Monty Python’s Life of Brian for a good example of Latin humor.
But this careless mess could just as well have been done with a conquistador on horseback with this nonsense slogan stitched to his pack: “mi infancia porque gastos de viajes pedo Spain universidaded.” Oh, ho, ho! What merry fun we have!
Posted by Dennis » Add Comment »
Here’s a stunning example of praeteritio from what passes for an orator in the cable news age: it’s Bill O’Reilly on playing the tape of Jesse Jackson’s whispered comments re: Barack Obama’s testiculi:
We held back some of this conversation … we didn’t feel it had any relevance to the conversation this evening. We are not out to get Jesse Jackson. We are not out to embarrass him and we are not out to make him look bad. If we were, we would have used what we had, which is more damaging than what you have heard…
Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
My all-time favorite BMCR contributor, Steven J. Willett, has a new review of Stuart Lyons’s Horace’s Odes and the Mystery of Do-Re-Mi.
He touches on some of my favorite topics:
1) The fallacy of biographical reading.
The Roman Odes have long been a quarry from which critics try to extract hard traces of sincerity or insincerity, as if these were binary opposites, but the job of a court-poet is to reflect court agendas and not his own private opinions. … Sincerity is a poetic illusion created by the poet’s verbal and structural dexterity. We have no instrument to probe behind the illusion to mental states, even in the case of modern poets where we possess letters and contemporary documents.
2) The performance of Latin verse.
Whatever Horace’s own theatrical performance might have involved, there is nothing to suggest his contemporary readers sang such complex, intricate, allusive, ambiguous and rhetorically informed odes. The only way to comprehend their riches is by reading. Lyons shows himself far too confident in drawing “inescapable” conclusions from literary conventions that lack the slightest external corroboration.
[Lyons’s] decision to use traditional English versification has dressed Horace in such traditional garb that he vanishes into the mob of pallid imitations that stretch back to the sixteenth century. No matter how hard Lyons tries to make the odes sing, they sound like Thomas Gray on a bad day when he had nothing better to do than write his “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat.”