Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Anwesend

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 03:29 am
lethargic_man: (linguistics geekery)
"What's the opposite of abwesend?" asks my teacher. To me, it's so obviously paralleling "absent" that the only thing I can think of is "adwesend".

(This is likely to leave anyone who doesn't know both Latin and German scratching their heads...)
lethargic_man: (Berlin)
On Dresdener Straße, there's bollards either side of Alfred-Döblin-Platz preventing motor traffic from passing, but permitting cyclists to go through. This is in front of St Michael's Church, where there's a kindergarten and a few children always playing outside on the very same stretch of tarmac when I pass that way a little before 6pm.

This is one of the strangest things to me about living in Berlin; in the UK there'd be parents up in arms about this, demanding railings separating the cyclists' route from where the children play (and probably cyclists demanding children shouldn't be let play on a public right-of-way), but here I've been going this way for a year and a quarter, and the two just seem to get on fine, the numerous cyclist commuters just slowing down a little and taking care to keep a wide berth between them and any child who might run in their way.

P.G. Wodehouse

Friday, June 2nd, 2017 04:25 am
lethargic_man: (reflect)
In the mid 1990s, someone commented on Usenet, citing what I believe was newly discovered evidence that P.G. Wodehouse had been payrolled by the Nazis during the time he was broadcasting for them. At the time I had never read any Wodehouse myself, and decided I wasn't going to.

That is actually still the case now, but my thoughts on the subject have been changed by a session of Rafi Zarum's I went to at Limmud a year and a half ago, in which he talked about Shlomo Carlebach as "an amazing man [who] did some terrible things. It was very difficult when he was alive, but once he had died, the music and the good could live on its own. His music and his tunes became global only at that point. His death was his salvation."

On reflection, this made sense. After all, I didn't have any problems going to see a performance of Doctor Faustus by the same man who wrote The Jew of Malta. Marlowe was dead; he wasn't going to get any royalties from me or even just bask in the glory of ticket acclaim. Admittedly, being dead four hundred years isn't the same as being dead twenty, but somewhere there's got to be a cut-off point, so why not follow Rafi Zarum's suggestion for it?

(Well, maybe it's different when it's not something historical for oneself; it remains to be seen how I'll feel about listening to Rolf Harris's music once he's dead, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

So anyhow, now I've decided to stop forbidding myself from reading what by all accounts is a considerable comic talent, the only question remaining is where I should start. (By comparison, consider the Discworld books: one could (as indeed I did) start with the first one, but I would rather recommend a newcomer to try the series out with the fourth (Mort), written once Pratchett had got into his stride.)

Suggestions from afficionados?

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Lethargic Man (anag.)

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