Friday, September 12, 2003
Do words have meaning?
This news item actually made me swear aloud when I read it:
Apparently, in moving the INS into the Department of Homeland Security, they're changing the Oath of Allegience for naturalized citizens:
*These can both be done as affirmations instead of oaths.
- Current (since 1929):
- I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, or whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or a citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
- Solemnly, freely, and without any mental reservation, I hereby renounce under oath all allegiance to any foreign state. My fidelity and allegiance from this day forward is to the United States of America. I pledge to support, honor, and be loyal to the United States, its Constitution and laws. Where and if lawfully required, I further commit myself to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service. This I do solemnly swear, so help me God.
Why the added qualifier? Is one only supposed to defend the Constitution when the government requires us to??? What about times when we feel the Constitution is threatened, but the government pats us on the head and tells us not to worry? Should we just ignore it then?
This disturbs me. Deeply.
I've been reading about the Protestant Reformation recently, and one of the big disputes was whether or not common citizens should be trusted to read and interpret the Bible themselves (the Protestant view) or if it's just too complex for most people, and folks should just trust the Church to act as their intermediaries (the Catholic view).
That's what this feels like to me.
Don't worry your pretty little head. Just trust the government. <pat><pat> They'll tell you when the Constitution is threatened.
Given all the anticonstitutional moves by this administration, I like the fact that citizens are supposed to remain vigilant in defense of the Constitution. Frankly, I'd rather our children pledged allegiance to the Constitution than to the flag, because I don't like symbols being elevated above the principles they stand for.
Looking further in the news, it appears this change is a done deal and the new oath will start being used next week. Damn. I suppose that means it's too late to contact Congress to block it.
The AP article also states that the new oath is similar to one recommended in 1997 by a Congressional commission. I just found the report to see whether that clause was in their proposal. It was, but there are some other subtle differences, which I find fascinating:
|Current (since 1929)||Commission recommendation (1997)||Adopted new oath (2003)|
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, or whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or a citizen;
Solemnly, freely, and
without any mental reservation,
I, [name] hereby renounce under oath
[or upon affirmation]
all former political allegiances.
Solemnly, freely, and without any mental reservation, I hereby renounce under oath all allegiance to any foreign state.
|that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law;
My sole political fidelity
and allegiance from this day forward
is to the United States of America.
My fidelity and allegiance from this day forward is to the United States of America.
I pledge to support and respect
its Constitution and laws.
I pledge to support, honor, and be loyal to the United States, its Constitution and laws.
Where and if lawfully required,
I further commit myself to defend them against all
enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military or
Where and if lawfully required, I further commit myself to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service.
and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
This I do solemnly swear [or affirm],
So help me God.
This I do solemnly swear, so help me God.|
I think the change from "former political allegiances" to "allegiance to any foreign state" makes sense and is more clear.
But my attention is drawn to the third sentence. Though it's hard to put it into words, I see an important but subtle difference between honor and respect. And I would prefer respect. Honor seems more worshipful and emotional than practical -- we honor our ancestors or veterans, but that doesn't necessarily translate into doing anything for them. Sure enough, in the OED, honor includes connotations of reverence, celebration, performing devotions to. Secondary definitions of respect signify consideration, paying attention, refraining from injury or interferance... You respect something physical but honor an idea.
But the Constitution isn't a static idol that Americans should be obsequious to! It's a living document that ought to be understood and needs care and attention in order to thrive. I want a pledge to defend the Constitution to demand a more active role from the citizenry. And not limited to when the government requires them to do so.
[Oh, and I suppose that loyalty clause was a post-9/11 addition, too.]
Is it just me, seeing significance in these subtle distinctions? Am I making too much out of a molehill? Am I reading too much into things? I'd really like comments from others on this.
Seen on Sideshow, attributed to Scratchings, which points to Gregg Easterbrook.
And supplemented by lots of thought and research of my own.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Truth is stranger than fiction
This latest installment comes from Giles Milton's Big Chief Elizabeth: the adventures and fate of the first English colonists in America:
Davy Ingrams was a common sailor who had left England in 1567 on a slave-trading mission under the command of Sir John Hawkins. The mission had ended in disaster after a battle with the Spanish and Hawkins had been forced to abandon half his men on the shores of Mexico. One of these castaways was Ingrams, a man of Herculean strength who was not prepared to wait the two or three years it would take for Hawkins to return for the men. Aware that English fishing vessels were regular visitors to Newfoundland -- and ignorant of the fact that it lay more than three thousand miles away -- he selected a band of his more adventurous colleagues and set off on what was to prove a very long march.
What happened on that marathon hike was anyone's guess. Ingrams claimed that after twelve months of extreme hardship, he and two other haggard survivors emerged from the wilderness in Nova Scotia. Half-starved and clothed in skins, they were approached by natives who told them "that they had seene shippes on that coast, and did draw upon the ground the shape and figure of shippes." The men dashed to the clifftop and saw a French ship lying at anchor. They secured a passage to Le Havre, crossed the English Channel in a fishing vessel, and paid a call on Hawkins before touting their story around Devon taverns. When Ingrams finally made it back to his home in Barking, Essex, his family nearly fainted in astonishment.
I've noticed a trend among accounts of Elizabethan England to portray Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, as a man of infallible ingenuity. To counter such perceptions, I will continue the narrative:
Sir [Gilbert] Humfrey [who was planning a voyage to the New World] realised that Ingram's story was, if true, of immense importance. Virtually nothing was known about the natives of North America, nor was there any information about the lay of the land, and he decided to grill the sailor for more information. His experience of interrogation -- learned in Ireland -- was limited to torture and mutilation, but he had the foresight to realise that such methods were not necessarily the best way to extract information from Ingrams. He turned for help to the queen's secretary of state, Sir Francis Walsingham, who was famed for his skill in extracting men's secrets. He was "one who knew excellently well how to win men's affections to him," wrote William Camden, "and make use of them for his own purpose." He was to find himself tested to the limits when confronted with this humble sailor from Barking.
Davy was "abowt the age of fortye yeares" when he was summoned to be interrogated, and more than a dozen years had passed since the events he was about to describe. Yet he claimed to remember every detail of his trip. Not wishing to disappoint his distinguished interrogators, he peppered his account with tales of fearsome cannibals and ghoulish monsters. He did so safe in the knowledge that his tale could not be cross-checked for accuracy, since both of his fellow travellers were dead: Richard Browne "was slaine about five yeeres past," and Richard Twide had died in 1579.
[omitting three paragraphs of exaggerated but plausible accounts of native Americans]
The more Ingrams embellished his story, the more he realised that Gilbert and Walsingham were spellbound. Hoping to be richly rewarded at the end of his interview, he told them... [omitting even more outlandish accounts, but you get the idea.]
For what it's worth, Giles Milton's books are excellent sources for bizarre but true tidbits from history, and I recommend them.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Well, this week's new Free Will Astrology horoscope have been posted. Here's mine:
You've heard of passive smoking, which occurs when the burning cigarette wastes of smokers snake into the lungs of innocent bystanders. Now scientists at the Beauty and Truth Lab have identified a phenomenon they call second-hand depression, wherein victims inadvertently absorb the misery and cynicism of people who are spewing out negative emotions. You Cancerians must be especially careful to protect yourself against that contamination in the coming week. You can't afford to be poisoned by the lazy blather of out-of-control naysayers. Why? Because you have an astrological mandate to nurture optimistic perceptions and articulate loving strategies that uplift everyone whose life you touch.
Interesting; I already see several high pressure areas in my life from which depressions might blow my way. I also really like Ian's horoscope for this week. In fact, for the last month or so, Rob Brezsny's Pisces suggestions have seemed very well-suited to Ian's current situation. A few excerpts:
- This week:
- You have done without it long enough, Pisces. This state of deprivation can't go on. Up till now there's been a certain value in you not having the stuff you've been aching for, but as of now its continued absence would begin to have a soul-shriveling effect. Therefore, on behalf of cosmic forces, I hereby authorize you to take all necessary steps, as long as they're ethical, to get the goodies. You may even resort to the desperate pleading that kids use on their parents to get a beloved treat at the grocery store, including: "I promise to be good," "I'll never ask for anything again," and "I NEED IT!!!!"
- 8/28 (2 weeks ago)
- Mars usually cruises through a sign in five to eight weeks, but it has been in Pisces since June 16 and will remain there until December 16 -- its longest stay since 1956. But that's not all: Mars is now closer to Earth than it has been in 60,000 years. During this unprecedented convergence of unusual events, I predict that your relationship with the red planet will be more intense and intimate than it ever has been. Here are some of the tasks you can expect cosmic assistance with: discovering secrets about how to ask forcefully for what you really want; making your strategies for success more foolproof and irresistible; and getting very clear about the life goals that are most important for you to pursue in the next ten years.
- Your thought for the week comes from French writer Alexander Dumas. "If you give the impression that you need something, you will get nothing," he said. "To make money you have to appear to be rich." The best way to get what you desire, in other words, is to be confident that you deserve it. Don't dwell on how needy you are; don't let yourself become a morass of aching deficiency. This doesn't mean you should water down the intensity of your longing. Indeed, passionate yearning is essential for bountiful satisfaction. But make sure your intense longing is propelled by a certainty that you will ultimately be fulfilled.
These may make more sense to those who know my husband well, or read his LiveJournal. For those who don't, I may elaborate in a future entry. And for all of you, if you can send Ian good mojo around 3:30 PM (EDT) this afternoon, I'd appreciate it. As Doctor Who told his companions, we'll explain later.
Getting back to my horoscope, for a minute... Unfortunately, I didn't do that well with last week's advice to "invent at least 20 new words." I tried, but the closest I came to describing Bush administration policies was disanthropic/dysanthropic (as a more actively harmful variant from misanthropic) but it didn't really hit the connotation I was looking for.
I can't help wondering whether Josh Marshall and Lambert (of Corrente) might be Cancers, because they both coined new terms in the last week: mumbo-jumbocrat [first seen on CalPundit] and the Wecovery (W as in the president's nickname, as in weak, as in "Whaddaya mean, we?")
BTW, it was a little more work than I anticipated, but I have now transferred all comments currently in LiveJournal onto my standard commenting system. Because Riba Rambles isn't considered my journal in LJ's system, I don't get email notification when somebody posts comments there -- I just have to keep looking back at the monthly view to see whether numbers have changed. So, for anybody reading this thru LJ, I'd prefer it if you didn't add new LJ comments to previous entries, so I don't accidentally miss any. You can still post comments to older entries using the YACCS commenting system, and I'm okay if you post comments to this and subsequent posts within LJ (although my recent host move should relieve a lot of the problems accessing osmond-riba.org).
For those outside the Boston area or who don't drive to work, the big news this morning is that a tanker full of liquid methane overturned on the ramp from Rte 93 to 128, a major commuter route and one of the busiest traffic interchanges in the area -- which also happens to be about a mile from my office.
Anyway, now that YACCS commenting is back up again (yaaay!), I'm going to transfer the comments from LiveJournal and Enetation into that system and disable Enetation. [As far as I can tell, only one of my posts garnered any enetation comments, making the (manual) process relatively easy.] YACCS may be flaky at times, but with its RSS feed, XML export, and the ability (for me, at least) to see and search all comments independent of the thread, I find it a superior option.
I've been posting boilerplates as needed, but just a reminder for people reading in LJ -- I recopy all LiveJournal comments into YACCS; if you don't want me doing so, just let me know. [Yes, it's an opt-out system.] LiveJournal syndication pages vanish after a week or two; I've lost LJ comments in the past because of this (including some graduation congratulations), so I've made it a personal policy to recopy LJ comments into a more permanent location.
I do regularly check my LJ feed for comments (and if folks know of other places syndicating my feed which might be garnering responses, please let me know) and because of the recent problems accessing my site, I've been less adamant about trying to keep all comments in one place. I do prefer people use my comments, as that's the best way to ensure I'll see it, but I'll be forgiving for now, until we get the site straightened out.
Meanwhile, I did notice this comment to my NaNoWriMo noodlings asking for more info on my fairy tale. For no good reason, I started to blurb it over the weekend.
|The Heir Awakens (working title)
| In a fairytale kingdom, Crown Prince Richard's 18th birthday is about to coincide with the anniversary of his dynasty's reign. It should be a gala celebration; the only thing he needs is a wife to provide him with an heir. Unfortunately, none of the eligible candidates measure up to his standards -- he's found them all wanting in some way. |
When he hears rumors that the Sleeping Beauty myth may not only be real, but something similar happened within this very kingdom, the temptation of legend is too great to forsake. A bride born to rule, who will share his love for the country and can cement his dynasty to those of the golden ages -- it sounds perfect!
If only the sleeping heir had been female.
The last thing Prince Henri remembers was going up to the tower for some privacy on his sixteenth birthday and falling asleep. Then he awoke to a kiss from a strange man who claims that he's prince of the kingdom. Several hundred years have passed, everything he knew and everyone he loved is long-dead and forgotten.
Two princes: one lonely and lost, the other proud and resentful. They might be able to surmount their problems together -- if only they could stand one another.
[Note, for those interested in tracing my posting history on this fairy tale, it's covered in the following entries:
11/12/2002 6:00 PM,
11/12/2002 9:05 PM,
11/13/2002 2:10 PM,
11/17/2002 10:40 PM,
11/18/2002 8:40 AM,
11/19/2002 10:30 AM,
11/20/2002 10:45 AM,
12/29/2002 10:55 AM, and
9/8/2003 4:00 PM.]
I can visualize the physical description of both princes, some of their personalities, and have worked out broad strokes of the kingdom's history (The man who wakes a sleeping princess will probably win her hand and the kingdom, but what's the reward for waking a sleeping prince who's a ruler in his own right? If the curse affected the prince, but not the whole kingdom, it would plunge the nation into civil war, and the true story would be lost in the chaos.)
However, a story like this is primarily a romance. Character-driven with much of the conflict based out of their personalities. My mind keeps replaying Angela Lansbury, singing "barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly..." My biggest barrier is in finding ways they might plausibly bend without breaking them. And I just don't feel confident enough in my characterization abilities to pull off such subtle shifts in attitudes. [Like I said, I think slash fiction actually would be useful practice for this.]
At any rate, I just don't feel ready for this story yet. When I lost confidence in my writing, it was largely over my characterizations, and I like these characters too well to do poorly by them.
In the meantime, if you want to read any other fiction I've written, check out my Writing page
if you want to read any other fiction I've written. Most of it's from college and more than a decade old, but I do link to the first three chapters of the Harry Potter fanfic. [Mind you, I've tweaked my prose slightly when I tried to resume work on the story in late May.]
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Well, they're both called sisters...
Again, this doesn't quite qualify as "truth stranger than fiction," but seemed worth sharing.
From: Six wives: the queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey
Context: A political dispute arose over who would be appointed to run a particular convent:
Anne [Boleyn] showed a particular interest in the appointment of the next Abbess of Wilton in Wiltshire. The house was a rich one and many of the nuns were the unmarriageable daughters of important families. They had little by way of religious vocation and lived the lives of ladies of leisure -- gadding about the countryside, feuding with each other and occasionally conducting not very well concealed love affairs with local clergy.
Ohmigawd! It's, like, sorority nuns!
First of all, September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. Do you have a card at your local library? You can't get a better deal -- it's free, and gives you access to books, CDs, videos, DVDs, free internet access (well, you don't always need a card for that), and all kinds of goodies.
For Massachusetts residents, find out more about your local libraries (address, hours, URL) from this site. Library catalogs are frequently available online, making them just as easy to search as Amazon, and often even faster to get the materials. I often search the library catalogs from my desk, saving money by checking due dates on the web and renewing books myself, and saving time by checking whether the titles I want are available before heading over.
And even when something isn't available locally (whether checked out or not in stock), I can put a request on it with just a few clicks, and the library will set it aside and notify me. It's just so convenient...
Now is the perfect time to get a library card. Generally, all you need is proof of residence, and even if you've just moved here and haven't updated your IDs, a utility bill or other piece of mail addressed to you usually does the trick. Also, don't forget, every Massachusetts resident qualifies for a card at the Boston Public Library
[FWIW, I have five library cards at the moment: Metro Boston Library Network, Minuteman Library Network, North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE), Boston Athenaeum, and Simmons College. It may not measure up to the Great Library Card Collection, but I actually, actively use all these.]
ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number. It's a standardized international code which allows the identification of any serial publication.
Last month, somebody forwarded me a link explaining how weblogs can qualify for ISSNs.
It's not for everyone. There is paperwork to fill out, and one has to reapply whenever the title changes. So it may turn into a pain later on.
But it's just the kind of library geekery that appeals to me, so, I just faxed my application to the LoC this morning.
Speaking of metadata, is anybody reading this participating in FOAF Project? It's trying to generate machine-readable metadata to describe people.
http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/ has the specifications, and there are tools to network from one person to another (Thus, the name: Friend Of A Friend) Kinda cute. I keep meaning to add an "About the author" section to this weblog; maybe I should add foaftags as well.
At one point at the party on Saturday, conversation turned to cataloging personal libraries. Somebody mentioned Readerware, a program that takes barcode scans from books & CDs, looks up the cataloging info online, and records it into a database. Oh, I want! It even has instructions for using the free CueCat scanners (anybody remember that old debacle?), though I've been told that they don't work through CD cases, and people intending to catalog a lot of CDs should shell out the money for a better scanner.
Finally, several people have forwarded me announcements of the librarian action figure. Thanks for the notice; I am amused, and think I want, though I don't know whether I'd buy one for myself. [Poking about the site, I'm also tempted by their Shakespeare action figure]
Coming up (like a flower)
Getting there. Though I've had to make several tweaks to the site, it's accessible again. Just before 1 AM, LiveJournal managed to read my site feed, which is a good sign.
Delayed emails are pouring in at a flood-pace, though most of it's spam.
And YACCS commenting should be back up tonight, so hopefully things will be getting back to normal soon.
Monday, September 08, 2003
Moving my site hosting to Earthlink temporarily. Hopefully within a day or so, the nameserver info will propogate and people will be able to see my site again. Of course, we'll have a repeat of this when we move back off Earthlink hosting, but for now we should be back on track again.
On Saturday, a close friend has started talking about NaNoWriMo in November, and once again, it makes me want to participate despite everything else that's on my plate. While looking for ways to support her, I found an old Lawrence Block book of mine, Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print, and started flipping through it. I came upon this passage, which just spoke to me:
I've observed that most of the people who start first novels never finish them, and I've come to believe that actually seeing a book through to the finish line is the most important thing you can do in your first essay at the novel.
And that's precisely what NaNoWriMo is supposed to help people do, by providing support (in terms of lots of other people going through the same thing). And, as Block points out, even if a first novel is unsalable, that doesn't mean the experience is wasted.
I tried noodling around with the idea Saturday night. I still feel frustrated that I know so much about Marlowe (and want to write about him) but don't have an original story idea where he would fit. And then, Sunday morning, I rose to waking-dreams of the fairy tale idea I conceived last November, which I don't think I've even thought about this calendar year. I definitely don't feel ready to write that, though. [Oddly enough, writing slash fiction would actually be a good first step towards writing that romance, as it involves two rigid people gradually bending to support one another.]
But obviously, something within me is excited by NaNoWriMo.
And, to be honest, I know what novel-length story I want to work on during that time, but it violates the NaNoWriMo rules:
Can I use NaNoWriMo to complete a novel I've already started?
No. No works in progress allowed. You have too much invested in them. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate.
Does that mean I can't use an outline or notes?
Outlines and plot notes are very much encouraged, and can be started months ahead of the actual novel-writing adventure. Previously written prose, though, is punishable by death.
I want to use the month to complete the Harry Potter fanfic I started this spring. I've got 3.5 chapters and an outline/summary of the whole plot that runs over 20 pages. I know where it should go, I just have to get them there. I'd really like to finish the darned thing. Particularly since I actually had readers for those first three chapters who wanted more, and I hate to leave them disappointed. Excluding my previously written prose (which I wouldn't count towards their goals because it wouldn't be fair), I've still got over 50,000 words more to write about it.
Yes, I could write it outside NaNoWriMo, but I've tried that several times and it keeps fizzling out. I think I need the kind of structure and supports they're building into NaNoWriMo. So I don't think that the independent route will work for this story. And I'm not sure I can come up with and flesh out another feasible concept in the time left before this year's "competition." [And besides, a hastily-written Harry Potter fanfic by me will still be better than the average for the genre, given the median age of authors, a fact which may help me ignore my overcritical Internal Editor.]
So, I see two viable options:
- skip NaNoWriMo altogether for another year (I've got too much else on my plate anyway), or
- participate in NaNoWriMo but break the rules by starting with some pre-existing prose. I would only count victory if I write more than 50,000 new words.
Though I don't have a handy polling feature like LiveJournal, I'd love other people's comments on which option I should choose.
Yes, I know the site's been down.
Unfortunately, problems occurred when nobody technical was on-site.
We're working on it.
So, how's my weekend been?
Ian keeps plummetting into depression on a hair trigger. Among other times, it happened Friday evening. And, even though I know it's chemical, I still can't help looking for causes and trying to bring him out of it. [There must be resources for friends and relatives (codependents?) of depression sufferers. If anyone has info on such things, maybe a support group in the Boston area, I'd like to find out more.]
At any rate, Friday night after Ian's mood collapsed, I got a craving for something sweet, but wasn't sure what. So Ian and I went on a random drive and wound up at an Indian market in downtown Malden. They were just about to close as we got to the door, but (though we didn't want to be any trouble) reopened the door for us. I got a Khulfi-popsicle and Ian got some sweet pastry-pistachio balls that were so good his knees literally buckled when he took a bite. But they were too many and too rich for us, so we wandered over to Mystery house to share. We didn't want to intrude, so were willing to just drop by, drop off some sweets and head home. Instead, we wound up hanging out and chatting for a bit. And, I think that did help Ian's mood (though it's not always easy to tell, because he fakes it well).
For Saturday morning, we had been thinking of seeing a matinee of Spy Kids 3D, but stayed out late enough Friday that we decided to skip it.
Saturday afternoon some friends of ours threw a big house party. Ian couldn't attend because he was scheduled to work and was rather depressed about that. But I went and actually managed to come out of my shell and be social and had a fun time. I fetched food and people to visit Ian at work a couple times, which I think helped him somewhat. I also tried to lure our tenants out to the party, as they (a) know some people there, and (b) would like many of the people whom they don't yet know, and (c) it might do them some good to get out and socialize with the crowd. But, they were busy and it didn't happen. Maybe next party...
First thing Sunday morning, Ian had a planning meeting for Sunday school (where he teaches), which also meant that even though the party was still going strong after his work shift, he still couldn't attend. In the afternoon, he and his father continued fixing up the house and then I sent him off to Games Night so he could socialize more. I mostly crashed after Saturday's hustle and bustle. What's that definition of an introvert? Somebody who feels drained of energy by social interaction? At any rate, I decided to stay home and take things low key.
There's more I was intending to write, but considering nobody's going to see this for a while yet while the sites are down, I'll make that part of a separate post.
Sunday, September 07, 2003
Yoo hoo! Yo ho ho?
Friday, September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Anybody in the Boston area interested in getting together that evening to go see Pirates of the Caribbean?
Let me know and maybe we can arrange some kind of group expedition.
[I also have a copy of Michael Nesmith's Elephant Parts on DVD, which has five short segments on "The Pirate Alphabet," if anyone would care to watch.]
Truth is stranger than fiction
Part two of an occasional series on historical people and events that are too bizarre to be anything but real.
From In the beginning: the story of the King James Bible and how it changed a nation, a language,and a culture by Alister McGrath, which includes a history of previous attempts to translate the Bible into English, and the controversy they engendered:
Perhaps the most bizarre scheme devised by the English Church to stifle the new translation is set out by Edward Hall in his chronicle entitled The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (1548). In this chronicle, Hall relates how [the Bishop of London, Cuthbert] Tunstall, in the course of a 1529 visit to Antwerp, met a merchant by the name of Augustine Packington. Tunstall mentioned how anxious he was to burn as many of Tyndale's New Testaments as possible, upon which Packington informed the bishop that he would -- for a price -- be able to get hold of as many copies as the bishop wanted. He was a personal friend of the merchants involved, and well placed to obtain large quantities of the work. Packington promptly informed Tyndale of the deal. Tyndale was delighted. He would profit from the deal, and be able to invest heavily in producing even more accurate editions of the work. As Hall concluded his story: "forward went the bargain: the bishop had the books, Packington had the thanks, and Tyndale had the money."
Ahh... Would that all such attempts to ban and censor a work turn out so well for the authors/publishers/resellers...
Incidentally, for fen of Gaiman and Pratchett's Good omens, I was disturbed to find that most of the misprinted bibles in Aziraphale's collection are, in fact, real. Quality control among early British printers really left a lot to be desired...