Cut To The Credits

It’s finally finished, the Mid-Course exams that have plagued me like Russian tourists plague the children of the Nile are over. I apprehensively started Modern History, moved on to the dynamo of stress which was Advanced History and then relaxed dramatically for a one hour story about internally machinations in a socialist UK for Extension 1. The angst meter dipped up briefly for German, before finally coming through to French, which was passed with a sense of confidence and a relieved smile with thanks to a certain blogger.
Five days, five exams, and now before me, like the open sea, three weeks of free, stressless time. What shall I do with this time? That is a question that will need answering in the near future, and I’m inviting suggestions from all you guys out there, because I’m stumped.

But the post about that particular dilemma is several days in the future. For this is the part of the movie where we fade out, and cut slowly to the credits, several marching lines of black text, overlain with some ancient classic. Cue cultural cringe!

Une Petite Poste Francaise!

Bonjour mes copains! Tous mes petit révolutionnaires sur l’internet! Je parle en Français en ce moment, parce que j’ai un examen de Francais demain! J’ai un peu le trac, ma compétence ecrire est très moyenne. Je préfère parler le langue. Mon allemand (J’ai fait aujourd’hui), c’est pire.

Alors, j’espère ce petit exemple est suffit à me donner un peu confidence. Vous êtes invités à rectifier mes fautes. Il y en a beaucoup!

Désolé mon lecteurs anglophones. Il y a tous Google pour vous!

(Merci Katazcrack!)

Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

It’s that time again! In honour of the English exam I have just completed, using a Gil Scott Heron song as my related text, I’ve decided to put up that old subversive classic “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” as this weeks occasional music video.

It’s a masterpiece of 1970s spoken word proto-rap, that golden sunrise of hip hop, when politics and real issues dominated the content of songs rather than materialism, homophobia and sexism. It’s clever, witty, satirical and potent. Enjoy.

Procrastination

Like that mythical yet unknown teenager so long ago, procrastination will be the death of me. I’m addicted to it. I can’t stop. Invades my every waking moment. Every time I get home, every time I’m alone with nothing to do, I begin. I hold nothing sacred, I think about nothing else. I have a problem.

I Can't Be Bothered

The Mid-Course Exams for Year 12 are rearing their ugly head like neatly categorised toothed dolphins. You may not think that’s ugly, but imagine dolphins with teeth for a second, and like the British Empire in Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar series, I’m sure you’ll come around to my way of thinking. The Mid-Courses are here on Monday and I’ve got to study. I’ve got to write two practice exams at least, one for English and one for History, and added to that complete the backlog of German work that I’ve been neglecting via correspondence. To be fair I have excuses to rationalise my behaviour.

I don’t feel to well. I have a headache. My throat’s sore. What she said really hurt me and I need some time to recover. I feel fat! Leave me alone!

But really. Essays are harder to write than a blog post or a story. You need evidence. You need to read two texts, comb them for quotes and specific stylistic features and shiz, formulate them into structured and orderly paragraphs (Topic, Example, Explanation), then arrange those paragraphs in a way that misdirects the hapless marker into thinking you have some grasp of logic, and can think coherently. It’s nearly impossible. I prefer to go back to my work writing a post-apocalyptic surrealist stream of consciousness romp through the British Orient.

And as for the German homework. I’ve explained the unique mindbending features of the German language on another post. Besides, I have to log into some internet site and listen to RP accented folks speak to me for half an hour to complete the required task. That comes under my definition of cruel and unusual torture. Lol jokz. Love you guys xox.

So instead of making a productive use of a beautiful Saturday morning, here I am. On the computer, switching back and forth, birdlike between a ten year old strategy game and the twisted gaudy wonders of the internet. I am procrastinating. This infection, this disease infects my life like the spread of neoliberalism across the Western world after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t be bothered going for a run. Homework is left in a tattered pile within my schoolbag. And I’m feeling the effects.

Like a conscientious Russian housewife, my taught athletic frame is collecting flab in strategic places. I’m falling behind in certain subjects, and every day I put off my required tasks to listen to eighties music and sleep. I know of course where this will all lead. I’ll be unhealthy, stupid and hopeless, crying naked in my bedroom, listening to an Adele, album with a cardboard cask of wine in my hands, surrounded by stray cats.

But I know how to stop this! How to take control of my life! I just need to get stuck in! Je fais m’y mettre! I need to get up early and stop watching reruns of Torchwood! (I’ll have to get my daily dose of homoerotic violence somewhere else instead) I need to start an exercise routine! Run to Buladelah and back with twenty kilo weights on each arm! I need to dive into my schoolwork with joy and panache! That’s it! Routine! Order! I will become the master of my own existence via the divine force of free will!

In a minute.

Wat Kyk Jy?

Well! Get set for your next occasional music tidbit, with this existential gem from the lower socio-economic districts of Cape Town, South Africa.

The genre is called Zef. The music is a mix between rave and hip hop. The video is Rammstein/Lady Gaga style disturbing. The lyrics transition are raw, tongue and cheek and transition between South African English and Afrikaans. It’s different. Very different. Thanks to anake goodall for showing this to me. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

The English Language Is A Sandwich

The English language. I’m writing it. You’re reading it. Unless you’re a godless foreigner, plotting down the downfall of the Western world beneath a deep system of caves and an elaborate moustache, you probably use it as your primary tool to interpret the world around you, but how often have you considered it’s character?

Like old cats, galapagos tortoises and boats, languages have a distinct character, a uniqueness that sets them apart from all the other unique languages. Yiddish for instance, was formed in the shtetls, the segregated urbanised communities of the Ashkenazi Jews, and therefore, while lacking many words to extensively describe nature, it’s packed full of words to describe social situations and phenomena to the minutests detail. It’s here we get words like “shmuck”, “chutzpah”, “klutz” and my perennial favourite “meshuggeneh”. Click here for there meanings and more Yiddish hijinks.

German is guttural and good for heavy metal. It also likes to add bits of words on to other words to make highly confusing lengthy composites. Scholars often suggest this as one of the key reasons for their success in the Second World War. A good example of this would be “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” or “Beef labelling supervision duty assignment law”. To German’s credit it’s is also filled with useful philosophical and psychological terms such as “angst”, “schadenfreude” and “zeitgeist”. Perhaps we can hypothesise that the mental stresses and rigours Germans must feel, due to their day to day dealings with unreasonable compound words such as Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, have forced their language, like a guttural, atavistic teenager, to become more inward looking and existential. Man. Here’s a vulgar showtune that sums it up quite well.

Russian is longwinded, forcing people to use abbreviations to get by, like “Komsomol”, or alternatively “Vsesoyuzny Leninsky Kommunistichesky Soyuz Molodyozhi” The Soviet era Communist Youth League. The Irish, convinced that then they can get by on half the language those damned Saxons use, get by with just thirteen letters, which they form into interesting (read frustrating) combinations. “Mbh” for example equals the letter ‘v’. The Chinese and Vietnamese have a tonal system, which can change an entire sentence’s meaning depending on what mood you’re in. The Slovaks have over a dozen suffixes. The Japanese have several parallel language systems that depend on the social status of the speaker and the spoken too. And taking the coup de grace, to excuse my French, The Yagan language of Tierra Del Fuego has the word “Mamihlapinatapei”, a beautiful expression meaning “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start”. And no. I won’t even attempt to pronounce it.

Then what is the character of the English language? Good question imaginary ballgirl. Well, perhaps the most distinctive feature of English is the fact that it steals stuff. Like pubic hair, every language has loanwords, but the history of English is important here. Perhaps the fact, and here I go again indecently massaging conjecture, that early England’s habit of getting invaded by foreigners every couple of years set it up for a special sort of versatility. A shamwow style absorption ability. The video below only adds to my point.

Afterwards of course it became the literary vehicle of the best form of Imperialism, and has now through Uncle Sam and his diabolical superweapon, the internet, transitioned to become the language of globalisation. Excellent theory aside, there is no doubting that England is the unsuccessful sex tourist of linguistics, picking up a disturbingly large variety of exotic and undeniably useful words and phrases. We stole shampoo and pyjamas off the Indians, chocolate and tortillas off the Mexicans, robots off the Czechs and cheques off the French, but by George the wine quaffing papists deserved it. Huzzah! For the versatility, and the ease in which English adopts new phrases has made it the perfect vehicle for evil contemporary Yankee corporate Imperialism. English wins free market style. Through pure competition… and the fact that it has the patronage of the world’s major military and economic superpower and a monopoly over the internet and commerce.

English is also highly logical. It’s a popular folk tale that English is one of the hardest languages to learn, and it’s got about as much truth behind it as Rapunzel, and a couple of the Brothers Grimm’s more dark and anti-Semitic classics. The kernel of truth lies in that due to a lack of an early regulating body, when print media was first birthed from Satan’s burning tubes, the spelling of our language is erratic and nonsensical. This of course is a blinding condemnation of capitalism. The French set up the Acadamie Francaise to purify their tongue, and the Germans were collectively devising a set of guidelines regarding correct orthography before they brought down the Roman Empire.

Germans Fight Romans Homoerotically

It Is Said The Battle of Teutoberg Forest Stemmed From The Roman Emperor's Public Disdain For The Runic Alphabet

Apart from that minor blip English is logical in grammar and structure. A key part in the simplicity of our grammatical system is the fact that we don’t have genders. Unlike many languages, including those diabolical French again, English doesn’t assign genders to every noun. We don’t inexplicably designate a table masculine and a newspaper feminine, we don’t have six gender dependant articles and we don’t modify our word endings with snazzy little suffixes to confuse the wits out of our enemies. Indeed, we may surmise that the English is the perfect language for feminism. Did not the first outbreaks of Feminism take root and grow in the Anglosphere? Did not Germaine Greer pen her seminal work, the Female Eunuch, in English? Did not women first gain the vote in New Zealand? Is it not too audacious to surmise that English’s egalitarian nature lead to these very social changes in the first place? That the way a society talks about and to a group, often affects the way we treat them?

So indeed, in timely dramatic and perfect synthesis, is not the English language’s character now simple? It is versatile, it is logical, simple, and virulent. Like a perfect disease, like the Borg it incorporates the unique and useful features of every foreign laguage it encounters and embeds them into itself while inexorably wearing down all opposition. It is the very embodiment of a succesful Empire. But within itself it is more or less egalitarian. It has little place for honorifics, and those it has are hardly grafted into the very substance of the language like Japanese. Like the perfect man it’s chin is covered in a fine coat of masculine stubble, and it refuses to genderise nouns. It is therefore the perfect handmaiden for feminism.

Therefore to personify English would to be describe it as a sandwich. And yes. Sandwiches are people too.