oursin: George Beresford photograph of the young Rebecca West in a large hat, overwritten 'Neither a doormat nor a prostitute' (Neither a doormat nor a prostitute)
([personal profile] oursin Sep. 26th, 2017 02:10 pm)

I was a bit irked - apart from my previously stated historical-accuracy nitpicks - by the representation of women in The Limehouse Golem - no positive ties between any of the women characters, apparently either bitches or victims (even if the denouement complicated that), and the idea that Gay Men Were Their (unsuccessful and even deluded) Saviours.

And then I read some interview with I think Peter Ackroyd himself about the original novel and the film (cannot remember whether it was in the paper or online somewhere), and the opinion was expressed that in 1880, only a man dressed as a woman could speak for women.

A dubious proposition, I contend, in that there is also a tradition of drag as a way of expressing misogyny.

But women in 1880 were not silenced: this was a mere 3 years before the campaigns against the Contagious Diseases Acts (and when people are talking about statues of women, when will we have one for Josephine Butler?) obtained the suspension of the Acts, which were repealed in 1886. The 'Shrieking Sisterhood' as they were described in the hostile press, were very much not silent and not inarticulate.

Nor was this entirely about middle-class women. I'm pretty sure that women music hall performers expressed certain dissatisfactions with the state of things as they were in gender relations. There were also the drag kings of the day sending up men, if only by gentle subversion.

I can see it makes for a powerful narrative to have a woman so silenced that she can only make a protest by violent physical means, but I don't think that can be turned into a master-narrative for the entirety of society at that era.

I have to decide whether to sign up for next year's German class. Realistically, I am going to sign up for next year's German class*, but no thanks to the information about it, which makes it sound astronomically boring. This is an adult evening class, by definition going to be taken by people who are not of school/student** age and considering their exciting future career in Germany***. So why on earth does the proposed programme involve quite so much job-related stuff??? There are many interesting things in German-speaking nations, it would be nice to talk about some of them instead of time management. Here is the thrilling prospect:

It is long, so I will cut it )

Meanwhile in other language news, a much worse crisis: when I accepted Firefox's invitation to speed it up by "refreshing" it (which has indeed worked), it didn't mention that this would include getting rid of Adblocker and my add-on for pretending to be in Norway so I can watch the skiing when it is not at a convenient time on Eurosport (or I need more skiing). This would be a minor annoyance were it not that the new version of Firefox is incompatible with said widget. Aargh! Apparently there is something similar I can do with Chrome so I will try that, but I do feel that "By the way, you will lose everything you customised to make it work for you" was something they could have mentioned.

*At least once I had done the Deutsche Welle test myself to check I'm at the required level, because I'm not sure I believe it really.

**Students get much cheaper classes through the university. I could do them too, except I can't because they are when I am at work.

***There were a couple of people last year who might potentially work in Germany or Austria one day, but they would be doing so in English.

Posted by Persolaise

Spend just a few minutes going through some of the world’s most-respected perfume sites, and you’re bound to see countless references to everything from vinyl to velvet. For instance, Neil Chapman, Jasmine Award winning writer of the Black Narcissus blog, believes that "many perfumes are redolent of textures and fabric: both grace the skin and the body, and they complement and amplify each
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
([personal profile] morbane posting in [community profile] yuletide Sep. 26th, 2017 10:46 pm)
This is an informal community for chat about Yuletide, which was started up by participants and has now (2017) been passed over to mods. Official announcements are given at [community profile] yuletide_admin and [livejournal.com profile] yuletide_admin (which has a feed at [syndicated profile] yuletide_admin_feed).

This is intended to be a Dreamwidth equivalent of [livejournal.com profile] yuletide.

Posted by The Candy Perfume Boy

The TOM FORD fragrance collection is massive and it touches every aspect of olfaction, boasting colognes-a-plenty, a feast of florals and more ouds than one can shake a stick at. Not to mention many other styles of fragrance! What makes … Continue reading

Posted by Ben Zimmer

With dozens of NFL players "taking a knee" during the national anthem as a form of silent protest, the very phrase "take a knee" has been invested with new significance. "Take a knee" or "take the knee" now expresses solidarity against racial injustice and defiance against Donald Trump's attacks on protesting players. As the phrase dominates the headlines, it's worth taking a look at its history in football and beyond. While The Dictionary of American Slang dates the expression back to the 1990s (as noted by John Kelly on his Mashed Radish blog), I've found examples in football going all the way back to 1960. And while "taking a knee" may have also become a military tradition, the phrase's origin is firmly rooted in football, with a number of interlocking uses.

"Take a knee," to describe getting down on one knee, seems to be influenced by other "take" idioms, such as "take a seat" and "take a break." But when did the knee-taking begin? Plumbing databases of digitized newspapers, I discovered the following 1960 example in an article about the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks held a Varsity-Alumni game, and during halftime, one of the Alumni players, Albert "King" Dixon Jr., paid tribute to Rex Enright, a longtime coach and athletic director who had died the month before.

With two minutes left before they had to go back out on the field, the Little King stood up and said: "Some of us talked about this before the game. We all played for him. We all loved him. Now he's gone. So let's all take a knee for a moment of silence for our Rex Enright."
The State (Columbia, S.C.), May 2, 1960, p. 3B

Knee-taking in this early example takes the form of kneeling in prayer, for a shared moment of silence in the locker room. But when "take a knee" began showing up again in the news databases in the 1970s, it tended to refer to the kind of kneeling one might do when taking a rest or gathering oneself.

Levon Berry, a 288-pound tackle for St. Pete, decided to take a knee and adjust the adhesive tape that's wrapped around his street shoes.
Tampa (Fla.) Times, Nov. 6, 1972, p. 7C

"We give the team three minutes to get a drink of water or just take a knee," said head coach Al Eure.
(Norfolk, Va.) New Journal and Guide, Sep. 1, 1973, p. 16

Bending at the waist is quarterback Jim Reese while line coach Don Smith takes a knee.
Abilene (Tex.) Reporter-News, Nov. 1, 1974, p. 3C

Wootton Coach Jack Loudenberg had to take a knee until his head stopped spinning after his Patriots' 6-0 overtime victory against host Gaithersburg yesterday in a Montgomery County A League game.
(Washington, D.C.) Evening Star, Oct. 1, 1978, p. F6

The 1974 example is from a caption to a photo showing Abilene Christian University's line coach down on one knee.

In the early 1980s, "take a knee" started to appear more frequently for situations in which an entire team would kneel, as for a group prayer, a pep talk from the coach, or a similar moment of solidarity.

After the game, which his team won 13-0 for its second straight state championship and its third since 1975, he asked both teams to "take a knee" and he led them and their fans on the field in prayer.
New York Times, Dec. 7, 1980, p. 26

The hysterical Eastern Kentucky locker room suddenly became so quiet you could hear a jersey drop as one by one each of the players took a knee and gazed up at coach Roy Kidd.
Lexington (Ky.) Herald, Oct. 24, 1982, p. D1

After practice, Robinson meets in the end zone of the defensive team's practice field, orders everyone to take a knee and talks to his team until he's said enough.
Washington Post, Sep. 8, 1983, p. E1

The underclassmen took a knee and bowed their heads as the departing seniors let their hearts bleed while summing up four years of life in the Ivy League crucible.
Washington Post, Nov. 18, 1983, p. D1

Pregame or post-game prayer consisted of taking a knee for a moment of silence.
Los Angeles Times, Sep. 22, 1985, p. 10

Also in the early '80s, "taking a knee" came to refer to various situations on the field where a player ends a play by intentionally kneeling, thus downing the ball. In this 1982 example, the situation in question involves a receiver taking a knee on a kickoff return.

Any chances the Illini had for a last-second reprieve were severely dampened when [Kirby] Wilson, apparently thinking he was in the end zone, downed the kickoff that followed [Ohio State placekicker Rich] Spangler's field goal at the Illinois 1.
"In that situation he should have let the ball go," said [Illinois coach Mike] White. "We had told whoever got the ball to take a knee (down it), but we said that anticipating a squib kick of some sort. If he had let it go, it would have been brought out to the 20. The clock doesn't start till you cross the plane (of the goal line) with the ball in your hand."
(Springfield, Ill.) State Journal-Register, Oct. 17, 1982, p. 40

Beginning in the '90s, "taking a knee" or "taking the knee" often referred to the "quarterback kneel," where the quarterback on the winning team runs out the clock by kneeling after the snap — either to protect a small lead or as a show of sportsmanship with a larger lead.

Allow Colts center Brian Baldinger to reduce Indianapolis' latest dose of disappointment — a 23-17 loss to the Patriots dropped the Colts to 1-13 — to its bitter basics.
"It comes down to one nut," he said, refusing to look for a bush to beat around. "We get a first down and we're taking the knee the rest of the game. We get a first down and it's over."
Indianapolis Star, Dec. 9, 1991, p. B1

Recent history has shown us [Washington Redskins coach Joe] Gibbs is in a no-win situation here. Having run up huge leads against the Lions and Broncos in games the last 15 months, Gibbs had the offense take a knee close to the goal line and was mildly criticized by Wayne Fontes and Dan Reeves, respectively. Supposedly, this was seen as an act of pity and demeaned them. So if you take a knee, you're demeaning the other team, but if you score, you're running it up?
–Michael Wilbon, Washington Post, Dec. 2, 1992, p. F6

The "taking the knee" variant started appearing more frequently as the '90s went on.

That's one reason why [Houston Oilers receiver Patrick] Robinson has refused to fair-catch any of the three punts he's fielded, returning them an average of 16.3 yards. Having averaged 31 yards on his two kickoff returns, he was forced to down a pair of kicks deep in the end zone against the Lions, pounding the ball in frustration after taking the knee.
"I hate fair-catching. I hate it," he said. "Anyone can catch a ball and kneel down. I want to do something with it."
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Aug. 20, 1993, p. E3

[Houston Oilers defensive back] Marcus Robertson's first of his career-high three interceptions came when he was 7 yards deep in the end zone. Instead of taking the knee, he ran it out and rumbled 69 yards before Tommy Vardell chased him down at the Browns' 38.
Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, Nov. 22, 1993, p. D9

And not everybody is going to go for the end zone in the final seconds of a game already won. But Calgary did, when it sent [Calgary Stampeders running back] Tony Stewart around end for a 5-yard touchdown on the last play of regulation, padding a 35-16 lead.
[Baltimore Stallions coach Don] Matthews declined to complain, but it did not go unnoticed by the players.
"I asked Jim Popp (the team's personnel director), 'Is this how this league is?'" said wide receiver Walter Wilson. "What happened to taking the knee?"
(Baltimore, Md.) Sun, July 18, 1994, p. 3C

At the end of the fizzled rout, with the ball inside the Miami Dolphins' 10-yard line, the Dallas Cowboys had one more chance to stick it to former coach Jimmy Johnson.
There was little debate on the Dallas sideline. Take the knee on the final three snaps, and leave Pro Player Stadium with a 29-10 victory.
USA Today, Oct. 28, 1996, p. 3C

Since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last year, the expression has taken on a very different set of associations, now appearing in hashtagged form as either #TakeAKnee or #TakeTheKnee. As John Kelly observes, "take a knee" has outnumbered "take the knee" in search frequency as measured by Google Trends. But as a generalized slogan for a movement expanding well beyond the gridiron, "take the knee" may find greater success.

([syndicated profile] languagelog_feed Sep. 26th, 2017 12:40 am)

Posted by Victor Mair

I. J. Khanewala writes:

While visiting the tomb of the first emperor, I saw a sign in Mandarin which read minzu jiliang and translated as "National backbone". It left me quite mystified.  Here's a photo of the sign:

Source ("Utterly lost in translation").  Any idea what it could mean?

Textual references to "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone" — that's what GT, Microsoft Translator, and Baidu Fanyi all have, and it's not far off; there's not much else you can do with it, though it would sound better if worded as "backbone of the nation") abound in modern China and calligraphic representations of the phrase are in evidence in many public spaces.  So it's not surprising that it would be in evidence at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

"Mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") is a variant of "中国的脊梁" ("the backbone / spine of China"), coined by the great author Lu Xun (1881-1936), whom we've mentioned many times on Language Log, in his article " Zhōngguó rén shīdiào zìxìnlì le ma 中国人失掉自信力了吗?" ("Have the Chinese People Lost Their Confidence?").  It was written during the period of the buildup to the Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 to September 9, 1945) to encourage people not to lose strength and hope in their struggle against the invaders.

The most famous calligraphic exemplar of "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") is that by Zhao Puchu (1907-2000) at the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, which is closely associated with the celebrated Buddhist pilgrim and translator, Xuanzang (fl. ca. 602-664).  Zhao evidently meant his rendition of "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") as a tribute to the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk.

Here's a photograph of the wall on which Zhao's calligraphy is displayed, with a portion of the enormous pagoda looming in the background:

Geremie Barmé comments on Zhao's calligraphy thus:

It's an oddly anachronistic work. The calligraphy is by the pro-Communist state Buddhist layman Zhao Puchu 赵朴初.  Zhao is celebrating the achievements of Xuanzang 玄奘. What mínzú 民族 ("nation") in the Tang, one may well ask?

Barmé is not the only commentator to question the appropriateness of Zhao dedicating the phrase that originated with Lu Xun during the period of the Second Sino-Japanese war to the Tang Buddhist monk, Xuanzang.  Numerous posts online reveal that many people know about the association between Lu Xun and this phrase, but they are confused about why this phrase appears next to the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.  Some commenters opine that it is weird and awkward to juxtapose this phrase with the Big Goose Pagoda because they don't sense any convincing connection between the place and the phrase.  Presumably, the phrase is also calligraphically displayed at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, which might similarly lead to the same kinds of questions as those raised about its appearance at the Big Goose Pagoda.  The difference, however, is that Zhao Puchu was one of the most famous calligraphers of the second half of the twentieth century, so that — no matter whether fitting the context or not — Zhao's calligraphy, which may be seen at countless places all over China, seems justified by the sheer eminence of the artist.

Here's the phrase on a wall in Shaoxing, Lu Xun's hometown in Zhejiang Province:

There's little doubt that it perfectly suits the place and the person.

[Thanks to Yixue Yang and Jinyi Cai]

([syndicated profile] maru_feed Sep. 25th, 2017 11:00 pm)

Posted by mugumogu

 


なんか物足りないのか、ご飯のあと、その場から動こうとしないまる。
After dinner, Maru did not leave the place.


まる:「まさかこれで終わりってことはないですよね?」
Maru:[Is all the dinner over? I don’t think so.]

えーと、そのまさかです。
(特に量を減らしたりはしていないので!)
Yes, The dinner is over. Your dinner was always the same quantity.

はなは、おもちゃの入っている棚の前で遊びの催促。
Hana demands play in front of the entering shelf of the toy.

はな:「食後の運動の時間!」
Hana:[It is time for exercise after a meal!]

食休みをしましょう!
Let’s do short rest after a meal!

semyaza: (Green mushrooms)
([personal profile] semyaza Sep. 25th, 2017 02:09 pm)
From Monty Don, The Ivington Diaries

Read more... )
el_staplador: Three-quarters crop of Victor from the opening credits sequence of Yuri!!! on Ice (victor)
([personal profile] el_staplador Sep. 25th, 2017 08:38 pm)
A very nice surprise this morning: a remix of my La Forza dell'Amore in which Victor and Yuuri and Yurio actually go to see the opera in question:

A Gala Performance (They're Playing Our Song Remix) (1577 words) by Gramarye
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katsuki Yuuri & Victor Nikiforov & Yuri Plisetsky, Katsuki Yuuri/Victor Nikiforov
Characters: Katsuki Yuuri, Victor Nikiforov, Yuri Plisetsky
Additional Tags: Operas, Post-Canon, Invisible fandom, Remix Revival
Summary:

It's pure coincidence that the Mariinsky's current opera season happens to include Enrico Bruni's La Forza dell'Amore, with its well-known aria Stammi Vicino. It's anything but coincidence that Viktor Nikiforov has bought out an entire box for its opening night performance.

scribblemyname: (x-men)
([personal profile] scribblemyname posting in [community profile] yuletide Sep. 25th, 2017 12:36 pm)



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The idea here is to organize a gift exchange designed for Marvel and its many branched runs, authors, related and unrelated fandoms. The idea is to include the X-Men side and the Avengers side and every other side that non-Marvel fans don't realize is Marvel. The idea is to include any timeline you want, any world you want, any character you want, so long as it's Marvel.

NOW OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS

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  • Nominations: Sunday, September 24 - Saturday, October 14

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  • Assignments Out: Monday, November 6

  • Works Due: Saturday, December 9

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  • Authors Revealed: Sunday, December 24

([syndicated profile] languagelog_feed Sep. 25th, 2017 03:03 pm)

Posted by Victor Mair

[This is a guest post by Krista Ryu]

I was reading the book, Language Change in East Asia, and one of the articles, "Dialects versus the Standard Language in Japan," talked about the standardization of Japanese and its consequence on the many "hougen” (方言) of Japan. I thought it was very interesting and related to what we talked about in class regarding the various Chinese languages (topolects).

While there was no real designated common language in Japan, the "variety based on the dialect of the upper-middle class inhabitants of Tokyo" was functioning as the de facto common language from approximately the 17th century (pg 7). Increased mobility of people with the lift of travel ban and abolition of shogunate domains, as well as the establishment of universal education in the late 1800s, allowed the spread of this common language across the country (pg 8). However, only after formal approval from the Japanese Ministry of Education in the early 1900s, an official standard form of Japanese, or "hyojungo” (標準語), was established.

What is interesting is how the creation of this "standard" form of language gives it a certain "halo," while it stigmatizes other local dialects. The author states:

Dialects were characterised as slovenly (kitanai, 汚い), bad , incorrect, and inferior. In extreme cases, sensitivity on the part of non-standard dialect speakers was manifested in severe linguistic insecurity, for which Shibata Takeshi coined the term hōgen konpurekkusu (dialect complex). People from the provinces who moved to Tokyo were mocked about the way they spoke, resulting in depression and even suicide. (pg 8)

This reminded me of how pyojuneo (표준어, 標準語) in Korean is also considered the "correct way" of speaking on many occasions, forcing speakers of other Korean dialects to change their way of speaking and be ashamed of having an accent. Many times, on TV shows like soap operas, characters that are supposed to be "crude" or "uncultured" will be using some sort of "bangeon" (방언, 方言).

However, the article also does say that recent trends show that people in Japan started seeing dialects as "warm," "authentic," and as part of a unique local culture that needs to be preserved. This is also the case in Korea in recent years. Young generations have started being more proud of using their local dialects. Such phenomena seem closely related to the one seen in China where popular culture using local language has gained favor among young people (e.g., rap music in nonstandard topolects).

 

oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)
([personal profile] oursin Sep. 25th, 2017 01:56 pm)

Dept of, did you do any research?

That Uber vs TfL thing, with TfL refusing to renew their license - okay, I do not use Uber (I am probably not their target market) and everything I hear about it makes me deeply suspicious - but when I read various articles claiming that London black cab drivers are the trad white working class, I wonder how often, if ever, any of these people have ridden in a black cab. Because in my limited and anecdotal experience, finding a Trad London Cabbie who will give you his Salty Cockney Opinions whether you want him to or not, is not the default at all.

This article about Some Artist's exhibition on what he calls 'pseudo-Georgian architecture' in the UK and dates to the 1970s.

Marvel at a London Waitrose – “the pearl of Holloway Road”, according to Bronstein’s caption – with a cupola-crowned tower floating above its entrance. That oddly proportioned line of columns, running above the shopfront windows, suggest the architect once glimpsed a photograph of Vicenza, but not for long enough.
I know that Waitrose and shop there regularly and I am old enough to remember when it was Jones Brothers, by that time part of the John Lewis Partnership, but dating from an era when suburban department stores were built as retail palaces - as far as I can see, dates back to the 1890s.

***

Dept of, is that really the solution? PETA co-founder says we should stop wearing wool. I cannot help feeling that if there is no longer any economic reason for rearing, even if 'sheep are so gentle, they’re so dear!' they are likely to vanish from the face of the earth except in zoos (to which I imagine PETA are also opposed). Might not doing something about introducing legislation for more humane shearing practices be a better use of their time and energies?

([syndicated profile] opera_ramblings_feed Sep. 25th, 2017 11:26 am)

Posted by operaramblings

trinity_collegechapelLast night’s concert by the UoT Fall Baroque Academy was more Sesto in a Sauna then Giulio Cesare in Egitto.  The music was all from Handel’s arguably greatest opera but the great man himself went unrepresented.  Various mezzos and sopranos plus a counter tenor got through pretty much all of Sesto’s arias, Cleo’s big three arias were all presented and there was a smattering of Cornelia, Tolomeo and one aria from Achilla,the only low voice on display.  The venue was Trinity College Chapel, notably not only for lack of air conditioning (on the hottest day of the year) but also for an acoustic that is kind to instrumental ensembles but tends to suck voices up into the high vaulted roof.  Some singers coped better than others.

All the singers were accompanied by a twelve piece band led by Jeanne Lamon who did really well throughout.  The singing was a bit mixed, as one would expect.  I’m not going to do a play by play but rather pick a few highlights.  I liked Anna Sharp as Cornelia in Priva son d’ogni conforto.  She has a rather rich mezzo that suited the character and the music well.  Korin Thomas-Smith gave us Achilla’s Tu sei il cor.  It’s an interesting voice.  It’s not a true bass but it goes quite low comfortably and there’s plenty of power and flexibility.  Kind of like a baby Chris Purves.  The pick of the Sestos was perhaps Georgia Burashko with L’angue offesso mai riposa.  One might argue that her fairly fruity tone would better suit Cornelia but I was impressed by the control she displayed in the runs.

The Cleos were an interesting bunch.  V’adoro pupille was split between Rachel Allen and Madelaine Worndl.  The former handled the trills in the A part nicely while the latter offered the first real ornamentation of the night in the repeat.  An unusual approach!  Lauren Estey offered up Piangero.  The start was a bit tentative with not quite the breath needed for the long, lingering lines.  The B part was much better, as was the repeat though there wasn’t much attempt to jazz it up.  Madison Angus finished up the solos with Da tempeste.  This is a different kind of test piece; the ultimate in showy coloratura. I really appreciated the fearlessness with which she threw herself into it.  It was accurate and exciting, lacking only the last degree of bravura that it gets from seasoned pros.  One to watch I think.

So, all in all a pretty decent show.  I’m not sure the Early Music side of UoT Music gets as much attention as the Opera Division so it’s good to get an opportunity to see them in action.

 

 


Posted by The Candy Perfume Boy

There are so many fragrance launches each year it’s difficult to write about them all. Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you to the point reviews fragrances that are quick and easy to digest. After all, sometimes all one … Continue reading
In the last four weeks, there have been six works added to the New Year's Resolutions collection. Enjoy!

See works in Chess - Rice/Ulvaeus/Andersson, The Bourne Supremacy (2004), #FindTheGirlsOnTheNegatives - Anonymous, Fate/Zero, Fate/stay night & Related Fandoms, Zootopia (2016), and Constantine (2005) )


Challenge information )


Fics written for the purpose of re-qualifying for Yuletide must be posted before signing up to Yuletide 2017 (ie, before October 9 and ideally before October 1). You have two weeks! They must also be over 1,000 words and written to a previous Yuletide prompt. The fandom in which they are written must still be small enough to qualify for Yuletide (in brief: there are fewer than 1,000 fics each (that are over 1,000 words, in English, and complete) when adding the total fics on AO3 and ff.net).


Recent posts of interest:
Praise Your Fandoms post on LJ | on DW
Misses Clause Challenge on LJ | on DW
Writing Meetups Post on DW

Posted by Jason Eisner

The most pervasive metaphor in English may be the use of "higher" to mean "better" (e.g., stronger or more moral), which has spawned endless figures of speech.  It's hard to avoid those metaphorical phrases, although that might be wise in situations in which "higher" also has a relevant physical meaning.  The New York Times on Saturday ran the following headline:

(1) As Trump Takes On Athletes, Watch Them Rise

Indeed, these athletes may be rising metaphorically as a political force.  But they're refusing to rise physically for the singing of the U.S. national anthem.  On the same day, the New York Times wrote (in this article, though it has now been edited away):

(2) Some people urged more players to kneel or sit during the anthem at football stadiums on Sunday as a way to reinforce their First Amendment rights. Others urged more white players to stand with black players who have knelt or sat during the anthem.

How confusing!  White players are urged to stand metaphorically with their black teammates … by physically kneeling or sitting with them, or by speaking out afterwards.

But how do we readers know that "stand with" in (2) is metaphorical?  Why couldn't the second sentence be about white players standing physically?

In fact, it's tempting to interpret (2) physically — "some people" encouraging kneeling while "others" are encouraging standing.  There are indeed Americans urging both actions.  But it's an implausible interpretation because of little clues like "more" and "with":

  • It happens that nearly all white players have continued to stand during the anthem.  So it would be strange to urge "more" of them to stand, rather than urging "the rest" to stand or asking "the few sitters" to "resume standing."
  • Physically standing "with" someone presumably means that you stand at the same time as them, or that you walk over and stand next to them.  Neither is likely here, since there seems to be no opportunity to carry out either move as a political gesture.  (At the relevant time, these black players presumably aren't planning to stand at all, and the white players are presumably already next to them.)

Thus, it's unlikely that the "others" are urging white players to physically stand by their kneeling or sitting teammates.   (If the white players did so, then they wouldn't be metaphorically "standing by" their teammates.  At best, they'd just be "standing by" as the controversy unfolded … a.k.a. sitting it out.)

One more, from Yahoo Sports (h/t Ben Zimmer):

(3) NFL shows it won't sink to president's level

The "sinking" is again metaphorical.  This time, the headline happens to be literally true as well: the president is presumably sitting as part of the TV audience, and the National Football League players are standing, not sinking physically to his level.  Yet again, no one who knows the context could think that the headline literally means "NFL shows it won't sit or kneel."  Why?

  • "Sink to the president's level" is too roundabout a way to say "sit or kneel."
  • "NFL shows it won't sit or kneel" isn't true: sitting and kneeling during the anthem are on the increase in the NFL.
  • "These NFLers show they won't sit or kneel" still wouldn't be plausible as a choice for this headline.  While the photo does show that they have decided not to go as far as kneeling, the newsworthy bit is that they are nonetheless protesting and their team's owner has joined them.

Getting computers to attend to all these factors, as we humans seem to, is why passing the Turing test will be hard.

Question for LL readers: What's a clever name for a metaphorical phrase whose literal interpretation is at odds with the facts?  (A "mixed metaphor" is a pair of metaphorical phrases whose literal interpretations are at odds with each other.)

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