Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Literalism and Liberalism

A website that (praiseworthily) reprints Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte from 1852, but with an odd added error:
Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the eighteenth century, storm more swiftly from success to success, their dramatic effects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling diamonds, ecstasy is the order of the day – but they are short-lived, soon they have reached their zenith, and a long Katzenjammer [cat’s winge] takes hold of society before it learns to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period soberly.

where Katzenjammer is of course actually slang for a hangover - which could be looked up, and I would have thought would have been where the alternative was the meaningless "cat's w(h)inge".

....until a situation is created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out:

Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
[Here is the rose, here dance!]

The phrase arises from the Latin form of Aesop's Fables (Gibbs 209; Perry 33: Chambry 51), as translated from Ancient Greek phrase (literally) "Here is Rhodes, jump here!". In the fable, a boastful athlete brags that he once achieved a stupendous long jump in competition on the island of Rhodes. A bystander challenges him to dispense with the reports of the witnesses and simply repeat his accomplishment on the spot: "Here is Rhodes, jump here!"

Mind you, the fable is exactly the kind of thing I object to with facilitated communication: I would not be entitled to demand that Kathy Freeman ran 500 metres in whatever time it was just to convince me that she could, and the word of the spectators at the Olympic stadium should in fact be taken into consideration. But that doesn't excuse 'rose'.

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