Iain Boal on Sun, 10 Nov 2019 20:49:01 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Latin as revolutionary act?

Eheu Sean,

As you say, 'Obscurity, especially in latin, is not a guarantee of anything.’  A training in Latin used to be regarded as a portal to the full resources of the English language, which is in effect a post-1066 Anglo-Norman creole.  Historically this involved a training in “classics” (no accident that “classics” is cognate with “class”) and typically correlated with a privileged education.  

The Welsh critic and tribunus plebis Raymond Williams grappled head-on with the problem of English as a two-tiered diglossia. (He was looking in at English from the outside, approaching the language as a native Welsh speaker.) He saw clearly the problems produced by a language with class inscribed so deeply in the structure, and for that reason he suggested a regular column in the Tribune newspaper on 'difficult' words, especially those with polysyllabic Greek and Latin roots. The editors turned the proposal down, and so Williams published Keywords, never having had the chance to take on, in the pages of Tribune, what he thought was the disastrous policy of George Orwell, who had suggested that proletarians (or ‘nobodies’, in Morlock’s formula) stick to simple Anglo-Saxon monosyllables, more honest and less liable to fall into Stalinist obscurantism and gobbledegook. Williams considered this strategy a bogus and condescending populism that was all too easy a recommendation coming from the dissident Etonian and classical scholar Eric Blair. Ironically, learning Latin was, for Williams, a means to the precise antithesis of Morlock’s conceited proposal. 


On 10 Nov 2019, at 07:14, Sean Cubitt <s.cubitt@gold.ac.uk> wrote:

Eheu Morlock

sadly you picked the wrong language: the UK premiere B Johnson has made a habit of adding latin tags to his outrageous posh-boy persona behind which hides a refusal to publish a budget, the official financial predictions for Brexit, the results of an enquiry into alleged financial impropriety and the results of a major enquiry into Russian interference and donations to his party. Obscurity, especially in latin, is not a gurantee of anything

perhaps ancient Greek . . . 

Sean Cubitt
Goldsmiths, University of London
(U of Melbourne from Jan 2020)

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Subject: nettime-l Digest, Vol 146, Issue 17
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Today's Topics:

   1. Latin as revolutionary act? (Morlock Elloi)


Message: 1
Date: Sat, 09 Nov 2019 14:48:36 -0800
From: Morlock Elloi <morlockelloi@gmail.com>
To: nettime-l@mail.kein.org
Subject: <nettime> Latin as revolutionary act?
Message-ID: <5DC74244.8090108@gmail.com" class="">5DC74244.8090108@gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

What would be consequences of using Latin language among 
group/clique/cabal/underground/elite for discourse, publishing, idea 
exchange, tweets? (let's ignore for the moment how does one get the 
above set to learn Latin)

First of all, the noise goes down, as there is intellectual effort 
barrier involved. Feeble-minded, distracted, low IQ, vacuous, and other 
nobodies are out. It would be like early Internet (1990s) - only nice 
and interesting people, no rabble. Only more resilient, because the 
'price' of learning tongue will never go down, unlike computer equipment 
and access.

Second, the cross-pollution from deluge of mechanically augmented media 
firehoses goes way down. Language is the medium, and, of course, the 
medium is the message. It's much harder to influence those thinking in a 
foreign tongue.

Third, the isolated hermetic nature of such setup would allow thinking 
to mature, being spared from cretinous cheering and booing from the 
unwashed crowd. At the same time, it can use modern networking 
technology to attract interest globally.

Perdidi unum in mediis soccus lauandi, et iam sentire perfecta!


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