Saturday, November 24, 2012

Political Correctness: a straw in the wind

I deal with primary age children who are excluded from mainstream school. They have a variety of problems and we do the best we can to straighten them out. Without humour, we'd go under.

Currently we have a student social worker who comes in weekly for the experience. I told her the old joke, "How many kids with ADHD does it take to change a lightbulb? Ans.: Hey, let's go out and ride our bikes!"

Her mouth gave a small upward twitch and she said, "That shouldn't be funny."

Humour is anarchic and often contains a germ of truth. So it is the first target of the cold forces of repression.

I have been warned.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A translation of Guillaume de Machaut's "Un Po Apres Le Temps d'Autonne"

A little after autumn time

When those who cultivate the vine

Pick their grapes and fill the tun

And with work that’s lightly done

Each man offers to his fellow

Pears and grapes and peaches mellow

When in the soil the corn-seeds grow

And the leaf falls from the bough

By Nature’s or the wind’s design

In thirteen hundred forty-nine

On the ninth day of November

I was closed up in my chamber.

Had the sky been bright and clear

I should have gone to take the air

But the mountains and the meadows

Were hid in fog and deepest shadows

So I was taken by the gloom

Thinking in my lonely room

How all men everywhere are governed

By cronies meeting in the tavern

How truth and justice in the land

Are dead, slain by the hand

Of greed, who over them holds reign

As if she were a sovereign queen

How the rulers rob the ruled

Sack, plunder and assault the world

Crushing them in their distress

Merciless and pitiless

Great mischief seems it to my mind

When vice and power are combined
(Translation by blog author, 03 November 2012. Copyright.)
Original text:
Un po apres le temps d’autonne
Que chascuns vandange et entonne
Qui a vingnes a vandangier
Et qu’on a a petit dangier
Pesches moust poires et roisins
dont on presente a ses voisins
Que li blez en la terre germe
Et que la fueille chiet dou cherme
Par nature ou dou vent qui vente
L’an mil trois cens nuef et quarante
Le novisme jour de novembre
M’en aloie par mi ma chambre
Et se li airs fust clers et purs
Je fusse ailleurs mais si obscurs
Estoit que montaignes et plains
Estoient de bruines pleins.
Si que la merencolioie
Tous seuls en ma chambre et pensoie
Comment par conseil de taverne
Li mondes par tout se gouverne
Comment justice et verite
Sont mortes par l’iniquite
D’avarice qui en maint regne
Com dame souvereinne regne
Com li signeur leur subgiez pillent
Roubent raembent et essillent
et mettent a destruction
Sans pitie ne compation
Si que grans meschies ce me samble
Est de vice et pooir ensamble.

From Le Jugement du roy de Navarre  by Guillaume de Machaut (d. 1377)


I like to browse other people's reading lists from time to time. Looking through Captain Ranty's today, I note:

  • Letter From Amerika's blog has been removed entirely, the last post being one entitled "Junk Science and Big Pharma Evil Ruining Kids Lives". As someon who teaches children that are routinely prescribed medication for ADHD, I'd have read that if it were still up. Why the vapourisation?
  • Lawful Rebellion's last post reproduced correspondence with a QC including the text of a petition to HM The Queen claiming that the UK's membership of the EU was illegally secured and that there have been numerous offences of treason committed in connection with that. Since then, zilch.

One could write a thriller about dissident bloggers being tracked down by State agents and "disappeared" - almost the perfect crime, since typically bloggers use pseudonyms and do not give geographic or other direct contact details. But would it be fiction?