4.0360 Hypersatire (1/286)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Fri, 3 Aug 90 18:58:52 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0360. Friday, 3 Aug 1990.

Date: Wed, 1 Aug 90 18:56:41-020
From: onomata@bengus (nissan ephraim)
Subject: Hypersatire.

I would like to elaborate on Rafaeli's remarks on multiauthorship and
hypertext. What would multiauthorship imply from the viewpoint of
coordination? Would free access to authors be mediated as in an e-list?
What would be the effect on the creativity of the individual author?
Can we figure out a taxonomy of multiauthorship, such that, for example,
the case would be included of fiction authors A and B that alternatively
develop a shared plot?

In my approach to hypersatire I tried to involve, to a limited extent,
multiauthorship as follows:

1) Short quotations. But as they are short, they are easily
manipulated for my own purposes.
2) Bibliographical notes. There are two cases:
a) entries which -- I figure out beforehand -- in all
likelihood readers would not try to access and read,
i) it was only the title that interested me for
poetic reasons: this is the case, for example,
of two papers in experimental phonetics and
signal processing, by Anandapadmanabha and
Yegnanarayan; the first focuses on the recognition
of the sentence "Cats and dogs hate each other"
in a certain Indian language, as uttered by
several speakers; in the other paper,
published later, the utterance selected was just
"mum", but, by chance, "mum" ("moom") is also the
Hebrew word for "disablement". Thus, you get
the two titles to comment -- as though -- in the
background, on the effects of conflict. In the
background, you get "Les Invalides" in the most
literal sense: a drip of newly crippled people
is scanned, as the two kilometrically named authors
had their subjects of the experiment utter.
Another example is the contents of a paper collection
on eclogites (a kind of minerals), as a counterpoint
to a mention of eclogues (idyls).
ii) I mentioned that title only because it is exotic,
as a counterpoint to some very prosaic point in the
text, to be satirized.
b) Entries that the reader is advised to access, even though
by no means we could assume s/he would try to do.
Ideally, we would like to have the referenced text available
through the hypertext, but it does not happen in reality.
Thus, the bibliographic note is just a simulation of a missing
2) Long quotations. For example, from a sermon of Rabbi Shim`on Aghassi,
(Baghdad, 9 Adar 5673), in the version published by the
Fund for the Publication of the Writings of the Rabbis
of Babylonia [=Baghdad] (Jerusalem 5724=1964). It addresses
issues such as cultural colonialism and keep-up-with-the-Joneses-ism.
On the latter, he wrote some short satirical pearls.
However, the longest quotation is my translation, from Italian,
of the Song of the Wild [Giant] Cock, that Giacomo Leopardi wrote
in 1824 (if I recall properly), in the framework of his "Operette
Morali". I mentioned the context where I inserted this, in my
first posting on hypersatire (4.0295); it stems from considerations
on some proposals to reduce representativeness in our electoral
system (a certain demographic sector has urban concentrations that
could be almost wiped, in electoral terms, by reform, even without
gerrymandering of the kind we had at the last trade-union elections,
when kibbutzim of employers were united in the same circumscription
as the towns of their employees), and goes on with social unrest,
the broken egg of a giant bird, and so on. Then, we got to Leopardi.
The "Song" claimed to be a free translation from a certain (mixed)
stratum of Hebrew and `Chaldaic', but actually Leopardi developed
original considerations on young and old age of the individual and
the universe, in his typically pessimistic mood. I tried to
reproduce the marble surface of his prose, in contemporary literary
Hebrew with a flavor of the strata he feigned he was translating.
He had added a disclaimer to the ideas expressed in the "Song",
by claiming they suited a poetic mood, whereas "rationally",
he believed something different. Then, I added a disclaimer
(of my own) of both his poetic truth and his rational truth...
Perhaps this is the closest I went, to Rafaeli's ideal of

Now, a remark about Alan Corre''s wondering about the relevance of
postings directed to an in-group. My reply (4.0311) included the

> However, my specifical contribution was
> meant to address several topics combined in "Midde' Muddi'":
> 1) hypertext;
> 2) satire (as a genre, and as content);
> 3) wild neologizing (in literature, you find it,
> e.g., in Carlo Emilio Gadda,
> who wrote in an Italian-based
> linguistic pastiche);
> 4) Hebrew.

I happened to omit point five: Jud(a)eo-Arabic. If I don't err, Alan
and myself are the only ones to have applied computing to that domain
(albeit Alan did much more thoroughly, and much longer). So I figure
out we are the ultimate in-group... Should the low cardinality (=number
of elements) of an in-group (actually, a set, not an algebraic group)
condemn a discipline to being excluded from e-lists? I feel that
"Humanist" in general is the right forum for all areas within humanities.

However, Alan is correct when he points out that readers would have
little interest in a discussion whose technicalities thay don't
understand. This is why I made my postings long, by including
explanations. To let readers to appreciate the whole discussion, here
is a short glossary:

Re: Corre''s 4.0300:

> the Zamzumim of the Ammonites.
A people of Watussi-high (?) people from Transjordan, exterminated by
the Ammonites, who used to call them Zamzummim. Perhaps cremators
instead of inhumators, unless we find the remains of giants there.

> Arabic (...) sajara
> which means "to prolong her groans" (of a she-camel);
Both Arabic and Hebrew term a she-camel a "naqa", and by chance (?),
"naaqa" is Hebrew for groan.

> the segol is subphonemic.
The segol is the orthographic sign for the (grammatically) short "e"

> midrash
> is medrash. (In the London Portuguese Jewish community the members of
the congregational academy were called "medrasistas".)
"Midrash" usually denotes Jewish exegesis. But "`The House of' midrash"
is the house of learning, i.e., school, after the primary acceptation of
"midrash". Arabic for "school" is "madrasa". There is a regular
correspondence between Hebrew/Canaanite "sh", Aramaic "th", and Arabic
"s", but the "s" of "medrasistas", instead, is due to the fact
Judeo-Spanish (to which exiled Portuguese Jews adapted) often transforms
"sh" into "s", like Modern Spanish, whereas it sometimes keeps "sh"
(Moshiko: an hypocoristic form of "Moshe", Moses); Spanish used to have
"sh" (written as "x": cf. the old orthography of the Sicilian dialect of
Italian: Leonardo Sciascia's grandfather spelled "Xaxa", and Bettino
Craxi is pronounced "Kracksee" but, as a Sicilian last name, it used to
be "krashy"). However, the pronunciation of Spanish "x" evolved to that
of "j" from (Me'xico--> Me'jico, axolotl --> ajolote).

Re: Sheizaf Rafaeli's 4.0303:

> If only because it would give me pleasure to
> add my own neologisms and interpretations. I may retitle the
> work, by dropping a few letters: Midei Muddi --> Dai Dai.

Midde' Muddi' (the title of my book): "Whenever I Measure".
Dai Dai: "Enough! Enough!" in Hebrew. Italians, instead, would
understand quite the contrary: "dai", "da'" = "give!",
but as an exclamation, "Dai" is a standard incitation. (But,
if uttered with a weary voice, with a descending instead of
rising pitch, it means: "Stop it!" as means Romanesco [=Roman
Italian] "E dayye!", which is angry, but melodically
To understand Rafaeli's point (that presumably had nothing to do
with Italian), one has to consider Hebrew orthography, that can
be transliterated as follows:
MDY MDY = midde' muddi'
DY DY = Dai! Dai!

> I may add my own interpretation to "hatrifenu" - as derived from
> "taref".

"Taref" means non-kosher. The morphological formation pattern is the
same as of "kasher" (kosher). "Trefa" is a kosher animal that was
killed (and, possibly, partly devoured) by another animal, thus making
the meat non-kosher. By extension, "Trefa" is any non-kosher carcass,
or meat therefrom. The original acceptation is "devoured", from verb
"Taraf", "to devour" (as carnivora would do).

> I may even be tempted to rhyme my own lyrics to Volare...
> or look for some verse in "Alilot Mikki Mahu" that would sound
> good to that tune.

"Volare" (Flying) refers to Modugno song I had mentioned. "Alilot Mikki
Mahu" is a book (also) for children, by Shlonsky. The title means:
"The Adventures of Mickey `What is it?'", where the name of the
character emulates Mickey Mouse. It is playful, but with some
references for literati or politicos: for example, there is a goose
that, in a theater, protests: "Hebrew only!".

This is a reference to the play "Yente Telepente", that was that crucial,
it lent its name to a place in Tel Aviv (it was demolished). The play
itself was not a success at all. The cast boasted of the wife of a (by
then) well-known Yiddish actor, and she was explicitly referred to as
his wife... Anyway, they arrived to Palestine, in the 1920s, and were
expected to play in Yiddish. Only, the struggle between Hebrew and
Yiddish was raging, in the country. In 1920, the trade-union had been
established, and at its founding convention, the Yemenite workers'
delegation requested that Hebrew be adopted, so they could understand.
The extreme left, instead, would have preferred to stick to Yiddish,
that used to be the languages of the Jewish masses in Eastern Europe.
Albeit the convention adopted Hebrew, the communist delegation sent to
the podium a delegate it had expressly picked because he could speak
Yiddish but not Hebrew. (As Yemen was not believed to have been
enlightened by the Verb of Marx, the Yemenite workers were heathens to
be despised or/and civilized, according to that creed, as I see it.)
Anyway, the convention had not yet terminated the language struggle.
When the turn of the play came, the Hebraizers tried to prevent the cast
of "Yente Telepente" from playing, unless they hastily adopted Hebrew.
A lawyer of the Mops (Mifleget Po`alim Sotzyalistit, Socialist Workers'
Party, that is, the Leninists) told the Austrian consul that the Zionists
were persecuting German; the consul inquired, and, having learned better,
chose to do nothing about it. (Later on, a group of the Mopsies
emigrated from Palestine to the Soviet Union [as many Communists in the
world were doing], and tried to set up a commune in Crimea. Stalin did
away with them.) Ultimately, the cast gave in. They played in Hebrew,
like parrots, as they did not know the language. The Yiddishizers,
offended, did not attend. The Hebraizers did, but were not in a
benevolent mood. At one point, a young woman in the audience rose and
shouted (whence the goose in Mickey Mahoo):
"Hevreh, zeh schund!" and led the audience out.
Fellow's, it's filth!"
Her sentence was ^ ^ ^
uttered in a mix
of: slangish Yiddish(!!!)
Hebrew. Hebrew.

Such a disaster of a play was nevertheless hailed as the battle that
gave Hebrew victory in Palestine over Yiddish.

As Sheizaf Rafaeli concluded posting 4.0303 by using the term "Ducking",
I took the liberty of mentioning the goose from "Mickey Mahoo" that,
in real life (that is: the fanatic, not the goose), doomed "Yente
Telepente", and now, I am going on... McDucking. In "Midde' Muddi'",
a certain chapter includes a gallery of political portraits, but the
last one fades into a certain character from Disney: Disney's most
determined character is not McDuck, but Bridget, the businesswoman
that would rather send him under an oxygen tent, for the purposes of
courting. One note explains that actually, back in the Klondyke
(pseudo-etymologized as from "klon-", i.e., the "kalon" of, "kalon"
being a noun meaning "shame", from root "kln"; but the standard Hebrew
lexical root associated with shame is "bush", as in "bushah", that is
the standard Hebrew term for shame), the very creative Italian license-
holders of Disney had placed Doretta Do-Re-Mi (Dorritt, a saloon singer),
that later on, in the Sixties, manages to have McDuck (!!!) assume
responsibilities for her grand-daughter, a hippie. This gives us the
opportunity of redrawing McDuck's Klondyke with the scene of Chaplin
eating the sole of a shoe, while his bear-like companion is eating
the vamp of the same shoe. Only, the Hebrew term for a vamp (of
the shoe, not Dorritt from the saloon) is ['penet] /pent/,
which sends us pseudo-etymologizing again: a certain Pharaoness is
known to have sent for gold to the Land of Punt, thus there "must"
be a reminiscence there. Only, Velikovsky (a historian from Princeton
who broke all conventions -- especially the belief in the truth of the
accepted list of Egyptian dynasties as handed down -- to the extent
that an editor who accepted a book of his in a scientific series was
fired; findings since the 1950s disprove his conjectures on the
relation between languages and peoples, e.g., the Hittites, etc., ),
maintained that actually, the Queen of Sheba was not the Queen
of Sheba, but that particular Pharaoness, and Punt was Solomon's
kingdom, that is, my own country. After Dorritt's story, we are
led to Bridget's (Italian: Brigitta Papera), whose determination
and looking fade into a modern Israeli character that, according
to an ancient elegy, is known as "Shulamit the Terrible" (that little
known passage in the elegy meant Israel, as Shulamit in the Sing of
Songs is metaphorically taken to represent Israel). Israelis do not
need further hints to understand whom I am referring to. The other
portraits of the gallery are, instead, considerably more this-worldly,
and linguistic acrobacy is used along with quotations from the daily

Here is an explanation of the Arabic sentence I included in
my reply to Rafaeli's posting:

> 2) There is much room for experimenting with ambivalence.
> For example, there is a passage that a note abstracts in
> one Arabic sentence (actually, with not even one verb:
> hazl al-`uyun al-bundaqiyya wa-ddumu` al-`uyun al-`anjaSiyya),
> which substantially consists of a parallel between fruity
> metaphors of eyes. Together with the other notes and
> the upper-layer passage, you obtain a multifaceted exposition,
> which allows for other viewpoints.

hazl = smile (but by sound, it is a reminiscence of English "hazel").
al-`uyun = the eyes.
hazl al-`uyun = the smile of the eyes.
The adjective accompanying "eyes" is "<<bundaq>>-like", "like hazelnuts",
thus: "hazel eyes". However, the adjective is also the Arabic noun
that means "a carabine". Thus, the sense is both: "the smile of the
hazel eyes", and "the smile of the eyes of the carabine".
The simile goes on: "... and the tears of the eyes that are
<<`anjaS>>-like", where `anjaS is the Arabic name for plums (cf. English
"prune", for a dried plum, and French "prune", plum, vs. "prunelle",
i.e., the apple of the eye). Semitic languages allow further associations.

Ephraim Nissan