11 comments posted · 75 followers · following 0

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Announcing the next Ma... · 0 replies · +2 points

I'm really excited by the next choice of series! And fine with getting it in review form only.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Raising St... · 0 replies · +19 points

Purdah is a word in somewhat wider usage in British English. Most specifically it is often used to refer to the period between calling an election and the new government being formed in which rules say public servants must not make statements or decisions which might go against those of any potential new government, and sometimes for the same period's media rules. I had a sense of it meaning isolation and would have guessed the British gained it from India, but wouldn't have known the precise original meaning.

That doesn't make the (surely intentional) implications of its usage here any better. Just addresses the weirdness of its use in the setting a bit maybe?

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +6 points

Apologies in advance for self-promotion - I'm a long time reader and occasional commenter and wrote something I hope people here might be interested in.

I am doing a project where I play and write about every video game to have topped the UK sales charts and I just got to Discworld (1995): https://link.medium.com/zwloLCbp10

I wrote about narrativium in point'n'click adventures, why such a Discworld game was almost inevitable, and what it loses compared to the book it most draws from.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 1 reply · +12 points

There is a difference between making fun of cultures whose people have been treated with varying degrees of oppression in Britain and by the British, yes.

Even beyond that, though, the jokes around European culture all tend to involve a greater depth of knowledge and assumed knowledge on the part of the reader, and/or to be picking apart those stereotypes.

Calling a dish something vaguely Cantonese sounding, not based on any specific actual dish, and putting suck and dog in the name is just repeating the most surface-level racist stereotype. A pun on dim sum would probably still have not have been good but would be an improvement through at least bothering to apply some kind of knowledge.

There is some humour in there that works on a higher level - the incongruity of a local policeman in the very white-coded English country setting turning out to have a significant part of his life coded to a different culture, and similar in reverse when the food is paired with swede and chips. That humour would work so many times better if it was written with actual Chinese dishes.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 1 reply · +4 points

I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for posting it!

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 1 reply · +18 points

As well as there being equivalent versions of this for many players (no idea if any predate the above), in 1986 when the England World Cup squad featured two players with the same name, fans reportedly took to singing "There's only two Gary Stevens".

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 0 replies · +6 points

Nice! It put me in mind of na nznytnzngvba bs gur bevtvany (Whyrf Evzrg) zra'f sbbgonyy Jbeyq Phc gebcul naq gur arjre bar gung ercynprq vg (possible expectation spoilers for this book, which I haven't read before)

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Interestin... · 2 replies · +23 points

How does that fit with the sentence in Witches Abroad about Mrs. Pleasant being "the first black person Nanny had ever spoken to" and the associated tropes of that book? This one so far may be less explicit about cultural similarities tying up to racial ones, but that hasn't consistently been the case.

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Interestin... · 2 replies · +21 points

Yangcon, or at least yang cong, is on various dictionaries as onion, but in Mandarin rather than Japanese. -san is a Japanese honorific, so it's definitely mixing the languages. Can't find anything relevant for shibo.

8 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Interestin... · 0 replies · +13 points

I expect many people are already aware, but I think it's worth pointing out in the context of British imperialism and China that when this book was published in 1994, Hong Kong was still a British colony.

Also see the notes on the wikipedia page on British National (Overseas) status -- ahead of handover, people from Hong Kong were given literal second class British citizenship.