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1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +7 points

Ouch. People are awful sometimes.

Another Mairead's Poetry Corner:

Today in an interview, his father said he had been disturbed
recently by the sight of two men kissing.
What a strange power to be cursed with:
for the proof of men's desire to move men to violence.
What's a single kiss?
Love can't block a bullet
but neither can it be shot down,
and love is, for the most part, what makes us—
in Orlando and in Brooklyn and in Kabul.
We will be everywhere, always;
there's nowhere else for us, or you, to go.
Anywhere you run in this world, love will be there to greet you.
Around any corner, there might be two men. Kissing.

- Jameson Fitzpatrick, from "A Poem for Pulse"

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +9 points

And also, I forgot to mention
"It's going to take so many quid for the pro quo" -- PRATCHETT!!

(Who knew that Latin phrases would remain so relevant, and indeed so overused, in our current unfortunate timeline.)

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 4 replies · +14 points

I had mixed feelings about this one, too. I enjoyed it with Mark and you all, more than I'd enjoyed my only previous read of it, but still, not one of my favorites.

It's all written with a much broader brush, compared to Pratchett in his prime. Whether that was the embuggerance making itself known, or Pratchett understandably feeling more hurried or less restrained, I couldn't say, but there's not much subtlety about it.

It was a real pleasure to spend time with Sybil, who's been a bit slighted in some of the earlier books. Good to see that she and Sam have developed such a loving partnership. A new Discworld physical setting is always fun, too.

Like everyone else, I wasn't impressed with Stratford and didn't much care what happened to him. I realize that he couldn't be prosecuted for Pleasant's murder, but didn't he boast that he'd also killed a bunch of "real people"? Couldn't they get him for one of those? Still, I suppose it serves as an illustration of the principle that those who live by a knife in the dark will sooner or later die by a knife in the dark. So much for him.

The goblins... no, we don't learn much about them as individuals. Even Stinky is more of an avatar of goblin endurance than an actual person. Perhaps that was the point: they're presented as physically repulsive and socially incomprehensible to most humans, so I guess they're supposed to be victims of the "we just don't like you" kind of mistreatment, taken to an extreme.

If you're going to involve the Summoning Dark, it ought to have more of a presence. It's not an entity that could be replaced by a set of night goggles and a Babel fish.

Yes, in real life in Roundworld, it takes a lot more than one genius entertainer before marginalized groups get to be treated as fully human. Even on the Disc, they're only talking about changing the law, and the law is just the beginning. Changing the people is the hard part. But this is Discworld, where things change more quickly and where intent and narrativium are as important as realistic probability anywhere else, so I'm willing to accept that any music that has the power to shake Vetinari's equilibrium really is that powerful. At least as a metaphor (me and the poets and the sub-editor of The Times).

Aren't we enlarged
by the scale of what we're able
to desire? Everything,
the choir insists,

might flame;
inside these wrappings
burns another, brighter life,
quickened, now,

by song: hear how
it cascades, in overlapping,
lapidary waves of praise? Still time.
Still time to change.

- Mark Doty

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +11 points

Pride and Extreme Prejudice. I can't even.

quite scandalous bonnets from the new Gordon Bonnets range
Although, as a mere American, I've never heard the phrase used myself, supposedly "Gordon Bennett" is a UK expression indicating surprise, puzzlement, incredulity, annoyance, etc.

It may also be worth noting that there is an American author of SF-themed thrillers by the name of Gordon Bonnet.

"All because of a song at twilight, Vimes."

Just a song at twilight, when the lights are low,
And the flickering shadows softly come and go,
Tho' the heart be weary, sad the day and long,
Still to us at twilight comes Love's old song,
Comes Love's old sweet song.

Victorian parlor song

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 9 replies · +20 points

Sybil changed the world in her own quiet way, by sitting at the table in their apartment and writing... the only comparable weapon in the entire history of persuasion was probably the ballista.

This is not a woman who needs to be mutated into a "crime-fighting vigilante," Discworld scriptwriters. She wouldn't limit herself like that.

"Are you awake, dear?" And then, because this is how these thing are done, raised his voice a little when he got no answer and repeated, "Are you awake, dear?"

Yeah, that's exactly how these things are done.
"I am now." (muffled grumble)

And, speaking of these little marital quirks,
Women's logic, Sam thought; everything is going to be all right because it ought to be all right.

It is true that, of the two of us, I am the one most likely to promote the "don't worry until you know you have something to worry about" point of view. (Especially, don't wake people up to worry about it if they happen to be sleeping instead of worrying.)

On the other hand, when it's a question of how long it's going to take, or how much it's going to cost, or whether you should expect other people to see things your way... frankly, in my experience it's the masculine point of view that tends to be over-optimistic.

But, whether it's nature or nurture or simply the psychology of the individuals, who can say?

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 1 reply · +7 points

Sam says that deadheading is on the list of things to do in the country whether you like to do it or not. I'm pretty sure that Sybil likes to do it.

I've always found it satisfying, myself. Snip, snip at the roses, yank, pinch on the rhododendrons, take that!! It's sanctioned destructiveness, and very soothing to the spirit.

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +15 points

Stinky is whatever he needs to be at the moment. And at the moment, we don't need another cop, we need a clacks technician.

"Goblin is useful, goblin is trustworthy. goblin is helpful? Goblin isn't dead!" And Stinky will be whatever he needs to be to keep demonstrating the first part of that statement so that that last part stays true.

"What are you, Stinky?" .asks Sam.

And Stinky answers, "Above all, hang on" as if "hang on" is his name and nature.

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 1 reply · +14 points

Rue de Wakening -- and we all scream "PRATCHETT!!!"

In my interpretation, Jefferson is a Leveller. He'd completely approve of the Feegle slogan: "Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willnae be fooled again!" His gripe with Vimes is a gripe against His Grace The Duke owning everything in sight.

As such, I'm not convinced that he's all that interested in goblins as goblins. although he's sympathetic to them as yet another group that's subject to arbitrary abuses from the powerful. He knows there's something going on-- I don't know/can't remember if he knows exactly what-- that's advantaging the oligarchy at the expense of the goblins, a group that's already the lowest of the low.

He doesn't trust The Duke of Ankh-Morpork, but he wonders if, just possibly,Commander Vimes might object at least to the goblin-smuggling trade as smuggling. Thus his ambiguous hinting around, which, probably not at all to his surprise, was enough to get him sent "to see the Queen."

ETA: And I never thought about it before, but "Jethro Jefferson"?

As in Thomas Jefferson and "All men are created equal"? (No, he didn't live up to his own words, but at least he said them.)

And Jethro as in Jethro Tull? Either the father of modern agriculture, for good and bad, or the rock band named after him?
I don't believe you:
You had the whole damn thing all wrong....

How'd you dare tell me
That I'm my Father's son
When that was just an accident of birth

I'd rather look around me
Compose a better song
'Cause that's the honest measure of my worth

(from "Wind-Up")

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 1 reply · +9 points

"Captain Murderer" -- an odd name, certainly, and one wonders about the etymology. But then again, Roundworld English surnames include Blood, Death, and Slaughter, so there you are.

"Captain Perdix" -- perdix is Latin for Partridge. I have no idea what this is meant to imply (if anything).

"the Black-Eyed Susan, quite speedy, like her namesake" -- which namesake, we wonder.

A romantic poem
(‘Adieu!’ she cries; and waved her lily hand.)

A side branch -- some versions of the old Baron's favorite song, "The Lark in the Morning," feature an encounter with a black-eyed Susan, or a dark-eyed Susan.
(She's handsome, I declare, and far more enticing than the birds all in the air. )

A rather rougher-around-the-edges American iteration--
Some got drunk and some got boozy,
I went home with Black-Eyed Susie.
Hey, black-eyed Susie, hey, pretty little black-eyed Susie, hey
I asked her to be my wife,
She came at me with a barlow knife,
Hey, black-eyed Susie, hey, pretty little black-eyed Susie, hey

- traditional bluegrass banjo tune, multiple versions easily found

If we're speaking of literal speediness, the Black-Eyed Susan is a horse race, for fillies, part of the Preakness extravaganza. It's also the name of the official if not exactly traditional drink of the festival (yes, we know it'll never be as famous as the mint julep, but when some get drunk and some get woozy at the racetrack, it's more romantic than beer).

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Snuff': Pa... · 0 replies · +9 points

"You're going to pay, Mr. Stratford, from heaven, hell or high water!"

We're certainly having at least two of those. But in spite of idiomatic appropriateness, it appears that "come hell or high water" is a phrase of American Western origin, used by cowboys driving cattle hundreds of miles through flooded rivers and hellish deserts.

Speaking of water, "while it would be most poetic to say that the waters were on the face of the earth, in truth they were mostly on the face of Samuel Vimes."

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
- Genesis 7:10-12

Oh, yes, and,
"The bloody iron ore can sink for all I care."
With a load of iron ore, 26 thousand tons more
Than the Wonderful [boat] weighed empty,
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the damn slam of the summer came early.

.. or something like that.