• Killing Ron Brown: A Clinton Crime Family Story

    Reading Time: 7 minutesYour life is in danger. At this moment, a Chinese nuclear warhead sits in a missile silo. Its guidance, if launched, instructs the warhead to detonate a mile or two above your home. And this was all made possible by extortion, murder, and illegal campaign contributions to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Remember Ron Brown? Brown was …

  • How to Destroy the US Navy

    Reading Time: 2 minutesYou don’t need bombs and torpedos to destroy the Navy. Political correctness and terrible senior management are the Navy’s greatest threats. And today the Navy dropped a bomb on itself, with the help of Barack Obama. Obama’s Secretary of the Navy eliminated the 241-year-old Navy enlisted rating system. Because Obama felt the ratings were too …

  • Make Jake Tapper Great Again

    Reading Time: 2 minutesI am making an honest man out of Jake Tapper. This twitter thread tells it all. @whennessy i never made an issue of Trump’s use of the word bomb. so the whole premise of this is nonsense. — Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 18, 2016 The controversy began when Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump for calling …

  • Translating Reality – From Marcus Aurelius to Hillary Clinton

    So something odd that struck me today while watching headlines fly by my newsfeed, is that trying to figure out what is going on in the world around us today, seems in many ways to have a lot in common with trying to find out what someone said in a different time, and in a different place, and in a different language, through the many translations that are available to us, of what they themselves had to say.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t need translations?

    I’m often frustrated with the fact that I’ve never learned to read Greek or Latin – I’ve taken a couple feeble stabs at it, but the usual excuses find there way into the moment, and… then the moment conveniently passes you by… and you need someone to translate that which interests you, for you, which means that I continue having to take my classical era ‘food’ in, second hand. In trying to counter that as best as possible, I enjoy reading different translations of the same work, sometimes, like today, at the same time, so that the differences that come through the different translators translations often seem striking, giving you a wider perspective on, and, hopefully, a fuller understanding of, what you’re reading.

    This morning I was reading the 2nd century Roman Emperor,Marcus Aurelius’s, ‘Meditations’, through one 19th Century translation by George Long, and another recent translation by someone I often enjoy disagreeing with on other topics, Jacob Needleman, and John P. Piazza. Anyway, the different flavors that come through the translations range from mild to startling, but an example of mostly the routine, ‘small’ differences, that you come across, is this one, from section 1.7, where Aurelius’s is reflecting on his thanks ‘to a Stoic philosopher whom Aurelius valued highly‘, where he says, through these two different translators,

    George Long translation:

    “… and with regard to persons who have offended me by words, or done me wrong, to be easily pacified and reconciled, as soon as they have shown a desire to be reconciled; and to read carefully, and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book; nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk overmuch; and I am indebted to him for my acquaintance with the discourses of Epictetus, which he gave me out of his own collection.”

    Needleman/Piazza translation:

    “…Also, to be eager for reconciliation and meditation with anyone who, having lost their temper and caused trouble, wishes to return. To read with precision and not be satisfied with the mere gist of things, nor to agree too quickly with clever debaters. Finally, to have encountered the discourses of Epictetus, which he provided for me from his own library….”

    The differences in the translations of this passage seem like fairly straight forward differences of choice, and one does seem to complement the other, but that is often not the case with those who we’ve trusted to translate the words and wisdom of past masters, so that we can benefit by them. There are some translators (and in fact many of the celebrated translators of the 19th century), as Allan Bloom notes in the forward to his excellent translation of Plato’s ‘Republic’ who often took it upon themselves to, in their translations, ‘correct’ the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, etc., by literally (!) putting those words into their mouths which they themselves felt sure should have been said by them, rather than simply translating those words that they actually wrote, and which they the translators were supposed to be translating, for our benefit.

    A further interesting note, Marcus Aurelius, a Roman, like most Romans of his time, did not use his native tongue, Latin, to write or converse on philosophic matters, because they found it to be too ‘clunky’ of a language. So they wrote, even privately to themselves (as Aurelius was doing – his meditations were more like a personal diary of his thoughts, than something meant for public publication), in Greek. So here’s lil’ ol’ me trying to learn from a Roman Emperor, who was writing in Greek, in the years between 167 – 180 a.d., which was then translated into English by a scholar in 19th century England, and by an American academic philosopher in 21st century America, which, for me, is fascinating. Fascinating to see the words that they agreed upon, fascinating to see the similar but not quite same terms they used in others, and how the choices of one, shed light upon the choices of the other, especially in regards to the (Long)

    “nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk overmuch”

    and (Needleman)

    “nor to agree too quickly with clever debaters”.

    Anyway, what brought this to mind in more stark relief than normal, was that while reading these translations side by side, I was also seeing and hearing the different accounts of Hillary’s leaving the 9/11 ceremony this morning, ranging from:

    , and it struck me how in hearing news reports from the likes of CNN, MSNBC & Fox and all the other options, our position as Americans attempting to find out what is happening in America, here and now, is very much akin to the difficulties, challenges, and fascinations to be found in reading different translations of a book that comes down to us from a long dead author in a different era, a different language and a different culture and land, where we have to rely upon how a translator not only picks and chooses to translate the words which the original author used, to match the translator’s own sensibilities, to which they often add, drop, convey, or go to pains to explain what the author ‘must have meant‘, rather than telling us what they actually said. So remember folks, that when reading or even (especially) watching the NEWS, do remember that we are engaging with our world through the translations of translators who are trying to tell us not only what was said and done, but through their interpretation of what was said and done (or should have been).

    Bottom line, in reading the News of the day, or in reading what was once new, ages past – whether in your own language or on being translated into ‘your’ language – you must try your very best to not only understand what has been said and done, but to then think it through yourself in order to truly understand what needs to be understood, by you, in your life, here and now – otherwise it might as well all be Greek to you.

  • No one else will tell how big this news is

    Mr. Smiley’s Counter Girl: Whoa! You are so busted. Carolyn Burnham: You know, this really doesn’t concern you. Lester Burnham: Well, actually, Janine is Senior Drive-thru Manager so you are on her turf. — American Beauty, 1999 As you watched Donald Trump destroy Hillary Clinton on NBC’s Commander in Chief forum, something big happened. And …

  • Celebrating Phyllis’s Remarkable Life

    If you’re glad Ronald Reagan was once President, you should thank Phyllis Schlafly. Unfortunately, Mrs. Schlafly passed away, so you can’t thank her personally. But you can celebrate her life and her swift entrance to heaven. This Saturday at 2:00pm, the ones she left behind will gather at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (New …

  • Phyllis Schlafly, RIP

    If you asked me to define Phyllis Schlafly, my answered would be: “She wanted to destroy the king makers.” Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative icon who roared to national prominence with her 1964 classic, A Choice, Not an Echo, passed away today, September 5, 2016. She was 92. Eagle Forum, the pro-family, pro-American organization Phyllis launched in …

  • Just Pretend for a Moment

    Nobody likes confrontation and conflict, am I right? But who doesn’t mind being lost in pretend for a little?  So let’s just pretend it’s September 20, one week before the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear at a joint press conference. (It’s not a debate. Hillary’s health won’t be up to a debate that soon.) …

  • Trump’s Misdirection Play

    Everybody loves misdirection. It makes magic shows and movies interesting. You think you know what happens next, then WHAM! the unexpected happens. Now you’re plugged in. Trump gave a head fake. Everybody bought it. (Including me.) Then his legs went the other way, and we stand here flailing at the air. Some people’s heads exploded …

  • How Liberalism Ruins Black Lives in America

    You probably remember that I love The Conservative Heart by Arthur C. Brooks. I learned so much reading that book, and learning feels great. I read a lot and I’m 52-years-old, and I’m amazed at how much I didn’t know. And it feels so good to learn, doesn’t it? Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Workshop …

  • Jamie Allman Featured Speaker at Tea Party for Trump August 28

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE St. Louis Area Tea Party for Trump August 28 at 4:00 at Surdyke Harley-Davidson in Festus St. Louis Tea Party Co-founders Reunite to Take White House St. Louis, MO, August 16, 2016:  Four St. Louis area Tea Party leaders who launched the local tea party movement announced a Tea Party for Trump …

  • An Election Unlike Any Other

    France’s population had changed considerably since 1614. The non-aristocratic members of the Third Estate now represented 98 percent of the people but could still be outvoted by the other two bodies. In the lead-up to the May 5 meeting, the Third Estate began to mobilize support for equal representation and the abolishment of the noble […]

  • John Brunner’s Charade, part I

    Why in the world would a political operative who once worked for John Brunner out himself and expose Brunner as either a liar or a patsy two weeks before an election? Reggie Lampert: Of course, you won’t be able to lie on your back for a while but then you can lie from any position, […]

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