Thursday, September 12, 2013

Beiträge zur Frühtocharischen Philologie (frisch erneuert)

A crack team of antiquarians  here at the fortress-like headquarters of the World of Doctor Justice have been wrestling with the hieroglyphics of the following philological oddity, apparently a vocal rendition of the Phaistos Disk, and has finally managed to decrypt a fragment:

The meaning is still uncertain, but here is a preliminary stab at phonological transcription:

            Voorhees Dutched UR boy-fekt bawdy 
            widdis MY-eend …

Lord, what a line.  Worse,  it's the refrain.  And a whom is it aimed?  No normal man daydreams about his "perfect body".  Gays, maybe.  (There exist straight male narcissists, like Donald "The Donald" Trump, but even he does not imagine he has a "perfect body", one supposes.)  Yet the "you" in the song is involved with this femme fatale Suzanne.  It doesn't compute.

Another thing that has always bothered me:  "She feeds you tea and oranges, that come all the way from China", which is meant to make us sigh.  Only, you can get perfectly good oranges from Florida or California.  What's the big deal?

Not to mention:

            And Jesus was a sailor …

Um … No.  Not actually.  Actually not.
His dad was a carpenter (by “his dad” I mean -- his earth-dad, the non-divine one of his male parents;  this non-traditional-family terminology is a bear), so probably Jesus tried his hand at that.  Simply taking a spin on a friend’s yacht on the sea of Galilee doesn’t qualify you as a sailor.   Jeez, y’oughta read your Gospel, if you’re going to go around singing about Jesus like that …

Why did anyone listen to that song?  Gawd, we were dumb ...


That said, though ... So long as your evaluative faculties are shut down (not difficult to do, with alcohol), that line about the "tea and oranges" is not bad.

Whatever you think of the song itself, Leonard Cohen's delivery is perfect for the material.  And it does sort of hang in the head ...

[Update 12 September 2013]   We are all familiar with the “Metal-boarding” torture technique, whereby political prisoners are forced to listen to Guns & Roses at earsplitting volume for days on end.   However, this technique does not work on teenagers, who rather like it.  (For similar reasons, waterboarding in ineffective against enemy penguins.)
Yet who would have guessed that sappy music can be even more excrutiating?

Songs by Julio Iglesias, Cat Stevens and George Harrison were used on prisoners in a "torture soundtrack" held by the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

One shudders to think what might have resulted, had Pinochet’s secret police managed to get their gloves on a recording of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” !


These blood-chilling developments have excited a certain amount of commentary in France as well:

Concerned readers weigh in:

torture également pour les milliers de voyageurs du RER qui doivent supporter toutes sortes de musiques sorties des casques d'autres voyageurs prêts à en découdre quand on leur demande de diminuer le volume.
C'est presque aussi grave que les gaz de Assad.
Dans les dictatures les plus extrêmes on passe du Céline DION sans monter le volume...
5 minutes de rap et j'avoue tout

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