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Journal Language Thoughts

Why extremists should be shot?! Or How Kryptonite is Superman’s Achilles Heel

Yes: it’s a joke . . . extremists . . . must be shot . . yes it’s irony . .or post irony  . . or non-irony (or does that mean ‘This garment is made of crimplene  and need only be steamed to retain its shape….)

Anyway, the extremists I’m talking about today are those who dismiss things out of hand without a single thought.  A while ago I wrote a post about a discussion between myself and an American friend concerning a promotional leaflet he was translating. I said ‘You mean that it’s full of superfluous superlatives?’: He said ‘It’s just bullshit’. To me, the latter is simply dismissive, whereas my description was referring to a specific element of structure (and pleasantly alliterative, I thought) I might also think it was ‘bullshit’ but this was not the point I was making. I was refering to the tendency of the beautifully florid Italian language which when translated literally into English invariably contains too many superfluous superlatives. Furthermore,  I do not use the word ‘bullshit’ as to me it falls into that totally dismissive element of language which I abhor. ‘Utter rubbish’ This sucks’ ‘It’s bullshit’ etc. which I’m afraid is endemic on the internet. (Maybe shooting might be a little harsh but certainly a ‘stiff talking to’ is called for . . . )

The reason that this sprang to mind again was that last night, whilst suffering from a viral infection and extreme self-pity, I watched three films based on Marvel Comics which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now I have intelligent and educated friends (that’s one group not two . . ) who dismiss this type of thing as rubbish, stupid stories etc. etc. My thought is this: what is the difference between these (apart from the technology) and  Greek and Roman legends? Or Shakespearian Theatre?

People again often dismiss all modern films as being simply ‘special effects’, not like the good old days. Surely if Cecil B Demille had those CGI techniques available he would have used them? It’s all just story telling with the available technology. Made for public consumption? Most of the Sherlock Holmes Stories were originally published in The Strand magazine, which was made up of a mix factual and fictional stories, very much for public consumption

The story themselves are more often than not moral tales, based on love & sex,  honour, devotion and revenge. Yes they are often gory: but stories have always contained gore: beheadings incest,  adventures involving bloody battles with merciless foreign soldiers or bizarre creatures etc etc.. the only difference is that there is less  left to the imagination as what was considered shocking before is now tame.  However the history of the media is full of these escalations in level. The ‘kissing in the waves’ scene in From here to Eternity was considered as noteworthy and risque at the time!

And then there’s major weakness of the hero, and that’s why Kryptonite is Superman’s Achilles heel!!

So guys, all I ask is this: try to think before dismissing anything out of hand whether it’s a film genre, a form of literature, a new way of looking at something or new recipe. . just think about it . . . . or else I’m sending Elektra around (and I don’t mean daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra)

And you KNOW what that means . . .

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Thoughts

UK English versus US English ?

Last evening, I was talking to an American friend who lives here in Italy and works as a translator. He was in the middle of translating some publicity material from Italian into English, which especially in a language as florid as Italian, is full of . . . . . . . well,

I described them as ‘superfluous superlatives’

He described them as ‘bull shit’

Now obviously, I prefer my own words (I choose them, after all): I think my choice of phrase,  is somewhat (considerably) more elegant and more accurate, rather than simply dismissive.

Some might think his is more direct, and that mine is equally guilty of being too florid!

So is it a matter of UK vs UK culture/language/mentality?

Or is it a matter of age difference? – he is several years younger then me.

Or is it simply a matter of personal taste?