Monday 5 May 2008

hobgoblins, the occasional foul fiend

...and of course Godzilla, who is just a great bloke. For a radioactive lizard, obviously.

I felt as though I was really getting sophisticated when I learned that Godzilla is correctly pronounced Go-ji-ra.

Then again, when do you pronounce things the same way as the people who invented the word, and when do you pronounce it the English way? -tricky.

Working with multinational crews, I observed that British seafarers almost invariably pronounce forrin places in a Very English Way - "Saint Marlowe", "Lay Harve" - and are contemptuous of Forriners who pronounce English words less than perfectly - "Souss- 'ampton".

Only quietly contemptuous, though. They're not uncivilised. Not completely.

I had a bit of the same treatment from a Frenchman, who sneered at my attempt to pronounce "Le Havre" correctly. But then he was a drummer. And I am still struggling with "pneus".

Before I leave this topic, which I should perhaps never have started in the first place, I offer the observation that the BBC are generally rubbish at pronouncing Welsh words.

Here's a useful tip. Useful-ish, anyway. If in doubt, the ll- sound you get at the beginning of Welsh place names (Llandaff, Llantilio Crossenny, Llanfihangel Crucorney, and so on and on) can be fairly well approximated by making the "tl" sound in Bentley.

You'll thank me for that, one day.

It's a quiet news day at Schloss Marland; bear with me, though, please, if I report that, following on from yesterday's concerns, I found this article in the Daily Mail, which is a fairly stock Daily Mail treatment of a trans story; a bit of a non-story in reality; transsexual woman and her former wife are joined in civil partnership. Rather than view this as at least a pragmatic way forward for the pair, or even a shining example of the principle that "amor vincit omnia" (which it may or may not be), the paper invites its readers to look on this as somehow false and wrong. It also refers to the transwoman's former name and refers to her as 'he', despite her having a GRC and theoretically being protected from this sort of disclosure.

In practice, of course, papers print what they please, because unless you've got some severe financial clout and can therefore muster lawyers, you are going to get nowhere, as I discovered when I made a complaint about the Daily Mail to the Press Complaints Commission.

The comments left on the article about the civil partnership are instructive: the writers admit that they don'[t know much about the subject (er, you don't say...) but are generally agreed that it is somehow immoral and ungodly.

Fairly normal stuff, really. It's odd that people with a medical condition can be described as immoral and/or ungodly because of it. But it happens.

On the other hand, I got a nice e-mail from a red panda yesterday (this is the sort of thing that can happen in cyberspace, and I find that it's easier if you just go with the flow). The panda in question is a Christian, but despite this (or, more likely, because of this) is very far from being judgemental, and said some encouraging things about the book. He doesn't read blogs (it's a busy life being a panda) so there's no point saying 'thank you' here. But I shall.

Maybe I should learn to stop worrying so much, particularly about the opinions of the life forms which exist in ponds and under stones. There are hobgoblins and foul fiends out there, and I've met a few of 'em; but mostly people are pretty much OK. Or better.


  1. The Daily Mail? grrrr....!!! Sickening newspaper. Matched only by the Express I think. I thank God I'm not a trans asylum seeker eh!

    I have added my comments to that page. Whether the editorial people will choose to add them is another matter. You can probably guess what they say. Especially about Mr 'It's Unnatural and A Disgrace'...

    By the take on Christianity and this issue is that attitudes about it are probably distributed prety much in the regular bell curve shape (with the Evangelicals mostly grouped down the vicious end). And people use the cloak of religion as a cover for their own bigotry. They dishonour it.

    As a Christian myself, my faith has helped me get where I am, and I have been helped and supported by others who are strongly 'Christian'. I'm thinking especially of the woman who runs my divorce support group, who pours love all over me whenever I am there.

    Which I need.

  2. I think you missed the boat on the comments, Josephine... not that it matters in the scheme of things, I suppose; it's probably a waste of time worrying about folk like that.

    Though we do, of course :-)

    I'm glad you've still got your faith. Mine disappeared quite early on; I did miss it for a while, but just try to muddle along with just being good anyway. Which is perhaps what it's about. Though life can be easier with a few more certitudes thrown in; as Father Brown said (perhaps slightly paraphrastically) "Where people cease to believe in God, rather than believe in nothing they will believe in anything.."

  3. Maybe I did miss the boat on the comments...Hmmm...there was I ready to start a tirade about the Daily Bloody Mail not publishing my attack on bigotry!

    (Feel slightly cheated!!)

    Faith...yes actually mine arrived with my final understanding of my transness, in a way. Though to begin with I got confused between faith (useful) and religion (often dangerous). I charged into lots of churches, but mostly felt lost. The ones I found energetic and dynamic were also the shallowest (Evangelicals). The ones I found more open minded and laid back were bordering on comatose (CofE).

    I ended up with a patchwork of influences (hey I sound like a rock band!)...from the Jesuits, and the 16th century Spanish Saints (Ignatius - their founder, plus Theresa - both a good read actually!), to the Quakers, with a bit of Sufi Islam along the way.
    And started to look for Christianity in other people, rather than inside buildings.

    And since I have broken out of my chrysalis I have met much 'Christianity' (whether they labelled it as such or not) from others. I've been humbled actually.

  4. Yes, I've found that too. So many people are far more accepting and understanding -just basically *good* -than I'd ever expected... spirituality is very vague, and I describe it as "pic-n-mix" when I describe it at all. I like the comment quoted by Alan Watts somewhere, of a Zen master who is read some quotes of Jesus from the Bible: "This man is close to enlightenment..."

  5. I am a Muslim, some other Muslims would declare from looking and talking to me that I couldn't possibly be, but as far as I'm concerned they were not put on this planet to judge me. Anyway, what I really just meant to say was, issues surrounding sexuality is the main contention I have with my religion, and I believe Judaism and Christianity share similar views. I like to believe the three advocate tolerance and love though, lots of mixed messages unfortunately.

    I will pass your sentiments on to a Firefox.

    My book arrived however, the ironing basket is overflowing and I have sworn not to begin reading until the dreaded chores are done.

    Yeah right.


  6. *dashing away with the smoothing iron...*