confirmations, affirmations  

Thrown (Ţâpat) in , , , ,

It's hard to determine when you are the source of events or when you are simply part of the current. If you're a blogger in a minor blogosphere, you might start accusing others of "stealing" from you. Me, I'm just glad that I'm being validated.

Trying the find where I was copied or cheated on the ‘net takes me back ages.

1. usenet

Perhaps the first such example dates back to the 90s, when I was doing some consulting for a management firm during the summer holiday and a colleague wrote a document using the construction its’ (yes, with an apostrophe to symbolize possession). I was floored and just had to correct him – yet he maintained that he’s right and I, as an ESL dude, didn’t know WTF I was talking about. So we took the bet to USEnet, where I posted it in a relevant newsgroup (alt.language, if I remember correctly), and we then waited. We got about 6 replies, of which 2 were clearly on my side, while the other 4 did not seem to understand what the question was about. I’m quite sure at least 2 of the 4 were friends he had asked to jump in on his side, and I would link to it, but ever since Google took over DejaNews I cannot find any of my old postings on USENET. If you can, let me know – I had signed it “Captain Grammar”, at his request :)

2. slashdot

Also in the 90s, Slashdot was one of the sites I used to comment on – a lot! I was not actively seeking “online friendships” and did not have a “voting mob”, so my comments were seldom voted up in its meta-moderation scheme. I do remember however how once somebody took my comment, changed a few words around, capitalized my sentences (I hadn’t bothered), basically rewrote my comment and got modded up to +5. Since then, I started to have a healthy dose of scepticism in respect to The Wisdom of Crowds [Paperback] by James Surowiecki

The Wisdom of Crowds (.FR, .DE, .JP, .cn) and online voting. (I’ll add a reference when I have time to look for it.)

3. popelu

trilemaEver since starting this blog (and implicitly, involuntarily becoming a part of, it happened a few times that my articles were re-written by others, once even in Adevarul by some dude whose name starts with B, but I never bothered with it: after all, I was making it too easy with full feeds and writing in Romanian, like a paduchios. I was nonetheless surprised when a feisty newcomer, whom I tried to unsuccessfully enlighten for a while “quoted” me in a similar manner and not once, but on several occasions. Just as above, I cannot find all these examples, except for one. In an otherwise well-written text, he found himself falling down a version of “the American is the dumbest” path, perhaps without even realizing it:

Nu toate popoarele (in sensul de locuitorii unei tari) sunt si natiuni, exemplul cel mai important fiind Statele Unite ale Americii. (..) Nu neg ca in diverse locuri din SU exista manifestari quas-nationale specifice, dar o natiune nu e locul unde oamenii se bad cu pumnu-n chept, ca toti oamenii se bat. O natiune e locul unde toti se bat la fel. De-aia zic ca nu-i, pentru ca nu exista asa o comunitate, niste trasaturi universale.

In short, he claims that USA is not a nation because there are insufficient commonalities, despite being a number of “local quasi-national specific manifestations”. I commented that there is a common set of ideas and ideals more so than in Canada and then I listed a few at his request: manifest destiny, exceptionalismul descris de Tocqueville, the pursuit of.., credinta ca orice problema poate fi rezolvata aruncand cu bani in ea (aka “metoda americana”), ideea ca ceva este cu atat mai bun cu cat este mai mare / supersizing - japonezii traiesc cu ideea opusa, de pilda, etc. Translating and expanding:

  • manifest destiny – from the 19th century belief that USA was destined to expand across the continent it evolved in Lincoln’s and Wilson’s idea that it’s their mission to promote and defend democracy throughout the world; interpreted by Noam Chomsky and others as a mission to make all economies compatible (trade-wise)
  • exceptionalism – (from wikipedia:) “refers to the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other countries. In this view, America's exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming "the first new nation," and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. This observation can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as "exceptional" in 1831 and 1840. Historian Gordon Wood has argued, "Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy."” I purposely left in the entire fragment because it is probably the most revealing when it comes to American nationalism. Most of these can be found in his Democracy in America: The Complete and Unabridged Volumes I and II [Mass Market Paperback] by Alexis De Tocqueville (.FR, .DE, .JP, .cn).
  • american solution: The belief that any problem can be resolved by throwing money at it. More on motivation and why that’s flawed in this RSA Animation.
  • supersizing: more and bigger is always better (not so in Japan, for instance)

Near the end, he conceded it was a matter of “feeling”, then offered some really silly arguments, so I said goodbye and decided I’ll avoid discussing issues with him (didn’t do a good job of that). And then, many months later, this jewel:

Ei da, am pe undeva in vre-un cufar o hartie pe care scrie langa numele meu ca-i diploma si de antropologie, nu-i clar la ce calitate, chit ca tot acolo scrie noua si trei firtale. Dar sa trecem si sa intram in subiect : Zice candva pe undeva un oarecare Tocqueville (ca de exemplu Alexis de, in L’Ancien régime et la Révolution, Michel Lévy Frères, 1856).

Now, as before, I did not really mind. Maybe he did know about it and had forgotten. BlushingAnd even if he didn’t, why else was I commenting there other than to shepherd the non-descript masses out of the valley of weakness? That’s also why I wrote about bitcoin, now an important part of the cyberlife of many.

4. hungary

In Romanistan II, I was reluctantly writing:

Dac-ar fi sa mergem pe drumul teoriilor conspirationale, etnonimul “romi” a fost inventat si impus de catre Soros, care a avut si pastreaza sensibilitati maghiare.

So I was somewhat happy to learn that the Economist has a way of sort of admitting to it:

Mr Orbán's dire public image abroad is a source of mystification and outright resentment among his fans. They blame everything from anti-Hungarian bias to the supposedly unhealthy links between the liberal elite in Hungary (which detests him) and the foreign media.

It’s very easy to fall into loony conspiracy territory here, but can YOU find a reasonable explanation for the underreporting of Gypsy numbers only for Hungary in the Economist, as shown in the Romanistan article?

5. prostitution

I wrote elsewhere about a famous economist who may have used one of my ideas. But maybe his inspiration comes from “patalama” even though, unlike Popelu’ before him, he has never confessed he actually lacks ideas and perhaps has to use others for inspiration (if he did, I missed it).

6. natalie

When presenting Wordsworth’s Ode I showed a clip with Natalie Wood and wrote:

Natalie Woods a murit in circumstante neclare, inecata, in anii ‘80, lasand in urma filmul “Brainstorm” in care juca cu Christopher Walken neterminat.

Her murder investigation has been reopened.

Sources / More info: eco-orban, dm-wood1, dm-wood2, wiki-wood

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Wednesday, November 23, 2011 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
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