A few years back one of my children introduced me to the glory that was Star War The Third Gathers: The Backstroke of the West.
Now I see that Mark Liberman of Language Log has flagged up this piece by Patrick Shanley for the Hollywood Reporter:
‘Revenge of the Sith’ Dubbed With Bootleg Chinese Dialogue Is a Fan-Made Masterpiece
YouTuber GratefulDeadpool has done the unthinkable: He’s made Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith cool.
Using the original Chinese subtitles, which feature multiple lost-in-translation misinterpretations, GratefulDeadpool redubbed the prequel trilogy’s final installment — with hilarious results.
Entitled Backstroke of the West Highlights Part 1 (Star War: The Third Gathers), the recut features such memorable lines as “I has been hating you,” from the villainous Count Dooku, and “The front is a lemon avenue flying straightly,” spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi while piloting a careening starship.
Dorkly explains the bizarre translations likely “began with a machine translation of the Chinese script to [Revenge of the Sith], which attempted to literally translate from Mandarin to English, despite the multitude of barriers between the two languages.” The end result was great quips, such as “Smelly boy” from General Grievous to Kenobi and “Your dead period arrived, teacher” from a rebellious Anakin Skywalker during his fateful lightsaber duel with his master on Mustafar.
You can view either edited highlights of this semi-accidental masterpiece or the whole thing by following the links in the Hollywood Reporter piece. Back at Language Log, one of the commenters, Jonathan Smith, rightly says that, “This latest editor’s genius was to get voice actors to read it with straight faces.”
However I cannot endorse Mark Liberman’s view when he writes, “I’m skeptical of the machine-translation idea, because I seriously doubt that there has ever been an MT system that rendered “the Jedi Council” as “the Presbyterian Church”.
Doesn’t he know what happens when you say things like that about Star Wars?
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
H H Monro – who wrote under the pen name Saki – was a writer of mainly short stories. In most of them the innocent and gullible find themselves in an unequal struggle with the sly and devious.
In his novel When William Came he wrote about what would happen in the event of a German invasion. It is not a particularly good novel but it does describe the process by which die-hard patriots find themselves ever more isolated as more and more of the smart set – desperate to carry on as before – adapt themselves to occupation
When war came, Monro was a man in his 40s and as such could have stood aside. Instead he joined up. He was killed on the Somme a hundred years ago yesterday.
One our regular-ish commenters posts under the same name as one of Saki’s recurring characters so it will be interesting to hear Clovis Sangrail’s take.
By obsessing over politics above all else, identitarian artists of the twenty-first century resemble the Socialist Realists from the Soviet Union in the early- to mid-twentieth century. One could charitably call Socialist Realism an artistic style, one that glorified peasants, factory workers, and Communist values, but it was nurtured by a totalitarian police state and was the only “style” allowed by the government lest hapless artists wished to live out the remaining days of their lives in a Siberian slave labor camp. “Like Socialist Realism,” Ahmari writes, “identitarian art claims to be revolutionary, but in fact rigidly adheres to a set of political dictates. Master its political grammar, and you can easily decode any piece of identitarian art. For all its claims to ‘transgressiveness,’ identity art is drearily conformist.”
– Michael Totten
The Times 3 November 1916 p6
I thought I would try to do the National Novel Writing Month thing. It is probably a terrible idea. Announcing it here is probably an even worse idea. I have half a dozen novel ideas I will probably be mashing up together. There will be aliens, strange people who invite strangers into their flats to give and listen to talks, and a not-too-in-your-face libertarian message. Or I might give up half-way through after realising that there is no value in the sleep-deprived ramblings of a man struggling to make an arbitrary word count by an arbitrary deadline.
Use the comments thread for encouragement, to tell me I’m an idiot, give me ideas for scenes (I have some crazy alien technology that means I can do almost anything), announce your own similar efforts, or talk about what a libertarian novel might look like.
I am not a huge fan of twitter but sometimes it is a good place to get a sober heads up on breaking show biz stories…
Elfwick is a genius.
I don’t generally seek political analysis from trained monkeys responding to the commands of talented directors and screenwriters.
– Samizdata commenter ‘the other rob‘
“We live at a time when we’re offered a choice between the good, liberal Pajama Boy without an ounce of masculinity, and the Potemkin Alpha Male who mistakes cartoonish bluster for manliness, one of whom happens to be running for president. “The Magnificent Seven” presents a much better alternative, wrapped up in an exciting, action-packed plot and—oh, yes, I almost forgot—the greatest Western theme music ever written. So skip the multiplex this weekend and revisit this classic, instead.”
– Robert Tracinski
John Oliver seems to do extremely well out of telling sophisticated, educated Europeans and Democrat-voting Americans how thick Americans are. But he’s preaching to the converted: they’re not laughing because he’s funny, they’re laughing because he is telling them what they want to hear and allows them to feel smugly superior. A decent joke shouldn’t depend on who you want to win an election.
– Tim Newman
I just spotted, in the Radio Times, this:
I seem to recall reading not that long ago about this TV show, at Mick Hartley’s blog. Yes, in this posting. The show goes out on ITV, this coming Thursday, at 10.40pm. I love my Gogglebox (see above right) and will be watching this show, and recording it. I may even, although I promise nothing, have more to say about the show here, after I have actually seen it.
Judging by the blurb about this programme that I just read here, it deals with a quite wide range of nastinesses that ex-Muslims get subjected to by Muslims, nastinesses both legal and illegal, from merely nasty to downright evil.
Although this show will describe and criticise the merely nasty things that ex-Muslims are subjected to (being ostracised by their families, for instance), I doubt if it will go as far as saying that nastiness of that sort should be illegal, any more than I would. On the other hand, the programme will also be noting that many Muslims favour doing things which in Britain are illegal and which elsewhere ought to be illegal if they now aren’t. I refer to things like murder, incitement to murder, assault and the forcible denial of the right of ex-Muslims to express ex-Muslim opinions in public. For that I applaud this programme, and its maker, Deeyah Khan.
I focus on the illegal and thoroughly wicked things that are done by Muslims to ex-Muslims because this particular issue strikes me as one that ought particularly to be focussed on, by all who dislike either the general influence of Islam (as I do – I believe in being nasty to Islam), or by those who merely wish Muslims to stop doing uncontroversially terrible and terror-inducing things to ex-Muslims, and to infidels generally. Me, I think that the content of Islamic doctrine leads pretty directly to Muslims doing terrible things, but that is a different argument, and one that divides those who merely want “Islamic extremism” to abate.
The matter of what is divisive, and for whom, is important. When engaged in an ideological war, it can help to focus particularly on issues which will unite the people on your side, while dividing your opponents. Whatever your opinions about the nastiness of Islam in general (I think it very nasty), you will surely agree with me (even as you perhaps denounce me for telling all Muslims that their religion is nasty and thereby uniting them all against all infidels) that murdering ex-Muslims merely for being ex-Muslims is wrong and should be cracked down on with the full force of the law. So, the illegally evil things that happen to ex-Muslims are an issue that should be focussed on with particular enthusiasm. Hence my particular enthusiasm about this televlsion show.
I recently heard about how a quite prominent British Muslim, of the sort who argues that Western Civilisation, and Islam in approximately its present large and very influential form (just somewhat nicer), are capable of getting along amicably, and even in a state of mutual creativity. I think something like this may one day happen also, but only after Islam has at least been put on the ideological defensive (hence my belief in criticising Islam in general), in other words not for a longish while.
So anyway, this “good Muslim” was asked whether he condemned the murdering of ex-Muslims. He equivocated. I say that people like this should be faced again and again with this question, and made to pick their team. Is he so terrified of offending the many Muslims who, although not themselves murderers, nevertheless side with those who do murder ex-Muslims, that he is instead willing to offend all of the rest of us, including those Muslims who vehemently oppose such murders? Make up your damn mind, mate. In the not inconceivable event that he reads this, he may recognise himself. Good.
And Muslims who do pick their team, by unequivocally and publicly supporting such murders, should be confronted even more severely, in ways that perhaps include them being prosecuted for incitement to murder:
The programme finds that a number of senior British Bangladeshi imams, mainstream figures in society, have called for the execution of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh, claiming they have insulted Islam, and making a number of anti-atheist statements.
Making “anti-atheist statements” is fine, from the strictly legal point of view, provided no incitement to murder or to violence is involved. Just calling atheists wicked and mistaken shouldn’t be illegal. But nor should “insulting Islam”. However, calling for the murder of ex-Muslims is utterly vile, and it is a very good idea to make such Imams either squirm and equivocate in front of television cameras, or else show their true and vile colours, whichever they choose to go with, and for the rest of us to sneer at them for the morally and intellectually vacuous individuals that they are.
More importantly, we should be supplying moral and practical support to all those ex-Muslims who speak out about their beliefs. We should all try to make this an easier path to follow than it is now. This most definitely includes making, and watching and blogging about, television shows about ex-Muslims, full of admiration for them and for their courage and their wisdom, and full of contempt and denunciation of those who want them to shut up.
Willie Penrose, a Labour member of the Irish Dáil, is singing an old song from a tradition known all over the world:
Musicians hold sing-song outside Leinster House in bid to get more radio play
LABOUR’S WILLIE PENROSE wants to get more Irish music played on the radio – and says that a proposed bill of his could save thousands of jobs in the process.
So he gathered up a group of Irish musicians and brought them for a sing-song outside the gates of Leinster House this morning, while a host of Labour TDs looked on.
Longford-Westmeath TD Penrose, who is presenting the bill to the Dáil today, said that it seeks a quota of 40% airtime for Irish music – and that this means “of all genres once it’s Irish music”.
Asked if it specifies in the bill how a song is determined to be Irish, Penrose “we’re working through that, yeah we are”.
“We are not asking for much – this has been in France for the last 20 or 30 years, 40% quota, it’s in Canada – there’s a 90% quota after being introduced in South Africa in recent weeks,” he said.
The 90% quota was brought in by national broadcaster SABC in South Africa.
Penrose said there are “8 – 10,000 jobs depending upon [the bill]“, but didn’t detail where these jobs are located within the Irish music industry.
Following the link about South Africa took me to this BBC story:
SABC radio introduces 90% South African music quota
The BBC describes the quota in lyrical terms:
South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC has brought in a new quota system, requiring 90% of the music played on its 18 radio stations to be homegrown.
SABC says the move, which has been hailed by local musicians after years of campaigning, will promote South African culture and heritage.
“We believe that is important for the people of South Africa to listen to the music that is produced for them by the musicians in South Africa,” SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told the BBC, explaining the decision.
Jazz musician Don Laka, one of the leaders of the quota campaign, celebrated on his Facebook page, thanking SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
“Today I am proud to be South African. This man Hlaudi made me share a tear for the first time in many years… Freedom at last!”
Local hip-hop star Slikour described it as the music industry’s version of “Nelson Mandela coming out of jail”.
The governing African National Congress also welcomed the decision, saying it will empower local artists and help spread African culture at home and throughout the world.
Many South Africans have taken to social media to celebrate the announcement, saying it will help to showcase the country’s musical diversity.
It almost seems a pity to tear oneself away from sharing these glad hosannas to look at a couple of ominous lines some grinch has inserted into the same report:
…this is just for the next three months – subject to whether the listeners want it to be a permanent move, industry insiders are hoping that it will help boost the profiles of local artists.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign music commercial stations play.
Going back to the report about Mr Penrose’s Irish Music Quota Bill in TheJournal.ie, some of the comments strike a discordant and ominous note:
“You want to kill off Irish radio entirely? Force stations to play at least 40% of Irish music.” – Peter McHugh
“And Number 1 this week is Ariana Grande’s ‘Into You’ and to comply with the Irish Music Act here it is as sung by Brush Shiels” – Daniel Patrick Carry
Unlike Mr Penrose, I am not musical, and I don’t keep up with these internet thingies the young folk use … but isn’t there a thing called “music streaming” now?
“Imagine is probably John Lennon’s worst lyric. Against a sparse, effective musical backdrop (influenced by McCartney’s quasi-spiritual triptych Hey Jude, Let it Be and Maybe I’m Amazed), the rich Beatle John bleated on in 1971 about imagining a world in which there are no possessions. Somewhat at odds with the anti-market proselytising of Lennon’s most famous post-Beatles song is the awkward reality that the track was recorded in the studio built at Lennon and Yoko Ono’s then very grand house, Tittenhurst Park near Ascot. The Grade II listed building is set in 70 acres of grounds and was purchased with the proceeds of Lennon’s fortune made from the record industry, one of the most thoroughly capitalist businesses on earth.”
– Iain Martin
As an aside, my father, a serious classical music fan (he is also a jazz and blues nut) once said, in one of those comments that a slightly weary Dad tells you when seeing something on the TV about pop music, that in decades to come, very little of the Beatles’ music will be played or recalled, while the works of J.S. Bach are likely to endure until the heat death of the universe.