Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fiction (testing4l) wrote,
Fashionable, but unable to tell fact from fiction

From the pixman library, in pixman_blt_mmx, are two uint32s: src_stride and dst_stride. Farther down in the code we have:

src_stride = src_stride * sizeof (uint32_t) / 4;
dst_stride = dst_stride * sizeof (uint32_t) / 4;

Seeing these lines made me laugh harder than they really should have.

Video game madness continues -- and with good reason. After all, California Extreme is right around the corner. I'm going to make a point of getting video of Propcycle this year -- preferably with me winning it. I imagine it'll take some getting used to again, but it's so darn worth it!

I've been reading the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf in fits and starts. I'm about 2/3s of the way through and enjoying it immensely. I've been touching on little bits of the criticisms on Heaney's translation -- he took some liberties to try and retain the feel of the original poetry and left a transliteration of the old English on the left side pages. Still -- I'm glad that I chose this version instead of a more literal one. Apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote quite a piece on what he felt was a great misunderstanding -- approaching Beowulf as a philological work instead of a story.

I had heard a bit ago about a Beowulf comic which had been created. Apparently, there is a movie in production as well -- we saw the advert when we went to see Transformers a bit ago. The movie seems to owe some inspiration to the comic. In the meantime, it appears that I have excellent timing in my choice of reading material. Given how much I'm enjoying Beowulf, I expect to be interested in the film.

Reading the criticisms and the efforts to reinterpret Beowulf have reminded me of the difficulties in translating religious texts. There was a short period of my life when I would have called myself a Muslim and I read the Qu'ran. In that time, I learned that the Arabic was actually rhyming poetry (which is, of course, very difficult to translate) and I really wanted to learn Arabic as a result. I never did get around to it and with time, like other religions, I formed my own criticisms of that way of life and its claims of a divine being, and moved on.

I'm also reminded of a text which has found many people treating it very much like Beowulf -- the Bible. I had occasion to read a fantastic book called "Living in Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality" by John Shelby Spong several years ago. Effectively, Spong took it upon himself to reinterpret the Bible and make a case for keeping the Bible as a living document, rather than a historical one which is to be revered and followed word for word.

Judaism, by contrast, already had this problem ironed out (well -- formally anyway. Practice is a whole other can of worms). There's a great anecdote in the Talmud about an oven that was destroyed in an earthquake. The Rabbinical conference was called on to determine whether or not the oven was still Kosher because it had been broken, and therefore, defiled. One Rabbi stood against the rest and argued that it was OK because the oven was constructed by several coils of clay stacked on each other, and therefore, the oven did not break because each coil was a separate utensil. The other Rabbis argued that it was a single utensil.

From this link:

It is taught: On that day R. Eliezer brought forward every imaginable argument, but the Sages did not accept any of them. Finally he said to them: "If the Halakhah (religious law) is in accordance with me, let this carob tree prove it!" Sure enough the carob tree immediately uprooted itself and moved one hundred cubits, and some say 400 cubits, from its place. "No proof can be brought from a carob tree," they retorted.

And again he said to them "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let the channel of water prove it!" Sure enough, the channel of water flowed backward. "No proof can be brought from a channel of water," they rejoined.

Again he urged, "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let the walls of the house of study prove it!" Sure enough, the walls tilted as if to fall. But R. Joshua, rebuked the walls, saying, "When disciples of the wise are engaged in a halakhic dispute, what right have you to interfere?" Hence in deference to R. Joshua they did not fall and in deference to R. Eliezer they did not resume their upright position; they are still standing aslant.

Again R. Eliezer then said to the Sages, "If the Halakhah agrees with me, let it be proved from heaven." Sure enough, a divine voice cried out, "Why do you dispute with R. Eliezer, with whom the Halakhah always agrees?" R. Joshua stood up and protested: "The Torah is not in heaven!" (Deut. 30:12). We pay no attention to a divine voice because long ago at Mount Sinai You wrote in your Torah at Mount Sinai, `After the majority must one incline'. (Ex. 23:2)"

This bit has always struck me as a lovely idea in a religion -- if the deity in question is omniscient, then shouldn't he be able to write something which deterministically gets his idea across? Why then should it matter how we interpret it? It should have been expected!

Nietzsche once said that he feared his texts would be ground into a fine white powder after he died instead of remaining living vibrant documents about the power of the human will. Why make our myths -- the stories from which arguably every story is derived -- suffer the very same fate?

After I'm done reading the book, I'll turn to the graphic novel and see what I think of it. Hopefully, I won't be disappointed by it or the subsequent movie. With Transformers and the imminent releases of Stardust and the Golden Compass, this might just turn out to be one heck of a year of adaptations.
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