Saturday, August 21, 2004

Mindnumbingly-Dull Minutiae, Part Two

Okay, I am going to stay trivial this time. One thing I have noticed these blogs are useful for is talking about what books the blogger has read, or what movies the blogger has seen, to demonstrate how intellectual and/or hip they are. So that seems like a good place to start.

I have been reading Umberto Eco's 'The Search for a Perfect Language'- well, skimming really, to undercut my intellectual pretensions at the outset- which is about historical attempts to either create a perfect language or recreate the one given by God to Adam. One of the things I didn't know is that there was a long mediaeval tradition that there was diversity in language before the Tower of Babel, based on Genesis 10, and apparently somewhere in the Paradiso Adam gives Dante a little lecture about how the language he originally spoke in the Garden of Eden was different from the language spoken just before the flood.
Anyway, reading this has reminded me of my own efforts to create a new language, broken off about a year ago. I am not organised enough, or quite cosmically arrogant enough, to attempt a perfectly rational invented language, but envision my creation as the decayed remnant of such a project. The key idea of my language is the existence of several hundred valid answers to what we would call yes/no questions; the continuum between 'defintiely yes' and 'definitely no' is split into seven levels, and separate words exist to specify on what grounds the speaker is basing their answer. In the mooted screenplay for The Pike, (of which a tiny tiny bit has been written) the Monks are going to speak in this language, with english subtitles. It is also the lingua franca in this story.

Saw 'Love Actually' last night. I wonder why I haven't felt an urge to write anything about Tony Blair. He's catholic, isn't he? And he presides over a country where abortion is legal to 25 weeks. When children have survived being born at 22 weeks. Yet I've never accused him of worshipping evil Carthaginian Gods. I guess it is just a case of my priorities being determined by the media- they don't report what Tony thinks about abortion, so I can continue to be entranced by his Hugh-Grant-like grin and his genetically-modified salamander mind-control powers.

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