Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Link Round Up or Stuff That Caught My Eye Today

In which I will not mention you-know-who

An Indiana Congressman does his part to make us think that Red Staters are prudish hicks. Jokes unnecessary. Today, Dude!!!, the article does the work. In other news, the Gotti boys get their butts kicked and Amanda Hesser is nicer looking than we expected. Attention ladies: she cooks all day. And she's Jewish.

Now that's a health care package: You've seen Kerry. You've seen Cheney [If not, click and scroll to "Powerful Men and Their Mystery Bulges"] Now, here's Gore. Shudder. We promise this is the last one. Until Bush, um, surfaces.

We wish a warm and hearty mazal tov to Jonell Watson, 13, the first Bat Mitzvah ever on the Outer Bank, wherever the hell that is. Australia, maybe? One insignificant detail with which I shall find fault: Reading from the Torah is not a "tradition that dates back more than 3,000 years." Certainly not if you're a girl, and even the boys first started marking their manhood this way in the late Middle Ages.

Dr. David Matar goes AWOL. My Conservative friends cheer. Meanwhile US soldiers say heck no, we won't go and the same Conservative friends boo. And they say liberals make it up as they go along?

We like Condi. Alot. But Bob Somerby reminds us that she did, in fact, without any doubt lie while under oath to the 9/11 commission. Today's question, boys and girl: Who said, about Clinton, "It's not the sex, its the lying?"

UPDATE: Oy, is just Yo backwards. Is it time for chanuka already? (turn the sound up) My local fire department hasn't even put out their wreaths yet....

In our bubble: Ren Reb is in meltdown, but she's funny today. Certifiably funny, if you get our drift. But still funny. Cookie is in a fighting mood. We like Jewish moxie. Poor Sarah is in pain but through gritted teeth, manages to cite one of our least favorite biblical verse.

If I forget thee Jerusalem let my right hand forget her cunning. Cunning?

Per the dictionary: cun-ning

Cunning is usually low; as, a cunning trick

Is this what the Psalmist meant? Is this what the translator meant? Is this why people think Jews are sneaky? Moreover, when I translate the words myself I get something like: "Forgetting Jerusalem would be like forgetting my right hand."

What do low or deceptive tricks have to do with it? Is someone, somewhere trying to make a nasty point about Jews?

I ought to sick Cookie on him.


John W Leys said...

"Cunning" need not have such a negative connotation, though it sometimes does.

Main Entry: 1cun·ningPronunciation: 'k&-ni[ng]
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from present participle of can know
1 : dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (as skill or knowledge) or in attaining an end [a cunning plotter]
2 : displaying keen insight [a cunning observation]
3 : characterized by wiliness and trickery [cunning schemes]
4 : prettily appealing : CUTE [a cunning little kitten]
synonym see CLEVER, SLY
- cun·ning·ly /-ni[ng]-lE/ adverb
- cun·ning·ness noun

Anonymous said...

Your discovery is no help. It's a bad word and a bad translation. dov bear rules!!

Jason H. Elbaum said...

1. "cunning" means "skill" - any negative connotations are entirely context-dependent.

2. Moreover, when I translate the words myself I get something like: "Forgetting Jerusalem would be like forgetting my right hand."You'd be wrong.

In context, the meaning of the verse is clear. The Psalm is about the pain of being forced to sing with joy after being exiled from Jerusalem. The phrase "let my right hand forget" clearly means "forget how to play"; "let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth" clearly means "let me not sing."

"Forget her cunning" is a perfectly reasonable translation in the English of a few centuries ago. "Forget its skill" would be more appropriate today.

It's certainly not about "forgetting my right hand."


By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps. For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song, and our tormentors asked of us mirth: 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.' How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

DovBear said...

ZB - I'll meet you half way. Your take on the translation is truer to the spirit of the psalm, but cunning, in 2004 - or 1804- is absolutely the wrong word. I refer again to the dictionary. The primary meanings of cunning relate to subtly, deceptiveness, craftiness and guile.

Incidently, my translation "forgetting my right hand" does not preclude yours. If I've forgotten my right hand, I've deprived myself of its use, just as I am deprived of the use of my tounge should it cleave to the roof of my mouth.

Jason H. Elbaum said...

I can't speak for 1804, but I agree "cunning" sounds off today.

Incidently, my translation "forgetting my right hand" does not preclude yours.True - but it's not consistent with the Hebrew. "Tishkah yemini" means "my right hand shall forget", not "I shall forget my right hand".