HUMAN RIGHTS, THE ROLE OF WOMEN, SEXUAL MORALS, CELIBACY AMONG PRIESTS, ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT, PERSONNEL POLICY, CLERICALISM, NEW BLOOD IN THE CHURCH, SINS OF THE PAST.
from Der Spiegel
Drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested*
A is for Argument. For all his legendary conversational powers, Johnson was ruthless in debate. When he once expressed his satisfaction following a social gathering, Boswell bravely replied: "Yes, you tossed and gored several persons." Johnson's friend Oliver Goldsmith described his technique thus: "If he cannot shoot you with his pistol, he will knock you down with the butt-end of it."
B is for Boswell, James (1740-1795). A sexually voracious alcoholic is an unlikely candidate for writing the most famous biography in the English language. Still irresistibly readable, this vast work set the template for the "warts and all" portrait that includes quirky personal detail along with the great achievements of the subject.
C is for Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Fourth Earl of (1694-1773). He agreed to be patron of the dictionary but provided no assistance during the 10 years it took to produce. His congratulations to Johnson on the dictionary's publication earned him a magisterial rebuke from the lexicographer: "Is not a Patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?" This view was underlined by the definition of "Patron" in the dictionary: "Commonly a wretch who supports with indolence and is paid with flattery."
D is for Dictionary. Embarrassed by the lack of an English dictionary, a group of London publishers headed by Longman contracted Samuel Johnson in 1746 to complete the task for £1,575. He estimated the job would take three years. In fact, Johnson's Dictionary did not appear in print until 1755. Though generally admired, Johnson's idiosyncratic definitions were criticised, as were a handful of celebrated inaccuracies. When asked why he defined pastern as "a horse's knee" (it is actually part of the foot), Johnson replied: "Ignorance, madame, pure ignorance."
E is for English brilliance. When a friend pointed out that 45 members of the French Royal Academy had taken 40 years to complete their dictionary, Johnson breezily replied: "Let me see; 40 times 40 is 1,600. As three to 1,600, so is the proportion of an Englishman to a Frenchman."
F is for Fanny Burney. The novelist, diarist and travel writer was a prominent member of Johnson's circle of female admirers. He met "little Burney" at her father's home in March 1777 and their friendship lasted until his death.
G is for Garrick, David (1717-1779). Within a single decade, the small Staffordshire town of Lichfield produced two of the most celebrated figures of the 18th century. In 1735, David Garrick was among the few pupils to enrol at the unsuccessful academy Johnson set up with his wife's money. In 1737, the two men walked together to London to seek fame and fortune. Both arrived far earlier for Garrick than for Johnson, who was inclined to belittle his friend's acting prowess. However, he penned one of the most famous of all obituaries for Garrick, memorably asserting that his friend's death would "eclipse the gaiety of nations".
H is for Hester Thrale. Following the completion of his edition of Shakespeare in 1766, Johnson lapsed into a severe depression and was virtually adopted by Henry and Hester Thrale.
A wealthy Southwark brewer, Thrale had a country house with an extensive library at Streatham, where Johnson spent much time. The ungainly literary giant fell for the lively and intelligent Hester in a big way. She tended him during illness, possibly even shackling him during brief periods of insanity. Following the death of Henry Thrale in 1781, Hester fell in love with Gabriel Piozzi, an Italian singer. Though their marriage was happy, Johnson could not be reconciled to what he regarded as a betrayal by the second great love of his life.
I is for Integrity. Johnson's view was that: "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
J is for Johnson, Samuel (1709-1784). This scruffy, ungainly Black Countryman was a mass of personality oddities, which ranged from a fear of being alone to avoiding treading on pavement cracks. Yet he was a giant of literature in a highly literary era. If he hadn't produced the first great dictionary of English, we would still be reading his Lives of the Poets. He single-handedly wrote two magazines, The Idler and The Rambler, and virtually invented the political column. For all his dark fears, Johnson was extraordinarily brave, whether standing up to a noble thug or separating a pair of fighting mastiffs. Perhaps his most endearing quality was his sense of fun. It is hard to imagine many of today's literary lions suddenly deciding to roll down Greenwich Hill.
K is for Kindness. Johnson wrote: "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
L is for London. One of Johnson's most famous quotes: "He who is tired of London is tired of life." Later, he was even more specific: "I think the full tide of human existence is at Charing Cross."
M is for Marriage (second). Johnson defined a second marriage as "a triumph of hope over experience". He never remarried.
N is for Network. One of today's most fashionable buzzwords famously confounded Johnson when he attempted a definition: "Anything reticulated or decussated, at equal distances, with interstices between the inter-sections."
O is for Oats. Johnson scoffed at the fashionable breakfast cereal: "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."
P is for Pension. As a lifelong Tory who detested the sinecures the Whig government paid to its supporters, Johnson defined "Pension" thus: "In England, it is generally understood to mean pay given to a state hireling for treason to his own country." This caused him some embarrassment in 1762 when George III provided him with a pension of £300 a year. For the first time, Johnson did not have to scrape a living on Grub Street, which he defined as "a street ... much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries and temporary poems, whence any mean production is called grubstreet".
Q is for Quotations. Next only to William Shakespeare, Johnson is believed to be the most quoted of English writers: "Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language."
R is for Rasselas. Published in 1759, this is Johnson's only extended prose tale. Said to have been written in a week to pay for his mother's burial, it tells the story of a prince of Abyssinia who leaves the Happy Valley of his birth in order to travel with friends through Egypt looking for the happiest mode of life. They never find it.
S is for social success. Despite his shabby dress, Johnson was much in demand as a social acquaintance. Several clubs were created so the most prominent members of literary London could enjoy his conversation. He was even an object of fascination for young ladies, though they observed this odd figure "with more wonder than politeness... as if he had been some monster from the deserts of Africa". Johnson is alleged to have remarked: "Ladies, I am tame. You may stroke me."
T is for Tetty Johnson (1686-1752). Johnson's wife Elizabeth was years older than him and though they were undoubtedly in love at the start of their relationship, they drifted apart as Johnson forged his literary life and she took to the bottle. He scourged himself for not being at her side when she died on a visit to Bromley where her grave can still be seen.
U is for Uncle. Johnson's uncle Andrew was a boxing champion, and taught his nephew to fight. On one occasion Johnson managed to hold his own against four robbers when he was attacked on a London street.
V is for Vinous inebriation. After enjoying a drop for some years, Johnson took to tea as he got older. "Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others."
W is for the Western Isles. "There are many fine prospects in Scotland ... but the finest sight a Scotsman ever sees is the high road to England." Johnson's views on the Scots were moderated when he discovered that (in general) he very much enjoyed his perilous journey made late in life to the Hebrides with Boswell.
X is for Excise. Johnson's dictionary definition remains unarguable: "A hateful tax collected by wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid."
X is for Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. This Fleet Street pub was a regular haunt of Johnson, who lived round the corner in Johnson's Court. His favourite chair can still be seen in the pub today.
Z is for Zed. Johnson may have been running out of steam by this stage. His definition reads: "Zed n.s. The name of the letter z. "Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter." (Shakespeare.)"
From the Independent
"No puedo describir el agradecimiento que me han demostrado y la satisfacción que he sentido", explica el investigador Jordi Oliva, autor del trabajo.
Oliva señala que, al observar los nombres de las relaciones que presenta en la web www.mailxxi.com/guerracivil "se comprueba que a quienes va dirigida la búsqueda es esencialmente a familias de fuera de Cataluña con familiares desaparecidos durante aquel conflicto porque casi la mitad vinieron a morir a Cataluña" y casi todos los refugiados muertos no eran catalanes.
Oliva empezó su investigación en 1986 por encargo del historiador Josep Benet, entonces director del Centro de Historia Contemporánea de Cataluña. Su trabajo era enumerar los combatientes de la comarca de la Segarra fallecidos en acción de guerra, ya fuese en los frentes de combate o bien en los hospitales militares de retaguardia. Más tarde fue ampliando su investigación al resto de víctimas de la contienda.
"En aquellos momentos no tenía la tecnología para difundir los resultados pero ahora sí y, además, por fortuna, porque ya no existe memoria oral, el tema se ha revitalizado", indicó el historiador. Su objetivo es tener la web completa, con la relación de los casi 600 muertos por la Guerra Civil de 1936-1939, con nombre y apellidos, en todos los municipios de la comarca, antes de mayo.
[Enlace a la web]
Hasta ahora las relaciones nominales de combatientes, prisioneros y civiles fallecidos en los hospitales de retaguardia de la Segarra permanecían inéditos en los archivos, que custodian el Centro de Historia Contemporánea de Cataluña y el propio autor. "Se estima que fueron unos 100.000 muertos en Cataluña, y debería confeccionarse un gran banco de datos del coste humano de la Guerra Civil e investigar la documentación de Barcelona y Tarragona ciudad", dijo el historiador leridano, que en estos momentos se dedica especialmente a la recogida de datos de los refugiados, la mayoría de fuera de Cataluña, que murieron en la Segarra. El historiador considera que su investigación tiene una doble vertiente de trabajo histórico y testimonial, para contribuir al conocimiento del pasado reciente "pero tantas veces olvidado", y a la recuperación de la memoria colectiva.
Hasta ahora las relaciones nominales de combatientes, prisioneros y civiles fallecidos en los hospitales de retaguardia de la Segarra permanecían inéditos en los archivos, que custodian el Centro de Historia Contemporánea de Cataluña y el propio autor.
"Se estima que fueron unos 100.000 muertos en Cataluña, y debería confeccionarse un gran banco de datos del coste humano de la Guerra Civil e investigar la documentación de Barcelona y Tarragona ciudad", dijo el historiador leridano, que en estos momentos se dedica especialmente a la recogida de datos de los refugiados, la mayoría de fuera de Cataluña, que murieron en la Segarra.
El historiador considera que su investigación tiene una doble vertiente de trabajo histórico y testimonial, para contribuir al conocimiento del pasado reciente "pero tantas veces olvidado", y a la recuperación de la memoria colectiva.
1. JUST FOR KICKS
In 2002, a team of researchers led by psychiatrist Gregory Berns from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, used brain imaging to find out what is going on inside our heads when we cooperate. They discovered that when players work together in the prisoner's dilemma game
2. IT's GOOD FOR THE IMAGE
Punishing others who don't toe the line can boost your reputation, as a recent study by anthropologists Rob Boyd and Karthik Panchanathan of the University of California at Los Angeles shows. Using computer simulations, they explored the benefits of a strategy of punishment that entails simply shunning others with a bad reputation and helping those with a good reputation. By doing this, individuals can enhance their own standing, they found. What's more, by altering their behaviour according to people's reputations, these individuals minimise the cost of meting out punishment and gain the edge over indiscriminate cooperators who help anyone regardless of reputation (Nature, vol 432, p 499).
3. TO PLEASE TEACHERS (AND GODS)
Despite our altruism, generosity may not be in our genes. If true altruism has evolved through competition between groups, as some researchers maintain (see main story), then it is more likely to be the product of cultural evolution. Genetic evolution works by selecting individuals with traits that are well adapted to their environment, but it has a far weaker grip on traits that benefit the group. So altruism is more likely to be learned. After all, every human culture invests considerable effort in instilling children with moral norms that help further cooperation. Often these are enshrined in powerful religious beliefs and reinforced by promises of salvation and threats of eternal damnation.
More from the Being Human series of The New Scientist
“–Las misericordias —respondió don Quijote—, sobrina, son las que en este instante ha usado Dios conmigo, a quien, como dije, no las impiden mis pecados. Yo tengo juicio ya, libre y claro, sin las sombras caliginosas de la ignorancia, que sobre él me pusieron mi amarga y continua leyenda de los detestables libros de las caballerías. Ya conozco sus disparates y sus embelecos, y no me pesa sino que este desengaño ha llegado tan tarde, que no me deja tiempo para hacer alguna recompensa, leyendo otros que sean luz del alma. Yo me siento, sobrina, a punto de muerte; querría hacerla de tal modo, que diese a entender que no había sido mi vida tan mala que dejase renombre de loco, que, puesto que lo he sido, no querría confirmar esta verdad en mi muerte. Llámame, amiga, a mis buenos amigos: el cura, al bachiller Sansón Carrasco y a maese Nicolás, el barbero, que quiero confesarme y hacer mi testamento. [...][...]
Entró el escribano con los demás, y después de haber hecho la cabeza del testamento y ordenado su alma don Quijote, con todas aquellas circunstancias cristianas que se requieren, llegando a las mandas, dijo:
—Iten, es mi voluntad que de ciertos dineros que Sancho Panza, a quien en mi locura hice mi escudero, tiene, que porque ha habido entre él y mí ciertas cuentas, y dares y tomares, quiero que no se le haga cargo dellos ni se le pida cuenta alguna, sino que si sobrare alguno después de haberse pagado de lo que le debo, el restante sea suyo, que será bien poco, y buen provecho le haga; y si, como estando yo loco fui parte para darle el gobierno de la ínsula, pudiera agora, estando cuerdo, darle el de un reino, se le diera, porque la sencillez de su condición y fidelidad de su trato lo merece.
Y, volviéndose a Sancho, le dijo:
—Perdóname, amigo, de la ocasión que te he dado de parecer loco como yo, haciéndote caer en el error en que yo he caído de que hubo y hay caballeros andantes en el mundo.
[I found this jewel online, in Spanish, the hidden Quixote script by Orson Welles]
Nicholas Ostler does not adopt a narrowly linguistic approach - based on the structure of languages and their evolution - but instead looks at the history of languages, the reasons for their rise and, as a rule, also their fall. While it is a history of languages, it is at the same time a history of the cultures and civilisations from which they sprang. The book concentrates on those languages that have been - in some form or another - globally influential: they include Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian, Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and the main European languages, not least English.
[More on The Guardian]
Columella's writings suggest that Roman salads were a match for our own in richness and imagination:
Addito in mortarium satureiam, mentam, rutam, coriandrum, apium, porrum sectivum, aut si non erit viridem cepam, folia latucae, folia erucae, thymum viride, vel nepetam, tum etiam viride puleium, et caseum recentem et salsum: ea omnia partier conterito, acetique piperati exiguum, permisceto. Hanc mixturam cum in catillo composurris, oleum superfundito.
Put savory in the mortar with mint, rue, coriander, parsley, sliced leek, or, if it is not available, onion, lettuce and rocket leaves, green thyme, or catmint. Also pennyroyal and salted fresh cheese. This is all crushed together. Stir in a little peppered vinegar. Put this mixture on a plate and pour oil over it. (Columella, Re Rustica, XII-lix)
A wonderful salad, unusual for the lack of salt (perhaps the cheese was salty enough), and that Columella crushes the ingredients in the mortar.
100g fresh mint (and/or pennyroyal)
50g fresh coriander
50g fresh parsley
1 small leek
a sprig of fresh thyme
200g salted fresh cheese
Follow Columella's method for this salad using the ingredients listed.
In other salad recipes Columella adds nuts, which might not be a bad idea with this one.
Apart from lettuce and rocket many plants were eaten raw—watercress, mallow, sorrel, goosefoot, purslane, chicory, chervil, beet greens, celery, basil and many other herbs.
In ovis hapalis: piper, ligustcum, nucleos infusos. Suffundes mel, acetum; liquamine temperabis.
For soft-boiled eggs: pepper, soaked pine nuts. Add honey and vinegar and mix with garum. (Apicius, 329)
for 4 small eggs
200g pine nuts
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons garum or anchovy paste
Soak the pine nuts overnight in water. Then drain and grind them finely in the blender or pound them in a large mortar. Add the pepper, honey and garum. Heat the sauce in a bain-marie. Meanwhile put the eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Let them cook for 3½ minutes, then take them off the heat, plunge them into cold water and peel them carefully. The outer edge of the egg white must be firm, but it must be soft inside. Put the eggs, left whole, into a deep serving bowl and pour over the sauce. Serve.
This recipe can be adapted easily to other eggs, such as quail's eggs. In that case keep an eye on the cooking-time: a quail's egg will be firm in 1 minute.
Aliter lenticulam: coquis. Cum despumaverit porrum et coriandrum viride supermittis. (Teres) coriandri semen, puleium, laseris radicem, semen mentae et rutae, suffundis acetum, adicies mel, liquamine, aceto, defrito temperabis, adicies oleum, agitabis, si quid opus fuerit, mittis. Amulo obligas, insuper oleum viride mittis, piper aspargis et inferes.
Another lentil recipe. Boil them. When they have foamed, add leeks and green coriander. [Crush] coriander seed, pennyroyal, laser root, mint seed and rue seed. Moisten with vinegar, add honey, garum, vinegar, mix in a little defrutum, add oil and stir. Add extra as required. Bind with amulum, drizzle with green oil and sprinkle with pepper. Serve. (Apicius, 192)
2 litres water
1 leek, trimmed, washed and finely chopped
75g fresh coriander
5g coriander seed
3g peppercorns, plus extra for finishing the dish
3g mint seed
3g rue seed
75g fresh pennyroyal, or mint
Wash the lentils and put them into a saucepan with 2 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil, and skim off the scum. When the water has cleared, add the leek and half of the fresh coriander. Grind the spices and the other herbs, and add them with the garum, vinegar and defrutum to the pan. Let the lentils simmer until they are almost cooked. Check the pan every now and then to ensure that the water has not evaporated. At the last minute add the olive oil, the freshly ground pepper and the remainder of the chopped coriander.
Patina versatilis vice dulcis: nucleos pineos, nuces fractas et purgatas, attorrebis eas, teres cum melle, pipere, liquamine, lacte, ovis, modico mero et oleo, versas in discum.
Try patina as dessert: roast pine nuts, peeled and chopped nuts. Add honey, pepper, garum, milk, eggs, a little undiluted wine, and oil. Pour on to a plate. (Apicius, 136)
400g crushed nuts—almonds, walnuts or pistachios
200g pine nuts
100ml dessert wine
100ml full-fat sheep's milk
1 teaspoon salt or garum
Preheat the oven to 240—C/475—F/Gas 9.
Place the chopped nuts and the whole pine nuts in an oven dish and roast until they have turned golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 200—C/400—F/Gas 6. Mix the honey and the wine in a pan and bring to the boil, then cook until the wine has evaporated. Add the nuts and pine nuts to the honey and leave it to cool. Beat the eggs with the milk, salt or garum and pepper. Then stir the honey and nut mixture into the eggs. Oil an oven dish and pour in the nut mixture. Seal the tin with silver foil and place it in roasting tin filled about a third deep with water. Bake for about 25 minutes until the pudding is firm. Take it out and when it is cold put it into the fridge to chill. To serve, tip the tart on to a plate and pour over some boiled honey.
Bloomsbury has announced that the latest book in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, due to be released on July 16 and already topping the Amazon bestseller charts with half a million pre-orders, will be printed on paper from sustainable sources. This move will make it the first bestselling book in the UK to be forest friendly.
[From The Guardian]
Nonetheless, many people escaped into the trackless wilderness, where some had friends and even cousins among the Míkmaq, the Native Americans who had lived there for generations. Those who were captured or surrendered were jammed onto transport ships, pell-mell, without regard for family unity. Brothers were sundered from sisters, parents from children, sometimes husbands from wives.
Perhaps 7,000 people were rounded up and shipped off to points south that summer and fall, while another 11,000 were driven out of the villages and farms their families had occupied for three or four or five generations. A thousand or more would die in transit, while several thousand more would die in strange lands in the years to come, of disease, of starvation, arguably of heartbreak and homesickness. Their ancient settlements were obliterated, their property destroyed, their rights abolished; their land was given away to newcomers who spoke a different language and professed a different religion. Within four months, Acadian culture was ripped out by the roots and cast to the winds.[Read on at Salon]
DW-WORLD: 60 years after the end of the Second World War, you've written a book about children born during the Nazi occupation in France who were fathered by German soldiers. What made you decide to tackle this topic?
Jean-Paul Picaper: I published an article in France about the son of a GI who wanted to track down his father. At the time, I was the Berlin correspondent for the newspaper Le Figaro. I subsequently received a reader's letter from a Frenchman who was born during WWII as the son of a German soldier, who wanted to know why I didn't write about the tens of thousands of children in France fathered by German soldiers. I told him that if there were really that many, the story was worth a book rather than just an article. Initially I couldn't find a publisher, because they all felt it was such a sensitive subject and would cause too many people too much embarrassment. Eventually I found a publisher who was interested in the issue because her aunt was the daughter of a German soldier.
How did you manage to track down these "cursed children?"
That was initially my biggest problem. But in 2002, I met Ludwig Norz, a historian at the Wehrmacht (German army) Archive in Berlin. He told me the archive had received many letters from people in France trying to locate their fathers. That's how he and I began working together. The archive then wrote to some 30 to 40 people asking them if they'd be willing to talk to me. Almost all of them agreed. So I went to France and interviewed 15 to 20 of them. Many of them didn't even know there were other people with similar backgrounds and were hugely relieved to find out they weren't alone.
Several people in the book remain anonymous. Why?
Some of them didn't want to reveal their identity because they were worried about the publicity. There was one person whose mother had been sentenced to jail as a collaborator, and she didn't want her neighbors to find out. All she'd done was fall in love with a German soldier. But that's how French courts worked back in 1944-46 -- there was no trial, just martial law, without witnesses or evidence. Then there was the senior civil servant who'd got where he was because he was the son of a famous resistance fighter. He was worried his career would be over if it came to light that he was the son of a German soldier. Four of the 16 people featured in the book have therfore had their names changed.
These children often suffered terrible fates -- abandoned by their mothers, spurned by their families and ostracized by society. Was this the standard story?
Unfortunately, yes. There was some very anti-German feeling in France right up until the late 1950s. It wasn't until the Elysée Treaty was signed by de Gaulle and Adenauer in 1963 that the mood changed.
Does the book also serve as a reminder that resistance to the German occupation wasn't as widespread as believed?
Definitely. Barely two percent of the population belonged to the Resistance. Even in early 1945, Marshall Pétain (photo above), the head of France's pro-German Vichy government, was cheered by the public in Paris -- despite the occupation, mass shootings, and widespread suffering and hunger.
Was the way the children were treated a delayed reaction to the occupying forces?
Ultimately, the majority of the French population was completely passive. But history was rewritten in such a way that the French were turned into victims and heroes, with the children made the nation's scapegoats. It was hard enough to be a child born out of wedlock, let alone to be a child of the enemy. Some of the women known to have had affairs with Germans were chased through the streets after the war. Their heads were shaved, some were allegedly executed. There are 26,000 known cases of women being punished for having relationships with German soldiers, and according to our estimates, ten times as many relationships. We believe there were 200,000 children fathered by Germans. We'll never know why these women did what they did. Maybe some of them were seduced by the material benefits -- women with German boyfriends often had jobs with the Wehrmacht, in restaurants, casinos, hospitals and so on. The relationships tended to develop in the areas where the Germans were stationed for longer periods, on the Atlantic coast and on the Channel. The incidence of rape and harassment was no higher during the war than it was during peace time.
How was the book received in France?
The media were very enthusiastic, because the issue had never been addressed before. There had been books about the mothers, but never about the children. It was interesting to realize that these victims of the war weren't actually victims of violence. And our timing was perfect: The children were over 60, retired and with time to reflect on their lives. And France is beginning to think more deeply about its past. There's a growing interest in a version of history that's free of taboos.
Does Germany have a responsibility to these people?