For the faraway princess

Now we will never meet again;
The world shouldered itself between us.
Sometimes at night we both look out the window,
But different stars we see in different times.

Your land is so far removed from mine:
From light to farthest darkness—that I
Travelling restlessly on wings of desire,
Would greet you with my dying breath.

But if it is true that the strongest desire
Is carried to the farthest star by great dreams:
Then I will come,
Then I will come, every night.

Voor de verre prinses, J.J. Slauerhoff (1898 – 1936), literal translation by me. You can improve the translation in the comments if you like.

Question Copyright: what’s the purpose?

Question Copyright (dot org) asked a number of people in Chicago (on what looks like a university campus) what the purpose of copyright is. The film takes a little under 11 minutes and is titled “Interviews, Chicago 2006.” The answers varied somewhat.

Charlie’s lists

Plus a not-a-list: the true cost of your next mobile phone.

I’ll kill her – Soko

The French Eminem does not rap, she chats.

Stupidest headline of the year

The Guardian came up with this headline last week: Bethlehem residents vandalize Banksy graffiti. That’s a very interesting use of the word “vandalize.” Is it too soon to play the race card? What if the graffiti “artist” had been some unknown teenager, and the wall in question the side of the Guardian’s offices? Somehow I doubt the people footing the cleaning bill then would have been branded “vandals”.

Go read the story though, because it gets richer. Banksy (who by the way is definitely an artist—not just a vandal—and well worth checking out) had decided to portray the plight of the Palestinians by spray painting walls in the occupied Palestine state. For this he used symbols that turned out to be insulting to Palestinians. Well, these things happen. But how does the Guardian frame this? Stupid Palestinian not understanding Western irony:

But the irony behind the depiction of an Israeli soldier checking a donkey’s identity papers was lost on some residents, who found it offensive.

“We’re humans here, not donkeys,” said Nasri Canavati, a restaurateur. “This is insulting. I’m glad it was painted over.”

Interestingly, the Guardian’s palpable disdain is not actually present in the article, it just seems that way. Yes, one restaurateur misunderstands an easy to misunderstand joke considering the very real tensions between the Palestinians and their occupiers — the joke being that Israelis even mistrust donkeys at checkpoints. Others understand the joke though, and even think it’s funny. But the upside-down-world headline primes the reader for only one possible reading of the article. I am beginning to feel sorry for the reporter, who probably did not even write the headline.

Happy 2008


New Year