Saturday, May 19, 2012

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
IMAGE- The five groups of order 8

See also Bab-ilu.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Lottery of Babalu

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Last evening's New York Lottery numbers were 123 and 5597.

The 123 suggests page  123 of DeLillo's Underworld .

(For some context, see searches in this journal for Los Muertos  and for Pearly Gates of Cyberspace .)

The 5597 suggests the birth date of literary theorist Kenneth Burke— May 5, 1897.

These two topics—

  • the afterlife (in the Latin-American rhythms context of yesterday's Shine On, Edmundo)
  • and Kenneth Burke

are combined in Heaven's Gate, a post from April 11, 2003—

Babylon = Bab-ilu, “gate of God,” Hebrew: Babel or Bavel.”

Modern rendition
of “Bab-ilu


The above observations on lottery hermeneutics, on a ridiculously bad translation, and on Latin rhythms did not seem worth recording until…

The New York Times Book Review  for Sunday, October 30, arrived this morning.

From page 22, an extract from the opening paragraph of a review titled…

Making Sense of It

David Bellos offers a new approach to translation.


The theory of translation is very rarely— how to put this?— comical. Its mode is elegy, and severe admonishment…. You can never, so runs the elegiac argument, precisely reproduce a line of poetry in another language…. And this elegiac argument has its elegiac myth: the Tower of Babel, where the world's multiplicity of languages is seen as mankind's punishment—  condemned to the howlers, the faux amis , the foreign menu apps. Whereas the ideal linguistic state would be the lost universal language of Eden.

See also Saturday's Edenville.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday April 11, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

Heaven’s Gate

“Rhetoric is concerned with the state of Babel after the Fall.”

— Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives, quoted by Douglas Robinson at the site Linguistics and Language

Mesopotamian mathematics:

“Location: present-day Iraq, between the Tigris and Euphrates

Cities: Babylon, founded 2300 BC, 70 miles south of present Baghdad, on the Euphrates….

Babylon = Bab-ilu, “gate of God,” Hebrew: Babel or Bavel.”

Modern rendition
of “Bab-ilu


Perhaps the real heaven’s gate is at

Pottawatomie College.

Instant karma update:

 At 5:09 PM I read the following in the New York Review of Books, dated May 1, 2003, which arrived today.

From a review of Terror and Liberalism, by Paul Berman:

“As a general analysis of the various enemies of liberalism, and what ties them together, it is superb.  All — Nazis, Islamists, Bolsheviks, Fascists, and so on — are linked by Berman to the ‘ur-myth’ of the fall of Babylon.”

Speaking of Ur, Berman likes to quote a non-Biblical Abraham, named Lincoln.  The first, Biblical, Abraham was a damned homicidal lunatic, and the later American Abraham also delighted in blood sacrifice.  But that’s just my opinion.  For a different view, see the Chautauqua Abrahamic Program.


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