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That's *so* MULAN!!

From:Leo Caesius <leo_caesius@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 22, 2000, 0:42
    Apropos of the recent discussion of Japanese and Korean origins, I
recently read an article on this subject at the following link:

    While I'm not a Ural-Altaicist (where have all the good Ural-Altaicists
gone?  Have they all unsubscribed?) I did enjoy reading the article, and I
think that the work of Jared Diamond ("The Third Chimpanzee," "Guns, Germs,
and Steel") generally speaks for itself.  Diamond attempts to explain the
history of the debate over Japanese origins, their ethnic and linguistic
relationship with the Koreans, and possible theories to explain these

[warning - off topic]

    Speaking of Koreans, I recently saw Margaret Cho's new film "I'm the One
that I Want" and nearly became sick with laughter.  I was paralyzed with
humor at several points during the film and feared that I would permanently
lose control of myself.  She has a few language jokes ("It's not 'wash,'
it's actually pronounced WALSH;" "Margaret, we're switching to an
ABC-affiliate next week, would you like to tell this to our audience in your
native language?") but mostly she does these wonderful impressions of her
poor mother, who apparently sells books on Polk St. in San Francisco.
    I have a warning, though:  Margaret Cho's humor is not for everyone.
Thin-skinned, easily offended individuals who have no tolerance for a
(self-proclaimed) "trash-talking Korean fag-hag" would be best advised to
stay at home.  In fact, I have the feeling that the first half hour of
comedy will be completely incomprehensible to 9 in 10 people.  That estimate
may even be a little too liberal - there were quite a few other
rice-and-potato couples in the audience (go figure) and they seemed
completely lost on her humor.  One would think that if *they* didn't
understand her, nobody could!  Well, it is no surprise that Margaret Cho has
a considerable asian and gay following.

[back on topic]

    Regarding linguistic nationalism, I am surprised at how prevalent it is
in the interlinguistic community.  I suppose that this is a discussion for
AUXLANG and the IALlist, which, perhaps because of these rather rabid
tendencies, always seem to descend into Jerry-Springer-esque catfights.  I
won't mention any names, but certain organizations (including the one to
which I am enrolled) have distinguished themselves through especially
abominable behavior.
    Recently I watched a film about one of capital punishment's most
colorful proponents here in the USA, Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.  Fred had gained
himself a certain fame for redesigning electric chairs and gas chambers to
make them more efficient and "humane," such that he was held to be an
authority on the field.  Ernst Zuendel (the name will probably be familiar
to our Canadian conlangers) contacted him and sent him to Poland to
determine whether there had ever been gas chambers at Auschwitz.  Fred
decided that there had not, and became the poster child for the Neo-Nazi
Holocaust Deniers (Zuendel calls Leuchter "the Muhammad of our generation"
in the film).
    Subsequently, none of the proponents of the death penalty would touch
him with a ten-foot pole.  He lost his job, his wife, and his family, his
car, and his home (he moved from Boston to California, where he lives in
relative anonymity).  He can no longer find work redesigning implements of
capital punishment.
    I have to wonder how I will be judged, on the basis of my involvement in
certain interlinguistic circles.  After all, a man is often judged by the
company he keeps... I suppose it might be best for me to avoid the whole
field of auxiliary languages in total, rather than risk my reputation
through association with them.  Be warned.
    It makes me sad, because I've met so many fine folks in these circles,
and I've had lots of fun.  I also think that the idea of an international
auxiliary language is intrinsically worthwhile and can see myself lending my
support to this idea.  But I don't want to become Boston's next Freddie

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