December Pieces Of My Mind #2

Yay! The new reading chair finally arrived!
Yay! The new reading chair finally arrived!
  • Sw. kujon “coward” is cognate with Sp. cojon “testicle”. Both go back to Lat. coleus “leather sack”. In the Swedish case the cowardly sense comes by way of a word for eunuch.
  • I never did understand what exe2bin did.
  • Wife: ”After I’ve been out running I always feel so good-looking!” Me: ”You mean running improves the accuracy of your eyesight and your powers of objective observation?”
  • Rossi, the founder of the French ski manufacturer Rossignol, was the son of a gnome and a troll and did much to improve tolerance of gnolls in Alpine sports.
  • Medieval Norse Greenlanders used the penis bone, os baculum, of the walrus as an axe haft.
  • In the latest of my many one-man language crusades, I have declared war on the expression Eng. “even if” Sw. även om when what a writer means is “even though / fastän“. You can’t say “Even if I have a big beard I can sort of understand women’s issues”. You know whether you have a beard or not. It’s an “even though” situation.
  • I just got spammed by the LAISHUI COUNTY JINXING STONE CO., LTD. They want to sell me construction stone.
  • Couldn’t remember the words “snowmobile safari”. Told my cousin’s daughter that we were going on a chainsaw massacre.
  • Don’t tell my wife, but I’m wearing her sweat pants as a scarf.
  • Remember: a working-class hero is something to be, not eat or pave bike paths with or make baskets from.
  • Smug gamer dad: gave Jrette Love Letter for Christmas, taught it last night and this morning she played it with her cousin.
  • There’s this slightly odd Facebook group, “Tips – 08”, where people in Stockholm ask each other for advice and offer barter opportunities. I scored some really good computer repairs there once, bartering an old laptop for the work. Anyway, I’m still a member, and sometimes people’s entries make me wince. Like, they’ll ask for medical advice and get crazy alt-med suggestions. Just now this woman is asking “How do you protect your face against the cold?” I restrained myself and didn’t reply “Just put baklawa on it”. I have a feeling most of the group’s members wouldn’t get it.
  • When glimpsing my wife and daughter out of the corner of my eye I currently can’t tell them apart. Same height, same general looks, and they keep borrowing each other’s clothes. I’ll just have to wait for Jrette to get noticably taller than her mother.
  • Been thinking about the cover of my forthcoming Bronze Age deposition book. I don’t just want a picture of a bog. Nor would a picture of a replica Bronze Age axe be quite what I want, even though there’s a replica mead hall on the cover of my book about those. So now I’m thinking, hey, those people who deposited bronze axes in lakes and streams all over the place — they actually also left images of axes. As rock carvings. So I’m hoping to find a picture of a good axe rock-carving, maybe from the Enköping cluster.
  • Sweden will rub off on you. Just met a Pakistani guy, wearing kurta kameez, pillbox hat and a big beard, going shopping for groceries with his toddler in a stroller.
  • I attempted to call my wife “love chicken” in Mandarin. She looked confused. With my pronunciation it had come out as “You’re such an Egypt!”

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

47 thoughts on “December Pieces Of My Mind #2”

  1. Playing with language can be lots of fun. But do watch out for the tones in Chinese–you wouldn’t want to call somebody’s mother a horse or a scold.

    My parents were into apocryphal etomologies. One of my favorites involved signs, often found on mountain roads in the US before they switched to the pictographic version, that said, “Watch For Falling Rock”. The story involved a native youth by that name who, along with his rival Running Water, was sent on a quest to see which was more worthy as husband to a maiden. Running Water came back (and therefore got the girl), but Falling Rock did not. So word went out to look for Falling Rock, and according to the story, people were still looking for Falling Rock in the 1970s and 1980s.

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  2. Apocryphal etomologies seems a fun topic for a PhD.
    — — — —
    Random neuronal activity: The BBC Focus magazine has a piece about the worst smells in the world.
    It includes the Chinese “century egg” and of course the north Swedish “surströming”.Also the “african skunk” (zoorilla?) and a species of hoatzi bird in the Amazon.
    — — — —
    “Sweden will rub off on you.” In a good way. One of my best friends was originally a strong believer in Khomeini and his brand of islam, now a humanist practising medicine in Gothenburg. A lot of good people came over from Iraq as refugees.
    — — — —
    I have read Gardner Dozois “Best Science fiction 26”. One story is about the salvage of the spaceship Charles Dexter Ward. Apparently, in the future many spacespips will be financed by the Miskatonic University, researching the nasty trans-dimensional things that pop in and out of existence in the hard vacuum of interplanetary space.

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  3. When excavating ruined castles, have you ever run into this bloke? “I would name him Igor” http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/12/29/marys-monday-metazoan-i-would-name-him-igor/ -Looks smaller than the Igors of Schmalzberg.
    — — —
    I like Elizabeth Bear’s short stories more than her novels, but I find it hard to define why.
    — — — —
    One thousandth of the US population now owns one fifth of the accumulated wealth of America. And they hardly noticed the recession. Jeez.
    — — — —
    The attempted arson of three Swedish mosques have triggered widespread demonstrations.

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  4. I would have thought the cremaster reflex was the link between “testicle” and “coward”. It’s possible to have a brave eunuch, but the bravest man’s balls will sometimes run and hide when faced with danger or cold.

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  5. Road sign in a cutting here used to say : FALLING ROCKS/ DO NOT STOP. Always thought this was truthful if irrelevant,(gravity, you know) but of course the meaning was that your car was less likely to be flattened by rocks if it kept moving.
    I was sorry when it was replaced with a pictorial diagram, apparently easier for dyslectics to understand. I’m not dyslectic, but much given to wilful re-interpretation.

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  6. I think Vägverket removed the proper STOPP signs sometime around 1970, because foreigners would not understand STOPP= STOP.
    — — — — —
    (OT) And I thought four of these were American…”The Local’s top ten Swedish songs of 2014 http://www.thelocal.se/20141230/top-ten-swedish-songs-of-2014
    — — — — —
    If I want to say “skördetröska” in Chinese, is there any glyph for this? I mean, the chinese signs are updated continuisly but in two separate nations.
    Standardization (standardisation) sucks.
    — — — — —
    Am I the only one unable to log in at Hotmail? Is North Korea involved?

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  7. Birger, the simplest word for “skördetröska” I can find is 收割机 (shou1 ge1 ji1), but if it is a combined harvester you mean it would be 联合收割机 (lian2 he2 shou1 ge1 ji1) or “康拜因” (kang1 bai4 yin1 = the Chinese way to say “combine”!).

    I don’t think the Chinese usually update the characters! They did it once on the mainland in the 50s or something, but otherwise I think they want to keep the countinuity. I personally am very proud to be able to (sometimes) make sense of a a 3000-year-old text!

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  8. I mean, the chinese signs are updated continuisly but in two separate nations.

    I only know of one major change in the actual symbols in the last 2000 years, namely the introduction of Simplified Chinese in mainland China which YuSie mentions. But modern Chinese, like all living languages, absorbs words of foreign origin. Sometimes this is done by loan translation (e.g., the characters for telephone literally mean “electronic speech”), and sometimes this is done phonetically (as in YuSie’s last example). So you get new combinations of characters, and probably some evolution of meaning as a result, but they are still the same characters. Perhaps a new character will be created now and then, but not very often.

    It happens in Western languages, too. Ivan the Terrible didn’t get that nickname because he was a bad ruler (which is a debatable opinion), but because people were afraid of him (which was observed to be true). “Terrible” = “capable of inducing terror” in the English of the time, as opposed to its modern use as a synonym for “bad”. We remember that now-obsolete usage of “terrible” in Ivan’s nickname.

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  9. While there is so much coverage of the mass murder in Paris, it is useful to remind ourselves that the middle east has produced culture for so long that the whole “monotheist religion” businesss and related conflicts is like a brief postscript.
    “Rock art draws scientists to ancient lakes” http://phys.org/news/2015-01-art-scientists-ancient-lakes.html
    After the end of the ice age, there was a period when rainfall extended the savannah north up into what is now Sahara and southern Egypt.

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  10. Useful in what way, Birger?

    You mean, les Flics should go easy on some sadistic random mass murderers because ancient civilisations developed in the Middle East, to which their connections are tenuous to say the least. If I was a French copper and one of my female colleagues had just been shot down in cold blood for no reason (after all, she was just a police officer, and had no connection to Charlie Hebdo), going easy on the perpetrators because of some distant ancestral ‘cultural production’ (whatever that is) would not be uppermost in my mind.

    So please, again – useful in what way?

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  11. Useful in remembering that not all that comes from the middle east is evil. And that historically the barbarians riding in from the steppes and sacking everything (or shooting their AK-47s) do not prevail.
    The thugs represent a minority faction of a religion that can no longer be ruled by a kaliphate. And the militant anti-modernists (of any religion, btw) are getting desperate as they see that history is clearly not going their way.
    As the majority of the young turn their back on obsolete ways of thinking, militants are reduced to trying violence since they have run out of good argumants.
    -ISIS, Al-Quaeda, the Indian Thug sect of the 19th centurry the various book-burning groups all over the wolrd, they are all doomed to vanish in the face of modernism. All they can do is splattering blood about in frustration.

    It will take a long time -for instance, consider how entrenched salafism is in Saudi Arabia- but iron age thinking has had its day.
    And in the perspective of the time since the invention of agriculture even the longest-lasting dictatorships are like mayflies. Another two generations and kids in the middle east will play punk rock and laugh at the idea of prophets talking to invisible friends
    Two generations is 1% of the time since the first proto-cuneiform signs.

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  12. BTW, I sympathize with the grieving next of kin in France.
    -Being told that future generations will be safer is little comfort, rather like telling someone with Ebola that vaccines will surely be invented any year now.

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  13. Birger @18: I wish I could be as sanguine about it as you are, but I live in the United States, a country where religious fundamentalism has been gaining in political power. These things have a tendency to go in cycles. The Muslim world was much more culturally advanced than the West for many centuries–most surviving ancient Greek texts came to us via Arabic translation. But then, starting in the 12th century, more militant and less enlightened views began to take hold and gain power in the Muslim world, and are still dominant in some countries (notably Saudi Arabia). This development came about during the era of the Crusades. In some ways it resembles the current rise in Protestant Evangelical political power in the US in a period when militant Muslims have taken to violent action against Western targets. I hope this proves to be a false analogy, but I can’t rule it out. For that matter, it took a couple of world wars to fully break the hold the official Churches had in Europe. I’d prefer a less drastic solution to the problem of radical Islam, but I’m not sure there is one.

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  14. @#18 – To quote Razib Khan: “Even within the West most nations have limits on freedom of expression around particular topics of great emotional sensitivity (e.g., Holocaust denial in Germany). The fact that religion is no longer in that class is a reflection of the marginalization of religion in the life of the modern West. But the post-materialist Western viewpoint is not the dominant one throughout the world. Dissent from it is not madness, it is simply different.”

    Your idea that Western post-materialism will take over the rest of the world is (1) fundamentally flawed, and (2) is not happening.

    However, I must remember that this blog also has some icons of great emotional sensitivity, and steer clear of Herr Zensor.

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  15. -John, please, I am not claming that The West has a monopoly of The Truth ( “Pravda”, as Russians would say) . As for the kind of thinking that will dominate the world in the future, I am by definition unable to anticipate it, being trapped in my own perspective in time.
    .
    But in the long run, there is a kind of evolutionary process.
    People in Europe mostly reject the idea of a Strong Leader (Duche), something an observer a century ago would not have expected. And with more open societies, wars become more unlikely [NB: Dubya needed a cataclysm to get his wars going] and repression becomes harder to justify.

    Creationists may be well entrenched in USA but outside some geographic spots people accept Darwin. It is three steps forwards, two steps back, but generally, people stick with ideas that work.
    —- — —

    A more pragmatic form of islam will have to grow to maturity among the many muslims in the West, where they are protected from radicals by a secular justice system and a (relatively) corruption-free* political class. Once formed, it will reach the minds of others despite attempts by the lifetime presidents and Emirs to censor the internet.
    The reactionaries Back Home do not have the sophisticated media strategies of the Religious Right and Rupert Murdoch, having favoured jackboots thorough their existence.
    — — — —
    -I am well aware of the tragedy of the early muslim scholars, crushed in a two-front war of ideas by mystics and proto-fundamentalists. But the cat is out of the bag and will not get back, not in the era of the internet.
    — — — — — —

    Eric, yes, the allliance of fundie Christians and far-right politics has warped society so that one tenth of a per cent now owns 20% of the accumulated wealth in USA. In the long run that is not viable, *not even from a conservative viewpoint*. In fact, China’s ruling party has been more open to the threat of global warming than the US politicians. No wonder China is catching up.
    i daily check the blog “Dispatches from the culture wars” to see how things are going.

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  16. *”Corruption-free” by the standards of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
    Eric, I wish I could provide advice about how to take back the mememsphere from the theocrats and anti-modernists, but in a battle dominated by Murdoch media and hired guns from advertising companies it is HARD to make people give up cherished illusions. Copernicus faced similar dilemmas.

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  17. Wow, I did not know that Uderzo was still around! I associate Goscinny and Uderzo with Herge, although their florit was a few decades later than his.

    As a military historian, I would say that modern terrorism is a technique which was invented in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Iron Age people whom I study would have been baffled by it too, although they certainly understood atrocity and assassination.

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  18. #23 – In short;

    1. Taboos against blasphemy are normal. Penalties are often severe.
    2. There is only one jurisdiction that I know of, the USA, which has absolute freedom of speech. They usually choose their shooting atrocities by other means.
    3. You make the often-made mistake of talking about evolution, including social evolution, as if it is ‘directional’, e.g. from some lower form or state to some higher or more advanced form or state; from some more chaotic form to some less chaotic form; from some more savage state to some less savage state.

    This is completely wrong – evolution, including social evolution, is not directional at all, it occurs by random mutation. You can theorise and pontificate (looks furtively over shoulder for the Kommisar) to the rest of the world as much as you want, but it’s totally futile. More to the point, it is exactly what is not happening, and there are absolutely no grounds to believe it will happen. All of the evidence is pointing to increasing radicalisation. Burning mosques in Sweden are not exactly a symbol of pragmatic mutual acceptance, and you seem to pride yourselves on being part of the civilised, mature, grown-up West.

    Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

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  19. (way OT, but answering comments)
    — — —
    (sigh) it is possible to be optimistic about the future without downplaying the very real cruelities people are capable of. No one here likes Boko Haram or ISIS. Everyone knows those groups cannot be allowed to fester and grow.
    —- — —
    Yes, USA has a very strong protection of the freedom of speech. It has resisted multiple challenges by (for instance) religious fundies and their political allies. I am all in favour of this protection.
    — — — — — —
    All cultures have taboos. Nation states often have laws to punish those who criticize religion. I don’t think anyone here is defending those laws. Saudi Arabia has no fans here.
    — — — — — —
    -You did read what I wrote about the long-term perspective, right?. If I knew a way to speed up the process, I would be a Nobel Laureate, but by all means search for faster routes.
    — — — — — —
    These groups are so loathed that they can only hold territory in failed states or rural areas without central control.
    Re. @ 28: The crude tactics of the terror groups reveal their desperation. I am reminded of the increased terror of Nazi Germany towards its own population in 1944-45.
    If you listen to those hate-filled late war speeches by Göbbels* you are also peeking into the dark minds of Boko Haram or ISIS.
    *
    *Stomping on ISIS or Al-Quaeda is so much harder than stomping on Nazis because the latter sprung from a specific area of geography.
    Fighting them is like fighting cholera –you improve the local conditions and the outbreaks will not recur.
    This is not PC hippie thinking. It is accepted anti-insurgency strategy. Inevtiably, it takes longer time than pushing across the Rhine with Patton.

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  20. I get the feeling that Göbbels & Co were way more considered and deliberate in their evil than are the Boko Haram and ISIS. To my poorly informed eye, the latter two organisations look like drug-addled PTSD sufferers, that is, essentially chaotic.

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  21. Birger, the world needs optimists, but I fear you are being too optimistic. Fifteen years ago I would not have predicted the current political state of the US: pathologically afraid of the Other, and unable to do even basic infrastructure maintenance in a time when government borrowing costs are effectively zero. Bin Laden’s goal in targeting the World Trade Center was to get the US to do his recruiting for him, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Meanwhile, after we elected for the first time a President with ancestry outside northern Europe, it has become acceptable again to be openly racist, and to have complaints of racism directed against you if you notice that certain people approve of the vastly different treatment under law of people who aren’t like them. There are parts of the US, unfortunately including the home towns of both of my parents, where I would hesitate to bring my non-US-born friends.

    You may have heard of scholars planning visits to the US who were turned away by US immigration authorities. I know at least one such personally: a naturalized Canadian physics professor who was planning to attend a conference at my institute (comfortably within a day’s drive of where he lives) but was refused entry at the US border because he was born in Algeria. US free speech protections only apply after the immigration officer allows you into the country.

    It’s not just the US, either. Right-wing parties have been making gains in several Eurozone countries, aided by difficult economic conditions (just as Adolf and his friends did during the Great Depression), and they are trying to make scapegoats out of immigrant communities. I don’t have firsthand knowledge of the situation in Sweden, but I know that while some Swedes approve of immigrants (including our host, who is married to one), many others do not. Keep an eye on the latter faction.

    Aside to John: I suspect the thing which got your one post into moderation a month or two back was putting multiple links in the post. Many commenting sites, including this one, have spam filters which don’t like posts that have too many links. Martin may be able to confirm if that’s what happened to you.

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  22. Sweden has become more polarised over the immigration issues, rather than more xenophobic. 30 years ago no viable party catered better to xenophobes than any other. In the second to last election, the Labour bloc lost its xenophobic voters to the Racist Party. In the recent election, the Right-Centrist bloc lost theirs. In that election, 87% of Swedish voters chose parties that had taken explicit stands against xenophobia in a way that they didn’t use to do.

    As a Leftie, I believe that we have never before had such open-minded mainstream Conservative voters before. Simply because all the morons have abandoned the Conservative party.

    As for John’s digs at me alleging censorship, I believe they are about me removing a comment where he called Birger names. As a rule, I let commenters call me names but not each other.

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  23. @Martin: Does Sweden use a proportional representation system in electing its Parliament?

    Most English-speaking countries (including the US, the UK, and Canada) use a first-past-the-post system, and at least in the case of the US, this is a major contributor to our political dysfunction. It can be shown that in a FPTP system the only stable solution is to have two major parties, which can be loosely described as Our Party and Their Party (which is which depends on whom you ask). Observationally, most of the most openly racist US voters are aligned with one party (this has not always been true; it actually has switched during my lifetime). That means that our non-racist conservatives (at least the ones who are not in denial) must choose among three options: (1) vote in the same party as the racists, because that party better represents their views on other subjects, and accept as the price allowing racists to have power; (2) vote in the other party, to keep the racists out of power, even though the other party’s policies on other issues differ greatly from your preferences; or (3) split the non-racist bloc into a third party separate from the racists (or equivalently, force the racists to make a similar split), and all but guarantee that you are not in power after the election. Some of our non-racists conservatives choose the second option, but most go for Door #1. In a proportional representation system, the third option is viable, because you have some chance of leading a coalition government or even getting an outright non-racist conservative majority. With FPTP, you get the result of Canada’s last national election, in which the Conservative Party got an outright majority in Parliament with only about 40% of the vote, the non-Conservative vote being split between the Liberals and the normally minor NDP, which is now the official opposition party.

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  24. Yeah, unicameral, 359 seats divided proportionally among the parties that get at least 4% of the vote. We tend to see the US system as very odd indeed. The US constitution was of course extremely foresighted for its time, but political science has learned a few things since then.

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  25. #32 – No, this started when I complained about Birger Johansson repeatedly posting off-topic, unprovoked gibes at Chinese culture, language and people over a period of several years.

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  26. Let me set things straight. I admire the Chinese culture and the Chinese resurgence as a major scientific technological and economical power.
    .
    But I will take digs at officials, police and politicians which I consider to be abusing their power and repressing the people they are supposed to serve, regardless of their ethnicity.
    I mention Chinese issues more often than, say, Indian or Argentinian issues since China is of special interest to Martin’s blog.
    In a few years China will be launching ambitious space missions and I suppose I will be commenting these in a positive way.
    When Chinese scientists make various breakthroughs I will comment it in a positive way.
    When Hong Kong police repress demonstrations I will criticize it. When Chinese officials impose censorship I will criticize it. When politicians pay lip service to fighting corruption while in reality doing nothing much I will criticize it.
    If Swedish people do similar things I will criticize that too, but probably not in this particular blog.
    .
    John, this is a problem of selective perception. You only see what I write about China because China is one of the topics of this blog. You do not see what I write about Swedish/ German/British/French issues.

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  27. #37: “This blog covers archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music.” No. It’s actually surprising how this blog is almost totally lacking any reference to Chinese topics. I would be interested to know how many times Martin has posted on a Chinese topic since I have been reading the blog, but these have definitely been few and far between. Your anti-Chinese gibes are almost invariably off-topic gratuitous sniping with no apparent trigger, just randomly inserted into threads on other subjects.

    You are in no position to criticise the actions of Hong Kong police in dealing with demonstrations because you do not know the Laws of Hong Kong (although you could learn them, because they are freely available in full on the Internet in both English and Tranditional Chinese), and because you do not understand the situations and politics behind the demonstrations, or the dynamics of the demonstrations themselves. You are just making a presumption against the Hong Kong Police, while knowing nothing about them. That is prejudice. In reality, they are one of the finest and most tolerant police forces in the world. Before 1997 they were the Royal Hong Kong Police, and nothing has changed.

    An analysis of your past comments would reveal how economical you are being with the truth here, just as Martin was somewhat economical with the truth about his censorship of my comments.

    I certainly will not be posting anything on this blog related to anything Chinese in future, and won’t be reading it either, and I have not seen any other commenter show even remote interest in anything Chinese, aside from Ms Rundkvist Chou.

    Martin: No, he is not cool, precisely because he has not confined his comments to political issues, and because he is notably badly informed on matters relating to China and Chinese. There is nothing cool about making repeated and unprovoked racist gibes about one particular group. He gets away with it because you have permitted him to use this blog as a platform, un-moderated.

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  28. Then I would suggest to you that you have been less vigilant than you should.

    There is another option – you can go back through all of BJ’s past comments and analyse how many are random gibes about Chinese, as opposed to random gibes about any other group. What you will find is that the Chinese gibes greatly outnumber all others in totality. I recall precisely one anti-Russian rant over a period covering several years. Given relative geographical proximity and possible influence in Europe, it is the reverse weighting to what might be expected.

    Birger explains this is because China is one of the topics of this blog. No, the topics of this blog have been stated by the blogger, and they don’t include China. Specifically, when talking about archaeology, you have made clear a few times that you are interested in Scandinavian archaeology, not some global hotch-potch; that’s very clear and specific. Similarly, I don’t see you giving a lot of discussion to Chinese culture, language or history – almost nothing, in fact. Talking about skepticism in China really has no mileage, and you obviously don’t read a lot of books in Chinese, judging from your reading lists. Chinese music? Nope.

    So Birger’s explanation is invalid; it’s been cooked up as cover.

    As a test for you some time back, I made some deliberately racist comments about Roma. I even called them Gippos, which is about the most offensive racist epithet that someone can hurl at them. Interestingly, you said absolutely nothing in response. I deserved to be severely chastised for making such a provocative racist statement and using such an abusive term, but got no response at all, either from you or any commenter that I saw.

    This suggests that, far from being sensitive to racism, you are either just not reading the comments, or that you have no sensitivity to it at all.

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  29. Ahem.
    The unrest in Hong Kong was (very simplified) about the hurdles a political candidate must face to get the candidacy recognised, and, by extension, Beijing’s ability to veto candidates. This is a *very inflamed* issue that cuts through demograpics, a fact I was unaware of.

    .-My view is based upon examples from many countries*; leaders who want to slow down or curtail the expression of democracy are rarely the friends of those they govern. Being deaf to vox populi, they can take a bit of name-calling. Here I follow the example of Charles Hebdo, although I cannot compete with their scatological humor.
    *No, I didn’t visit the Ukraine either.
    .
    PS If I call British UKIP wankers, and some political functionaries in East Asia wankers, I am a racist? I can be an asshole at times**, but racist?
    **mostly early mornings.

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  30. Not even close. You lack the cultural context to understand what it is about.

    And once again you are being economical with the truth. I don’t see a point in ‘debating’ with someone who engages in sophistry. But that no doubt qualifies as me ‘name calling’ again.

    The only other possibility I can see is that you see absolutely everything through a political lens, so in your eyes it is OK to make endless repetitive gibes about 1.4 billion people, including their culture, language and behaviour, because they don’t have the sense to adopt Sweden’s political system.

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  31. MR “Sw. stop means “beer stein”.”
    Aha. What we used to call a “stoup”. Pops up in old poems, for instance, as a stoup of ale or half-pint stoup (William Dunbar), or a brandy-stoup (Robert Burns). Also some sort of wall-hung ritual trough in English churches, of which I know exceedingly little.

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  32. Aha, I didn’t know that! I gather that the word come into Swedish from Low German. Cognate with “to stoop” and Sw. att stupa, “to fall over on your face”.

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