Steve and I went to our local 142 Throckmorton Theatre last night and saw "Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs." They are just great, and have as much fun as the audience. It was a wonderful revival of the early years of "our" music, nothing profound, just silly and fun. Everyone joined in and danced and laughed. They also had a few jokes. One was about Bush's fence along the border, and how the fence is about fencing ourselves in, rather than keeping others out. Amazingly, the audience was such that not everyone appreciated the joke. It was interesting to watch people recoil, especially since this band and their humor is about as light as it gets. It is billed as for the whole family, and certainly is. We had a great time, and I really felt the importance of live music, and we have two venues right here in town. Tuesday night is comedy night at the Throckmorton Theatre, so we'll try to make that too.
I am reading The Power of Babel, A Natural History of Language by John McWhorter. His premise is that the approximately six thousand languages on Earth today are each a descendent of one language first spoken 150,000 years ago in East Africa. I haven't finished it, but according to the cover he discusses "why most of today's languages will be extinct within one hundred years." At first, I balked at such a uniformity of thought, and then, I thought of television and the internet and the predominance of English, and perhaps, I can see how this may come to be. I find it interesting to think that we began with one language and may return to one.
I was intrigued with this aside in the book. I have always loved that the Eskimos had many words for "snow." It made sense to me that what so hugely defines their world would be minutely defined. McWhorter says this:
"Many readers will at this point be thinking about Eskimos and their words for snow. One just wants such an idea to be true, but sorry, folks. Let me do my part her to dispel this myth: the idea that Eskimos have a plethora of words for snow is a mistake perpetuated by increasingly distorted generations of citations in the past century. The original source that this misconception stems from cites only four words for snow, and even this must be seen within light of the fact that we have snow, slush, sleet, and blizzard, despite English speakers having traditionally had neither any particular fascination with nor any significant cultural rootedness in snow. See Geoffery K. Pullum's The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax and Other Irreveverant Essays on the Study of Lanugage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991) for a tart, funny, and authoritative deconstruction of this myth."
It also seems that language is getting simpler, rather than more complex. We, English speakers, do not change the form of the verb depending on our power relationship with the person to whom we speak. This does still happen, especially in Japan and Java. And, there is Swiss German, learned by all Swiss Germans, rich and poor, and spoken at home and Standard German which is taught in the schools and is the language of writing. This book probes here and there in a very light way, and has me thinking about language and how it may relate to thought and perception, though that does not seem to be the theme of this book. So, I sit with that, as I mosey through this day. I am feeling well-rested and calm, and more able to hold a place for my friends who are struggling right now.
Happy third day after Thanksgiving. Perhaps, the turkey resurrects to rise.
I am still in Thanksgiving mode. It is not yet time for me to transition from gold, rust, and bronze, to red and green, and blue and white.
Happy Celebration of whatever season rolls and warms your heart!!