Vulgar Latin

As an upperclassman, English major, I heard wickedly raunchy poetry from major stars of the firmament, Swift, for example, that were not on the reading list. Only select students had the recesses of the Complete Poems indicated to them. Still that was nothing compared to the filthy lyrics sung to me by professors in grad school. Here though is a story I repeat from Professor Max Patrick, NYU, that can be whispered at a polite cocktail party: you can say it, just don’t say it loud.

An assistant librarian at the University of Michigan had to decide where arriving books would be kept. She saw a huge tome, a Latin Vulgate Dictionary. What’s that? she wondered. “Oh, that’s the dictionary for vulgar Latin,” she was told.
So she hid the tome in Special Collections, omitted it from the card catalogue, put it with Ulysses, and Tropic of Cancer, where only senior professors could find it. (Had it been entirely up to her she might have burned it.)

The university pays a couple of tenured professors a lower middle class wage, but mostly they only want to pay minimum wage. So: scholars can’t afford to work at the library, though some will anyway, no matter how little they’re paid, no matter what it costs them: like medieval monks: they subsidize their own sacrifice: Jesus pays for his own trip to Jerusalem (Jesus and his pals: his pal, Mary). School systems don’t hire scholars, get rid of them if they hire one by mistake, spend billions to mass produce fakes. No, libraries, schools, are for children, to be lied to: not by Aristotle, by Miss Tilly. Counter Darwin, censor Twain.

Not even the Pope knows what’s in the Vatican Library until after some semi-literate priest has already censored it.

Sean Connery
Sean Connery’s monk can read though: and think.
and thanx Prof. Eco

Take a careful look at The Name of the Rose: a minority of book-respecters are deceived by a majority of literary saboteurs: they’ve got a rare Aristotle, and they won’t tell anybody, as the murders mount.

holocaust book burning
Berlin, 1933

You may know, particularly if you’ve read a lot of pk, “vulgar,” as in vulgate, means common, popular. Latin Vulgate is misleading: it would be clearer if it were called Old Italian. The people never spoke Latin; they spoke Italian. Only the rulers used Latin: to make speeches in. Caesar ran for office in Latin, otherwise he spoke Greek. Cicero mastered rhetoric in Latin, otherwise he spoke Greek. But of course both Gaius and Cicero would have understood Italian, could have spoken it if they had to: it was the language of their servants, their peasants: the common people.

Notice: Judaism based its authority on a book. That book has a few features in common with the authority Christianity is based on. Americans too worship a document, an assortment of documents, and have lawyers and judges and courts to rule on what the documents mean. The unofficial judgement of an American can’t be any better trusted that the literacy of a Jew or a Christian. The book can rule only through the ruling priest, no book can mean anything without supervision.

The Inquisition was relatively honest in their ungodly inhumane power ploys. The rabbis had to get Jesus out of the Temple, before more than two people had listened. Nazis, Americans are just more cookies from the cutter.

The US didn’t burn my books, my stuff was prevented from ever getting published: then, when I published it “myself,” the US censored it: symbolically the same as burning.
Be patient, as I try to be, we’ll see what semantics God employs at Judgment.
Fasten your seat belts.



About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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One Response to Vulgar Latin

  1. Pingback: ~~WORD OF THE DAY~~ « YouthVoicesTT

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