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At 20:13 26/1/98, Andrew Smith wrote in reply to me [Ray]:
>I got the impression that you were a Catholic when you replied to a rather
>silly piece of wordplay concerning the Pope on the Conlang list last year.
You remembered! The other guy was very penitent in subsequent private
emails to me; I also got some private emails thanking me. It wasn't so
much that the word play was silly - puns on 'potato' & 'pope' are fairly
harmless - but that this one was obscene, which I know many, including
non-Catholic subscribers, thought went beyond what is acceptable on a
public list. However, that's in the past.
>Your initial reply to Peter left me somewhat confused.
Sorry - trying too obliquely I suppose to hint that objective language was
preferable to subjective when dealing with religion (not always easy, I
know!) if one wants to avoid treading on people's toes. In a small group
like ours I think it best to avoid doing so if possible.
>As for myself I have been attending the Presbyterian churches since
>sometime between conception and birth with one or two occasional forays
>into other traditions.
I seem to remember you're telling me this before. I'm afraid my experience
of my cradle religion was rather different and in my teens I make forrays
into several other traditions, but all strictly Protestant. In the 1950s
Britain was still essentially a Protestant nation & I was brought up with
all the anti-Catholic propaganda that had grown up over the previous 4
centuries; the result was that I myself was determinedly anti-Catholic
since I saw the Roman Church as a paganized & politicized corruption of
Then I had experience not so very different from Paul's on the way to
Damascus to persecute Christians. Yes, I certainly heard a voice as
dramatic & reprimanding as Paul heard. It's a most shattering experience I
assure you. I guess Paul must've been utterly bewildered as it shattered
the teachings he'd been brought up with; I bet he could no more understand
it than I could. But I knew I had no choice. Despite grave intellectual
misgivings - I'm sure Paul must have had the same after his strict
Pharasaic upbringing - I knew the stark choice was to obey or reject. But
once I accepted then I knew a happiness I'd not experienced before - like
coming home at long last.
>I am loyal to my denomination, but I am aware of
>its flaws and failings.
Yes, I think no major denomination is without flaws & failings. After all,
Christ came to call sinners. I know that among the Popes one will find
great sinners (e.g. Alexander VI [hope I got the number right :-)], but
there are also great saints and a whole lot of "in-betweens", like most of
>Despite all the suffering caused through the
>Christian religion I still remain convinced of the reality that is at its
On that we both agree.
>The Goons are good (Ys es gaddad in lla ag!), I shall always be
>Bluebottle. I grew up in a generation that first heard the radio version
>of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy though. I am also a Pratchett
Somehow I missed the original radio series, but I've thoroughly enjoyed
readng the books.
>> Anyway, back to Brithenig.
>> Though not a historian, I sense that Andrew is treating the history of the
>> Kemr exactly the same way: avoiding unlikely, extravagant excesses &
>> keeping it within the bounds of plausibility. I think Andrew's objective
>> approach is the right one to take. I was just cautioning in my original
>> posting about bringing in subjective interpretations; maybe I should've
>> expressed myself a little more tactfully.
>Mui, a scholar!? I would be the first to deny it. I love to read and
>research and that is what I have done.
Yep - but you've applied your research in a thorough & consistent way, it
seems to me. That's what I meant.
>In my Bibliography I admit the
>creation of the Brithenig language was not an original idea, I merely
>experimented with it.
No, no - I know the _idea_ is not new. I seem to recall Tolkien speculated
about British Romancelang. But you did rather more than just experiment.
You're too modest. You've given the idea flesh & bones and brought an
entirely plausible "paralanguage" into being.
>I also like creating alternative history out a love
>for that particular science fiction subgenre. I'm not being totally
>subjective - the Chomro would have properly had as little chance staying
>independant as the Cymru.
That depends on events in England. Offa, e.g. seems to have been quite
happy with the status quo. It was the Normans who changed things & tried
to bring Wales & Scotland under their sway.
>I consider that the Cambriese Rite survives despite the depridations of
>the Roman Rite because it continues to have Royal patronage. Not sure if
>it is established or not.
A Cambriese rite could certainly have maintained itself in the middle ages;
local rites, e.g. the Sarum rite in England, were not uncommon. It was the
Reformation which changed things; the Catholic Church, feeling threatened,
reformed its liturgy but felt impelled to establish the Tridentine rite
universally in the Western Church. It would've been remarkable if the
Cambriese rite resisted that, even with royal patronage. There most likely
reason for it survive would seem to me if (a) it did receive royal
patronage, (b) the Cambriese Church was sort of isolated from the rest of
the western Church by a Protestant England and (c) it was considered that
allowing the Chomro to retain their older rite was the best way of
preventing further Protestant inroads in Britain. I haven't read your
'history' yet - must do so - so I don't know how such a scenario fits with
>Apology to Ray from me, two of my flatmates were arguing whether a
>literate computer geek was a contradiction in terms. One of them turned
>to me and asked didn't I correspond with a guy in Britain who teaches
>computers and as a degree in Latin...
...and ancient Greek. And one master's degree as a result of researching
pre-Greek linguistic material and another for studying computer science.
Depends how one defines 'geek', I suppose. I understand it to me a
"techno-nerd" & that a "nerd" is someone who lives & breaths his own
(engineering) specialism & has no culture outside of that. I understand a
computer geek as someone who knows all the inner workings of these
machines, loves programming, especially at low levels (what fun!) and just
lives for and dreams about the things & is utterly at a loss if deprived of
a computer. Such beings are, indeed, illiterate.
I think of myself as a polymath.
>I have just read Peter's E-mail. I laughed so loud at the first paragraph
>that my flatmates started wondering what I was reading on the computer.
Written in Net English Humor not marked
No intentional misreprsentation of another's statements
No intentional ad_hominem remarks
Gerasko d'aei polla didaskomenos (SOLON)