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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sad Trombones Play for Rick Santorum

Posted by on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Wonkette:

Victimiest most victimized ever victim Rick “The President of Victims” Santorum has had a rough time carrying out his life’s mission as an unrepentant homophobic bigot, because his consistent dehumanizing attacks on gay people forced them to start a gay jihad against him (funny how war works, isn’t it, Rick?) that makes filthy results pop up top with any Google search of his name or presidential campaign. Most everyone knows this and finds it amusing and would probably forget about it eventually, except that Rick Santorum keeps bringing it up. Now he is appealing directly to the gods of Google to “fix” this with the helpful suggestion that Google would voluntarily censor legal Internet search results if a crazy liberal politician asked them to. That’ll win ‘em over, Rick!

TPM:

Danny Sullivan is editor of SearchEngineLand, a go-to home for news and information about the world of internet search. He explained Tuesday that Santorum is not actually the victim of a “Googlebomb” in the classic sense, but rather has been bested online by critics led by LGBT activist Dan Savage.

In a classic Googlebombing—which Google did crack down on when it was used to tie searches for “miserable failure” to George W. Bush back during the Republicans administration—pranksters tricked Google’s algorithm into sending (for lack of a better term) the “wrong” results for a search. An example could be you entered “apple” in the Google bar and got back a page about bananas thanks to people purposefully tricking the algorithm. “Google said ‘we don’t like people kind of spraying graffitti all over our results,’” Sullivan said of the Googlebomb. “So they instituted a fix.” Basically, an improved algorithm was rolled out that could combat the Googlebomb practice.

This is not what happened to Santorum, Sullivan explained. Savage literally created a new definition for the word “Santorum” and then made a website explaining it. That explanation has become accepted and — “in some quarters,” Sullivan said — a topic people actually go searching for when they enter santorum into Google.... “At his point there’s nobody who could not argue [Savage’s definition of santorum] is not a definition in a lot of quarters,” Sullivan said. “So for him to say Google could get rid of it would be like him saying, ‘I don’t like the word unicorn and I think that that definition should go away.’”

Salon:

If Rick Santorum wants to fix his "Google problem" he should consider being personally more popular and professionally more influential than the people who are making fun of him. If Joe Biden were as widely hated and as much of a complete failure as a human being and politician as Santorum, he would be similarly unable to cleanse his Google results of negative content. But can I just ask what this means: "If you're a responsible business, you don't let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country.” Google is hurting the country by not censoring Rick Santorum's search results? Does Rick Santorum really think he'd be a front-runner if Dan Savage hadn't made his name a funny sex joke?

 

Comments (39) RSS

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39
I'm going to be a neologist when I grow up. Or until I grow up.
Posted by Anon-o-mouse on October 2, 2011 at 2:31 PM · Report this
kim in portland 38
ankylosaur,

Indeed I did bring it up. I find the subject exceedingly fascinating. I can only imagine the difficulty it would be to convey meanings of transcribed words from Hebrew society within the Hellenistic period into English and then into an indigenous language. The likelihood of loosing or altering something is huge even with the best of intentions, in my opinion. The way to really understand is to actually live together and dialog. I envy your work.

I've just finished a paper on the word 'divine' as it is applied to the "nature" of Jesus. Specifically looking at five (5) differing theories in early Christian literature, especially canonical, upon the backdrop of Hellenistic world where hero cults existed for kings and great men declared "divine" demigods, healing gods, and emperors were declared "divine" (divus) because of their spiritual essence and accomplishments and were thus worshiped.

I'll close by sharing a version of John 3:16 (SV), it is considered a "dynamic equivalent" translation into English. This is how God loved the world: God gave up an only son, so every one who believes (is committed, is loyal, shares allegiance) in him will not be lost but have unending life.

I appreciate your "few comments" immensely. I wish I was better educated to converse on the topic of intercultural translations. Thank you again.

Take care, Slog friend.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM · Report this
37
Thanks, 5280! (I don't even know how to use the RSS feed... that's the kind of dinosaur I am. :-)
Posted by ankylosaur on September 22, 2011 at 1:32 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 36
Hijack away, ankylosaur. Nobody's reading this thread but you guys anymore anyway. (Oh, and the handful of us who use the RSS feed, but we don't count.)
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 22, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
35
Kim & BlackRose, this topic (of inter-cultural translations) is one I find so interesting, I could go on for hours on end. I don't want to highjack the comments thread though. I'll make a few comments here since the two of you brought this up; but if anyone else feels this is not the right place tells me so, I won't continue.

"Love" is one of my favorite concepts because it's so culture-dependent. As you maybe know, the Greeks had at least three words for it: ἀγάπη, something like 'true' or 'spiritual' love (also love towards one's children or parents); ἔρως, 'strong love', 'physical love', 'erotic love', 'obsessive love'; and φιλία 'brotherly love, friendship love, virtuous, dispassionate love-as-admiration'. Because English has only 'love' (perhaps also 'passion' and 'affection'), this makes the translations of NT texts lack some of the context that the more specific Greek words suggest to their readers.

Now, the Indigenous languages I know best don't seem at first to have a word for it (Steinen, a 19th-century German explorer and language researcher, once wrote about how he tried to get a word for 'love' from a speaker of one of these languages, Bakairi: after hours of trying, and describing all kinds of love -- from φιλία to ἔρως via ἀγάπη (often going into graphic details you don't usually expect from respected 19th century scholars) -- he couldn't get a word for it from his Bakairi speaker.

After a little more study into it, it became clear that of course speakers of Cariban languages did have words for 'love' in some sense or another (except they turned out to be prepositions -- actually postpositions -- rather than nouns or verbs... but that's not really important for translation efforts), but they were not built around (or had as its prototypical examples) couples or sexual attraction. Using examples from the language I know best (Tiriyó), there is a word se, which can translate 'love', but also 'want, need', and whose prototype is closer to 'the feeling that one needs something' (it is, for instance, what makes hunters go to the forest: they se game). It can be used in milder contexts: a parent can say to a child that s/he se him/her (which in this case means s/he couldn't bear the idea of the child moving away, or that there is a special connection or bond between them); and also, of course, between lovers (I once overheard a woman saying to a guy, 'don't leave me! I se you! I can't live without you!', which does get to what we'd call 'love', but still via the 'need/want' angle of love.)

And then there's this other word, pïïnë (also a postposition... a weird language this one is, as Yoda would put it). At first it was translated to me as meaning 'jealous', i.e. it could be used to describe the justification for a woman getting angry if her husband spends too much time with other women. But then I was told (by a self-styled Christian Tiriyó) that being pïïnë is also the reason why God is so good to us. Looking at various contexts, I came to the conclusion that pïïnë means something like "the emotion you feel for something or someone that you want to protect". (So, as an activist Tiriyó said, Indians should protect their reservation because they feel pïïnë for their land; the derived adjective tïpïïnë means something like 'important', 'vital', 'something that cannot be ignored' -- a typical speaker's list would include one's children and spouse, one's extended family [especially, for cultural reasons, one's brother-in-law], one's manioc plantation, one's house, one's canoe...).

So we have se, 'love-as-need/want', and pïïnë, 'love-as-desire-to-protect', 'love-as-caring-for'. Different NT translations into different languages (all related languages, so they had words like se and pïïnë) made different choices here, sometimes favoring se (say, when talking about man's love for God), and sometimes favoring pïïnë (say, when talking about God's love for man). In at least a few cases, in the language I know best, this led to some Indians actually disliking either the NT translation, or the whole religion -- the

All in all, it's a difficult question to decide whether or not you can "explain" one culture to another. I often think that you do have to go experience it yourself, talk to the people in that culture, and come to your own conclusions. Attempts to explain it -- by using another language, other concepts, other lifestyles... -- can be helpful (if you're smart and can see through them), but more often than not they cause misunderstandings. In sum, I find it really difficult to imagine a NT translation into an indigenous language that would really 'work' -- no matter how full of local cultural references it is. See, (IMHO) one of the most beautiful sentences in the Bible is John 3:16: (KJV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." When translated into a Cariban language, one either has to go for 'love-as-need/want' ('God needed/wanted the world / us so much that...') or one has to go for 'love-as-need-to-protect') ('God wanted to protect us so much that...') [I note in passing: they don't say 'the world' in the indigenous versions -- yet another concept they don't have a word for --; they say 'us']. The first version makes it seem like god was taking a calculated risk; the second version makes it seem like god was afraid of what would happen to us if he didn't do something. The idea of 'love' as this mere happiness at the existence of something else is not found in either version, and -- I assume -- would not spontaneously appear in the mind of a reader who isn't familiar with Western concepts of love.

So what would such a reader understand from this sentence? That god needs us (what for?)? Or that we are god's things, so he wants to protect what is his against attacks from strangers (as the Indians would think about defending their lands against squatters)? Would the reader find this sentence beautiful? Would it make him understand the 'essence of Christianity'? How would he understand the relationship between god and humanity that this sentences tries to portray?

I'm afraid s/he would get the wrong idea -- not what John meant to say, but something else. It's a pity, but it seems the only way to understand things from other cultures is really experience them, or then talk and talk and talk and think and think and think and contextualize and contextualize and contextualize.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on September 22, 2011 at 11:29 AM · Report this
kim in portland 34
Thank you, ankylosaur,

I have sat through lectures on the meaning of the word we translate as 'believe'. Same thing is thought there, 'believe' meant something different to the author(s) of the Gospel of John. Interesting indeed.

I've only sat through a few lectures and more guests sermons from visiting missionaries. I've always wondered about the extent of confusion that could be created, maybe it was my years of leading a Bible study and writing study guides, but I found too many questions and too many attempts to, for lack of a better expression, of trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole or make what I learned line up with what they already knew/believed. I guess I lack the imagination to think it would be easier for missionary translations.

Thank you again for responding.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 22, 2011 at 6:44 AM · Report this
33
ankyosaur,

At least Santorum's getting name recognition out of it.

And can you say more about the translations used of "grace," "faith," "love," and so forth? If there were a book on it, I'd love to read it. What strange translations were used?

Also: am I the only one who giggles at seeing raindrop's sentence posted again and again?
Posted by BlackRose on September 22, 2011 at 4:46 AM · Report this
Noadi 32
Help help I'm being repressed!
Posted by Noadi http://noadi.net on September 22, 2011 at 1:53 AM · Report this
31
Quite an interesting video, Kim. Point well taken about χάρη, "gratia", grace -- which suggests the idea of 'grace' was something Paul was not thinking about and probably comes from medieval theological discussions. 'Grace' changed from what it meant when it was written down to what people started seeing in it in later centuries. The text remains the same, but the people change. Interesting.

I have several stories about NT mistranslations based on a lack of understanding for the culture -- my favorite is how Claude Leavitt, who worked with the Tiriyó/Trio indians of Surinam, translated 'lamb' as muriki, which is the word the Tiriyó use for sheep, without realizing that it was a reference to the smell of these animals rather than a simple word, so 'lamb of god' ended up sounding to the Tiriyó/Trio as something like 'god's smelly pet'. (Also, the total absence of any tradition of sacrificing lambs made the very metaphor on which the 'lamb of god' is based quite difficult for them to understand.)

I've seen much better translations, who do take into account not only the local culture and traditional histories, but even their usual discourse patterns and storytelling style (Desmond Derbyshire's Hixkaryana translation, which I'm looking at right now, is an example). Still there's a problem there, which is that, in rendering the NT story in terms as close as possible to the Hixkaryana culture as possible, one wonders how much is left. Often, those old Hebrews behaved in ways that are quite puzzling to a Hixkaryana indian, and the puzzlement doesn't go away just because the metaphors are about monkeys or manioc or hammocks rather than doves or bread or beds.

And I must say that, in the end, my opinion about the missionary translation endeavor is rather negative. Often enough they caused more problems than they solved, despite their best intentions. (Oh, there is a very long discussion here, and a nuanced one at that, before I can really justify my opinion. But indeed, all in all I see more bad results coming from this endeavor than good ones, for all kinds of reasons.)
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on September 22, 2011 at 1:42 AM · Report this
kim in portland 30
Ankylosaur,

Here is a YouTube video on "The Authentic Letters of Paul" (2010-ISBN: 978-1-59815-019-3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZV0OYKSm…

The book is the subject of the "The Fourth R" (ISSN 0893-1658) volume 24, number 5.

It would be fascinating to learn how missionary linguists solve translation issues. I know of one who shared that he used their stories, meaning he learned the stories and the rituals of the tribe first and then drew parallels to the gospel story. He called it "looking for God's thumbprint in another culture" and found it the most successful means to explain key biblical concepts.

And, I agree about using the "I'm being martyred" as a fund raising technique. The claim that one is being persecuted resonates for many, and some consider persecution to be evidence that God is pleased.

Thank you for responding. I appreciate hearing your thoughts. You are very kind.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 21, 2011 at 3:02 PM · Report this
29
@27 (Kim),

the need for money is probably also present, but the use of the siatution as a plea for donations is based on the victimization card -- 'look, I'm a martyr!' -- on which he apparently intends to cash. I suppose the majority guess is right and he'll end up as a pundit in Fox News or something similar.

Kim, I'm not a specialist in biblical translation -- I mean, I'm as interested as anyone else in what a new, dynamic (using Eugene Nida's word) translation of 1 Corinthians would have to say about the old ἀρσενοκοίτης problem... but I don't know enough about the socio-historical and archaeological background of the Holy Land to judge. I'm interested in the opinions of the specialists, though. (If you have a reference or link to this new translation, I'd love to see it. With so many already extant translations of the New Testament into English -- both dynamic and literal -- it will be interesting to see how the new one defines itself as different from the others.)

Out of sheer coincidence, I happen to be currently analyzing a couple of New Testament translations into South American indigenous languages (I'm more familiar with that area of the world) that I know well, for research reasons (I'm studying certain particles and their relations to tense-aspect suffixes in the languages in question). Every now and then I think someone could write a book on the curious solutions missionary linguists found for the translation of certain key biblical concepts, like "grace", "faith", "Kingdom of God", "worship", "pray", and even the apparently simple idea of "love".

Take care, Kim. You're so often the voice of reason here.
Posted by ankylosaur on September 21, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
28
What? The employees are standing around the water cooler talking about what a dick I am? That does it, we're getting rid of that water cooler.
Posted by Proteus on September 21, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
kim in portland 27
@21 (ankylosaur),

You maybe right. I would not exclude his need for funds as he uses it as a plea for donations as well.

Completely off topic but I've been awaiting the arrival of a "dynamic equivalent" translation of six letters attributed to Paul. This translation is raising some eyebrows because it isn't a literal translation and it has put emphasis upon socio-historical and archaeological evidence to better understand the semantic world of their period. I find it fascinating, but I'm a novice. I think it is something that you're better educated to understand than I am.

Take care.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 21, 2011 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 26
I feel very bad for all the folks who have Manson, Bundy, Gacy, Dahmer, and Santorum as their last names.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on September 21, 2011 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Fred Casely 25
@15: or how about "Rick President?" That way, his goal is achieved and he can fade into obscurity.
Posted by Fred Casely on September 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM · Report this
treacle 24
Boo hoo for Dick Santorum He stepped in it himself. If he weren't so divisive and hadn't said such patently incorrect and aggressive things, he wouldn't have this "problem".

So, you know, just desserts, Dicky boy.

@20 -- Hm. Yeah, about that forgiveness thing.
There's forgiving, and then there's laying down and taking abuse. And then there's fighting back and putting up a burning street barricade so that the person(s) abusing you and your people can't make any further progress in their abuse, or obtain more power in order to abuse more people.

You're not actually defending Dicky Santorum, are you?

Perhaps you'll want to have a word with Dick Santorum and the anti-gay grudge heclumsily wields like a poorly-honed axe.

Posted by treacle on September 21, 2011 at 11:07 AM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 23
I'm happy Danny Sullivan set the record straight. "Frothy mix" Santorum is not a Google bomb; it's a legitimate web page with a greater internet presence than "raging asshole" Santorum. The Google search results are thus not a hack or a "Google bomb." Rather, they reflect the online reality.

Of note, the "frothy mix" definition is first on Bing and Yahoo as well.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on September 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM · Report this
22
@19-20, only if you could also do the same and learn to forgive him. Remember, children: you convince others better when you practice what you preach.
Posted by ankylosaur on September 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM · Report this
21
@4 (kim in portland), I was thinking about the same thing a couple of days ago. I suppose I would simply ignore this if I were him, just as others did in similar circumstances (Ray Comfort ignored YouTube celebrity ZOMGitsCriss's video against his anti-evolution/pro-creationism views of history; she got more than a 1,000,000 views and her arguments against his are quite good, but he did understand that things would be worse if he kept making reference to her video.

I suspect in Mr Santorum's case it's a mixture of two things: (a) the attempt to be a victim, and the belief that if somehow he becomes a victim in America's heart then the santorum website will shine like Christ's stigmata on Saint Francis of Assisi and make him an admired martyr; and (b) the emotional need to do something about it, increased by the strength of (sexual) repression in him -- the same kind of thing that makes it impossible for a number of straight guys to resist and say nothing if someone calls them a faggot. (In my native country, Brazil, being called a faggot in highschool and not immediately going physical was seen as clear evidence of 'guilt', and of weakness...).
Posted by ankylosaur on September 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM · Report this
20
4

as slog's resident approved homoliberal friendly 'christian' have you explained to Danny how important it is to forgive?

how hate and resentment and spite will eat a person up?

how he is enslaved to the grudge he won't let go of?

perhaps you could explain it to him......
Posted by sdre45 on September 21, 2011 at 10:15 AM · Report this
19
you must admit that our little Danny's obsession with Rick is impressive.

tho bad for our little Danny's health......
Posted by little orphan Danny on September 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM · Report this
raindrop 18
@17: Always appreciate grammar corrections. Thanks!
Posted by raindrop on September 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
17
@14
I feel very bad (not badly--as that is grammatically incorrect) for all folks that have Nixon as their last name. I've felt that way since 1972.

Somehow Cynthia Nixon surivived, anyway.
Posted by Clayton on September 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Joe M 16
Those aren't sad trombones playing for Rick. They're sad, rusty trombones.
Posted by Joe M on September 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 15
He needs a name change. I think "Rick Buttsecks" is available.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 21, 2011 at 9:18 AM · Report this
raindrop 14
I feel very badly for all folks that have Santorum as their last name.
Posted by raindrop on September 21, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 13
Way back in the dark ages of 2003, I thought this was hilarious, but assumed the joke would die off after a few months.

But no. This is the gift that keeps on giving. So full of win.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on September 21, 2011 at 9:13 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 12
@10 - No, it's okay, Swearengen. We're already on it (see Outercow @6). You go take a nap.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on September 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM · Report this
11
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH
Posted by maddogm13 on September 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM · Report this
10
grow up
Posted by Swearengen on September 21, 2011 at 8:28 AM · Report this
9
Rickieboy is such a shmeckel. The reaction to his whining is hilarious.

Gee, I really hope he doesn't go top himself, poor lamb. Phtphtblllpth!
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on September 21, 2011 at 8:15 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 8
Oh, and something, something, Danny something 20% bullshit.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on September 21, 2011 at 7:59 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 7
Wait. Is that guy saying the definition of unicorn is legal? What about the children?

Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on September 21, 2011 at 7:58 AM · Report this
OuterCow 6
I hope I can grow up to be someone who has the influence to create a neologism.
Posted by OuterCow on September 21, 2011 at 7:52 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 5
I feel sorry for everyone who lacks the influence to create a neologism.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on September 21, 2011 at 7:23 AM · Report this
kim in portland 4
What I can't fathom is why he doesn't just ignore this. He is part of what makes the site popular, because he continually invites people to click it. Same with Peter LaBarbara (sp?) with his attending "homosexual events" undercover to expose them to his readers and other self-proclaimed "morality" police. I'm guessing that maintaining the attention is more important, and maybe they thrive on the drama. Popularity (and money) is a terrible masters to submit to.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 21, 2011 at 7:04 AM · Report this
3
I can't get enough of this.
Posted by larf2k on September 21, 2011 at 6:54 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 2
The more he bitches about it, the worse the Google Bomb grows. I hope no one tells him it's viral.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on September 21, 2011 at 6:40 AM · Report this
1
Dan contributed mightily, but really nobody can make Santorum look like santorum more than Santorum.

Everything about this blog post makes me happy. Happy on humpday.
Posted by CogInTheMachine on September 21, 2011 at 6:38 AM · Report this

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