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December 25, 2011
Texts, 2011
Posted by Teresa at 12:00 AM *

Luke 2:1-14, Anglo-Saxon (via):

Soþlice on þam dagum wæs geworden gebod fram þam casere Augusto, þæt eall ymbehwyrft wære tomearcod. Þeos tomearcodnes wæs æryst geworden fram þam deman Syrige Cirino. And ealle hig eodon, and syndrige ferdon on hyra ceastre. Ða ferde Iosep fram Galilea of þære ceastre Nazareth on Iudeisce ceastre Dauides, seo is genemned Beþleem, for þam þe he wæs of Dauides huse and hirede; þæt he ferde mid Marian þe him beweddod wæs, and wæs geeacnod. Soþlice wæs geworden þa hi þar wæron, hire dagas wæron gefyllede þæt heo cende. And heo cende hyre frumcennedan sunu, and hine mid cildclaþum bewand, and hine on binne alede, for þam þe hig næfdon rum on cumena huse. And hyrdas wæron on þam ylcan rice waciende, and nihtwæccan healdende ofer heora heorda. Þa stod Drihtnes engel wiþ hig, and Godes beorhtnes him ymbe scean; and hi him mycelum ege adredon. And se engel him to cwæð, Nelle ge eow adrædan; soþlice nu ic eow bodie mycelne gefean, se bið eallum folce; for þam to dæg eow ys Hælend acenned, se is Drihten Crist, on Dauides ceastre. And þis tacen eow byð: Ge gemetað an cild hræglum bewunden, and on binne aled. And þa wæs færinga geworden mid þam engle mycelnes heofenlices werydes, God heriendra and þus cweþendra, Gode sy wuldor on heahnesse, and on eorðan sybb mannum godes willan.

Luke 2:1-20, tr. John Wycliffe, 1382 (via)

And it was don in tho daies, a maundement wente out fro the emperour August, that al the world schulde be discryued. :: This firste discryuyng was maad of Cyryn, iustice of Sirie. :: And alle men wenten to make professioun, ech in to his owne citee. :: And Joseph wente vp fro Galilee, fro the citee Nazareth, in to Judee, in to a citee of Dauid, that is clepid Bethleem, for that he was of the hous and of the meyne of Dauid, :: that he schulde knouleche with Marie, his wijf, that was weddid to hym, and was greet with child. :: And it was don, while thei weren there, the daies weren fulfillid, that sche schulde bere child. :: And sche bare hir first borun sone, and wlappide hym in clothis, and leide hym in a cratche, for ther was no place to hym in no chaumbir. :: And scheepherdis weren in the same cuntre, wakynge and kepynge the watchis of the nyyt on her flok. :: And lo! the aungel of the Lord stood bisidis hem, and the cleernesse of God schinede aboute hem; and thei dredden with greet drede. :: And the aungel seide to hem, Nyle ye drede; for lo! Y preche to you a greet ioye, that schal be to al puple. :: For a sauyoure is borun to dai to you, that is Crist the Lord, in the citee of Dauid. :: And this is a tokene to you; ye schulen fynde a yong child wlappid in clothis, and leid in a cratche. :: And sudenli ther was maad with the aungel a multitude of heuenli knyythod, heriynge God, :: and seiynge, Glorie be in the hiyeste thingis to God, and in erthe pees be to men of good wille. :: And it was don, as the aungelis passiden awei fro hem in to heuene, the scheephirdis spaken togider, and seiden, Go we ouer to Bethleem, and se we this word that is maad, which the Lord hath maad, and schewide to vs. :: And thei hiyynge camen, and founden Marie and Joseph, and the yong child leid in a cratche. :: And thei seynge, knewen of the word that was seid to hem of this child. :: And alle men that herden wondriden, and of these thingis that weren seid to hem of the scheephirdis. :: But Marie kepte alle these wordis, berynge togider in hir herte. :: And the scheepherdis turneden ayen, glorifyinge and heriynge God in alle thingis that thei hadden herd and seyn, as it was seid to hem.

Luke 2:1-20, tr. William Tyndale, 1530

And it chaunced in thoose dayes: yt ther went oute a comaundment from Auguste the Emperour that all the woorlde shuld be taxed. :: And this taxynge was ye fyrst and executed when Syrenius was leftenaut in Syria. :: And every man went vnto his awne citie to be taxed. :: And Ioseph also ascended from Galile oute of a cite called Nazareth into Iurie: vnto ye cite of David which is called Bethleem because he was of the housse and linage of David :: to be taxed with Mary his spoused wyfe which was with chylde. :: And it fortuned whyll they were there her tyme was come that she shuld be delyvered. :: And she brought forth her fyrst begotten sonne and wrapped him in swadlynge cloothes and layed him in a manger because ther was no roume for them within in the ynne. :: And ther were in the same region shepherdes abydinge in the felde and watching their flocke by nyght. :: And loo: the angell of ye lorde stode harde by them and the brightnes of ye lorde shone rounde aboute them and they were soare afrayed. :: But the angell sayd vnto them: Be not afrayed. For beholde I bringe you tydinges of greate ioye yt shal come to all ye people: :: for vnto you is borne this daye in the cite of David a saveoure which is Christ ye lorde. :: And take this for a signe: ye hall fynde ye chylde swadled and layed in a mager. :: And streight waye ther was with the angell a multitude of hevenly sowdiers laudynge God and sayinge: :: Glory to God an hye and peace on the erth: and vnto men reioysynge. :: And it fortuned assone as the angels were gone awaye fro them in to heven the shepherdes sayd one to another: let vs goo eve vnto Bethleem and se this thynge that is hapened which the Lorde hath shewed vnto vs. :: And they cam with haste and founde Mary and Ioseph and the babe layde in a mager. :: And when they had sene it they publisshed a brode the sayinge which was tolde them of that chylde. :: And all that hearde it wondred at those thinges which were tolde the of the shepherdes. :: But Mary kept all thoose sayinges and pondered them in hyr hert. :: And the shepherdes retourned praysinge and laudinge God for all that they had herde and sene evyn as it was told vnto them.

Luke 2:1-20, tr. Miles Coverdale, 1535

It fortuned at the same tyme, that there wete out a comaundement fro Augustus the Emperoure, that the whole worlde shulde be taxed. And this taxynge was the first that was executed, whan Syrenius was leftenaunt in Siria. And they wente all, euery one to his owne cite to be taxed. Then Ioseph gat him vp also fro Galile, out of the cite of Nazareth, in to Iewry, to ye cite of Dauid, which is called Bethleem, (because he was of ye house and lynage of Dauid) that he might be taxed wt Mary his spoused wife, which was wt childe. And it fortuned whyle they were there, ye tyme was come, that she shulde be delyuered. And she brought forth hir first begotte sonne, & wrapped him in swadlinge clothes, and layed him in a maunger: for they had els no rowme in the ynne.

And there were in ye same region shepherdes in the felde by the foldes, and watchinge their flocke by night. And beholde, ye angell of the Lorde stode by the, and ye brightnes of the Lorde shone rounde aboute them, and they were sore afrayed. And the angell sayde vnto them: Be not afrayed. Beholde, I brynge you tydiges of greate ioye, which shall happen vnto all people: for vnto you this daye is borne ye Sauioure, eue Christ ye Lorde, in the cite of Dauid. And take this for a token: Ye shal fynde the babe swadled, and layed in a maunger. And straight waye there was by the angell a multitude of heauenly hoostes, which praysed God, and sayde: Glory be vnto God an hye, & peace vpon earth, and vnto men a good wyll.

And it fortuned wha the angels were gone from the in to heaue, the shepherdes sayde one to another: let vs go now euen vnto Bethleem, and se this thinge that is happened, which ye Lorde hath shewed vnto vs. And they came wt haist, & founde both Mary and Ioseph, & the babe layed in ye maunger. And whan they had sene it, they published abrode the sayenge, yt was tolde the of this childe. And all they that herde it, wondred at the wordes, which the shepherdes had tolde them. But Mary kepte all these sayenges, and pondred them in hir hert. And the shepherdes returned, praysinge and laudinge God, for all that they had herde and sene, euen as it was tolde them.

Luke 2:1-14, King James Version, 1611

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, she being great with child.

And so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered; and she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes; and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: That ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:1-14 - Δοξα εν υψιστοις θεω, και επι γης ειρηνη εν ανθρωποις ευδοκιας
εγενετο δε εν ταις ημεραις εκειναις εξηλθεν δογμα παρα καισαρος αυγουστου απογραφεσθαι πασαν την οικουμενην
    αυτη απογραφη πρωτη εγενετο ηγεμονευοντος της συριας κυρηνιου
    και επορευοντο παντες απογραφεσθαι εκαστος εις την εαυτου πολιν
    ανεβη δε και ιωσηφ απο της γαλιλαιας εκ πολεως ναζαρεθ εις την ιουδαιαν εις πολιν δαυιδ ητις καλειται βηθλεεμ δια το ειναι αυτον εξ οικου και πατριας δαυιδ
    απογραψασθαι συν μαριαμ τη εμνηστευμενη αυτω ουση εγκυω
    εγενετο δε εν τω ειναι αυτους εκει επλησθησαν αι ημεραι του τεκειν αυτην
    και ετεκεν τον υιον αυτης τον πρωτοτοκον και εσπαργανωσεν αυτον και ανεκλινεν αυτον εν φατνη διοτι ουκ ην αυτοις τοπος εν τω καταλυματι
    και ποιμενες ησαν εν τη χωρα τη αυτη αγραυλουντες και φυλασσοντες φυλακας της νυκτος επι την ποιμνην αυτων
    και αγγελος κυριου επεστη αυτοις και δοξα κυριου περιελαμψεν αυτους και εφοβηθησαν φοβον μεγαν
    και ειπεν αυτοις ο αγγελος μη φοβεισθε ιδου γαρ ευαγγελιζομαι υμιν χαραν μεγαλην ητις εσται παντι τω λαω
    οτι ετεχθη υμιν σημερον σωτηρ ος εστιν χριστος κυριος εν πολει δαυιδ
    και τουτο υμιν το σημειον ευρησετε βρεφος εσπαργανωμενον και κειμενον εν φατνη
    και εξαιφνης εγενετο συν τω αγγελω πληθος στρατιας ουρανιου αινουντων τον θεον και λεγοντων
    δοξα εν υψιστοις θεω και επι γης ειρηνη εν ανθρωποις ευδοκιας

(Thank you, Nick Whyte.)

Luke 2:1-20 in Old Church Slavonic:

мѣсѧца дєкѧбр҄ја иг въ навєчєриѥ рождьства хрьстова єванћєлиѥ отъ лѹкъі глава в въ оно врѣмѧ изідє заповѣдь отъ кєсарѣ авгоста напісаті в҄сѫ вьсєлєнѫѭ | сє напісаніє пръвоє бъістъ владѫщѹ сѹрієѭ и кѵрінієѭ | и идѣахѫ вьсі напісатъ сѧ кьждо въ свои градъ | вьзідє жє иосіфь отъ галілєѧ и града назарєтьска вь июдєѭ вь градъ давъідовъ іжє наріцаєтъ сѧ віѳлєємь занє бѣашє отъ домѹ и отьчьствіѣ давъідова | напісатъ сѧ съ марієѭ обрѫчєнѫѭ ємѹ жєноѭ сѫштєѭ нєпраздъноѭ | бъістъ жє єгда бъістє тѹ исплънишѧ сѧ дєниє да родітъ | и роді съінъ свои пръвѣнєць и обитъі и и положі и въ ѣслєхъ занє нє бѣ има мѣста въ обитѣли | и пастъирі бѣахѫ въ тоиждє ст҄ранѣ бъдѧщє и стрѣгѫщє стражѫ нощьнѫѭ о стадѣ своємъ | и сє анћєлъ господьнь ста вь нихъ и слава господьнѣ осіѣ ѧ и ѹбоѣшѧ сѧ ст҄рахомъ вєлиємъ | и рєчє имъ анћєлъ нє боитє сѧ сє бо благовѣщаѭ вамъ радость вєліѭ ѣжє бѫдєт бьсѣмь людємъ | ѣко роді сѧ вамъ съпасъ іжє єстъ христъ господь въ градѣ давъідовѣ | и сє вамъ з҄намєниє обрѧстєтє младьнєць повітъ и лєжѧшть вь ѣслєхъ | и вънєзаапѫ бъістъ съ ангѣломъ м҄ножьство вои нєбєснъіих хвалѧштиихъ бога и глаголѭшть | сла въ въішніих богѹ и на зєми миръ въ чловѣцѣхъ благоволєниє | и бъістъ ѣко отідѫ оть ніхъ анћєлі на нєбо и чловѣци пастъирі рѣшѧ дрѹгь кь дрѹгѹ прѣидѣмъ ѹбо до віѳлєома и відімъ глаголь сь бъівьшіи єгожє господь съказа нам | и прѣидѫ под҄вігьшє сѧ и обрѣтѫ маріѭ и иосифа и младьнєць лєжѧшть вь ѣслєхъ | видѣвъшє жє ськазашѧ о глаголѣ глаголанѣмь о отрочѧті сємъ | и въсі слъішавъшє дівішѧ сѧ о глаголанъіихъ отъ пастъирь кь німъ | маріѣ жє вьсѧ съблюдаашє глаголъі сіи въ срьдьци своємъ | и възвратішѧ сѧ пастъірі славѧштє и хвалѧштє бога о в҄сѣхъ ѣжє слъішашѧ и відѣшѧ ѣкожє глаголано бъисть кь нимъ |

(Thank you, Xopher)

Vulgate: Luke 2:1-14

Factum est autem in diebus illis, exiit edictum a Cæsare Augusto ut describeretur universus orbis. Hæc descriptio prima facta est a præside Syriæ Cyrino: et ibant omnes ut profiterentur singuli in suam civitatem. Ascendit autem et Joseph a Galilæa de civitate Nazareth in Judæam, in civitatem David, quæ vocatur Bethlehem: eo quod esset de domo et familia David, ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore prægnante. Factum est autem, cum essent ibi, impleti sunt dies ut pareret. Et peperit filium suum primogenitum, et pannis eum involvit, et reclinavit eum in præsepio: quia non erat eis locus in diversorio. Et pastores erant in regione eadem vigilantes, et custodientes vigilias noctis super gregem suum. Et ecce angelus Domini stetit juxta illos, et claritas Dei circumfulsit illos, et timuerunt timore magno. Et dixit illis angelus: Nolite timere: ecce enim evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum, quod erit omni populo: quia natus est vobis hodie Salvator, qui est Christus Dominus, in civitate David. Et hoc vobis signum: invenietis infantem pannis involutum, et positum in præsepio. Et subito facta est cum angelo multitudo militiæ cælestis laudantium Deum, et dicentium: [Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.]

(Thank you, Sisuile.)

Luke 2:14 in Gothic

Warth than in dagans jainans. urrann gagrefts fram kaisara Agustau gameljan allana midjungard. soh than gilstrameleins frumista warth at wisandin kindina Swriais raginondin Saurim Kwreinaiau. jah iddjedun allai ei melidai weseina. hwarjizuh in seinai baurg. urrann than jah Iosef us Galeilaia. us baurg Nazaraith in Iudaian. in baurg Daweidis sei haitada Bethlaihaim duthe ei was us garda fadreinais Daweidis. anameljan mith Mariin. sei in fragiftim was imma qeins. wisandein inkilthon. warth than miththanei. tho wesun jainar. usfullnodedun dagos du bairan izai jah gabar sunu seinana thana frumabaur. jah biwand ina jah galagida ina in uzetin. unte ni was im rumis in stada thamma.

jah hairdjos wesun in thamma samin landa, thairhwakandans jah witandans wahtwom nahts ufaro hairdai seinai. ith aggilus fraujins anaqam ins jah wulthus fraujins biskain ins, jah ohtedun agisa mikilamma. jah qath du im sa aggilus: ni ogeith, unte sai, spillo izwis faheid mikila, sei wairthith allai managein, thatei gabaurans ist izwis himma daga nasjands, saei ist Xristus frauja, in baurg Daweidis. jah thata izwis taikns: bigitid barn biwundan jah galagid in uzetin. jah anaks warth mith thamma aggilau managei harjis himinakundis hazjandane guth jah qithandane:

wulthus in hauhistjam guda
jah ana airthai gawairthi in mannam godis wiljins.

(Thank you, Lisa Spangenberg, a.k.a. the Digital Medievalist; who in turn gives credit to “Jim Marchand, medievalist extraordinaire.”) (see also)

Luke 2:1-14 in Lallans Scots

About this time the Emperor Augustus pat furth an edick ordeinin at aa the fowk i the haill warld suid be registrate. This wis whan Quirinius wis Governor o Syria, an it wis the first time at siccan a thing hed been dune. Sae aabodie gaed tae be registrate, ilkane til his ain toun, Joseph amang the lave.

He belanged til the stock an faimlie o Dauvit, an sae it was wis tae Dauvit’s Toun, Bethlehem in Judaea, at he gaed doun frae Nazareth in Galilee for tae gie in his name, takkin Mary, at wis haundfastit til him, wi him. She wis boukin gin this; an whan they war in Bethlehem, she cam til her time an brocht hame her first-born son. She swealed the bairn in a barrie an beddit him in a heck, sin there wis nae room for them intil the inn.

Nou, i that same pairt the war a wheen herds bidin thereout on the hill an keepin gaird owre their hrisel at nicht. Suddent an angel o the Lord cam an stuid afore them, an the glorie o the Lord shined about them, an they war uncolie frichtit. But the angel said tae them: Binna nane afeard, I bring ye guid news o gryte blytheness for the haill fowk—this day in Dauvit’s Town a saviour hes born til ye, Christ the Lord! This gate ye s’ken it is een as I say: ye will finnd a new-born bairn swealed in a barrie an liggin intil a heck.

Syne in a gliff an unco thrang o the airmies o hieven kythed aside the angel, glein laud tae God an liltin:

Glore tae God i the heicht o heiven, an peace on the yird tae men he delytes in!

(Thank you, Lee Sandlin.)

Luke 2:1-14 in Swedish, trans. 2000

Vid den tiden utfärdade kejsar Augustus en förordning om att hela världen skulle skattskrivas. Det var den första skattskrivningen, och den hölls när Quirinius var ståthållare i Syrien. Alla gick då för att skattskriva sig, var och en till sin stad. Och Josef, som genom sin härkomst hörde till Davids hus, begav sig från Nasaret i Galileen upp till Judeen, till Davids stad Betlehem, för att skattskriva sig tillsammans med Maria, sin trolovade, som väntade sitt barn. Medan de befann sig där var tiden inne för henne att föda, och hon födde sin son, den förstfödde. Hon lindade honom och lade honom i en krubba, eftersom det inte fanns plats för dem inne i härbärget. I samma trakt låg några herdar ute och vaktade sin hjord om natten. Då stod Herrens ängel framför dem och Herrens härlighet lyste omkring dem, och de greps av stor förfäran. Men ängeln sade till dem: “Var inte rädda. Jag bär bud till er om en stor glädje, en glädje för hela folket. I dag har en frälsare fötts åt er i Davids stad, han är Messias, Herren. Och detta är tecknet för er: ni skall finna ett nyfött barn som är lindat och ligger i en krubba.” Och plötsligt var där tillsammans med ängeln en stor himmelsk här som prisade Gud:

“Ära i höjden åt Gud
och på jorden fred åt dem han har utvalt.”

Luke 2:1-14 in Swedish, trans. 1917

Och det hände sig vid den tiden att från kejsar Augustus utgick ett påbud att hela världen skulle skattskrivas. Detta var den första skattskrivningen, och den hölls, när Kvirinius var landshövding över Syrien. Då färdades alla var och en till sin stad, för att låta skattskriva sig. Så gjorde ock Josef; och eftersom han var av Davids hus och släkt, for han från staden Nasaret i Galileen upp till Davids stad, som heter Betlehem, i Judeen, för att låta skattskriva sig jämte Maria, sin trolovade, som var havande. Medan de voro där, hände sig att tiden var inne, då hon skulle föda. Och hon födde sin förstfödde son och lindade honom och lade honom i en krubba, ty det fanns icke rum för dem i härbärget. I samma nejd voro då några herdar ute på marken och höllo vakt om natten över sin hjord. Då stod en Herrens ängel framför dem, och Herrens härlighet kringstrålade dem; och de blevo mycket förskräckta. Men ängeln sade till dem: »Varen icke förskräckta. Se, jag bådar eder en stor glädje, som skall vederfaras allt folket. Ty i dag har en Frälsare blivit född åt eder i Davids stad, och han är Messias, Herren. Och detta skall för eder vara tecknet: I skolen finna ett nyfött barn, som ligger lindat i en krubba.» I detsamma sågs där jämte ängeln en stor hop av den himmelska härskaran, och de lovade Gud och sade:

»Ära vare Gud i höjden, och frid på jorden,
bland människor till vilka han har behag!» <

Luke 2:1-14 in Swedish, trans. 1541 - Gustavus Vasa’s bible, translated from Martin Luther’s bible

Thet begaff sigh j then tijdhen, at aff Keysar Augusto vthgick itt bodh, at all werlden skulle beskattas. Och thenna beskatning war then första, och skeedde vnder then Höffdingen offuer Syrien, Kyrenio. Och the gingo alle hwar vthi sin stadh, til at läta beskatta sigh. Så foor ock Joseph vp aff Galilea, aff then stadhen Nazareth in vthi Judeska landet, til Dauidz stadh, som heter Bethlehem, Ty han war aff Dauidz hws och slecht, på thet han skulle låta beskatta sigh medh Maria sijn troloffuadha hustru, hwilken haffuandes war. Så begaff sigh medhan the woro ther, wordo daghanar fulbordadhe, at hon skulle födha. Och hon födde sin förstfödda Son, och swepte honom j lindaklädher, och ladhe honom nedher j een krubbo, Ty them war icke rwm j herberghena. Och j then samma egnden woro någhre Heerdar, the ther wakadhe och höllo wård om nattena offuer sin hiord. Och sij, Herrans Ängel stoodh när them, och Herrans klarheet kringskeen them, och the wordo stoorligha förfäradhe. Och sadhe Ängelen til them, Warer icke förfäradhe, Sij, iagh bodhar idher stoor glädhi, hwilken allo folckena widerfaras skal, Ty jdagh är idher födder Frelsaren, som är Christus Herren, j Dauidz stadh. Och thetta skal wara idher för tekn. J skole finna Barnet swept j lindaklädher, nedherlagdt j een krubbo. Och strax wardt medh Ängelen itt stoort taal aff then himmelska häärskaran, the ther loffuadhe Gudh, och sadhe, Ära ware Gudh j högden, Och på jordenne fridh, Och menniskiomen en godh wilie.

(Thank you, Mikael Johansson.)

Nederlandse Statenvertaling (1637), Lukas 2:1-20

1 En het geschiedde in diezelfde dagen, dat er een gebod uitging van den Keizer Augustus, dat de gehele wereld beschreven zou worden.
2 Deze eerste beschrijving geschiedde, als Cyrenius over Syrie stadhouder was.
3 En zij gingen allen om beschreven te worden, een iegelijk naar zijn eigen stad.
4 En Jozef ging ook op van Galilea, uit de stad Nazareth, naar Judea, tot de stad Davids, die Bethlehem genaamd wordt, (omdat hij uit het huis en geslacht van David was);
5 Om beschreven te worden met Maria, zijn ondertrouwde vrouw, welke bevrucht was.
6 En het geschiedde, als zij daar waren, dat de dagen vervuld werden, dat zij baren zoude.
7 En zij baarde haar eerstgeboren Zoon, en wond Hem in doeken, en legde Hem neder in de kribbe, omdat voor henlieden geen plaats was in de herberg.
8 En er waren herders in diezelfde landstreek, zich houdende in het veld, en hielden de nachtwacht over hun kudde.
9 En ziet, een engel des Heeren stond bij hen, en de heerlijkheid des Heeren omscheen hen, en zij vreesden met grote vreze.
10 En de engel zeide tot hen: Vreest niet, want, ziet, ik verkondig u grote blijdschap, die al den volke wezen zal;
11 Namelijk dat u heden geboren is de Zaligmaker, welke is Christus, de Heere, in de stad Davids.
12 En dit zal u het teken zijn: gij zult het Kindeken vinden in doeken gewonden, en liggende in de kribbe.
13 En van stonde aan was er met den engel een menigte des hemelsen heirlegers, prijzende God en zeggende:
14 Ere zij God in de hoogste hemelen, en vrede op aarde, in de mensen een welbehagen.
15 En het geschiedde, als de engelen van hen weggevaren waren naar de hemel, dat de herders tot elkander zeiden: Laat ons dan heengaan naar Bethlehem, en laat ons zien het woord, dat er geschied is, hetwelk de Heere ons heeft verkondigd.
16 En zij kwamen met haast, en vonden Maria en Jozef, en het Kindeken liggende in de kribbe.
17 En als zij Het gezien hadden, maakten zij alom bekend het woord, dat hun van dit Kindeken gezegd was.
18 En allen, die het hoorden, verwonderden zich over hetgeen hun gezegd werd van de herders.
19 Doch Maria bewaarde deze woorden alle te zamen, overleggende die in haar hart.
20 En de herders keerde wederom, verheerlijkende en prijzende God over alles, wat zij gehoord en gezien hadden, gelijk tot hen gesproken was.

Luke 2:1-14 in Portuguese:

1. Naqueles tempos apareceu um decreto de César Augusto, ordenando o recenseamento de toda a terra.
2. Este recenseamento foi feito antes do governo de Quirino, na Síria.
3. Todos iam alistar-se, cada um na sua cidade.
4. Também José subiu da Galiléia, da cidade de Nazaré, à Judéia, à Cidade de Davi, chamada Belém, porque era da casa e família de Davi,
5. para se alistar com a sua esposa Maria, que estava grávida.
6. Estando eles ali, completaram-se os dias dela.
7. E deu à luz seu filho primogênito, e, envolvendo-o em faixas, reclinou-o num presépio; porque não havia lugar para eles na hospedaria.
8. Havia nos arredores uns pastores, que vigiavam e guardavam seu rebanho nos campos durante as vigílias da noite.
9. Um anjo do Senhor apareceu-lhes e a glória do Senhor refulgiu ao redor deles, e tiveram grande temor.
10. O anjo disse-lhes: Não temais, eis que vos anuncio uma boa nova que será alegria para todo o povo:
11. hoje vos nasceu na Cidade de Davi um Salvador, que é o Cristo Senhor.
12. Isto vos servirá de sinal: achareis um recém-nascido envolto em faixas e posto numa manjedoura.
13. E subitamente ao anjo se juntou uma multidão do exército celeste, que louvava a Deus e dizia:
14. Glória a Deus no mais alto dos céus e na terra paz aos homens, objetos da benevolência (divina).

(Thank you, Fragano)

Lik 2:1-14 en Kreyòl Ayisyen (Haitian)

1. Lè sa a, Seza Ogis te bay lòd pou yo te konte dènye moun ki nan peyi l’ap gouvènen yo. :: 2. Premye travay sa a te fèt nan tan Kireniyis t’ap kòmande nan peyi yo rele Siri a. :: 3. Tout moun te al fè pran non yo nan lavil kote fanmi yo te soti. :: 4. Jozèf te rete nan peyi Galile, nan yon bouk yo rele Nazarèt. Men, paske li te moun nan fanmi ak ras David, li moute, li ale nan Jide, nan lavil David yo rele Betleyèm lan. :: 5. Jozèf tapral fè yo pran non l’ ansanm ak non Mari, fiyanse li, ki te ansent. :: 6. Antan yo te la, jou pou Mari te akouche a rive. :: 7. Li fè premye pitit li a, yon ti gason. Mari vlope pitit la nan kouchèt, li mete l’ kouche nan yon kay kote yo bay bèt manje, paske pa t’ gen plas pou yo nan lotèl la. :: 8. Nan menm zòn sa a, te gen gadò mouton ki t’ap pase nwit la deyò ap veye mouton yo. :: 9. Lè sa a, yon zanj Bondye parèt devan yo, bèl limyè Bondye a klere tout kote yo te ye a. Yo te pè anpil. :: 10. Men zanj lan di yo konsa: Pa pè. N’ap anonse nou yon bon nouvèl ki pral fè tout pèp la kontan anpil. :: 11. Jòdi a, nan lavil David la, nou gen yon Sovè ki fenk fèt: se Kris la, Seyè a. :: 12. Men remak ki va fè nou rekonèt li: n’a jwenn yon tibebe vlope nan kouchèt, kouche nan yon kay kote yo bay bèt manje. :: 13. Menm lè a, yon foul lòt zanj nan syèl la vin jwenn zanj lan; yo t’ap fè lwanj Bondye, yo t’ap di konsa: :: 14. Lwanj pou Bondye anwo nan syèl la, kè poze sou latè pou tout moun li renmen.

Lúkasar guðspjall 2:1-20 in Icelandic:

En það bar til um þessar mundir, að boð kom frá Ágústus keisara, að skrásetja skyldi alla heimsbyggðina. Þetta var fyrsta skrásetningin og var gjörð þá er Kýreníus var landstjóri á Sýrlandi. Fóru þá allir til að láta skrásetja sig, hver til sinnar borgar. Þá fór og Jósef úr Galíleu frá borginni Nasaret upp til Júdeu, til borgar Davíðs, að láta skrásetja sig ásamt Maríu heitkonu sinni, sem var þunguð. En meðan þau voru þar, kom sá tími, er hún skyldi verða léttari. Fæddi jún þá son sinn frumgetinn, vafði hann reifum og lagði hann í jötu, af því að eigi var rúm handa þeim í gistihúsi.

En í sömu byggð voru hirðar úti í haga og gættu um nóttina hjarðar sinnar. Og engill Drottins stóð hjá þeim, og dýrð Drottins ljómaði kringum þá. Þeir urðu mjög hræddir, en engillinn sagði við þá: “Verið óhræddir, því sjá, ég boða yður mikinn fögnuð, sem veitast mun öllum lýðnum: Yður er í dag frelsari fæddur, sem er Kristur Drottinn, í borg Davíðs. Og hafði þetta til marks: Þið munuð finna ungbarn reifað og lagt í jötu.”

Og í sömu svipan var með englinum fjöldi himneskra hersveita, sem lofuðu Guð og sögðu: Dýrð sé Guði í upphæðum og friður á jörðu með mönnum, sem hann hefur velþóknun á. Þegar englarnir voru farnir frá þeim til himins, sögðu hirðarnir sín á milli: “Förum beint til Betlahem að sjá það, sem gjörst hefur og Drottinn hefur kunngjört oss” Og þeir fóru með skyndi og fundu Maríu og Jósef og ungbarnið, sem lá í jötu. Þegar þeir sáu það, skýrðu þeir frá því, er þeim hafði verið sagt um barn þetta. Og allir, sem heyrðu, undruðust það, er hirðarnir sögðu þeim. En María geymdi allt þetta í hjarta sér og hugleiddi það. Og hirðarnir sneru aftur og vegsömuðu Guð og lofuðu hann fyrir það, sem þeir höfðu heyrt og séð, en allt var það eins og þeim hafði verið sagt.

(Thank you, Sica)

Luke 2:1-20, trans. 1545 by Martin Luther

1. Es begab sich aber zu der Zeit, daß ein Gebot vom Kaiser Augustusausging, daß alle Welt geschätzt würde. :: 2. Und diese Schätzung war die allererste und geschah zu der Zeit, daCyrenius Landpfleger in Syrien war :: 3. Und jedermann ging, daß er sich schätzen ließe, ein. jeglicher inseine Stadt. :: 4. Da machte sich auch auf Joseph aus Galiläa, aus der Stadt Nazareth,in das jüdische Land zur Stadt Davids die da heißt Bethlehem, darum daßer von dem Hause und Geschlechte Davids war :: 5. auf daß er sich schätzen ließe mit Maria, seinem vertrauten Weibe,die war schwanger. :: 6. Und als sie daselbst waren, kam die Zeit, daß sie gebären sollte. :: 7. Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn und wickelte ihn in Windeln undlegte ihn in eine Krippe; denn sie hatten sonst keinen Raum in derHerberge. :: 8. Und es waren Hirten in derselbigen Gegend auf dem Felde bei denHürden, die hüteten des Nachts ihre Herde. :: 9. und siehe des Herrn Engel trat zu ihnen, und die Klarheit des Herrnleuchtete um sie, und sie fürchteten sich sehr. :: 10. Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen: Fürchtet euch nicht! Siehe, ichverkündige euch große Freude, die allem Volk widerfahren wird; :: 11. denn euch ist heute der Heiland geboren, welcher ist Christus, derHerr, in der Stadt Davids. :: 12. Und das habt zum Zeichen: Ihr werdet finden das Kind in Windelngewickelt und in einer Krippe liegen. :: 13. Und alsbald war da bei dem Engel die Menge der himmlischenHeerscharen, die lobten Gott und sprachen: :: 14. Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe und Friede auf Erden und den Menschenein Wohlgefallen! :: 15. Und da die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren, sprachen die Hirtenuntereinander: Laßt uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem und die Geschichtesehen, die da geschehen ist, die uns der Herr kundgetan hat. :: 16. Und sie kamen eilend und fanden beide, Maria und Joseph, dazu dasKind in der Krippe liegen. :: 17. Da sie es aber gesehen hatten breiteten sie das Wort aus, welcheszu ihnen von diesem Kind gesagt war. :: 18. Und alle, vor die es kam, wunderten sich der Rede, die ihnen dieHirten gesagt hatten. :: 19. Maria aber behielt alle diese Worte und bewegete sie in ihremHerzen. :: 20. Und die Hirten kehreten wieder um, preiseten und lobten Gott umalles, was sie gehöret und gesehen hatten, wie denn zu ihnen gesagt war.

(Thank you, Fidelio)

Luke 2:1-14 in Quenya

1. Ar túlë entë auressen i etelendë canwa Auhustus i Táraranello, i mo notumnë quanda ambar. :: 2. Minya notië sina martanë írë Quirinius nánë cáno Sírio. :: 3. Ilyë queni lender náven nótinë, ilquen véra ostoryanna. :: 4. Yando Yósef lendë amba Alilëallo, et i ostollo Nasaret, mir Yúrëa, Laviro ostonna, ya ná estaina Vet-Lehem, pan anes maro ar nossëo Laviro, :: 5. náven nótina as María ye nánë antaina sen vestalessë, ar ye sí nánë lapsarwa. :: 6. Írë engettë tassë, i lúmë túlë yassë columnes lapserya. :: 7. Ar colles yondorya, i minnóna, ar se-vaitanes ar panyane se salquecolcassë, pan lá engë tún nómë mí marmen. :: 8. Enger mavalli i imya nóressë i marner i restassë, tírala lámáreltar i lómissë. :: 9. Ar i Héruo vala tarnë ara te, ar i Héruo alcar caltanë os te, ar túra caurë nampë te. :: 10. Mal i vala quentë téna: “Áva rucë, pan inyë cára sinwa len túra alassë ya nauva i quanda lien, :: 11. an anaië cólina len síra Rehtando, ye ná Hristo, i Heru, Laviro ostossë. :: 12. Ar si nauva tanna len: Hiruvaldë vinimo, vaitana ar caitala salquecolcassë.” :: 13. Ar rincanen engë as i vala rimbë i meneldëa hossëo, laitala Eru ar quétala: :: 14. “Alcar i tarmenissen na Erun, ar cemendë rainë atanin pa i sanas mai.”

(Thank you, Helge Kåre Fauskanger at Ardalambion.)

- o0o -

And the texts from all the years gone by—2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010—because, hey, comment threads.

Merry Christmas to all, and thank you for being here.

December 24, 2011
Facebook: still stupid
Posted by Patrick at 10:32 AM *

I deleted my Facebook account a couple of years ago when it began to seem like their bad faith was never-ending. But increasingly I’ve had second thoughts. I have friends and relatives who are mostly active on Facebook and nowhere else. An increasing number of web services (Spotify, for instance) require you to have a Facebook login in order to create an account. And I’m not worried about my personal privacy for the simple reason that I would never in a million years put anything on Facebook that I wouldn’t want world-readable. I recognize entirely that if you’re not paying for a web service, you’re not the customer, you’re the product, and I’m appropriately vigilant on both the social and the technical fronts. When you get right down to it, I use hardware and software tools made by Google, Apple, and Microsoft despite the fact that those organizations have all done foolish and abusive things at one time or another.

So this morning I created a new Facebook account, set myself up as “friends” with a few people, then started clicking my way through the long list of other people Facebook suggested I might know, sending “friend” requests to some of them. About five or ten minutes into this process, at Facebook’s suggestion, I sent such a request to Jane Yolen.

Facebook responded by tossing a warning across my browser window asking me to confirm that I know Jane personally, and warning me that I mustn’t send friend requests to people I don’t know.

Since I’ve known Jane for over twenty years, been an overnight guest at her homes in two countries, traveled across the Scottish Highlands with her along with our respective spouses, been the in-house editor on award-winning novels by her, had a short story published in an anthology she edited, published (in Starlight 1) a story by her that went on to win the Nebula Award, and co-edited an anthology with her, I kind of figured I was on safe ground in confirming that I know her personally.

Facebook responded by tossing me out of my account and informing me that my ability to send friend requests will be disabled for the next two days. And of course there’s absolutely no avenue of appeal. I understand that this is just some automated system kicking in, but you’d think that Facebook’s algorithm for doing this would have the wit to notice that Jane Yolen is “friends” with over 50% of the other people I’m already “friends” with, including my wife.

Jane and I are now Facebook friends anyway, because she sent me a friend request which I accepted. I seem to be able to accept requests, just not to send them, so friends and associates should certainly feel free to send them to me. I’ll keep my Facebook account (unless they throw me off for, I dunno, saying hello to John Scalzi or posting on Beth Meacham’s wall), but I’m thoroughly reminded of its downside. While trivial in the greater scheme of theings, the experience completely reinforces my suspicion that Facebook is a set of tools for human social life designed by people who are profoundly bad at human social life.

December 23, 2011
Open thread 168
Posted by Patrick at 07:29 AM *

The Chinese are eager to hear what foreigners think about them, as a nation and a people, to the point of helpfully suggesting essentialist pigeonholes the observer might want to put them into. One prevailing explanation for the countries’ different attitudes is that America has always had a dynamic culture, while China is more tradition-bound. This is a terrible explanation. A 30-year-old Chinese citizen has seen more disruption and change than a 60-year-old American has; a 60-year-old Chinese citizen has seen more than a 200-year-old American would have. It was routine business for the government to rewrite the entire holiday calendar, or outlaw a whole category of motor vehicles, or ban and un-ban particular enterprises or classes of merchandise or kinds of information.
—Tom Scocca, “What Chinese People Are Like

Also, like all civilized people I know that 168 is the next number in the sequence whose previous two numbers are 59, 125 and 145, but how did it escape my notice that Wikipedia has an individual article about every New York City subway station? Of course it does. What was I thinking.


Continued from Open thread 167

December 15, 2011
The present cultural state of America
Posted by Avram Grumer at 07:18 PM *

Hey, remember five years ago, when Congress gave the president the power to indefinitely imprison and torture, without civilian judicial review, anyone (even US citizens on US soil) accused of giving “material support” to terrorists, and the 44 Democrats then in the Senate couldn’t even manage to scrape together a filibuster? And Bush signed the bill into law, because he was a power-hungry Republican asshole? That sure sucked.

I sure am glad that sort of bill couldn’t pass now that we have a Democratic president who’d be certain to veto it.

In other news, Happy Holidays!

December 09, 2011
Three things
Posted by Patrick at 12:11 PM * 99 comments

(1) In the grip of a low-carb diet fad, Norway has consumed its entire stock of butter. 250-gram portions of butter are now being offered for sale on a Norwegian auction site, with the bidding set to begin at $13. “Top dairy producer Denmark lies just across a narrow sea channel, but its stores of creamy butter will be kept out of the country by the high import duties of Norway, the only Nordic nation that does not belong to the European Union. […] The problem has certainly provided the Danes with a good laugh over their richly buttered breakfast toast.” Surely Scandinavia and the World will be all over this story soon.

(2) There is nothing quite like the savagery of the British political commentariat towards a damaged political leader. Which isn’t to say the savagery isn’t often deserved. In the Guardian, Marina Hyde observes the travails of LibDem leader Nick Clegg, whose decision to enter a coalition government with the Tories looks increasingly like one of the great strategic mistakes of the century. “[Clegg’s] story arc is like some Westminster version of Trainspotting, featuring grotesque scenes of personal degradation in pursuit of what must surely now be an ever-diminishing high. Perhaps a physicist would care to get in touch to explain whether there is a theoretical point at which a being has switch-backed on so many positions that he might simply atomise, leaving nothing but a thin coating of yellow dust and a pair of shoes he never grew into. […] Of more ghoulish fascination, though, is the next Lib Dem manifesto. What could this document possibly include? There are whole areas that in any sane universe it would be literally too embarrassing to mention, and given that these include major planks of what used to be called Liberal Democrat policy, such as Europe and education, I’ve genuinely no idea where they’ll go with this one. Blank pages? Something nice and inclusive about fish? The mere fact of something appearing as a Liberal Democrat manifesto pledge has come to symbolise that it is terminally doomed as an idea. Perhaps the best way to eradicate poverty would be to draft up a Lib Dem manifesto commitment to perpetuating it.”

(3) Welcome, Paul Krugman readers!

December 08, 2011
Krugman is from Trantor; Gingrich ain’t
Posted by Teresa at 04:07 PM * 134 comments

Far be it from me to discourage mainstream political commentary that’s framed in terms of science fiction, but Ray Smock’s Newt Gingrich the Galactic Historian gets it wrong:

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, Newt Gingrich is from the planet Trantor, a fictional world created by Isaac Asimov in his classic Foundation series about galactic empire.
Wrong. The Honorable Newt is not from Trantor. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is from Trantor. This is known. He’s said on multiple occasions that he went into economics because the field of psychohistory doesn’t exist. What Krugman took from the Foundation Trilogy was the idea that you could learn everything about history and put it together in order to understand not only what has happened, but why things happen the way they do. Remind you of Gingrich? Me neither.*
Newt’s master plan for America does not come from a Republican Party playbook. It comes from the science fiction that he read in high school. He is playing out, on a national and global scale, dreams he had as a teenager with his nose buried in pulp fiction.
Do not blame that on science fiction. 93% of the people in my social circle read the Foundation Trilogy and assorted pulp SF in their youth, and none of them turned into Newt Gingrich.

Smock’s thesis is unwarranted. The argument present in his actual evidence is that Gingrich is prone to wishful thinking, and a grandiose view of his own place in the world. That’s not the fault of the books he’s read; it’s his innate character, beginning to end. If he’d read other books, he’d have drawn the same conclusions but used other examples to illustrate them.

Look at his relationship with history. I’ll allow that Gingrich has read more of it than the average citizen, but I’ve never seen any evidence that his reading has led him to form opinions not already present in his thinking. He mines history, shallowly, for illustrative examples. He uses it to put on airs. And if you’ve read Catton, Foote, and McPherson, Gingrich’s novels certainly won’t give you any surprising new takes on the Civil War.

Newt Gingrich’s knowledge of history is like George Bush’s religion: it exists only to validate what he already wants to believe. When the influence is that shallow, the texts are not to blame.

More from Smock:

Exhibit 42 of the House Ethics Committee report issued in the wake of Speaker Gingrich’s ethics violations regarding the suspicious tax-exempt status of his course Renewing American Civilization, reveals how much Newt internalized the fictional historian Hari Seldon. Scribbled in Newt’s own hand are notes he made during a 1992 meeting with a major contributor of GOPAC. He outlined his role as a visionary leader. His “primary mission” was to be an “advocate of civilization” — a “definer of civilization” — the “teacher of the rules of civilization” — and “leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.” Newt saw his mission as “universal rather than national.”
That is so not the Foundation Trilogy, which is about hard work done in obscurity for the benefit of generations yet to come. If it resembles anything in science fiction, it’s the later Childe Cycle: Final Encyclopedia, not Encyclopedia Galactica. But really, what it is is Newt Gingrich.

December 06, 2011
Regretsy and the Insane PayPal Clusterf*ck
Posted by Teresa at 08:40 PM * 476 comments

As you’ve probably heard today, PayPal shut down, trashed, and ripped off Regretsy’s holiday toys-for-kids drive for reasons that don’t match anything PayPal says on its site about how its procedures work. They also arbitrarily froze April Winchell’s personal account and told her they’d be holding that money for six months, for no reason I can see beyond punishing her for questioning their handling of the matter. This is actually a dumber and more negligent move than than The Great Sock-Yarn-of-the-Month Banking Outrage of ‘07.

Read April Winchell’s (“Helen Killer’s”) short but punchy account of what went down: Cats 1, Kids 0.

GreenGeekGirl has an excellent analysis in depth of what PayPal claimed vs. the information that’s available on their site. Upshot: the guidelines and policies PayPal invoked while screwing over Regretsy appear nowhere on their site.

The last paragraph of the initial post on Regretsy:

Wanna tell Paypal how you feel? Here’s a list of every administrative Paypal email address and phone number The Consumerist was able to find.
Good idea, that.

This is a nontrivial issue. A lot of people who make their living from internet businesses process all their transactions through PayPal. So do lots of charities and fundraising operations. It’s unavoidable. PayPal is the 600-pound gorilla of online consumer payment transfers.

Because they have such a dominant position, it’s grossly inappropriate for PayPal’s policies to be this haphazard and self-serving. It’s likewise inappropriate for them to exercise so little oversight when they’ve given high-handed individual employees of theirs the power to put entire operations out of business, or bankrupt craftspeople and small business owners. As for arbitrarily freezing customer accounts for half a year, which gives them the interest-free use of that customer’s money for the duration, it’s at minimum a conflict of interest.

Pass it on. Make noise. And if you receive payments via PayPal and have been letting them accumulate in your account, consider transferring every penny you don’t need to have there to some other financial institution.

=====

I’d like to talk about some other disturbing features of PayPal’s interaction with Regretsy. First, an excerpt from Regretsy’s writeup:

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

YOU CAN ONLY HELP CATS

PAYPAL: Only a nonprofit can use the Donate button.
ME: That’s false. It says right in the PDF of instructions for the Donate button that it can be used for “worthy causes.”
PAYPAL: I haven’t seen that PDF. And what you’re doing is not a worthy cause, it’s charity.
ME: What’s the difference?
PAYPAL: You can use the donate button to raise money for a sick cat, but not poor people.

YOU HAVE TO START A NEW WEBSITE

ME: The problem is I’ve already bought all of these toys, so now I’m really in a position like any other merchant—which is to say, I have inventory I need to sell. Why can’t I sell them as gifts, like any other retailer?
PAYPAL: Don’t you think it would look suspicious if the same people bought them again?
ME: Why? These are my customers!
PAYPAL: If you wanted to do that, you’d have to start a new website.
ME: What? Why would I start a new website?
PAYPAL: I’m not going to argue with you.

WE WILL TRACK YOUR SHIPMENTS

PAYPAL: The only way you’d be allowed to sell these as gifts is if you sent them directly to the person who bought them. And we will track your shipments and make sure it goes to the buyer.
ME: That’s discriminatory! You don’t make other retailers send purchases to the buyer only, especially not at Christmas.
PAYPAL: No one but a nonprofit would send gifts to someone else on buyer’s behalf.
ME: What about Amazon?
PAYPAL: We know what you’re doing and we’re through playing games with you.

YOU’LL NEVER GET AWAY WITH THIS

PAYPAL: You say you’re selling these as gifts but there is no information as to what the gift is.
ME: People sell mystery gifts and grab bags all the time. What about sites where they say, let us choose for you?”
PAYPAL: It doesn’t say that on your site.
ME: Is that the problem? If I say it’s a mystery gift would that be sufficient?
PAYPAL: You aren’t going to be able to get around this. It’s too late, we know what you’re trying to do and we’re not going to let you do it.
ME: But there are hundreds of toys! Do you think it’s reasonable to create a drop down menu for hundreds of gifts, all of them different, and create an inventory for each as “one?” So that every time one sells, it’s sold out, and the customer has to keep choosng options and going through check out to see if they can find a gift that’s still available?
PAYPAL: Yes, I think it’s reasonable.

Then my brain exploded.

At this point, I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told that “No one above me will talk to you. No one at my level ever makes phone calls. We’re only doing this to help you.”

When I asked how to close my account, he said I had to “refund everything, write a letter saying you understood what you did WAS WRONG AND YOU WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN, and then request permission to close your account.”

Then, for good measure, they froze my personal account, which has revenue from my book sales, e-books and all the other Finnish Folktales Swag. They’ll be holding that money for 6 months.

That PayPal representative is a known type, one I’ve run into before: the person who is compulsively unable to admit that they’ve made an error. They’re not all that common, thank goodness, but the times when you run into them are memorable.

People with that quirk generate seriously malformed interactions. Their compulsion to deny making even trivial errors leads them into cascades of unplanned lying, which means they have to fight harder and harder to defend increasingly indefensible and eventually downright weird positions. They’re like the cognitive equivalent of drivers who panic when the police try to pull them over for a broken tail light and wind up in high-speed chases that draw felony charges.

My guess is that the entire episode grew out of single initial error: the PayPal guy’s claim that the Donate button can only be used by a nonprofit. Because he couldn’t admit his mistake and move on, and because April Winchell kept calling him on his bogus explanations faster than he could make up new ones, he had to keep raising the stakes on her.

At the point that his inventiveness failed him, he fell back on the language and tactics of a habitual abuser: I’m not going to argue with you. We know what you’re doing and we’re through playing games with you. You aren’t going to be able to get around this. It’s too late, we know what you’re trying to do and we’re not going to let you do it. No one else will talk to you. We’re only doing this to help you.

That’s well into the territory of gratuitous all-purpose free-floating blame. I’d love to know where he was previously employed.

When this failed to reduce Winchell to sobbing contrition, he moved on to the inappropriate punishment phase, imposing a six-month freeze on her personal account, demanding that she write a humiliating and bizarrely unbusinesslike letter of apology, and telling her that she would have to ask permission to cancel her account. The only other company I know of that talks to its customers like that is Publish America, which uses a nasty grade of verbal abuse on its victims as part of its blow-off strategy.

It’s extremely difficult to believe that these and other representations he made reflect PayPal’s actual policies. You don’t have to qualify as a nonprofit to use a donor button. Charities and worthy causes are and have always been overlapping categories. PayPal is not in the business of certifying exactly who is and isn’t a legitimate recipient of aid; as long as it looks reasonably respectable, they’ll handle the transactions and take their cut. Thousands of online retail sites will send gifts to the recipient of your choice, and almost all of them take PayPal. Mystery gifts, grab bags, and unspecified odd lots get sold all the time. You don’t have to have a company’s permission to close out your account and end your dealings with them. Et cetera and so forth.

So is this contretemps actually the fault of one rogue employee? Nope. It’s still PayPal’s fault. As I said earlier, this guy is a known type. There are others like him, and other types you don’t want working in that kind of public contact position, and lots of mischief that can be done by inadequately supervised employees who have access to financial accounts. PayPal should be aware of all that, and have appropriate safeguards and monitoring in place. Clearly, they don’t.

The most recent word is that PayPal is backing down, and has apologized — not surprising, given that the internet fell on their head today. It doesn’t get them off the hook. Basically, what happened to April Winchell and Regretsy ought not be possible. If the guy she dealt with has been working at PayPal for a while, they should have noticed before now that he has serious problems. If he’s new to PayPal, they shouldn’t be letting him run loose to anything like this extent. And no matter what else is going on, an individual PayPal employee shouldn’t have the unchecked power to pull stunts like that with someone else’s finances, because it’s an open invitation to corruption and abuse.

There’s some real negligence going on in that company. Chalk up one more datapoint on what having an unregulated finance industry gets you.

December 05, 2011
Dysfunctional Families: You Must Be This Unhappy To Ride
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:47 PM *

One of the ongoing themes in Dysfunctional Families Day threads—one that’s certainly been present this year—is the doubt whether one’s own situation is “bad enough” to be a problem. It’s not at all surprising that people who have been repeatedly told, in words and in deeds, that their feelings don’t matter should struggle with this.

Given that, let me direct your attention to David Harmon’s incisive comment at 861 of that thread:

S: My internal voice keeps saying “it’s not that bad”, “other people have it worse”,

Actually, the presence of that “internal voice” is itself a warning sign. In a healthy environment, most people don’t need to convince themselves they’re not being abused.

As far as I am concerned, there is no minimum dysfunction requirement to participate in this community*. If you need to come talk, come talk.


* and at this point, I’m declaring DF a community rather than just an annual observance. We’ve filled a thread and are still going, 2 1/2 months after the declared day. We have persistent identities and returning members helping out new arrivals, and we’ve begun discussing our local customs with one another. I’m happy to run DF threads the way we run Open Threads† for as long as we want to have one active. If the conversation dies, I’ll start a new thread on September 21, 2012.

† Though I think I will close old ones to keep the discussion current; this is not a conversation that thrives in fragments. (update on March 20, 2012: Pursuant to that, this thread is closed. Please go to this thread for the continued discussion.)

And while we’re on the subject
Posted by Patrick at 12:00 AM * 60 comments

This site would be in much worse shape if we hadn’t, four years ago today, taken on Abi Sutherland as a front-page blogger, and somehow convinced her to help moderate the comment section as part of the deal. Thank you, Abi.

We’d also be in crap shape if our fellow front-pager Jim Macdonald weren’t constantly cleaning out the Augean stables of spam. Thank you, Jim.

We are genuinely fortunate in our friends and readers. We don’t say it often enough. Thank you, Abi, Jim, Avram, and many others.

December 04, 2011
Rearranging Light
Posted by Patrick at 06:37 PM * 79 comments

We’re moving some of the furniture. Don’t be surprised if the site briefly looks odd over the next little while. Your browser is not to blame.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.