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December 30, 2016
Defense in depth
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 07:33 AM * 125 comments

I’m strongly suspecting that New Year’s is going to be a time of listicles and advocacy. Everyone’s going to be at us to support this cause or that, act in this way or that, over the coming year. Everyone has priorities, urgent issues, things they think we should care about most of all.

And that’s cool. Passion is wonderful, and clearly many hands are going to be needed for the work ahead.

But when others have different priorities than you, things slide so easily into guilt-tripping and blame. Accusations of indifference. Spoon banditry. And that’s not so cool; it robs us of energy and joy that we need as a community. Someone 100% committed to Cause A, if persuaded to switch to Cause B, may only have the talents, resources, or passion to give 70%—even after the energy costs of diverting their attention are paid off.

Can I suggest an XKCD-like reformulation? Can we think of this diversity of tactics and causes not as dilution or diversion, but as defense in depth?

I first encountered the term defense in depth in its infosec incarnation, where we use multiple independent means to combat possible intrusions. Run antivirus software and have a strong-password policy and train your staff against social engineering. It’s based on a broader military strategy where you use multiple layers of resources, even weak ones, to bog an attacker down, rob them of their momentum, and leave them vulnerable to counterattack.

It may not be, in the abstract, the best strategy for the time ahead of us—the Wikipedia entry points out that it’s most effective in opposition to a single, focused attack, and we’re facing something much broader-based than that. But given the costs and risks of circular firing squads, given that our strength as evidence-based thinkers and anti-authoritarians will be in nurturing diverse opinions and tactics and then sharing the results widely to expand everyone’s toolkit, it’s the most pragmatic approach to moving in a generally-agreed direction with people with whom we may not always see eye to eye.

A couple of skills for that toolkit, if you’re going to follow this model:

Any more resources? Or am I talking out of my arse here?

December 28, 2016
And ever morne and may
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 12:58 PM * 55 comments

As 2016 draws to a close, many of us are looking on it as a year of loss, not just of elections and referenda, but also of people we’ve cared about. Some of the losses are personal—I’m keeping a number of the bereaved in my thoughts these days—and many more were cultural.

It’s the dark time of the year for me, and I don’t really know how to mourn right now. I wanted to pick a song that summed up what Carrie Fisher in particular meant to me, but there’s nothing there. The Coventry Carol, appropriate to the day, is as close as I come: the impulse to sing away the loss, the inability to do so.

Help me, friends, to remember the people we’ve lost this year. Let’s choose songs* and share memories as it comes to a close. I think it’ll help, even if it can’t cure.


* If you’re doing YouTube links, (a) read the link format hint just above the comment box and follow it precisely; (b) test your link at preview, and (c) give the song title and artist in text so people don’t have to click blind.

December 26, 2016
Arouse us noble
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:46 PM * 54 comments

Out of this darkness, let the unmeasured sword
Rising from sleep to execute or crown
Rest on our shoulders, as we then can rest
On the outdistancing, all-capable flood
Whose brim touches the morning. Down
The long shadows where undriven the dawn
Hunts light into nobility, arouse us noble.

—Philip Larkin, “Come Then to Prayers

When we look back on the late twenty-teens, I suspect we’re going to think we were out of our collective minds in the months between Trump’s election and his inaguration. And I say this as someone who is herself affected.

Twitter, in particular, has been hard to cope with for those of us with personalities that do not thrive on exhaustive examinations of all of the terrible possiblilities of 2017 and beyond. (I assume there are people for whom such examinations are meat and drink, in which case, go you. But maybe consider your impact on others?)

I’ve talked about this a little on Twitter. Yes, I am aware of the irony. But that’s where the people being pummelled and terrified by the discourse—the people who might benefit from what I’m trying to say—are. Also, I didn’t feel ready to blog more on it. It felt too big. It still feels too big, but maybe it’s time to write this next piece out anyway.

So: my read is that many of us are trapped between vague hope and terribly detailed despair, and the contrast is eating us up. Not the contrast between the light and the dark, but between the clear and the vague.

Because the despair is so clearly articulated, so widespread, so pervasive (and thus persuasive). The numerous hot takes that add up to guys, I can explain how we’re screwed, but I can’t see how we’re going to get out of it; the trending tweets with handy tools to predict nuclear blast radii; the promises and threats of someone who is still a private citizen, albeit a powerful one—all give us a laundry list of bleak and horrible outcomes. A person can read them until she can’t even blink any more, until her heart breaks, and not get through it all. And it’s not going to stop; too much of it is making someone money, feeding an emotional hunger in its readers, or serving a political purpose.

I can’t argue against it, not directly. Much of it is reasoned, well-sourced, gravely sensible.

But it’s incomplete, like bread without yeast, flesh without life. It’s missing a thing that I know exists but cannot explain in detail, cannot predict the place or extent of, cannot forecast the effect of.

The thing that’s missing has given us prominent figures like Rosa Parks and Edith Stein, but also less well-known ones such as Viola Liuzzo, Marion Pritchard, Ruth Coker Burks, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett. (I picked these people almost at random. I could go on for paragraphs.) More recently, it gave us Bree Newsome up the flagpole and Ieshia Evans in the street, the Water Protectors of Standing Rock and the veterans who came to join them. It gave us Łukasz Urban in Berlin last Monday. Maybe next time it will give us me, or you, or someone in our community, among the hundreds or thousands that I know will appear at the right place and time, even though I cannot explain beforehand how, when, or where that will be.

Fred Rogers, the uncanonized saint of American television, said it best: When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

It is impossible to tell you who these helpers will be, or where they will arise, because they will be ordinary people, which is to say, weird and unpredictable, indvidual and quirky. Their activism and heroism will be like that too, becomes it stems from their humanity. That’s their, or rather our, strength. (Also—hard words here—not everyone who stands up will be OK afterwards. Some of the people I listed died. Some lost everything. And there were many alongside them who were too afraid to step forward. This too is human.)

I’d just like to ask you, next time you read some article or tweetstorm that sets out, piece by deliberate piece, how any particular future is inevitable, to remember: the more the writer limits their analysis to what is already known, and the more certain they sound, the less of a clue they really have. Because they’re missing a real thing they can’t name, can’t describe, and won’t see coming until it’s already in motion. If then.

(This is, by the way, a seasonally appropriate message in my tradition. If you’d asked Herod the Great of Judea what event would make his reign remembered all over the world for thousands of years; if you’d asked Augustus Caesar why his name would be on children’s lips every year long after Latin itself was dead, they’d give you answers that were detailed and sensible, but also completely wrong. Because off in a backwater barn, out of sight, a baby was born. And even if you don’t believe a word people say about the man he grew up to be, he and the people who came after him diverted the plans of kings and emperors.)

December 25, 2016
Texts, 2016
Posted by Teresa at 06:28 AM * 39 comments

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.)

Matyu 1:1-12 in Jamiecan

Jiizas did baan iina Betliyem, wan toun iina Judiya. Dem taim de, a Erad did a king iina Judiya. Nou, iina dem siem taim de, som waiz man fram di Iis said did kom a Jeruusilem an a aks, :: “We di pikni de we baan di ada die, we fi kom ton king fi di Juu piipl dem? Wi si im staar iina di Iis, we shuo se im baan, an wi kom fi shuo im nof rispek.” :: Nou wen King Erad ier dis ya, dis bada bada im ed, an it bada uol iip a piipl iina Jeruusilem tu. :: Erad kaal evribadi tugeda iina wan miitn — aal a di ed priis an di man dem we tiich Muoziz Laa — an im aks dem a wich paat di Krais — di king we Gad pramis, fi baan. :: Dem ansa se, “Iina Betliyem, kaaz a dat di prafit did rait dong: :: ‘An yu Betliyem we iina Judiya, wen yu luk pan aal di ada toun dem we a liid, yu no wot no les dan dem — yu op de mongks di tap-a-tap toun demkaaz a fram outa yu wan liida a-go kom we a-go protek an liid mi piipl dem we iina Izrel.’” :: Den Erad sen kaal di waiz man dem fi kom kom chek im anda di kwaiyat, an fain out fram dem a wa taim dem did si di staar. :: Im sen dem go a Betliyem an se, “Gwaan go luk fi di pikni. Luk gud gud, an wen unu fain im, kom tel mi, so mi kyan go shuo im nof rispek tu.” :: Afta dem don lisn di king, dem lef go we. Az dem a go bout dem bizniz so, no di sed staar we dem did si iina di Iis said kom bak agen! It galang infronta dem til it riich wich paat di pikni did de, an a uova de-so it tap. :: Wen dem did si di staar agen dem glad-bag bos! :: Dem kom iina di ous an si di pikni wid im mada, Mieri, an dem go dong pan dem nii an priez im. Dem tek out di prezent we dem did bring, an gi di pikni — guol, frangkinsens an mor. :: Nou, chuu Gad did don waan dem aaf, an tel dem iina wan jriim se dem no fi go baka Erad, dem tek wan neda wie go baka dem konchri.

(Thank you, Fragano Ledgister)

Luke 2:1-14 in Amharic

1 በመጀመሪያው ቃል ነበረ፥ ቃልም በእግዚአብሔር ዘንድ ነበረ፥ ቃልም እግዚአብሔር ነበረ። 2 ይህ በመጀመሪያው በእግዚአብሔር ዘንድ ነበረ። 3 ሁሉ በእርሱ ሆነ፥ ከሆነውም አንዳች ስንኳ ያለ እርሱ አልሆነም። 4 በእርሱ ሕይወት ነበረች፥ ሕይወትም የሰው ብርሃን ነበረች። 5 ብርሃንም በጨለማ ይበራል፥ ጨለማም አላሸነፈውም። 6 ከእግዚአብሔር የተላከ ስሙ ዮሐንስ የሚባል አንድ ሰው ነበረ፤ 7 ሁሉ በእርሱ በኩል እንዲያምኑ ይህ ስለ ብርሃን ይመሰክር ዘንድ ለምስክር መጣ። 8 ስለ ብርሃን ሊመሰክር መጣ እንጂ፥ እርሱ ብርሃን አልነበረም። 9 ለሰው ሁሉ የሚያበራው እውነተኛው ብርሃን ወደ ዓለም ይመጣ ነበር። 10 በዓለም ነበረ፥ ዓለሙም በእርሱ ሆነ፥ ዓለሙም አላወቀውም። 11 የእርሱ ወደ ሆነው መጣ፥ የገዛ ወገኖቹም አልተቀበሉትም። 12 ለተቀበሉት ሁሉ ግን፥ በስሙ ለሚያምኑት ለእነርሱ የእግዚአብሔር ልጆች ይሆኑ ዘንድ ሥልጣንን ሰጣቸው፤ 13 እነርሱም ከእግዚአብሔር ተወለዱ እንጂ ከደም ወይም ከሥጋ ፈቃድ ወይም ከወንድ ፈቃድ አልተወለዱም። 14 ቃልም ሥጋ ሆነ፤ ጸጋንና እውነትንም ተመልቶ በእኛ አደረ፥ አንድ ልጅም ከአባቱ ዘንድ እንዳለው ክብር የሆነው ክብሩን አየን።

(Thank you, Nick Whyte.)

===

Over the years, our readers have also gifted us with:

Maori, from Thomas;
Galego (Galician), from Fragano Ledgister;
Gronings Dutch, from Joris M;
Limburgs, from Abi Sutherland;
Old Georgian, from Tim May;
Schwäbisch, from Debbie;
Tagalog, From Lizzy L;
The 1839 Hawaiian translation, from Linkmeister;
Pitjantjatjara, from Dean Gahlon;
The 1884 Anishinaabemowin translation, from Fidelio;
Modern Irish, from JO’N;
Turkish, from Praisegod Barebones;
Modern colloquial Welsh, Bishop William Morgan’s 1588 Welsh, and the 1988 BCN’s Welsh, from Arwel;
Arabic, from Firefly;
A different version in Greek, from TR;
Armenian, from Praisegod Barebones; and
Frisian, from Nick Whyte.

- o0o -

Remembering Christmas Day posts and threads from years gone by — 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 — because hey, family photo album.

Merry Christmas, dear all and sundry, and grace and peace and joy be with you in the year to come. Thank you for being here.

December 19, 2016
Rogue One SPOILER thread
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 08:14 AM * 94 comments

We know the context here. Somewhere else, the simple story is about to begin: the brave farmboy with secret gifts, the princess without a throne, the smuggler who finally finds a treasure worth keeping. The last teachers of the lost arts, goodness, loss with purpose, gain with hope.

Right now, those stories seem hopelessly naïve, both in- and out-universe.

So maybe this is the movie we need, another, more complicated look at struggle and redemption, even if no victory is ever final. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m hopeful (from my knowledge of the franchise, if nothing else) that it will be, at the very least, a good watch. I’m interested to see what else there is in it.

(Like all Making Light spoiler threads, this is a place to discuss the film without having to ROT-13 spoilers. Because it does contain them, though, and thus excludes those in our community who want to avoid knowing too much before seeing the film, please do not let the conversation stray.)

December 10, 2016
Taking it back
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 10:29 AM * 200 comments

Save me from a villainous imagination;
Deliver me from my friends.

— Barenaked Ladies, “Take it Back”

CW: references to self-harm.

Dear people, we’re more than a month past that last turn toward the Darkest Timeline1. It’s time to buckle down and do some hard work. Time to gather and maintain the tools we need now, and are going to need in the future: tools we’ve left neglected, ones we’ve taken for granted, ones we never even knew we had. This kind of care is always important, but right now, right this minute, these tools are under attack.

No, not the Constitution, our rights, our freedom, our systems of checks and balances, our privacy, our internet security. What I’m talking about is upstream from all that: our minds, our hearts, our courage. Our (for many different meanings of the term) souls.

The Trump campaign was, and the post-election Trump news is, a Gish gallop. And now on lefty Twitter, I’m seeing a similar phenomenon on the emotional level: a firehose of things we must all pay attention to. All at once! Right now! A person can never catch up. There’s never enough emotional energy. But, the drummer beats out under the melody of grief and the bass line of fear, if you don’t care about this then you’re a bad person. React! React! React!

Turn that music down and listen to me for a minute. If you have ever listened to me before, listen now.

There’s a fair argument that America gave itself a collective case of PTSD over 9/11. I’d submit that the Right has been giving itself the same treatment over abortion2 for decades. And even before 2016, the consequences were not good: neither the War on Terror nor the Tea Party is fruit that makes me want more from that tree. Then Trump’s election campaign made jam of it, boiled it up with sweet nihilism until it jelled and poured it into jars with little red labels.

If you can resist anything, in these days where your resistance is everywhere demanded, resist this kind of damage. There are people deliberately trying to inflict it on you, right now. More than one part of our culture encourages us to acquire a taste for it, whether in the form of glib cynicism or wretched martyrdom. And perhaps sometimes we seek it out, for the same reason that people indulge in other forms of self-harm: as an assertion of control in an otherwise uncontrollable world.

December 05, 2016
Open thread 215
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 11:02 AM * 962 comments

Nine years ago.

It was Pakjesavond, my first here in the Netherlands. That’s the night before the feast of St Nicholas, and it’s when good little Dutch children get their Giftmas presents. Since we were going to be celebrating Christmas in Scotland, we didn’t do much for it—just a present and a chocolate letter each for the kids.

I can still remember both presents, and the sick terrible dread that somehow they weren’t enough, that the kids wouldn’t be pleased. It wasn’t really about the Barbie puzzle or the marble maze, of course.

It was a terrible time for us. My SAD was all but out of control. We were living in a rented house with black slate floors, which seemed to suck all the light out the world. Martin was miserable. Alex was wretched. Fiona broke a finger and swallowed a battery. We wondered whether we’d made a terrible mistake coming here. We had to choose soon whether to sell the Edinburgh house and buy something in this strange and difficult country, or go back with our tails between our legs.

It was time for a new Open Thread. I wrote and mailed off a piece of abject homesickness after everyone else had slunk off to bed. I wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere but there in that chilly dark space, typing at that cheap laminate desk in a house full of other people’s stuff and no bookshelves, the oven too small and high, the coffee machine whose coffee I couldn’t love. I was listening to Lowlands by Gillian Welch, and half-laughing, half-crying at the literal meaning of the word “Netherlands”.

And then Patrick contacted me on IM and told me he thought I was a good writer and did I want to post that piece on Making Light myself? And I did, and at the tail end of that thread we started talking about familial dysfunction. And spring came eventually. We bought the oak-floored house we live in now, changed jobs, got the kids settled into the school system. Obama was elected twice; puppets and puppies came and went. There was poetry and politics. People we loved died or blew up or drifted off. New people came, became beloved.

It’s been, on balance, a wonderful nine years. We’ve been in a number of dark places along the way, and we’re certainly in one now. I don’t know if, or how, we get out of this, but I know that we’re more likely to do it together than apart.

I’m glad to be here. Happy Pakjesavond, happy anniversary, happy Open Thread.

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Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.