38 Comments

  1. Basically, “Can a still image give the impression of movement?” Sure, technology allowed for a more direct illusion of motion by that point, but Duchamp was seeing if he could manage it without strobing. Strip it to its essentials and give the feeling without the literal showing. (Generally, abstract art tries to take something that representational art gets across, but do so without the actual representation. Like the feeling of flight without actually showing a bird.)

  2. And the translation into English was at least as good. Rather than a close translation of ‘Je suis médusé’ to ‘I’m dumbfounded’, she found a reference to a painting and kept it punning.

  3. Ugh, have to respectfully disagree. I hate the English Asterix translations exactly for this reason, the strained pun. A good pun, when it’s not the punchline of a joke, if you don’t get it, you don’t even notice there was a pun. So in the French, if you don’t get the reference to painting The Raft of Medusa, you just take the pirate at his word, that he’s dumbfounded; in the English, if you don’t (and I don’t) follow that apparently (?) Jericho was a famed frame maker (??) who did the frame for The Raft of Medusa (???), you are left scratching your head at what the hell the pirate is saying: they were framed? No they weren’t, the were beaten up by the Gauls (again); even if they were framed, who is this Jericho guy? They don’t say “By Jericho!”, they say “By Jove!” It just leaves you scratching your head, takes you out of the story, and just is bad, bad, bad. If you can’t do an effortless pun, don’t do any!
    (YMMV, but boy, do I hate the English Asterix translations….)

  4. larK, I’m falling behind you on some points but pulling ahead of you on others! That is, in regard to Mike P’s pair of examples.

    On one hand, I had no idea where the cartoon images came from, or who Mike P was referring to when saying “she found a..”. So it’s Asterix? And their English translator?

    On the other, I caught pretty quickly that the drawing is meant to be a version / copy / semi-parody of the painting The Raft of the Medusa. I had to check a lookup to get that the artist was Géricault, which would explain “Jericho”.

  5. larK – Mitch has it – The Raft of the Medusa was painted by Géricault.

    So I seriously don’t agree that it’s a bad, bad, bad pun. But as with the starting cartoon, it doesn’t work if the reader can’t supply that knowledge.

  6. Sorry, but that makes it worse! (Géricault, Jericho) The fact that I had to work this hard to get it, and it’s so not worth it! And that if I didn’t get it, it isn’t transparent — I’m sitting there wondering what the heck the pirate is on about. And even now that I do “get” it, it’s still so forced and tortured — ugh!
    OK, I’ve registered my opinion, I’ll shut up about it now….

  7. Although I completely agree with larK about the poor quality of the English translations of the “Asterix” albums, this is a relative comparison that is impossible to make unless the reader has access to (and can fully understand) an alternative version. I can puzzle out a fair bit of the text in the French originals, but that is only because I am very familiar with the (truly excellent) German translations.

    My dislike for Asterix in English has nothing to do with the fact that the translation was targeted for a British audience: despite my recent (unfair) derision of British orthography, the problem has nothing to do with the spelling, but rather that the text (in all the English Asterix albums I have ever seen) appears to have been composed by a non-native speaker, and tends to sound clumsy and artificial. In comparison to that, the German versions sound absolutely “native”, and even preserve many of the linguistic jokes from the original French, although unfortunately not in this specific case(*).

    It is possible that the current publishers may since have commissioned an improved translation of the older “Asterix” books. In their continuing crusade to flood the market with Asterix material (in print, in movies, and even a cheaply animated TV cartoon), they have also reworked the dialog in new editions of the old books, using a computer “cartoon” font that is much harder to read than the original one (even if the old dialog sometimes looked as if it were cut and pasted by hand).

    P.S. (*) In the German version, all that the defeated pirate captain has to say is the second syllable of the German verb for “flee!“, which was hyphenated from the end of the previous panel. This is of course inconsistent with the interval indicated by “soon afterwards” at the top of the “Medusa” panel(**). Nevertheless, I agree with larK that it is better to leave a pun untranslated, rather than substitute something that is too obscure and doesn’t really work.

    P.P.S. (**) The artwork appears on page 35 of “Astérix légionnaire“, in which Asterix and Obelix join the Roman Legion in order to rescue a fellow Gaul. Uderzo’s handwritten label on the upper half-page frame is “31B”.

  8. All you need do is drop a line in email, or post a followup comment, suggesting or requesting that someone go in and edit corrections. As has been done. Please don’t cast it as a complaint, however.

    If you think it comes up often enough to be worth the while, we could enable you with an admin sign-in and you could edit (or compose) your comments directly in either of the comments admin interfaces. (One of which is that interesting hybrid that is not really a WYSIWYG editor but has pushbuttons that insert HTML tags, though the buttons have labels like B and I.)

  9. “interesting hybrid that is not really a WYSIWYG editor but has pushbuttons that insert HTML tags, though the buttons have labels like B and I.)”

    Sounds a bit like BBcode.

    I’ve managed to get different text attributes here when copying/pasting text, but with no obvious reason why, and no obvious way to control it.

    Being ablet to edit ones posts would be great, and text attributes useful.

  10. Mike P says: Sounds a bit like BBcode.

    Well, sort of, except that it involves actual HTML tags and not BBcode at all.
    I’m resisting taking screenshots. The point was, it’s kinda a “visual edit” tool but not actually WYSIWYG. Above the edit area there are a dozen button-like outlined rectangular areas, labelled things like b, i, link, b-quote, del, etc. When you click on say the b button, it (1) changes the label to /b , and (2) at the cursor position in the text box, inserts “<strong>” . Later you press the /b button and at the then position of the cursor it inserts “</strong>”. … OR in the first place highlight-select a word or stretch of text and it will insert paired “strong” html tags.

    I do understand your association of that with BBcode, as I have seen the same sort of quasi-visual editors used with rectangular-bracket BBcode tags. But this one is HTML angle-bracket tags.

    I’ve managed to get different text attributes here when copying/pasting text, but with no obvious reason why, and no obvious way to control it.

    Here is a quick reference to the Markdown shortcuts that are available in writing comments: https://wordpress.com/support/markdown-quick-reference/ . (However, some do not work, including lists.)

    The oddly set off appearance where I was quoting you, for example, were done by typing \<code> (and matching end tag), or with Markdown shortcut by surrounding a word or passage with back-tick characters (leaving no spaces) `like this` like this .

  11. I know some people tried blockquote using HTML and ended up with very large text. I don’t know if the markdown version has been tried. I will do so in the next message, pasting their example. I suspect it will have similar results.

  12. Brian, the Markdown is like a system of macros. Apart from cases where it runs into a bump and doesn’t transform as expected, what you get (and what determines the display) is the resulting HTML. So in general the result will not differ.

  13. FWIW – my wishlist in descending order of priority:

    A way to edit posts
    A way to quote comments one is replying to
    Text attributes

  14. I don’t like to be a negative geezer, but I wouldn’t be in favor of any of Mike P’s suggestions.
    An “edit comment” option isn’t really that necessary, and would introduce all sorts of continuity problems. The best solution would be the “delete comment” option that GoComics offers. If you discover an error in a comment, all you would need to do is copy the (erroneous) text as shown, then delete the original comment, then post the corrected text in a new comment.
    Allowing comment quotes is also dangerous (activate that option on one of those interminable comments that some of us are prone to writing), and it will duplicate it all, unnecessarily. It would be better if it were possible to re-activate the comment numbers that were shown before the meltdown (then it’s easy to refer to the comment number). Of course, it’s also very easy to use cut and paste on any text that is needed for a quote.
    Finally, we already have more thab enough text attributes, no matter whether you prefer good old HTML or that new-fangled “magic marker” method.

  15. Continuity can be a problem – I guess you’d have to rely on people’s good sense to correct typos rather than engage in wholesale revision, and/or to clearly indicate with spoof tags (e.g. [EDIT] [/EDIT], or ) or strikethrough what they’ve added or changed.

    Just as you’d rely on intelligent restraint to avoid excessively long quotes.

    As for text attributes – nope – don’t see any way to do that.

  16. That’s interesting – my second example spoof tags was ‘edit’. Which is not a valid HTML tag. With obvious substitutions to stop it happening again I wrote {edit} {/edit}. But it was treated as if it had to be a pair of HTML tags.

    Was that, I wonder, because it was a ?

  17. Nope – it was simply a deeply flawed assumption that a particuar pair of symbols, also used in mathematical formulae, must be indicating HTML tags even when they are not valid tags, and the tags do not appear in pairs.

    It is pretty shameful.

  18. @ Mike P = I always use attribute tags enclosed in <“angle” brackets>, like this: <b>Bold</b>, <i>Italics</i>, <b><i>Bold Italics</b></i>, <strike>Strikeout</strike>. I’m not sure whether any other attributes are supported by WordPress, but I do now that any tags that are not supported are simply deleted from the entered text.

  19. 1) Complete and utter PITA to have to start typing all those tags if I want to format text.

    2) The programmer who decided that ANY string in angle brackets MUST be a markup tag, even when it isn’t, and must be deleted if it isn’t, richly deserved a very uncomfortable conversation with his manager at annual review time.

  20. @ Mike P – I agree that using HTML is a minor PITA, but I’m so used to it that it’s easier for me to use definitive HTML, rather than trying to guess which character the “magic marker” feature will turn into which format option. I recently re-learned (the hard way) not to use asterisks to denote a footnote. Since the “marker” options are single characters, they might be preferable for you.

    As for your second complaint, if anyone were to punish the programmers for all the mistakes in WordPress, it would add up to several life sentences.

  21. Mike, it is simply security. If you allow user input to include unmodified HTML which then gets interpreted, it can wreak havoc on the appearance of the site for visitors who come after. And if it also allows calls to SQL it can destroy the underlying databases. This is not a decision by low level coders, it is a main security architecture decision.

    Maybe someone can find that XKCD about the parents wanting to enter a baby name something like “Drop Table”,

    BBCode which has been mentioned was a way to provide user appearance markup without HTML. In systems that use BBCODE you will generally see complete scrubbing of HTML tags, rather than passing a subset.

    Of course it can be done more or less intelligently, more or less mechanically. You could irritatingly just make “Less than” [left angle bracket] and “greater than” [right angle bracket] illegal characters. Or wait and try to pair them and see what’s in between.

    Btw a modern option for some users is to use Unicode code points for characters that are inherently bold and or italic, etc. It was annoying to most when I illustrated Yay Text tricks by posting upside down text.

  22. Thanks for finding that XKCD, Kilby!

    The panel-4 use of the term “sanitize your … inputs” nicely serves to explain the point I was trying to make in that earlier comment, on why any site or platform that takes user input and publishes it back, cannot just allow unrestricted HTML. (The XKCD was using SQL but the point remains.)

  23. Love the cartoon – thanks.

    And I’m not suggesting that unrestricted HTML be allowed. Or any HTML, if it comes to that. But to implement that ‘security filter’ by the brain-dead method of treating ANYTHING enclosed in angle brackets as forbidden is, IMO, inexcusably lazy. (BTW – please don’t at any time think I’m criticising you for any of this).

  24. There’s no difference between having to type (obfuscated to prevent it being interpreted) «b»blurb«/b» vs [b]blurb[/b] in order to get blurb. It’s the typing I’d prefer to avoid, via highlighting and clicking a button. Whether that action wraps «b» «/b» or [b] [/b] doesn’t really matter.

    But as I said – it’s not something high up my wishlist. And TBH – the concerns Kilby has about what can happen with quotes are mirrored by what can happen with unrestrained use of different fonts, colours, and sizes.

  25. A financial forum I follow is BBCode based, with the usual markup tags. Broken formatting is a common problem. Compounded by people trying to edit their broken message but hitting reply instead without noticing.

  26. For this forum, I don’t need a lot of markup. Really italics handles a large portion of what I need, and that’s because I use it for quotes. It would be nice to be able to do footnotes, but I don’t think I found a satisfactory method.

  27. I’ve never been in agreement with the idea that functionality should be limited to what the most stupid can cope with.

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