Geoff Eddy pointed me to an absorbing blog– bLogicarian, by A.Z. Foreman.  It’s right up my alley— a man with a passion for understanding foreign cultures, and with impressive erudition.  He seems to know (and can translate from) at least Chinese, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Some highlights:

  • A devastating takedown of the bogus Chinese elements in Firefly.  I regret not noticing this myself.  Supposedly the system is a fusion of Western and Chinese culture, and yet there is really nothing in it that’s recognizably Asian, except a few kanji and an entirely unaccountable and unmotivated bilingualism.  (Inara is kind of an Asian courtesan with a Buddhist worldview and an Arabic name, but this is a social role from the past— it’s as if Shepherd were depicted as a medieval friar.)
  • A critique of Esperanto focusing on its strange unnatural morphology, which gives fascinating information on how the language has developed in the last hundred years.  (Of note: people have made lots of coinages to address some of the worst bits of the morphology and to use more recognizable pan-European words; the verbal system has gotten weirdly baroque and is developing a mediopassive; and native speakers have a tendency to bag the accusative.)
  • A fun critique of the supposed linguistic realism of Mel Gibson’s Jesus film.
  • A rant against Christianity, not itself very novel, but featuring a great discussion of how Roman pluralism worked.

Definitely a dude to check out.