thompson at jlc.net thompson at jlc.net
Sun Nov 17 22:30:53 UTC 1996

>On Tue, 12 Nov 1996, George Thompson wrote:
>> I'd like to apologize to Michael Witzel for talking about things which
>> clearly he knows more about than I do.
>Apology accepted, though I don't know for what. Wem der Schuh passt....

Well, I'll try to remember not to use irony as a rhetorical device any
more, at least with MW [so much for philology, so much for
kulturwissenschaft, so much for dissimulatio <that's Latin, by the way>].
Let me be blunt instead.

MW said:

>That's why I quoted some of the Sruti evidence: we find *intended*
>vulgarities/obscenities even here, not to speak of the dialogue in the
>Srautasutras at the solstice rituals. Remember the Holi discussion? -- Just
>like in modern Nepal where such (Newari) words are openly used on the
>street in Holi-like festivals *only*, they were openly employed at certain
>Vedic rituals, -- for the intended effect.
>For similar reasons, conversely, we do *not* find in the Veda certain
>"vulgar" words, such as pardati, not even of horses, but only in
>Dhatupatha +, though this word must of course have been used then: it is
>an old IE word (cf. Avesta and beyond, up to Engl.: IE *perd/pezd), and
>consequently, very much loved by UK and US comedians."

When MW is being informative and more or less polite, as he is here, I
value his remarks, but in fact the point about pard- and other "vulgar
"words had already been made.

On the other hand, I find his tirades against American culture and American
scholars both boorish and old [redundant].

In my own discussion of yabh, I have referred to several passages, quoting
them and commenting on them.  I don't feel that I need to translate them
into German or Latin to impress MW.

As for Hoffmann's article on yabh-, I have not read it NOT because I can't
read German [don't insult me!], but because I can't afford his expensive
Aufsaetze, and because Michael's student does not deign to respond when I
ask him if he is willing to forward a photocopy to me [in exchange for
monetary compensation for copying and mailing costs].  So much for
collegial cordiality.

So, I'll say it as directly and as honestly as I can: I think that your
tirades, MW, are obnoxious, and that you should stop them.


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