LINGUISTICS ROUNDUP: the upcoming 2014 release of Unicode 7.0 will solve two of the most pressing issues relevant to my life.
1. U+1F595! Finally, a universal single-character replacement for the reliable ol’ ASCII middle finger. (My many letters petitioning for a Unicode entity of the “watch and ring” version have been thus far unanswered.)
2. Linear A! Finally, one can live the life of a minor character in a Donna Tartt novel by
murdering a local dairy farmer easily expressing one’s Bacchanalian urges in a heretofore untranslated ancient Cretan writing system.
"[This] may be the first undeciphered writing system to be encoded in Unicode (depending upon whether the symbols on the Phaistos Disc, encoded in Unicode 5.1, represent writing or not)."
So how did Tendulkar become, as a former South African cricketer phrased it, “Maradona and Pele put together”? In India, we have arrived at a kind of retrofitted narrative to explain why he came to loom so large in our obsessions. He burst into cricket just as the country began to reinvent its economy and its spirit, and Tendulkar was already everything that India had started to dream of being: competitive, assured, hungry, world-beating. The delights and disappointments of his career can be overlaid almost perfectly upon India’s: the golden promise of the early nineteen-nineties, the soaring successes later that decade and early in the two-thousands, the consolidation and the insecurities thereafter, and the distressing wane of faculties in the past few years. Tendulkar was not so much an athlete as a projection of his country’s psyche.
This narrative sounds all right, but I’ve come to dislike it. It makes too little of the fact that in sport, and in life, we often give our hearts in mysterious ways that don’t reward profound analysis. It also shrinks Tendulkar’s mastery over his game, a timeless expertise that should evoke a sense of amazement in any country and any era. My favorite genre of Tendulkar anecdote involves other top-drawer cricketers talking about him, recounting instances of his consummate skill, expressing baffled awe about how he did what he did. How he had eons more time—some microseconds—to play the ball than any other batsman. How he could read a bowler’s mind. How he seemed faultlessly engineered to bat. Every sport seems basic in the range of its mechanics, requiring only that you hit a ball hard, or kick it accurately, or run really fast. You wonder how much better something so basic could possibly be done, until Tendulkar or Roger Federer or Usain Bolt shows you, and then you feel nothing but comprehension and gratitude.
"I’m literally trembling right now."
I don’t often have the patience to watch 80-minute playthroughs, let alone recommend them to anybody, but holy shit watch this right now - the first recorded evidence of a solo eggplant run in Spelunky (aka the hardest, most perverse way to beat one of the most difficult video games ever made).
The last ten minutes or so are just jaw-dropping.
Who needs something as bourgeois as a shower curtain when you’re soaking in positive energy and vibing with their communal lifestyle?