The 4th Humour
uninfluential words from an uninfluenced man
Bile humour Apathetic hemetic Fluent indifferent Emetic Phlegmatic
Sunday, April 27, 2003
I'd like to take a short break to share a piece of poetry. It's yet another translation of the poem Ma Mignonne by the 16th century French poet, Clement Marot. Douglas R. Hofstadter himself presents a multitude of his own and others' translations of this poem in his 1999 book, Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language. The poem is here interpreted and translated in many ways as a bridging theme of the book. I took it upon myself to give it a modern "leetspeak" flavor.
Here are the base criteria that Hofstadter listed as essential for a "proper" translation of this poem:
1. The poem is 28 lines long.
2. Each line consists of three syllables.
3. Each line's main stress falls on its final syllable.
4. The poem is a string of rhyming couplets: AA, BB, CC,...
5. Midway, the tone changes from formal ("vous") to informal ("tu").
6. The poem's opening line is echoed precisely at the very bottom.
7. The poet puts his own name directly into his poem.
Here is the original (please pardon my crude lack of accents on proper letters):
A une Damoyselle malade
Je vous donne
Le bon jour;
Et qu'on sorte
Le vous mande.
De ta bouche,
Qui se couche
Si tu dures
Dieu te doint
Here is one of Hoftsadter's translations that meets the above-listed criteria. I present it here only so that my translation will make sense (since my translation may require some of its own translation back to normal English):
My Sweet Dear
My sweet dear,
I send cheer--
All the best!
Your forced rest
Is like jail.
So don't ail
Just get strong--
Take a ride!
Do it quick
Stay not sick--
Ban your ache,
For my sake!
While in bed
Makes a mess,
You would choose
That bad news,
That you'd best
So your eyes
Will not glaze.
Health be near,
My sweet dear.
Before I present my piece, I'd like to point out that the translations presented in the book reflect a wide degree of, shall we say...familiarity...between Clement and the young girl (7 or 8 years old), Jeanne d' Albret de Navarre, whom the poem was written for.
u d1d s3nd
pwnz (l1ke H3ll)
1s t3h sux
just ur lux
sc4n ur d1sk
f1nd th4t f1sk
ch4t w3 must!
th1ngs w1ll m3nd
I can't decide whether to or not to leave in a lot of the unnecessary, or should I say extreme, use of numbers. Given that leetspeak--or 1337speak--or whatever--isn't a serious dialect in the first place, I really don't think it matters.
So there you have it. Possibly the first ever "published" poem in leetspeak, unless you count this.
UPDATE January 29th, 2006:
Dear [ER] -- I don't know if I ever replied to your on-line version of "Ma Mignonne", which I happened to bump into in my in-queue today. Not being very "wired" myself, I wasn't able to completely understand it, but I found it quite entertaining and original. I apologize if I never got back to you earlier, but I hope that this message reaches you and amuses you, even if very tardily.
Best wishes -- Douglas Hofstadter.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
NPC Theory -- Introduction
Anyone old enough to be reading this probably remembers all the old adventure-style Sierra games, such as King's Quest, Space Quest, and (if your parents didn't know it was an adult game) Leisure Suit Larry. For those who don't, the user interacted with the environments in these games through the direct control of a single protagonist (henceforth referred to as the "Player Character", or "PC"). While exploring different areas and solving various puzzles, the PC would often have to "talk" to one of the computer-controlled characters in the game (a "Non-Player Character" or "NPC"). Each NPC had a finite number of responses to a given stimulus, such that if you asked the same question twice, they would give the same response, or set of responses, every time.
For example, suppose you (rather, the PC) walked into a convenience store in one of these games. The shopkeeper there fills a single role in the game and thus has a limited set of actions within that role's space (RS); that store is the only place you will ever encounter the shopkeeper. If you ask about an item in the store, you'll be told about that item. If you decide to purchase an item, he'll make the transaction with you. This is the expected behavior of any shopkeeper. If you ask him how he's doing, he'll say "I'm well, thank you." If you ask again, he'll say, "Fine, thanks." Ask again and you'll get the original "I'm well, thank you" response. Well that certainly isn't normal, is it? So you decide to leave the store and he says, "Thank you, Sir, and God bless your lineage!" Just for kicks, you walk in and out of the store again, and again you hear, "Thank you, Sir, and God bless your lineage!" Weird. People in real life aren't like that.
Or are they?
The NPC Theory asserts that this is exactly how the real world works. In its purest form, it states that everyone you meet is an NPC with a limited and ultimately predictable set of responses to any given stimuli. This idea was originally conceived by Irk*, relayed to me and further developed by TheyC*, and developed yet further by myself over the past two or three years.
Now you (you predictable and limited NPC, you) might already disagree with me, saying things like:
"People are more complex than that! How can you stereotype everyone like that?"
"How can you say that you are a PC? Or that I am? Or that anyone is?"
"So do you see NPCs as lesser beings?"
"Why is a person considered to be an NPC?"
If so, don't bail on me just yet. All these questions, and more, will be addressed in the upcoming months. This isn't just a whimsical theory here for my own and others' amusement. It's a model of human behavior. I observe, experience, and apply it in my own daily life.
* These people will remain anonymous unless they tell me otherwise.
Continue on to Part 2