Sunday, June 28, 2015

Esperanto on Street Cars

Somewhat dated, alas.
Oh, were this the reality now, and perhaps it will be again. I’ve been making periodic checks of the number of people who have signed up for Esperanto lessons on Duolingo. As of today (June 28, 2015), it is just past thirty-seven thousand. In a way, it resembles the wave of enthusiasm that happened in the United States from about 1906 through 1912.

In the “Book Chat” column of the June 28, 1906 edition of the New York Observer and Chronicle, that’s exactly the vision brought forth by the writer: “it would not be surprising to hear ‘Esperanto’ conversations on board the street cars.” It would be today. I have the sneaking suspicion that there were more Esperanto speakers in 1915 New York than there are throughout the entire United States in 2015 (I hope I’m wrong).



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

A (Partial) History of Same-Sex Marriage

Marriage. Nothing new.
Same-sex couples may now marry in all fifty states, and people are beginning work on histories of the marriage-equality movement.[1] I hope that these histories go back far enough. There is a stark difference between this history of same-sex marriage and the history of same-sex marriage in the United States.

When I was listening the Obergefell hearing, I was not particularly surprised that several justices brought up the question of whether there were historical examples of same-sex marriage. I actually think this line of questioning was profoundly irrelevant. We can find plenty of historical examples, and even contemporary ones, for things that are prohibited by the constitution. I don’t need to go deep into history to find examples of the suppression of freedom of speech. Just as a lack of freedom of speech in other places and times says nothing of our rights, a lack (or even existence) of same-sex marriage in history would say nothing about whether or not it was part of basic human liberty.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage Equality — At Last!

Let freedom ring!
I’ve been waiting a long time for this! I’ve been arguing in favor of same-sex marriage for more than twenty years. When California authorized domestic partnerships, I saw them as half a loaf (or maybe even less, given the limited rights initially granted, though even this was better than the almost completely symbolic domestic partnerships that the city of Laguna Beach offered in the early 90s).

Opposition to marriage equality came from not only those who sought to roll back gay rights, but also from those who, though in favor of gay rights, were either opposed to marriage itself, or felt that the gay community should be pursuing other goals. If you had asked me in 1995 if employment protections or marriage equality were more achievable, I would have said, “no doubt about it, employment.” I’ve seen arguments that we should have gone for ENDA. Employment protections are important, but during the same time that Obergefell moved through the courts, the Republicans have been in control of Congress. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has no chance of budging in a Republican-controlled Congress. In other words, if all our efforts for marriage equality in the last five years had been applied to employment non-discrimination for LGBT people, we’d be in the same place on employment, and still not have marriage equality.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gambling in Esperanto

Baccarat? But I wanted
to study Esperanto!
Was every Esperanto club in 1907 Paris a front for a gambling den? It might seem that way. When I discovered an June 24, 1907 article about raid on a gambling den in Paris, I assumed it was the one that the WashingtonEvening Star had written about slightly later in 1907. Then I realized the names the proprietors were different. Did Paris really have two cunning ladies who decided that an Esperanto club would be the perfect cover for an illegal gambling den? At least that many. There were two separate raids on Esperanto clubs in 1907.

The article in the Los Angeles Times does not give the location of Madame Schwob’s gambling club. I’m going to make guess that it probably wasn’t too far off from Madame Beaujon’s secret club on the Boulevard Clichy, since another source does say that Madame Schwob also had an apartment on the Boulevard Clichy. I guess in 1907 it wasn’t just the place to go for an illegal baccarat club, but the place to go for an illegal baccarat club that was masquerading as an Esperanto group. But where did you go if you wanted your friends to think you were engaging in gambling, when you really just wanted to get together and talk Esperanto?



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Tomb of the Cybermen — Blogging Doctor Who

A tomb? Don't you need
to be dead for one
of those?
At the end of “The Moonbase,” the Doctor expresses his wish that he not deal with the Cybermen again for a very long time. Had the BBC actually released the reconstructed “Underwater Menace,” there would have been a small break between “The Moonbase” and “The Tomb of the Cybermen.” Ironically, just after I finished watching “The Tomb of the Cybermen,” Amazon sent me an e-mail that “The Underwater Menace” was available for pre-order, but although they list a price, they don’t have a release date for it. I think we’ve heard this one before. So, instead, “The Tomb of the Cybermen” is the third of a sequence of Cybermen stories. The next serial I blog about will not have Cybermen in it (it’s an easy promise; I’ve already started watching “The Ice Warriors,” nothing’s showing up on my shelves that will make me say, “gotta watch this first”).

Our first encounter with the Cybermen was set in 1986, although it was a 1986 in which technology hadn’t much progressed beyond 1966. Then, we jumped forward to the only slightly more advanced time 2070, and everyone has assumed that the that the Cybermen were wiped out more than a century before with the destruction of Mondas. Now we’re at some unspecified future time when it is again believed that the Cybermen were wiped out years before. We’ve got a group that going to find their tombs. They have landed in the dorkiest-looking spaceship imaginable. On the other hand, we get a group shot of captain and crew, and I have to wonder if Captain Hopper chose his crew for looks, but I’ll get to that later. He clearly didn’t choose his spaceship for looks.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Limericks in Esperanto

Ŝi havas grandegan kapon.
Here, once again, I’m complaining about journalists not doing their job. Even for a joke, you need to stick to the facts. The first cartoon with joking caption in the “Our Funny Man’s Column” in the Whitefish Pilot of June 22, 1911 makes a completely untrue statement about Esperanto. Where were the outraged letters to the editor noting that the Pilot had been complicit in spreading a scurrilous lie about the noble language Esperanto?

This was (at least as indexed at Chronicling America) the final time that the Pilot made any reference to Esperanto (Chronicling America only has it for 1908 through 1912, though the paper started in 1904 and is still published). The early press on Esperanto is filled inaccurate statements, including odd claims that the inventor of Esperanto was a Spaniard, or that he created the language while serving a long prison term. Not true. Not true.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Veltlang at the Esperanto Meeting

The Veltlang Alphabet
Not sure if you can use it to write Esperanto
Veltlang clearly got more press than it deserved. Chronicling America has thirteen articles on it, ranging from its introduction in May 1910 through 1913 (when journalists seemed to tire of it). Its creator, Frederick Braendle, was a translator for the Pension Office (and so his designation of “Professor” was undoubtably self-conferred), who spoke sixteen languages. For the world, he gave English, slightly respelled with a new alphabet.

Those thirteen article are a bit too much coverage because Braendle’s only publication on Veltlang is a twelve-page pamphlet which gives little detail about the language itself (which, once again, is really English), and goes into greater detail of the somewhat mystical implications that Braendle felt his language had.

There does seem to have been a language, since he told the press the he used it in correspondence with friends. However, his book World-English, A New World Language, Veltlang, with English Words and English Grammar, Subject to the limitations of the phonetic writing of Veltlang, together with a simple phonetic world-alphabet, Seuastikon is his only book. (This title brings to mind the long titles of eighteenth-century novels, which are typically chopped down in modern editions.)



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Third Esperanto Jest

On June 16, 1903, the Chicago Tribune humor column “A Line-O’Type or Two” included an item headed “Our Esperanto Department.” This was followed up on June 18 with the second “lesson” of “Esperanto in Six Easy Lessons.” If, on June 20, 1903, Tribune readers turned to the column with anticipation of more Esperanto, they were not to be disappointed.

Well, not yet.

Near the end of the column, Bert L. Taylor, did include a third Esperanto installment, this one titled “Esperanto in Six Easy Lessons—III.” I would caution anyone who thinks this might be a substitute for learning Esperanto on Duolingo, or with the book Saluton, or at the site Lernu, that Taylor’s “easy lessons” don’t actually teach Esperanto. This third installment brings up an interesting question.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Los Angeles Report on the Esperanto Congress

LA Times readers had an uncanny
experience of déjà vu.
Journalism by press release is clearly nothing new, given the overlap in information in the articles that appeared in the Los Angeles Herald and the Los Angeles Times on June 19, 1910. It’s also clear what the source of the article was: the Esperanto Society of Los Angeles, which managed to get a plug in for their own events. (I’d like to note here that while I struggle to maintain monthly meetings of my own Esperanto group, in 1910 there were weekly Esperanto meetings in Los Angeles. On the other hand, when I moved to California in 1991, there were weekly meetings in my area; that group has since folded.)

Because there is so much overlap, I’ve decided to take the irritating way out and combine the articles. I’ve set them below in three columns, the Herald on the left, the Times on the right, and everything where they’re using the same words is in the middle.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Jest for Esperanto 2 - A Lesson!

There's more Polish than Esperanto
“A Line-O’-Type or Two,” the humor column of the Chicago Tribune in the early twentieth century, wasn’t done with Esperanto with its entry of June 16, 1903. No, there was more to come. For the sake of history, let’s put this in some context. In June 1903, the first Esperanto group in the United States, the American Esperanto Association, was nearly two years in the future. The North American Review woulnd’t start its Esperanto lessons for another four years, and the establishment of the Esperanto Association of North America wouldn’t come for another five years. Even most of those referred to as “pioneers of Esperanto” in the United States had yet to learn Esperanto.

This joke is about as obscure as you can get. This was not the first reference to Esperanto in the Tribune, not even the first reference in the “A Line-O’-Type or Two,” but the preceding references in the Tribune were sparse enough that Chicago readers could be excused if they had never heard of it. Getting back to historical context, Chicago didn’t get an Esperanto group until three years later.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Esperanto By Radio

Esperanto on the air
If you follow the sources, there’s some confusion about the middle name of the Esperantist radio expert mentioned in a short item in the June 17, 1922 Evening World. The World gives his name as “James Denison Sayers.” Geoffrey Sutton in Consise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto, 1887–2000 gives his name as “James Denton Sayers,” and on Vikipedio, he’s listed as “James Denson Sayers.” We’re giving this one to Vikipedio, since that’s he wrote on his draft registration cards.

Sayers (now that we’ve properly identified him), was a telegraph operator, novelist (including one in Esperanto), and founding member of the Esperanto League of North America (the organization that rose as a rival and successor to the Esperanto Association of North America, after EANA was pushed out of the Universal Esperanto-Asocio), and one distressing thing (I’ll get to it, reluctantly). At the same time, Arnold Christen was also talking about the important of Esperanto to radio.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Jest for Esperanto

Warning: Not real Esperanto
Jokes about waiters seemed to be a special theme in the humor column “A Line-O’Type or Two” that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on June 16, 1903. There’s a longish item item titled “The Perfect Waiter,” attributed to “Sambo J. Johnson, Esq.” and an item signed “B. L. T.” includes a waiter joke. And the somewhat tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Esperanto also seems to include a waiter joke.

I’ve skimmed through other insertions of the column (which later gets attributed in its entirety to “B. L. Taylor”), and waiter jokes are pervasive. The handbook for waiters joke continues through several issues. It’s an early treatment of Esperanto as a source of humor, since in 1903 it was pretty obscure in the United States; you couldn’t count on people to get the joke. A few years later, it was still being described as “the new universal language,” even though it had been published nearly sixteen years before. Yet the column describes (accurately) as “not so new.” For comparison, consider that the period encompassed between the publication of Volapük and the collapse of the movement was only nine years. At fifteen, Esperanto was still getting off the ground, with its first convention not even an idea yet.

Skimming past the waiter jokes and and other such items (and the two mocking comments about King Peter of Serbia—there’s a third at the end of the column) we get the the Esperanto part:

OUR ESPERANTO DEPARTMENT
[Esperanto is a universal language. It is not so new. Ten papers are printed in it. It has not, however, got a start in this country, and as we regard it as a good thing, we propose to push it along. Esperanto is a simple language. Count Tolstoi learned it in two hours. It took us 2:05:16. This argues that Tolstoi is a better linguist than we are; but as nobody held the watch on him we must take his word for two hours flat. Esperanto not only looks well, but sounds well when played on the piano. Follow the lesson for today: 
La frapo de attendistoj estas en la aero, kaj la attendisto estas en la supo. 

VERY SPECIAL.
For the best triolet written in Esperanto we offer a fine cigar case. Competition closes July 1.
I should note here that the competition (if there truly was one) closed on July 1, 1903. Anyone starting a triolet is more than a century late. I suspect the particular verse form was chosen because of its difficulty. I’m not writing one in any language.

The phrase in the “lesson” is interesting, because though it makes errors, it’s not total gibberish (or, as would be said in Esperanto, volapukaĵo). Someone used an Esperanto source and, probably not finding the word “waiter,” actually figured out how to phrase “one who waits.” There, the problem is Zamenhof’s.

The word for waiter in Esperanto is kelnero. It’s right there in the Universala Vortaro of 1894, but perhaps the Tribune was working from the shorter word list of the 1887 Unua Libro, which does not have the word kelnero. Or, maybe the wording of the Universala Vortaro confused them. Compare these two entries:

kelner’ garçon | boy | Kellner | половой, кельнеръ | kelner.
knab’ garçon | boy | Knabe | мальчикъ | chłopiec.

Wait! Is this something that means the same thing in French and English, but something different in German, Russian, and Polish? Happily, my small amount of skills in German helps me through this, since the German is clear: kelnero is “waiter,” and knabo is “boy.”

Attendistoj is an impossible word in Esperanto, though it’s a good guess. According to the rules of word formation in Esperanto, you’d have to break up the word as at-tend-ist-o-j. All of these parts exist in Esperanto, but you can’t assemble them to mean “waiter.” At can only be used as a suffix; it indicates the present passive participle of a verb (it only goes at the ends of words). Tendo means “tent.” The rest would be fine if they dropped that second t.

But even atendisto isn’t a great word in Esperanto. Yup, it literally translates waiter, as in “one who waits around professionally.” Is there money in that? I have a French translation dictionary (dated 1991) which under “waiter” puts “garçon” first, then “serveur.” The Larousse dictionary on my iPad switches these two. Servisto is closer to the French, but is really going to mean “servant.” I suspect these are the sorts of thoughts that Zamenhof went through in choosing vocabulary.

Even with the substitution of kelnero, it’s still a pretty strange phrase:
The blow of waiters is in the air, and the waiter is in the soup.
Huh?

The claim that Leo Tolstoy learned the language in just two hours was an oft-repeated on in the early days, which did come from the authority of Tolstoy himself. I suspect that the two hours of study allow Tolstoy to create a letter by flipping through the (then very limited) word list and applying various word endings, so that he could compose a letter. We’re not talking someone who could just drop into casual conversation. I mention this because with the recent release of Esperanto on Duolingo, I have seen the question, “how long does it take to learn Esperanto?”

That’s hard to quantify, of course. It depends on how diligent you are, probably some innate abilities, and what level of competency you mean by “to learn.” If you go by the example given by “A Line-O’-Type,” the answer is “infinitely long.”
You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Early Results on Students’ Petition for Esperanto

We want Esperanto now!
On June 8, 1913, two of the Washington D.C. newspapers, the Washington Herald and the Evening Star reported on plans by D.C. students to create a petition to have Esperanto taught in the public schools. This was neither the first nor last attempt to get Esperanto into the D.C. schools, though none of them were successful. We can cheer for the students in their attempts at convincing the board of eduction to have Esperanto as a subject, while at the remove of more than a century, we know that their efforts were not successful.

But they tried. What it does show is just how energetic and large the Esperanto movement was in just one American city a century ago, and that they were doing the work to try to perpetuate the movement. They had big plans in era when the hope was still alive that Americans traveling abroad would speak Esperanto. The Esperanto Association of North America was still headquartered there, although they would soon move their offices to West Newton, Massachusetts (Amerika Esperantisto had already moved there). Sadly, in a way this move showed that the Esperanto movement was diminishing in the United States; the EANA presidents would be Esperantists, not those who held power in diplomatic circles. The organization would no longer be headquartered in a major city, but was in a suburb. The Esperanto movement in the United States was somewhat running out of steam. A petition drive for Esperanto in the public schools was a bold move that, if successful, might have been imitated.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Esperanto and the Sciences

Some things never
change. That headline
could be current.
Virgil C. Dibble was not a scientist. When he wrote a letter to the magazine The Outlook, he was probably by the a salesman for a map publisher. He was, however, a fervent support of Esperanto, and so when the first Pan-American Scientific Congress took up the question of Esperanto, Dibble was not going to let the editor of The Outlook remain in the dark on this, especially as The Outlook had written about the congress.

The Outlook was, according to Wikipedia one of the leading news and opinion magazines of its day, beaten out (perhaps) only by The Independent and The Nation (of these three, only the Nation is still around). Dibble’s piece was not one of their bits of news and essays, but instead was in a section (at the back of the issue) under the heading of “Public Opinion,” appearing on the fourth and final full page of that section in the June 12, 1909 issue. It’s a letter to the editor. The only letter after that is on how English place and family names retain spellings that are no longer indicative of their pronunciation. After that it’s advertisements, with a charming advertisement for Porosknit summer underwear two pages later (a dollar for a summer-weight union suit). (Lest you think it’s all about forgotten products, the bottom of the page after Dibble’s letter contains advertisement for Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and Borden’s evaporated milk).


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Mild Advocate for Esperanto Calls for a Congress

Love those decorated letters.
First, I’d like to note that any time the New York Times decides to bring back decorated initial capital letters, it’s fine with me. The first “E” of G. W. Wishard’s June 4, 1904 letter to the Times gets this lovely decorated initial, though the Times has probably long since disposed of their cold type. I love this sort of old-fashioned layout (and it was already old-fashioned in 1904). I hope Mr. Wishard appreciated this, as they did not treat his letters with such ornate care every time he wrote to the Times.

Wishard had letters printed by the Times on at least six occasions, with this being his first. Most of his letters were on the subject of language. Not just Esperanto though, as he also held forth on simplified spelling, Latin, and the Bowery dialect. The “G” does seem to stand for George, and by 1904, he had evidenced an interest in international languages, as he was probably the G. W. Wishard cited in Elias Molee’s 1902 Tutonish, or Anglo-German Union Tongue. Molee quotes from A Philosophical Language, by G. W. Wishard, although this G. W. Wishard lived in Lebanon, Ohio (this many not have been a book-length work; I’ve found no other references to it, though Molee cites it repeatedly). In 1913, in his book on Ro, Edward Powell Foster thanked a Mr. G. W. Wishard of New Richmond, Ohio.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Zamenhof Announces Travel to America

Doktoro Esperanto
[Note: I’ve decided to revise this one a year after writing it. I’ve kept the original link, which was based on the old title, “1910: Zamenhof to Arrive in Washington.” I had written this one up quickly, transcribing only part of the original article; now you get the whole thing. I’ve also added to the context.]

Erroneously dubbing him “Prof. Zamenhof,” the Washington Times of June 10, 1910, announced that Dr. L. L. Zamenhof would be coming Washington D.C. for the Sixth World Esperanto Congress, the first to be held out of Europe. Zamenhof was a physician, specializing in diseases of the eye; he was not a professor. Then, as now, the United States was that unobtainable prize for the Esperanto movement. Zamenhof himself referred to the importance of the 1910 Congress would be for the movement, undoubtably expecting it to promote Esperanto in the United States.

Then again, the recipient of the letter is somewhat doubly misnamed, since the “Dr. Reid” of the article is Edwin C. Reed, the secretary of the Esperanto Association of North America (and not, as the Times would have it, “the North American Esperanto Society”). I have to assume that the press wasn’t particularly sloppy with the Esperanto movement, and probably lots of small organizations got their names garbled. I never see any corrections for these, where they note that “due to an editing error, the name of Edwin C. Reed and his organization, the Esperanto Association of North America, were erroneously reported.”


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Death of an Esperantist

An unhappy end
Let’s clear this up first: despite the words of the Chicago Tribune, Herbert Harris was not “the chief exponent in America of Esperanto,” though he was certainly an active member of the Esperanto Association of North America, and the translator of two books into Esperanto (he was no Edward Payson, when it came to translation, or even leadership of the Esperanto movement). In 1919, when Harris died, it would have been more accurate to describe Payson as “the chief exponent in America of Esperanto.” That said, Harris was clearly an important and beloved figure in the Esperanto movement.

Sadly, Harris committed suicide by drowning. submerging himself in the waters of Lake Michigan in early June, 1919. He had been in the Esperanto movement for more than a decade. His obituary in Amerika Esperantisto notes that he learned Esperanto in 1906. (Amerika Esperantisto clearly went to press late, since the obituary written “as this number of the magazine goes to press” appeared in the June 1919 issue.)



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Students Petition for Esperanto

Well, maybe not "planned"
There were several attempts to get Esperanto classes in to the Washington, D.C. school system. The early Esperantist Mrs. Wilbur Crafts made an attempt in 1908, and in 1914, a Representative from Louisiana attempted to get the D.C. schools to add Esperanto to their curriculum. He was preceded by a year by Esperantists who tried to influence this themselves.

The plan was (and, alas, we already know it was unsuccessful) was to get District residents to sign a petition that the D.C. schools teach Esperanto, and no house was going to be ignored, not even that big white one on Pennsylvania Avenue. It made sense: get the endorsement of the people in D.C., and the school board would have to follow. In a way, this is a great idea, since one of the problem Esperanto seems to have is that it’s never achieved a large enough group of speakers to achieve the network effects where it then becomes sensible for lots of people to learn it.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Rosebush in Esperanto

La virino kaj
la rozujo
Mabel Wagnalls is one of those writers who are famous in their own era, but are later forgotten. Literary history is filled with these, and her story The Rose-Bush of a Thousand Years is a cute enough (though sentimental) tale of the miraculous redemption of a “fallen” woman, but Wagnalls didn’t create any significant body of work. A little searching for biographical details shows that she was pianist who occasionally wrote stories. It is probably because Ms. Wagnalls was a pianist that her stories attracted the attention of Edward S. Payson.

Payson, the president of the Esperanto Association of North American (not the “American Esperanto Society,” as named in the Richmond Times-Dispatch) was also a piano manufacturer. In his spare time, he raised horses and wrote in Esperanto, producing both original works and translations. He produced two original works (although one was not published until 1988, more than fifty years after his death), and ten translations, three of which are translations of Wagnall’s work.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Moonbase — Blogging Doctor Who

Cybermen on the moon!
When I decided to watch through all the surviving Doctor Who serials in order, I had just filled out my collection with the last three releases: one partial reconstruction and two complete finds. This meant that I couldn’t call this a Doctor Who rewatch, since there were three serials I hadn’t seen yet, the first of which was “The Moonbase.” Two of the four episodes survive, so the other two (the first and third) are animated reconstructions. I was perfectly fine with the reconstructions on “The Reign of Terror” and “The Tenth Planet” (they grew on me), so I was fine with the reconstruction of “The Moonbase.”

By the end, I was thinking that were they to offer fully reconstructed episodes (where fan-recorded audio is all that remains), my reaction would be that of Fry in Futurama: “shut up and take my money!” This, apparently, is not to be. Two Trouton episodes survive of an earlier serial, “The Underwater Menace,” but plans to reconstruct the other two episodes were scrapped. Listen up, BBC: you’re spoiling my dreams of watching a reconstructed version of “The Dalek Master Plan,” which is better than not watching it at all.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A British Esperantist Writes the Sun

He might have to cancel his subscription
Imagine, if you would, just what it took to get a New York newspaper to Aldershot in the United Kingdom in 1906. The newspaper would have gone from the New York docks, across the ocean to England, and then from one of its ports to this town south west of London. Or perhaps the paper made its way all the way to London, and from there reached the gentleman from Aldershot. Certainly, a copy did, because the June 4, 1906 New York Sun contained a letter responding to an item in the April 8, 1906 issue.

If we assume that the Sun printed Mr. Robinson’s letter as soon as they received it, then the whole thing took a mere fifty-seven days., although most of those seemed to be involved in getting the Sun into Mr. Robinson’s hands, as he wrote his letter thirteen days before it was printed. April 8 was a big Esperanto day for the Sun, as they printed three items related to Esperanto on that day. One was a letter from John Twombly, responding to an earlier statement about Esperanto in the Sun. Directly beneath it (and I don’t know how I missed it), was another letter on the same subject (of Shakespeare in Esperanto), and then there a third item, unsigned (so we can assume it was an editorial), making some false statements about Esperanto.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Swimmers and That Esperanto Sign

They swim, but do they
speak Esperanto?
The main point of the article in the Washington Times of June 3, 1911 was that the municipal swimming pool had opened, and that it was preferable to their drowning in the Potomac. The article notes that of the six hundred and fifty-eight small boys gathered there, about one hundred and fifty “couldn’t swim a stroke,” and their gathering was described as “just so many possible drownings in the river averted.” Sadly, though the municipal pools seemed to be a safeguard against drowning, there wasn’t a safeguard against segregation; the article notes that “eight small colored boys paddled leisurely around the separate pool designed for their use” (I wasn’t aware of any special design needs for black children; oh, they mean “designated”).

In addition to being segregated on racial lines, the pool was also sex segregated. The final paragraph notes that the pool was open for boys on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and for girls on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The pool was also open on Sundays, but the article doesn’t note who got to swim on those days.



You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Esperanto at the Congress of Academies

Spoke Esperanto
for peace
With the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a great push to speed up the process of globalization. Bring everything together for human progress! One vision, as expressed in a June 2, 1901 article in the New York Sun was the creation of an “International Congress of Academies,” an umbrella organization for all of the learned societies. We could imagine that a learned society might have regional chapters, but above them all with the International Association of Academies.

Despite that people gathered in Paris to form this International Association of Academies, it was not long lived. It was disestablished the year before World War I (and there is very little about it). The Sun article is too long to quote, and only the last bit pertains to one of the themes of this blog: the connection of Esperanto to turn of the twentieth century progressive movements. The last six paragraphs (out of ten) were the possible language that this academy might use. (Wherever the Sun writes “Congress of Academies,” please substitute “International Association of Academies,” the actual name of the organization) I’m going to spare myself the first four and dive right in, just as it seemed the International Association of Academies planned.


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Esperanto and Cycling

Herzl's bicycle
When I visited Vienna last year, I took in two (among many others) two sights: the Esperanto Museum (which is is fairly small) and the Jewish Museum (which is fairly large). I was surprised to see a bicycle hanging from the ceiling. This turned out to be the bicycle one owned by Theodore Herzl, the journalist who started the Zionist movement, a search to regain the homeland of the Jewish people. Another surprise was to see a book on Esperanto, though perhaps Esperanto shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise, since it was created by a Polish (not Viennese) Jew, Ludovik Zamenhof. Zamenhof was even involved in the Zionist movement, though he later concluded that withdrawal was not the right thing for the Jewish people (he also had his doubts specifically about the settlement of Palestine). The book on Esperanto (in German) was not one by Zamenhof, but rather by the Austrian peace advocate (and Nobel laureate), Alfred H. Fried. In this museum, I walked from bicycling to Esperanto.

Both were seen as something of a fad in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. They didn’t come together only in the Vienna Jewish Museum, but instead as many European cyclists were exploring nearby countries, there seemed a need for a common language. The Touring Club of France was an early proponent of making Esperanto the international language of bicycling, and according to this article, the Cyclists’ Touring Club in the UK, was thinking of doing the same. (Zamenhof was a proponent of making Esperanto the language of a new Jewish homeland, one that wouldn’t be in the Middle East. No word from him on bicycling.)


You can follow my blog on Twitter (@impofthediverse) or on Facebook. If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you have a comment just for me, e-mail me at impofthediverse@gmail.com.
This blog runs solely on ego! Follow this blog! Comment on this post! Let me know that you want to read more of it!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...