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06 February 2012 @ 09:54 pm
two links  
I have discovered a new way to totally lose time - check out the omegle tag on tumblr. (though prepare yourself for sherlock spoilers).

Also, has anybody actually used Omegle to talk to people? I had an entirely boring conversation with a highschooler (I think). I may have to pretend to be a character just to make things more entertaining if I ever go on again.

Aaaand, if you're interested in the Tale of Genji, there's this lovely piece of meta in the Fireflies chapter that basically makes a connection (in my mind) about 'romances' (which are basically court tales like the Tale of Genji) and fanfiction. The relevant convo:

Tamakazura was the most avid reader of all. She quite lost herself in pictures and stories and would spend whole days with them. Several of her young women were well informed in literary matters. She came upon all sorts of interesting and shocking incidents (she could not be sure whether they were true or not), but she found little that resembled her own unfortunate career. There was _The Tale of Sumiyoshi_, popular in its day, of course, and still well thought of. She compared the plight of the heroine, within a hairbreadth of being taken by the chief accountant, with her own escape from the Higo person.

Genji could not help noticing the clutter of pictures and manuscripts. "What a nuisance this all is," he said one day. "Women seem to have been born to be cheerfully deceived. They know perfectly well that in all these old stories there is scarcely a shred of truth, and yet they are captured and made sport of by the whole range of trivialities and go on scribbling them down, quite unaware that in these warm rains their hair is all dank and knotted."

He smiled. "What would we do if there were not these old romances to relieve our boredom? But amid all the fabrication I must admit that I do find real emotions and plausible chains of events. We can be quite aware of the frivolity and the idleness and still be moved. We have to feel a little sorry for a charming princess in the depths of gloom. Sometimes a series of absurd and grotesque incidents which we know to be quite improbable holds our interest, and afterwards we must blush that it was so. Yet even then we can see what it was that held us. Sometimes I stand and listen to the stories they read to my daughter, and I think to myself that there certainly are good talkers in the world. I think that these yarns must come from people much practiced in lying. But perhaps that is not the whole of the story?"

She pushed away her inkstone. "I can see that that would be the view of someone much given to lying himself. For my part, I am convinced of their truthfulness."

He laughed. "I have been rude and unfair to your romances, haven't I. They have set down and preserved happenings from the age of the gods to our own. _The Chronicles of Japan and the rest are a mere fragment of the whole truth. It is your romances that fill in the details.

"We are not told of things that happened to specific people exactly as they happened; but the beginning is when there are good things and bad things, things that happen in this life which one never tires of seeing and hearing about, things which one cannot bear not to tell of and must pass on for all generations. If the storyteller wishes to speak well, then he chooses the good things; and if he wishes to hold the reader's attention he chooses bad things, extraordinarily bad things. Good things and bad things alike, they are things of this world and no other.

"Writers in other countries approach the matter differently. Old stories in our own are different from new. There are differences in the degree of seriousness. But to dismiss them as lies is itself to depart from the truth. Even in the writ which the Buddha drew from his noble heart are parables, devices for pointing obliquely at the truth. To the ignorant they may seem to operate at cross purposes. The Greater Vehicle is full of them, but the general burden is always the same. The difference between enlightenment and confusion is of about the same order as the difference between the good and the bad in a romance. If one takes the generous view, then nothing is empty and useless."

He now seemed bent on establishing the uses of fiction.

"But tell me: is there in any of your old stories a proper, upright fool like myself?" He came closer. "I doubt that even among the most unworldly of your heroines there is one who manages to be as distant and unnoticing as you are. Suppose the two of us set down our story and give the world a really interesting one."

"I think it very likely that the world will take notice of our curious story even if we do not go to the trouble." She hid her face in her sleeves.

"Our curious story? Yes, incomparably curious, I should think." Smiling and playful, he pressed nearer.

"Beside myself, I search through all the books,
And come upon no daughter so unfilial.
"You are breaking one of the commandments."

He stroked her hair as he spoke, but she refused to look up. Presently, however, she managed a reply:

"So too it is with me. I too have searched,
And found no cases quite so unparental."

Somewhat chastened, he pursued the matter no further. Yet one worried. What was to become of her?

Murasaki too had become addicted to romances. Her excuse was that Genji's little daughter insisted on being read to.

"Just see what a fine one this is," she said, showing Genji an illustration for _The Tale of Kumano_. The young girl in tranquil and confident slumber made her think of her own younger self. "How precocious even very little children seem to have been. I suppose I might have set myself up as a specimen of the slow, plodding variety. I would have won that competition easily."

Genji might have been the hero of some rather more eccentric stories.

[ from Tale of Genji online, Fireflies chapter ]

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
samanthahirr: Where We Overlapsamanthahirr on February 10th, 2012 04:28 am (UTC)
This translated text is so gorgeous! And...hot? I don't know what the situation is between the two characters, but it's definitely intriguing. I loved his eloquent back-pedaling, how at the first sign of disagreement he swiftly turned it into self-mockery to ingratiate himself. But I am completely sold on your comparison to fanfiction, and how there's something emotionally appealing about all of the stories (court stories and fanfic alike).

Thank you so much for sharing this passage with us, my dear! This section in particular really struck a chord with me:

If the storyteller wishes to speak well, then he chooses the good things; and if he wishes to hold the reader's attention he chooses bad things, extraordinarily bad things. Good things and bad things alike, they are things of this world and no other.
my monkied brain: tara - happy to see youkatekat1010 on February 10th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
You you NAILED it! Yeah, this is the Sidensticker translation, and although some people say it's a flatter translation than the Tyler (which was one of the first sort of recognized ones), it really has its moments.

Although they refer to each other as daughter and father the real truth of it is that she's the daughter of one of his best friends (though the best friend doesn't know it, and neither does she) that Genji discovered later on in his life and moved into his house to raise. Genji did this once before with his current main wife (Murasaki, she has a small mention in the excerpt above), and he sort of trained her up to be the most alluring kind of woman to him, and then they got married. So in this chapter it's mostly about Genji saying that he's acting a good father and setting up Tamakazura with eligible court men, but really what he's trying to do is woo her for himself because she's so pretty.

And yeah, he's pretty awesome with teh eloquent backpeddaling! I haven't read later chapters of Genji, mostly just the early ones, although apparently he starts to do this kind of stuff more often.

Thank you so much for reading!! And I love the quote you were pulling - isn't it kind of amazing how it could work as a description of popular fiction in general and fanfiction in specific?? GAH, literature is FUN.
samanthahirrsamanthahirr on February 11th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
I'm mesmerized by this visual:

"I think it very likely that the world will take notice of our curious story even if we do not go to the trouble." She hid her face in her sleeves.

It's a stunning image, beautifully described, but culturally I'm not sure what it represents. Is she being coy in response to overt flirting, or shy in response to overt flirting? Is she embarrassed by what she's said? Is this a childish gesture, or a mature gesture?