Daily mythology: Nobody

dus

 

Being tired of heads, the author sits on the beach (the season just starts, sezon başlıyor!) and sees some bodies on the shore

We all know the gigantic head-sculptures at Mt.Rushmore at least from photographs. Well, in a certain sense these presidents are literally nobodies aren’t they? Let’s forget them for a while, it is spring, body and soul are longing for the sun (while the head’s protected by a hat).

In fact tourism is a matter of exposing our skin to sunshine, all the office-workers, cellar-crawlers, computer freaks, book worms and night owls feel an aching hunger for sunshine. Modern summer-tourism is happening on the beaches (of Mediterranean climate zone) The beach is a border – as our skin is – and borders are fascinating zones of liveliness. Just a few examples: there are more flowers at the border between woods and meadow than inside of both of them. There is more traffic on the roads in the morning and evening than at noon or at night. There are colours emerging at dawn and not in the darkness or the bright light. In fact our whole living sphere is a small borderline between the petrified inner of our planet and the vacuum of space. And the beach! What colours, what life, what noise during summer holidays in Bodrum, in Bitez, in Göltürkbükü and Torba, while Kizilaĝac, Mumcular and Dörttepe are sleeping beauties in the glast of summer heat……

 

(Photograph: Shower-bodies at Turgutreis © Thomas Kutzli)

 

Come on! Let’s meditate about bodies!!

Like about heads here a bit of etymology:

Body:

German “Leib” – life, like (like a body), “Körper” – corpse – “Leiche” dead body. Interesting connections are: corsage, corset (size of the body); corpulent; leprechaun, the Irish dwarfs (little body); nobody, anybody and somebody; member (of parliament); limb (from Proto-Indogerman “lei”) = any visible part of the body, labour = exertion of the body, today used in sense of to plough or to give birth, some countries got even a labour-party…..; meniscus = crescent shaped body; hocus-pocus (from lat. “hoc est corpus meus” = this is my body)….

(see: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php)

 

Should the body be the bearer of life (as much of these words suggest), and the skin the zone where we get conscience of it? In my favourite lokanta here Şadi Bey just plays “I got you……. under my skin…. ), and the head, the face, the brain, the impact of individuality, would be carried around by the ever serving body and its members?

 

In modern times now another part of us has been separated from our entirety . I may be allowed to take a short ride into matters of criminology: As big communities were organizing themselves there was need to identify individuals in the crowd of people. First it was done by names. But it was not difficult at all to take a nickname, a false name and start anew (after some crimes for example). In some countries – let’s take the Osman Empire – there were not even second names.

Around 1880 Alphonse Bertillon, a French anthropologist, had the most nearby idea for an identification: the photograph of the human face (see my  article “Headroom” about the face and head in Bodrum Observer, issue xx)

Then the hierarchy of human body parts changed: Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, created the method of fingerprints…..Fingerprints offer an infallible means of personal identification. That is the essential explanation for their having supplanted other methods of establishing the identities of people.

(see history of fingerprints: http://www.onin.com/fp/fphistory.html)

But in much more ways we got into a „finger-age“. It began with the finger on the trigger of fire weapons, then the shutter of the camera, then the keys of the typewriter…. nowadays we mostly just use one fingertip, be it for telecommand, keyboard, wireless mouse or touchscreen…. We are immobilized – in front of monitor or under the sun of the beach, because technique became independent from us, has run out of our bodies…..

The whole world of machines is – as I’ll try to develop in the third part of this article – an extension of our hands and feet……

Mythologie des Alltags: Tozeur, Sahara

Das Filmteam des Englischen Patienten ist bei den Einwohnern unvergessen. Bordel, ces mecs! In unserem Reisebus ist jemandem schlecht. Der Chauffeur hält beim Frisiersalon kurz vorm Ortsende. Hierzulande, sagt Sami, der Reiseführer, ist der Friseur zugleich Arzt, Therapeut Aufklärer, Hochzeitsmakler, Brautputzer. Mich überkommt ein Verlangen nach Depilation. Das zwickt an manchen Stellen. Der Bus fährt inzwischen ohne mich weiter. Ich habe Zeit und lasse mir im selben Arbeitsgang den Rücken tätowieren. Was soll es sein? Ein Lokal, vielleicht das Café Nast, wo die Stühle blaugrün gepolstert und die Deckchen weiß sind. Dort sitzen die Leute wie in Eisenbahnabteilen. Nur logisch, denn das Café rast unvorstellbar schnell mit der Erdumdrehung mit. Glücklicherweise fährt der Bürgersteig auch mit, die Straße mit den Lieferwagen, der Comic-shop, das Dreifarbenhaus, die Stiftskirche. Aber keiner schaut nach draußen. Jeder einzelne liest in einem Buch des Schweizers Stauffer. Dort sind die Fußnoten länger als der Haupttext. In einer Art Foxtrot-Rhythmus blättern die Leute zwei Seiten vor, eine zurück, zwei vor, eine zurück. Killing me softly. Ich bin schon vorsichtig, sagt der Tatoo-Mann. Die Leute im Café leiden etwa an Staublunge, Arteriosklerose, Hüftluxation oder Ulkus. Indem sie auf meiner Haut ins Bild gebannt werden, ist auch ihr Leiden stabilisiert. Voilà, sagt der Berber. Ich freue mich auf den Sommer, wenn ich mich am Strand bäuchlings hinlegen werde. Die Leutesollen was zum Schauen haben.

 

Mythologie das Alltags: Istrien

Istrien, neunziger Jahre des vorigen Jahrhunderts. Auf dem Grund eines riesigen Karstkraters eine Höhle, begehbar, kilometerlang. An den Hängen des Kraters die typische Kalk-Vegetation: Königskerzen, Fingerhut, Gras, Staub, flimmernde Hitze. Im Dunkel drehen wir die Köpfe nach oben, dort hängen tausende von Fledermäusen im Tagtraum. Es muss beeindruckend sein, wenn die in der Dämmerung alle davonfliegen!
In Motovun ein Kurbad. Es ist stark verfallen, so wie ganz Jugoslawien (aber gibt das irgendjemand ein Recht, abgesplitterte Teilstaaten anzuerkennen?). Die Minigolfbahn ist sogar ganz grün zugewachsen. Im Innern Rentnertrupps aus sozialistischen Ländern. Uns fallen die vielen Goldzähne auf. Umkleidekabinen gibt es nicht. Man stellt sich einen Stuhl an den Rand des Beckens und legt seine Kleider sorgfältig da drauf. ”Bitte nicht ins Becken springen!”. ”Bitte nicht lärmen!”, wird man ermahnt. Das Wasser ist brühwarm.
Die Zeitung heisst ”Glas Istre”. Ich erzähle von Joyce in Pula. Auf Brioni betreten wir die wunderschöne Holzjacht Marschall Titos.
Heute gehört Istrien ja zur EU.

Daily mythology: Headroom

rushmore

“Mens sana in corpore sano” (“a sound mind in a sound body,” a line found in Juvenal, “Satires”)
The author is sitting in Gümüşlük , feeling rather sound, though much thoughts go around in is head…..
Brutus, as we know from school, murdered the great Caesar. As we know in Yarımadası too, he fled to Gümüşlük, ancient Myndos, and lived there for a while, far from the capitals of power.
“Brutus” means “stupid”, earnest, without whit; in fact we created “brutal” and “brute” from this adjective. It was told that Brutus, Marcus Junius, swore to save the Republic, the most modern achievement of common life, from people wanting to be the boss, the chief, the head of the state, and thus he stabbed his friend Cajus Julius Caesar…., who betrayed the Republic in wanting to be the one and only holder of power, the “Caesar”.
Five centuries earlier there was another Brutus (from the same family of Junii) stabbing the last of Roman kings, Tarquinius Superbus, which raped the beautiful Lucretia This ancestor was thus founder of the Roman Republic. It was said, that both Brutuses were quite planning and intelligent and disguised for a long time as fools. (You just watch the fools in Shakespeare’s plays).
But in spite of these Brutuses, the body of the Republic was replaced by the reign of the Caesars, the imperators, the queens and kings, the sultans, the başkan. Republic and real democracy are up to our days a rare and menaced species…….
From the Roman days up to our time there is as well the tradition of creating busts in public places. The human head marks the impact of individuality (and it is like one of those ironies of history, that one of the best early busts is that of Brutus…). Up to our century the bust, the human head without any body, is an icon, placed in academies, on altars, in gardens, barracks, above entrances, in public space, being the ornament of numerous representative buildings like parliaments, opera houses, churches… Even here in Turkey, still belonging to the non figurative sphere of eastern cultures, the portrait (for example of Kemal Atatürk), takes a decisive place in public sphere.
Thinking about that two facts forced their way into my mind: Islam destroys faces – for example of holy people shown in paintings –
and french revolution invented the guillotine, the machine to “harvest” cut off heads by dozens and hundreds……….
I may be allowed to put an etymology of the word “head” here:
Head: – old English heafod = “top of the body”, also “chief person, leader, ruler”, in old Saxon it was hobid (the hobbits!), German “Haupt”, Gothic “Haubib”, from the Proto-Indo-German kauput, Latin “caput”.
More or less derived from these we find a bunch of (important) words we rarely reflect about: headline, to head for, cabbage (!, from caput. French people even say ” mon chou” as a love word), cap, chief, captain, caporal/corporal (the head as leader of the corpse, the body), capo (in mafia), capital (the main town of a country) capital (the stocks, the property), capitalism, cattle (moveable property, especially livestock, Turkish küçük baş hayvan = sheep, goats, büyük baş hayvan = cows and horses…), capsize (when a ship is sinking by the head), cape, chapter, handkerchief (ker chief = cover head), Kennedy (said to be from old Irish cinneide = ugly head), pasha ( from Turkish baş = head (just collect the composed words of it), chaperon, penn (Gaelic = head, ”Pennsylvania”) and many many others… (see: Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php)
Is there any body?
Now have a look at – maybe – the oldest human sculpture of the world, the monumental “Venus” – which measures only about a span!, found in Willendorf near Vienna and about 30000 years old. Her body – a heap of wheat, as king Solomon would say, but her head, her face like wrapped in sheets and invisible. The body, today often a matter of shame, of strange desires (köfte! dance!! naked swimming!!!), which has to be covered, which one don’t has to talk about (Queen Victoria was not amused about visible ankles of her subjects) was then the important, the face still unindividual and not to be remembered…..
Obviously this Venus is similar to the ancient mother-goddess Kybele. Kybele – kubus – Kaaba/means “cube” (originally, says the tradition, Kybele was represented neither as human nor as animal but as a stone. Mekka as far as that the place of an adoration far older than the time of Prophet Mohammed…….)
The holy stones like the Kaaba were called Bayt Allah/Beth El “house of god”, these stones often were meteorites and are to be found in much important places. A late recall of these atavistic places of adoration may be the “Black Madonna”s to be found for example in Polonia or in Chartres and said not to be created by humans (“from the stars”)
Every year from 15. to 27 of march the Hilaria, the “ludi megalenses” were celebrated in Rome: to the honour of “Magna Mater” (the great mother, as Kybele was called too) a pine trunk was erected by young men and girls and women, covered with the blood of an sacrificed oxen, danced around it. These festivities had orgiastic character. In ancient Rome, Hilaria were a class of holidays, times of pomp and rejoicing; there were public ones in honor of Kybele at the spring equinoxes as well as private ones on the day of a marriage or a son’s birth. In reduced shape they did come up to our days: to the “Maibaum”, a trunk put every spring in the centre of German villages, often the new married couples or the new born babies were represented on the top, which shows the fertility touch of that tradition.
What a coincidence. It was on 21 march that Brutus murdered Cajus Julius Caesar….. as we might say now, the defender of the body (the people, the republic) against the head/face (look at coins: there’s the face of the mighty one!)
Do we know anything about the body of our kings and presidents? But we see her faces everywhere.
I am smiling now: as a big exception to that I saw huge photographs in public space, showing Mustafa Kemal in pants sitting on the shore….
But in a future article let’s talk about the body and it’s members: hands and feet…..

Mythologie des Alltags: Na, logo

Von einer alten Kirche wollte ich die Krypta besuchen, zum Teil aus kunsthistorischem Interesse, zum Teil, weil ich gehört hatte, dass die Alten da den guten Wein gelagert hätten. Der Eingang zu dem Gewölbe aber war verschlüsselt! So musste ich ausser den beiden Oinologen (ein weisser, ein roter) auch noch nen Kryptologen mitnehmen, und da dieser schwere Probleme mit seinem Innenleben hatte auch noch nen Psychologen. Dieser wiederum wollte nicht ohne seine Freundin kommen, die Liminologin war, sich aber nebenbei auch mit Geologie und Gerontologie beschäftigt hatte, man sollt ja fürs Alter vorsorgen, nicht wahr? So schritten wir gesammelt die Stiege vor dem Chor herunter. Auf dem Weg vertraute mir die Freundin des Psychologen – sie hiess Hertha – an, dass sie Flexitarianerin sei. Ich dachte immer, die Klempner seien das? Nein, es hiesse, flexibel mit Fleisch- und Gemüsekonsum umzugehen, weder Vegetarier noch Anthropophage noch Currywurstliebhaber zu sein. Was es nicht alles gibt! Das geht ja auf keine Kuhhaut……

Daily mythology: The good old days

Why am I savoring some things I didn’t like in the past – when it arose? James Bond, ABBA, Curry-Wurst? The latter though remains our most sincere pleasure – we wanted it for days and weeks, and as soon as we ate it we felt sick…
But how exited we were after a James-Bond-movie in the “Gloria”! This fascistic approach! And Abba was just a tepid decoction of the Beatles (but we favoured Alice Cooper, of course, or Lou Reed or Jefferson Airplane!, went to movies made by Godard or Warhol and ate Schaschlik – just lately I learned, that Schaschlik didn’t come to us from Yugoslavia, but from Kazakstan). In time we settled down and grew white beards like Sean Connery, the revolution was postponed, the public opinion went to be conservative…or was written into that direction. But we still hate “Bild-Zeitung”! And we still love Fishn Chips.

Mythologie das Alltags: Poacher über Vornamen

Poacher: Moin, Kinnings!
Alle: Moin, Herr Lehrer!
Poacher: Heut ma über Namen.
Zuberbühler: Ham se überhaupt nen Vornamen, Poacher?
Poacher: Andi, pass auf da hinten, lehn net zu weit raus, sonst fällste in Birnbach!
Åsa: was ist mit schwedischen Namen?
Poacher: Ok. Wie würdet ihr euren Buben nennen, wenn euer Name “Dotter” wär?
Peter: Hans!
Poacher: Und wenn euer Familiennamen “Holmer” wär?
Klein-Mats: Pietilae?
Poacher: Ulväus?
Björn: Keine Ahnung…..
Poacher: Palme?
Olav: Olof!
Poacher: Nu gut, jetzt allgemeine Namen… Eisbahn?
Claudia: Kunst!
Poacher: Magste Eis net?
Ronald: Nee, weil ich da immer aufn Pofalla
Poacher: Baum?
Jörgli: Apfel!
Poacher: Zuzulova?
Honzo: Ham die Zuzuloffs überhaupt Vornamen?
Poacher: und wenn euer Nachnahme “nBrot” ist?
Alle: Pause!
Poacher: Ihr sagt es