September 24, 2007

Language of the Pest

This is part of the text for one my three talks earlier this year in London. In contrast to the other papers this is very short so I deemed it appropriate for hyperstition especially because it is a brief retrospection on discussions we have had on hyperstition regarding alphabets, sounds, txts and other teratological components of Middle Eastern writing systems as mobilized by socio-political dynamics. The original paper contained two sections, barbaric tongues and their shape of writing. This post features the first part of the paper – barbaric music.

Barbaric Music and Vowelless Alphabets

To call a population barbarian is to measure their vocalization perceptually and sometimes quantitatively as noise; roar, shriek, howl, ululation, bark, yelp, wail, a lupus orchestra, a constant vociferation of the language. The Greeks and the Romans’ vigilance against the uncivilized was not originally denoting or aiming at the way of living or the form of architecture but rather the foreign vocalization of people who were marked as savage, ill-bred and uncivilized. For the Greeks, the savages were the ones who vocalized consonants non-linearly, those whose vocalization turn the language to gibberish, harmonized sounds to noise, the divinity of the Word to demonized outcry. Savage languages transformed the serene facial traits which were of the Greek face (a face which was the face of a politician, a philosopher, a militant all at the same time) and were shaped by vocalization into insensate, heathen, bestial and inhuman faces and not merely facial expressions of a profound savagery. The word barbaros or barbarian as the foreign savage attests to the Greeks’ most fundamental criterion for addressing one’s distance or gap from the civilized world and cultured populations. This indisputable measure for scaling one’s civility was, in fact, vocalization (i.e. adding vowels to unheard-of consonants and alien utterance). To this extent, speakers of Semitic and African languages could be categorized as barbarians or those whose vocalization and speech can only be detected as the bar sound (i.e. the bar-bar sound), or the sound similar to the emphatic repetition of the tap sound (tap-tap), expressing the b sound and mapping its characteristics. In mammals’ territory, when the process of vocalization or harmonizing noise functions as a means of communication, noise can be found both at the background or as an additive element – combined with vocality – to vocalization. For the Greeks as well as the Romans, barbarians were those who could be understood if only their speech is translated to the bar-bar sound. Such foreigners transform the pleasance of hearing or speech as the divine senses for sympathy to the antipathetic feeling of nausea (Nαυτεία) accompanied by vertigo, vomit, ear drainage, dizziness and the sensation of spinning and loss of equilibrium. According to the Greeks, listening to barbarians results in an alien sensation called Nαυτεία or more accurately, something profoundly wrong in the ear caused by the confusion between the actual movement (actual vocalization process used by a barbarian) and perceived movement (what can be heard from that barbaric vocalization in the Greek language), and also movements in different directions which were the characteristics of the noise (nausia) made by barbarian vocalization in the Greek language and phonetic system. For the Romans, likewise, the barbarity of vocalization was a touchstone to determine the quality and value of culture, social dynamics as well as motivations and alignments of people with Roman civilization, bureaucratic pantheon of gods and their political system. In the course of a mass slaughter of a tribe or a village populated by the ‘foreign vocalizers’ (mostly of Semitic and African languages) known as barbarians, Romans frequently referred to the utterances of outlanders during escape, battle and emotional arousal as ruckus and demonic dissonance (dis-sonare) or disjointed sound as what lacks the orderly structure of Roman dance music (ορχήστρα) whose boisterousness was demonstrated in its militant order and bloodied ecstasy.

For the Roman soldier it was an ethical responsibility to give the demon imprisoned in the throat and oral cavity of the barbarian an outlet to flee by cutting the throat or the head of the savage. A humanitarian act whose consequence might drive the soldier insane as the result of the last unintelligible shriek which the demon made, the exclamation noise rooted and formed by a vocalization process whose even systematic communicative units such as sentences are considered as noise. Romans had bizarre tales about barbarians who were stalking in the outlands and transmogrified by a severe felinity. Romans justly called them cat people, a title which was indeed accurate; for speaking with languages constituted of vowelless alphabets causes an excessive vocalization – or sophisticated phonetic systems and vocalizations – which is the mark of cats and felidae. The Samaritans, the people of Arabic peninsula and even western borders of Persia were frequently addressed as Dung People, not because of malodors fermented under the scorching sun of the Near and Middle Eastern regions but because of the noise they emanated which belonged to the unorchestral body of Beelzebub, the Lord of Flies: I romp around with the sound of flies.

The barbarians who could be distinguished by translating all they vocalized to the bar-bar sound by the Greeks and Romans were exactly those people whose vocalization process was not really dominated by the bar-bar sound (which is of the b or β sound). In fact, the Greek and Roman languages were monomaniacally haunted by the b sound. Betarrhea – or the abnormal flow of the Beta sound to other consonants and the way they are vocalized – was always exclusive to both empires and their citizens.

Vocalization of vowelless alphabets (as of Semitic languages) or barbaric music can never be grasped entirely through sounds with pulmonic egressive initiation in which the air stream is created by lungs (pulmo) and releasing or pushing out (egression) the air, but rather different initiation mechanisms. In these vocalization mechanisms, in contrast to pulmonic egression, air flow is generated through the vocal tract such as glottalic (through glottis) and veralic (through velum), and not only pulmonic (through lung). In Greek and Roman languages – unlike Semitic and African languages – the majority of sounds are both pulmonic and egressive akin to the airflow initiation of the b sound, or to be exact, the real bar-bar sound. However, in Semitic languages as the most contractible languages in the Middle East, consonants can be vocalized not only by being initiated from the lungs to the lips but also as nonlinear blasts, thus, not satisfying the originally Greek fetishism with the Beta sound. The initiation mechanism of β as pulmonic egressive is categorized as the airflow mechanism primarily involved in producing the consonantal sound of the b or beta sound which is ‘voiced bilabial plosive’, or in other words, the b sound mostly denotes and comes from the voiced bilabial plosive sound). Painlessly utterable, the voiced bilabial plosive is a consonantal sound which can be easily mapped by its eschatological tendency towards definite stoppage and its stubborn linearity. While it is created through stopping – plosive – or obstructing airflow in the vocal tract (the manner of articulation), it is initiated through lungs and is articulated by both lips, a route directorially linear and facially civilized in conclusion – the Greek Face.

The Greek aesthetics, as opposed to the Middle Eastern ominousity, has been established on this linear route from lungs to both lips as the territory of an articulation so audacious and impeccable that it is only matching the cold efficiency of lips on the face capable of articulating everything in the same manner and political demeanor. If the Greek and Latin busts bear the majestic beauty of Greek and Latin faces even during the most heated lectures, quarrels, battles and adventures, it is because the lips and eyes (as the addendums of articulation) as the pivots of expression are fully used on a simplistically linear route. The Greek and Roman faces demonstrate the suppression of the linear pulmonic egressive mechanism with a sense of a crude realism one can only expect from a barbarous art.

No art takes the harsh realism of the vocalization process involved in creating standards of its facial beauty as serious as Greek and Latin art; but to this extent, one can hardly speak of standards as in these cultures there is only one facial expression as the inspiring element of beauty. And this facial expression is triggered only by one dominant articulation process, the sole process they were capable of and out of which the standards of civilization and barbarity were determined. For the Romans, having a vermin face was intrinsic to Middle Eastern vocalization. Exquisitely Greek and Latin, the iconographic face of Jesus of Nazareth who spoke in Aramaic ironically sympathizes with the Latin and Greek facial aestheticism, the cold serenity originating from their inflexible vocalization process and linear articulation of consonants. But the Aramaic language with its insidious sophistication both in writing and phonetic systems can only render the face of a carcass (for the consonants which are fully vocalized internally without being concluded by the lips) or a face of thousands of spasms (for the articulation process which non-linearly twitches the whole face in different directions) during vocalization. All Christianity wants is a Roman savior, but we speak with the face of a brute.


If there is an accurate western media, it is essentially on the side of terror because it has to abide by vocalization, pronunciation systems and spelling relevancy that only exists on the side of terrorists. The more irrelevant the pronunciation, the more civilized the speaker is; because it will have less in common with the original pronunciation which can only be vocalized by a Middle Eastern terrorist. In the case of pronouncing a name like Ghatar [Qatar] starting with the letter Ghaaf which defies English vocalization, the pronunciation ‘guitar’ is remote enough to be civilized but the proposed pronunciation ‘gutter’ is so far off that it signifies the zenith of western civilization.

Posted by hyperstition at September 24, 2007 09:31 AM | TrackBack




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