Sunday, May 25, 2014

Unsubtle subtleties

A culture clash happened.

Such things happen all the time, mind, but by saying that a particular one happened, I give myself permission to talk about a particular one. Because general things always take place in the particular.

So. Culture clash. Swedes are, by comparative standards, brutally informal when it comes to the use of titles. When referring to someone, the word 'you' or their name is usually both sufficient and appropriate. The one exception being - as always - the king and members of the royal family. Everyone else, except when put on trial or mocked in some way, will have to settle for a you or a name.

But, as it happens, a professor from Canada was teaching at a local university. The students, not used to formalities yet still wanting to go the extra distance to make the professor feel at home, acted on the general principle that a title was more formal than no title.

They called her "miss".

As you might imagine, this did not go as well as their intentions would suggest. There is a non-subtle difference between 'miss' and 'professor' in the English language, after all, and such things matter.

If you know about them.

Fortunately, for everyone involved, the professor understood what the students were trying to do, and took it as an opportunity to reflect upon the cultural differences between here and there. And, to be sure, those students will never again not know the difference between miss, Mrs, doctor, professor and a simple 'you'.

Long live the professor. But may the king live forever.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Endless wonder, endless mysteries

In just a few hours, Warehouse 13 comes to an end, as the last episode is aired. It is the end of an era, and -

Wait, what?

I've already seen the last episode? Before the end? What is this magic?

It is a question I often ask myself. Not because the last episode is available out there if you know how to procure it (no help from me), but because it doesn't happen all that often. Somehow, the last episodes of things - indeed, all episodes of things- are strictly kept under wraps until they are aired. And then they leap out, available to everyone who knows how to procure them (still no help from me).

Why is this? What's the secret of this strict discipline?

In theory, episodes of television series could and/or should appear long before they officially air. This is because they are recorded long before they officially air (Lost does not count). Since copying files is as easy as opening a newspaper, it stands to reason that someone should happen to get a hold of a file that will soon become an early release.

It's basic computer security. And human nature. If and when secrets are kept, someone will eventually unkeep it, and then it is loose upon the world. For all to see, as it were.

"All" being people like me. Who know how to procure such things.

And yet, it rarely happens. It happened this once, but I can scarcely remember it happening at any other times.

What's the secret? How do they do it? What sorcery is this?

Do you know?

Btw: the last episode is a good last one. Do enjoy it.  It is one of the defining moments of the series. All of it.