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A Society of "Remittance Men"


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When I can't go to sleep, I usually read an old Balzac novel (whichever one I pick up, you can start at a random page). His so-called Comédie humaine in fact is modern TV.  If that doesn't work, I listen to a youtube crime show. Peter Thomas has a wonderful voice.

But sometimes, I read a short story of Somerset Maugham. (I have his collected works, in print. More than Shakespeare, Maugham taught me the English language.) In one of his stories, about travelling on a boat from Singapore to Haiphong, he referred to a "remittance man". WTF?

I looked up the term.

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I reckon that we, in the West, have created a society of remittance men.

1. Male labour participation rates have been declining in America.

2. Americans call it WIC/EBT. We in Canada call it CPP/EI/disability/early retirement.

3. Is it any wonder that many people elsewhere want to immigrate to the West and become a "Remittance Man".

Last Point: 4. Increasing inequality in the West. More equality across the world.  

 

Edited by August1991
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Is there actual wisdom in Balzac, Moliere, or Flaubert ?

Do you think it stands up ?

My father is/was a great literate.  He gave me "Fleurs du Mal" in the original French.  I am a computer age kid but even I am old in compared to the YouTube generation.  I will use the remainder of my life to read more.

 

 

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On 4/30/2019 at 6:59 AM, Michael Hardner said:

Is there actual wisdom in Balzac, Moliere, or Flaubert ?

Do you think it stands up ?

....

In general, IMHO, Maugham is "stand up". His reference to remittance men made me think about modern life.

BTW, the English wikipedia definition of remittance man is incorrect.

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Maugham was gay and according to my mother, misogynist. But she loved Flaubert; go figure.

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I'd avoid Shakespeare, Baudelaire and Molière, at first. But Maugham like Maupassant and Hemingway are the way to learn a language. Maupassant and Hemingway in translation are remarkable - they both wrote for Google translate. They use simple, easy to translate, sentences. 

But Maugham, when you understand his story, remarkable. Very anglo. 

Edited by August1991
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1 hour ago, August1991 said:

1. In general, IMHO, Maugham is "stand up". His reference to remittance men made me think about modern life.

2. I'd avoid Shakespeare, Baudelaire and Molière, at first. But Maugham like Maupassant and Hemingway are the way to learn a language. Maupassant and Hemingway in translation are remarkable - they both wrote for Google translate. They use simple, easy to translate, sentences. 

But Maugham, when you understand his story, remarkable. Very anglo. 

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Somerset_Maugham Favourite works ?

2. Shakespeare put poetry into action.  I do like the language of Hemmingway and others but what about insights into humanity ?

I ask because in speaking with French friends, I found they had tropes and even biases that we don't have - taken from classic literature.  I went to high school there and it was ALL classics.  I also feel that North America eschews ancient wisdom and now as I get older ... I suppose I am seeking it out.

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On 4/30/2019 at 6:59 AM, Michael Hardner said:

Is there actual wisdom in Balzac, Moliere, or Flaubert ?

....

Flaubert wrote one novel, then corrected it and re-corrected it. (Flaubert was clearly OCD.) The novel is good: Madame Bovary.

Balzac was a guy who could "pisse la copie". Like Dickens, he wrote for money, by the word and I suspect both hired "assistants" to fill in the details. Whenever I watch an episode of modern TV, I think of the script (20 min per week for about 30 weeks, about 30 pages, maybe 3000 words ) and how much easier writers have it now - compared to Balzac.

Link

Molière? Like Shakespeare (or Chaucer), I wouldn't try him unless one has a deep fascination for the language. Even in translation, it is hard.

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But getting back to my point:

Here's a link about Canadian "Remittances" to poor countries:

Link

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My fear is not that we send money abroad, it is that we in the West - indeed the world itself - have created a society of "remittance men".
 

 

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My point?

On 5/6/2019 at 8:41 PM, Michael Hardner said:

Do you think Balzac and Moliere offer wisdom ? 

Michael, maybe you are correct.

==

I reckon that someone learning English should translate Hemingway into her/his own language - as a way to learn.

Similarly, to learn French, read Maupassant in translation - comparing sentences - sentence by sentence.

To learn a foreign language, these two writers are useful.

============

Lennon/McCartney (The Beatles) have a similar claim to fame. But like Shakespeare and Molière, Lennon was a sophisticated poet. I would not try to learn the English language with Lennon.

Anymore than learning music notes with Mozart.  

Edited by August1991
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