Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Temba, his arms wide

There's a really good episode of Star Trek:  Next Generation called ''Darmok''.  The plot revolves around the inability of the crew of the Enterprise to communicate with a race of aliens who speak only in metaphor.

Had a hankering to see it, so I borrowed the DVD from my sister-in-law.

Watched it, then thought it'd be fun to spring these phrases on people, now and again -- kind of like exclaiming ''Great balls of fire!!!'' So I jotted down all the phrases that I thought could be used conversationally.

But after a few mornings on the bus, trying to memorize them, my enthusiasm waned:  I'm not good at straight memorization.

However, during this process, I did a web search and discovered that my interpretation of the meaning of these phrases differs from that of other people's.  So, I've presented my interpretations below. 

Note that vocal inflection indicates the magnitude of the meaning, and whether you're being serious or wry (e.g.  ''That's a tragedy.'' vs.  ''That's a TRAGEDY!!!'').  Also, I noticed that I often provided an American ideoms as well as straight definitions -- which I think fits the theme.

Shaka, when the walls fell.  Throwing up your hands in exasperation; frustration, often over a difficult, futile or impossible task.

Kiteo, his eyes closed.  Not ''getting it''; failure to understand.

Sokath, his eyes uncovered.  (Alt: Sokath, his eyes open.)  Finally ''getting it''.  Insight and understanding as a transition from not understanding.

The river Temarc, in winter.  Impossible, or at least very difficult; very hard going.  (Presumably this river is very rough in winter.) 

Mirab, his sails unfurled.  (Alt:  Mirab, with sails unfurled.)  Either ''Let's get outta here'', ''Let's beat it'', ''Cut our losses and leave'' -- or else ''Make it so'', ''Let's get on with it''.  Hard to tell by the context -- although I think the former.

Temba, his arms wide.  (Alt:  Temba, his arms open.)  Generosity; a gift; sharing.

Temba, at rest.  The scales are balanced; you've done enough; we're good, thanks.

Uzani, his army with fist open.  Drawing someone in.

Uzani, his army with fist closed.  Seizing the moment; bringing the hammer down.

Uzani, his army at Lashmir.  Both of the above techniques, used in series; the ol' rope-a-dope.

Darmok on the ocean.  Isolation or loneliness.

Darmok and Jalad, on the ocean.  Solidarity, possibly with a touch of companionship.

Kiazi's children, their faces wet.  Sadness over a loss, possibly specific to death.


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