November 18, 2002
Martial On Lucas And Her Critics

Rachel Lucas has been troubled by the unkindness of strangers. Here is some of what Mindles H. Dreck says in the comments:

Stating, or even contemplating most ideas will piss off somebody. In general, the nasty invective is inverserly proportionate to the commenter's ability to counter your logic and/or the degree to which they are forced to question their basic axiomatic beliefs.

In other words, it's a sign of success.

Along roughly the same lines, here is what the epigrammatist Martial says about annoying one's readers (Epigrams 6.60):

Laudat, amat, cantat nostros mea Roma libellos,
    meque sinus omnes, me manus omnis habet.
Ecce rubet quidam, pallet, stupet, oscitat, odit.
    Hoc uolo: nunc nobis carmina nostra placent.

Here is a not too free translation by James Michie:

All Rome is mad about my book:
It's praised, they hum the lines, shops stock it,
It peeps from every hand and pocket.
There's a man reading it! Just look --
He blushes, turns pale, reels, yawns, curses.
That's what Iím after. Bravo, verses!

Finally, just because I particularly like the translation, here is Dorothea Wender's version of Martial 8.76:

"Please, Marcus, tell the truth", you say,
    "That's all I want to hear!"
If you read a poem or plead a case
    You din it in my ear:
"The truth, the honest truth!" you beg,
    It's damned hard to deny
Such a request. So here's the truth:
    You'd rather have me lie.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at November 18, 2002 10:50 PM
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