Thursday, January 20, 2005

Latin Blogger Motto

A reader in California, Anna, suggested that bloggers need a motto, something like "watching the watchers," and asked if I would translate it into Latin. That goes into Latin pretty easily:

Custodientes custodes
and it has the added advantage of alluding to Juvenal's famous question,
Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("who will watch the watchers themselves?").
A second motto Anna suggested was was "publish, then verify." But I'm not exactly sure what that means in English, so I'm hesitant to put it into Latin. Specifically, does it mean that bloggers publish, then verify their stuff later? Or that the MSM publishes, and bloggers verify it?

7 comments:

David said...

Actually, the motto on my own blog ... lifted from Seneca, seems more appropriate for most bloggers:

quidquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est

dm

Anna Haynes said...

In English please, dm. Some of us are not so hot at the dead language stuff.

As for "Publish, then Verify", it is more of an empiricism than a motto. But if we are to "Say what we do and do what we say" - which is the first step in developing standards - it is painfully appropriate.

Carl W. Conrad said...

Perhaps the ambiguity of "custodientes custodes" is itself a good thing, but "custodes" here looks more like a nominative with which the participle agrees than like an accusative object. I'd have suggested something like "custodes custodiendi"--which has its own ambiguity but certainly does suggest that the watchers somehow need watching.

David Wharton said...

Carl, I had noticed (and liked) the ambiguity of *custodientes custodes* too, though to my mind the word order tips toward an accusative reading of *custodes*, since Latin tends toward SOV or SVO, but not generally VS. Another way of disambiguating would be to quote Juvenal more fully: *custodientes custodes ipsos.*

But the gerund is also nice.

Anna -- the quotation from Seneca means, "whatever was said well by someone else is mine." It brings to mind T. S. Elliot's famous quip, "bad poets borrow; good poets steal."

Bob said...

Reminds me of my first wife's motto: "Whatever is yours is mine and whatever is mine is still mine"

Rick Rutledge said...

Interesting that this comment dialog came up in French for me...

My late partner was a journalist and marketer, and "Publish, then verify," if an empiricism, is one of disparagement.

It would be akin to the saw, "It is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission." Methinks that it is intended largely to deride whomever publishes without *first* verifying. (Where is the line between "just the facts" and "getting the scoop at the expense of the truth"?)

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