Saturday, November 4, 2017

It was on the internet ...

… so it must be true.

Last night while searching for information on Cossacks, I came across a site so unusual I failed to copy the address or remember the owner of the blog.

The writer said: “Last night there was a movie on TV – Fiddler on the Roof. It was about the Cossack revolt against the Tsar in the early Twentieth Century.”

Uh, I have watched Fiddler more than a half dozen times, but do not remember any part of the movie specified by the blogging dude.

Then he wrote: “I did not watch the movie …”

No kidding?

He had this to say: “The Cossacks hated the Jews because of what they had done to them when they were serfs.”

Let’s break that down into parts. First group, Cossacks. Second group, Jews. Both nouns. Now to the pronouns: First pronoun, “they,” should reference the first noun, “Cossacks.” Second pronoun, “them,” should reference the second noun, “Jews.” Third pronoun, another “they,” should reference … Another, not mentioned, noun? Cossacks? Jews?

For simplicity, we’ll say both uses of the pronoun “they” references Cossacks.

So, linguistically, the sentence says: “The Cossacks hated the Jews because of what the Cossacks had done to the Jews when the Cossacks were serfs.”

But that is not what the writer means, is it. He means: “The Cossacks hated the Jews because of what the Jews had done to the Cossacks when the Cossacks were serfs.”

I think that is what he means, but I am not certain.

Whatever his meaning, the writer is as wrong with that statement as he is saying Fiddler is a story of Cossacks in revolt against the Tsar.

The Cossacks hated the Jews because that’s the way things were in the early 20th century and had been since the first Cossacks formed in Russia and the first Jews arrived there.

It is the European way.

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