- Reader J.: “Under Milk Wood! Yay! ¶ Also Typography – katexic is always a treat. ¶ Loved the Parks/Manzotti link as well, but was sorry to see Manzotti devolve into externalist mysticism at the end.
- Reader M.: “…how fun about the weird fungi–I just today got word that, although not a botanist, I was able to contribute photos of two types of fungi, Shoehorn Oyster and Leafy Brain, to the Belle Island Species Count, a project that “aims to identify and track all living organisms observed on Belle Island in Kingston, Ontario. Besides its history and spiritual significance, this small piece of land provides home to great diversity of species. By documenting the biodiversity of the island we are hoping to improve its protection.”
- Reader S.: went on an illuminating journey…thanks so much for sharing! They write:
This morning, when reading katexic clippings I became intrigued by this “xanthic laugh” of Beckett. I was trying to find deeper the origins of this phrase – it seems he took it from the original phrase in French which is “rire jaune” (yellow laugh).
But where did “rire jaune” come from?
Then I stumbled upon an article in Le Figaro (typically, politically, a right-learning newspaper but occasionally worth a read for other content) and learned that (putting aside for a moment its positive symbolism in gold) “When the yellow is dull, it becomes on the contrary the symbol of evil, of sulfur, of hell and ultimately, of betrayal. “It is associated with adultery when the sacred bonds of marriage are broken, like the sacred bonds of divine love, broken by Lucifer,” notes the Dictionary of Symbols. Thus was born during the medieval era a whole mythology around the color yellow. An imagery of the evil one, notably reinforced by the biblical figure of Judas, whom painters and customs very often represented dressed in yellow.”
Also it seems that Jews, during the Spanish Inquisition, were made to dress in yellow, a symbol of heresy and betrayal, according to Claude Duneton in “La Puce à l’oreille”…
As for the original expression, “rire jaune”, Duneton attests the locution at Oudin in 1640. He writes: “He laughs yellow like flour.” Flour does not refer here to food, but to “concealers” in slang, says Georges Planelles. It eventually becomes an expression that refers to a sort of hypocritical laugh.
And then suddenly, “xanthic laugh” made more sense.
So thanks for the little journey your katexic sent me on this morning!