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Mata Hari with a Clockwork Eye, Alligators in the Sewer (1963) [pdf] (nytimes.com)
18 points by lermontov 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

The blurb on the back of a Len Deighton spy novel from this era reads (I may paraphrase, but broadly speaking) "one day, girls with long black hair in miniskirts will read this aloud, while cool men snap their fingers in jazz clubs"

which I think is broadly speaking where we are here.

Off topic: I don’t know the origin word of Mata and Hari in this article. But in Bahasa Indonesia: Mata=Eye and Hari=Daytime. Written without space, Matahari means Sun. As the Sun is the eye of the day.

Very interesting. The Mata Hari the article likely alludes to was the stage name of a Dutch exotic dancer and spy who captured both the eye and imagination of the western world in the 1920s, after being executed by the French in 1916.


The Mata Hari you mentioned moved to Sumatra, Indonesia. At the time a Dutch colony. Hence probably the Bahasa language relation to the stage name she chose.

Indonesian is not Indo European, but it's close enough for exchange, so: Hare means "bright", and has a very versatile root in Proto-Indo-European. Hare, Rabbit in English, is said to come from a root meaning "grey" but I find bright more likely. Krishna (and Kali and other hindu words) means dark, can mean terrible, deep, etc., so Hare Krishna could be interpreted as "bright dark", and I think a distant relation to yin and yang is obvious. Also, the latin ''deus'' is said to go back to a root meaning "sky", which is kind of bright; English ''day'' came from the same root.

Eye could be a metaphor for observer, guard, protector; also for a treasure, something protected; in both ways ''ma''-"mother" seems an apt subsumption.

In Chinese, ''star (constellation)'' is written with a sign meaning "night guard duty".

And then there's ''Hor, Horus'', god of sky, sun (and war ...) depicted in hieroglyphs by a falcon; The same word [1] stands for "upon". So the theonym is likely derived from "the One Above". ''hr'' in turn is likely derived from Proto-Afro-Asiatic ''x̣al''.

Sky in French is "ciel", the proto-indo-european root given as ''kel'', whence also ''ceiling'' (and perhaps ''cellar'', whence ''cell'', not the other way around). I think that's close enough to ''*xal'', considering that the Iberian had contact between keltic and north African tribes (kel-tic?).

The greek autonym ''Helenikos'' is likely informed by "elector" (sun), cf. en. ''halo'', ger. ''hell'' ("bright").

Further, internal reconstruction comparing other roots is difficult so the relation to old egyptian that I drew out is not established.

A funny thing to look at would be the root of ''calm'', which is uncertain but perhaps related to "burning in the midday sun". Ironically, "burn" is related to "black".

[1] https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%B8%A5r#Egyptian

At my browser's default zoom level, this was rendered as a black rectangle. I had to zoom in to get it to show me the article.

Edit: I only posted this in case someone was confused by a black rectangle like I was.

This is a PDF file.

Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari render PDFs right in the same window that you clicked the link in.

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