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Somehow, Cleveland has survived, with her gray banner unfurled -- the banner of Archangelsk and Detroit, of Kharkov and Liverpool -- the banner of men and women who would settle the most ignominious parts of the earth, and there, with the hubris born neither of faith nor ideology but biology and longing, bring into the world their whimpering replacements.

Gary Shteyngart


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Scripture

Rereading "La escritura del dios" last week, I was inspired to do some searching for background material, to find out who is Qaholom, the god who has written his sacred scripture in the markings of the jaguar for Tzinacán to read. I found out about the Popol Vuh, a transcription of the K'iche' creation story -- written down in the 1500's by a Jesuit missionary in Quiché, Guatemala based on the reading of a (no longer extant) hieroglyphic document, translated into Spanish and annotated by Adrián Recinos.

According to Recinos, Qaholom is "the paternal god, the god who sires children, from qahol, 'a father's son', qaholoj, 'engender'." Recinos also notes that Gucumatz (one third of the trinity which is called Heart of the Heavens, and I think possibly another name for Qaholom? -- I haven't quite got the pantheon straight yet) is a "serpent covered with green feathers, from from guc, in Maya, kuk, 'green feathers', Quetzal via antonomasia, and cumatz, 'serpent'; he is the K'iche' version of Kukulkán, the Mayan name for Quetzalcoatl, the Toltec king, conqueror, bringer of civilization, god in Yucatán during the epoch of the Post-classical Mayan Empire."

posted morning of February 5th, 2011: Respond
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