"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Jour"nalism, words and flags of readers

Among the early readers of this blog are people in three countries I have strong language connections with, though I am certainly not fluent in their languages, nor even rudimentary in two of them.
  “Bon jour,” say the French when greeting someone in the mornings: “Good day.” The Latin-derived French word is closest to the original Latin “diurnum” for “day.”  In late Latin, “diurnalis” meant “journal,” a daily record. As the word migrated into late Middle English as “journal,” it meant a record for travelers of the daily stages of a trip, an itinerary of the “journey.” By the late 1500s, it evolved into any daily record and was applied to periodicals.  In the late 1600s, “journalist” described a person who earned a living by writing or editing for a newspaper or periodical. In the 20th Century, it also described people working in broadcast news. All journalists provide a periodic record of events people want to, or need to, know.--Oxford English Dictionary
"Buon Giorno," say the Italians, same root words and meanings. Next door to them both, separated by the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, the Spanish is "Buenos Dias," from the "diurnum." 
Spanish is  the language I can get by in, having grown up in New Mexico. Spanish has saved me in both France and Italy in those rare places were we found ourselves without any English speakers--once on a French train, and once in southern Rome trying to find a bus.
I won't bother you with histories of these countries, you know them. Readers of this blog in France rank sixth on the all time list of readers from 107 countries, behind the U.S., Germany, Russia, UK, and Ukraine. I usually have Italian and Spanish readers every week.
  The Spanish flag dates from 1785 with the coat of arms added later. A version of this flag's colors  flew over much of what is now the U.S. long before the Pilgrims landed, including Santa Fe. The Italian flag dates from 1797 before Italy was even unified, and became the official flag in 1946. It's hard to measure the huge Italian cultural and political influence in America. Where would we be without immigration of new blood and ideas?  The French flag dates from their revolution in the late 1700s up through 1830.
    We Americans should have a special connection with the French Tricolor, because we wouldn't have won our Revolution without the French. Yes, we get irritated at the maddening French independence and,  some say,  arrogance when the country refuses to follow our foreign policy demands. But I have little patience with those people who, ironically displaying the same self-centeredness and intolerance they criticize and demean the French for , as with the recent petty protests  by renaming something "American fries." They are as narrow-minded as they say the French are, just the opposite of what independence is supposed to be about.  Remember also that the tricolor flew over much of what is North America, including what is now Oklahoma, before Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase.
  It's no wonder one of my favorite paintings, which I just stood at and stared in the Louvre a few years ago, was Delacroix's 9-foot by 10-foot "La Liberté guidant le peuple," (Liberty leading the people). And now with a granddaughter named "Liberty," I love it even more.
"Bon jour," "grazie" "y saludos a sus todos."
"Liberty leading the people," with the French tricolor.


  1. nice to find your blog! Im an Okie, moved to the UK. I was searching for watercolor artists on Google Blogsearch and your blog came up :)

  2. image drapeau France à crédité à Mith avec un lien vers https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:French_flag_in_Angers.jpg Merci d'avance