Thursday, March 08, 2007

Rock and Runes

"Heavy metal umlaut" has been much discussed among linguists as an orthographic oddity, but little has been said, as far as I know, about the association between rock (mostly heavy metal, guitar-god kind of stuff) and "runes". This week's Onion has a brilliant little riff on that in the graphic accompanying their frontpage piece on (reproduced to the right here, this runs just below the big story — "Florida man beats out heart disease as nation's no. 1 killer"):
Unreleased Jimmy Page Guitar Riff to Be Retrieved From Secret Vault To Save Rock And Roll
The rune thing is a motif that's been around for a long time, as part of the whole medieval imagery in certain circles. (Just scroll through the results of googling 'runes heavy metal'. Of course the Onion has to go over the top on using obviously non-Runic characters — these ain't in ANY futhark I've ever seen. (See here for what looks, on a quick glance, like a reasonable overview.) But don't you love that they have Rockologists (not runologists, specialists in Germanic historical linguistics, etc.) deciphering them. Hard to know whether that one line is intended as the text for the whole translation below, but if so, all the better.

Will Jimmy Buffett have to die to save rock and roll?

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