Amy K. Nelson’s Slate story (with video) about Holly Maniatty, “a self-described Vermont farm girl who holds degrees in both American Sign Language linguistics and brain science” and specializes in being a sign language interpreter for rock and rap concerts, is a fascinating read:

Signing a rap show requires more than just literal translation. Maniatty has to describe events, interpret context, and tell a story. Often, she is speaking two languages simultaneously, one with her hands and one with her mouth, as she’ll sometimes rap along with the artists as well. When a rapper recently described a run-in with Tupac, Maniatty rapped along while making the sign for hologram, so deaf fans would know the reference was to Tupac’s holographic cameo at Coachella, not some figment of the rapper’s imagination.

Maniatty, a first-degree black belt in taekwondo, also conveys meaning with her body, attempting to give her signs the same impact as the rapper’s spoken words.

Watching her work is an amazing experience.


  1. How is it possible that there are 11 comments here and they are all spam?
    Are they a new form of rap?
    Are there no filtres?

  2. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Mr Hat doesn’t believe in filters, but recognizes that he needs to do a lot of work each day getting rid of the garbage. If you come back in a few hours you’ll find the spam has disappeared. I hope he keeps things as they are, but given the amount of work it gives him I’ll understand if he doesn’t.
    I would guess that you, like me, are in Europe, in which case you’ll see a lot of spam that people who live west of Mr Hat will escape.

  3. marie-lucie says

    I live in Eastern Canada, one time zone East of Mr Hat, and I see all the spam. I don’t think it is a matter of location.

  4. degrees in both American Sign Language linguistics and brain science
    A BS in “brain science”…no doubt.
    All the hard word, late nights and education indebtedness to interpret obscenity and the hugger-mugger culture that worships it. On the flip side, she’s in the right place for current and future hearing impaired rapsters.

  5. “Mr Hat doesn’t believe in filters”.
    But why not? He has a huge amount of deleting to do and the posts become almost unreadable. Surely there must be a reasonable alternative?

  6. His Hatness’s Minister of Technology, unfortunately, is a busy, busy, man, so the Hattic Kingdom hasn’t had an update in many a year. Consequently, most modern anti-spamware simply doesn’t work with his archaic version of WordPress. Fixing this has been pending for many moons now.

  7. David Marjanović says

    What, this is WordPress???

  8. Also, to simply use a filter would surely inconvenience regular posters Montgomery Parajumpers and J. Louis Vuiton-Outletstore.
    I loved this story. I would kickstart a documentary about city-based variation in ASL slang.

  9. I think you misunderstood. Mr Hat doesn’t believe in filtres, which I believe is a modern variation on philtres. He has nothing against filters.

  10. des von bladet says

    This version of WordPress is so old it is actually Moveable Type. In iso-latin-1, at that.
    marie-lucie: the point of the timezone is that it is a proxy for when His Hatness is liable to be conscious and therefore to able to disappear comments. If your diurnalities are none the less poorly aligned, that’s also too bad.

  11. Mr Hat doesn’t believe in filters
    Mr. Hat believes fervently in filters, but as Mr. Cowan says, my version of Movable Type (Version 2.63!) is so ancient that the MT-Blacklist that used to keep almost all the spam away no longer works, and my (i.e., my stepson/webmaster’s) efforts to move to the WordPress site he’s already set up have been foiled by the refusal of large chunks of the archives to make the transfer. The trouble is that over a decade of LH posts and comments amount to a huge mass of text. If anyone has any suggestions, I/we are all ears.

  12. How about converting in two stages ?
    1. Change immmediately to WordPress for new posts. No more spam !!
    2. Migrate archives at leisure. Everybody will know where to look for past action.
    Can you take the URL with you ? If not, all the more reason to change now. That URL would be for the archives.
    Or is it too expensive to maintain two blogsites, say over 6 months to a year, until the archives are migrated ? Maybe a fundraiser is in order. I am SO fed up with the spamming.
    I volunteer for any inventive shitwork that needs doing with the archive.

  13. Is there some kind of query language that can be used to break the archive down into manageable pieces, say by comment thread, or even by day or month ? Surely the archive is not a monolithic structure that can only be managed by internal procedures ? One could even use a spider to grab the comment threads directly via HTTP.

  14. “Indirectly”, not “directly”.

  15. I’m doing a full spider of and have so far downloaded almost 3000 of the roughly 5000 posts, along with their comment-only versions. I’ll keep the Hattic community posted on the progress of this. Hopefully this won’t strain Hat’s budget for bandwidth.

  16. The spider is complete: 4844 posts (some early ones didn’t come across from Blogger, I presume) in both full-page and comment-only formats, plus about 60 auxiliary files, for a total of 218 MB. I also had a brief email conversation with His Hatness’s Minister of Technology. He’s still hoping to convert the existing database to an updated version of MT; I’ve suggested that it’s time to start from scratch and simply preserve the existing LH as a static Web site. We’ll see what happens.

  17. I’ve suggested that it’s time to start from scratch and simply preserve the existing LH as a static Web site.
    My sentiments exactly.

  18. Could we just take up a collection to pay Mr. Hat’s “Minister of Technology” to get the job done?

  19. David Marjanović says

    I’d happily contribute financially to trickery with the innertubes.

    In iso-latin-1, at that.

    Hard to imagine. It gladly accepts Chinese characters and IPA with all the bells & whistles.

  20. Could we just take up a collection?
    It’s not a matter of money (he’s a relative of Hat’s), it’s a matter of free time. If the M of T were a contractor, maybe then, but I don’t think he is.
    The reason the Latin-1 isn’t a problem is that everything else is converted (correctly) to numeric character references.

  21. I’m guessing that “numeric character references” means Unicode. Yes, the fonts (Chinese, IPA, “abc”), ie the graphic thingies you see in your browser, are provided (or not, you may have to install extra ones) by your browser and operating system, not Hat’s server.
    Unicode is a system of conventions of the kind: “this number corresponds to this graphic thingy”. Even the letters that appear as I am now typing are graphic thingies. Technically, every keyboard/display interaction works the same way, whether you are typing Chinese or English.

  22. I can now reveal that the technical term for “graphic thingy” is “glyph”.

  23. Stu: When I type “ś” in to a comment, it’s transformed by my browser into “ś”, which is what is stored server-side. The transformation is undone by your browser when you display this comment. I could instead have typed “ś” myself, or equivalently “ś”, which is the hex representation of the same value. The general formats “&#nnnn;” or “&#xnnnn;” are the numeric character references of which I spoke.
    In either case, as you say, it is Unicode that specifies the mapping between the number 347 and “ś”.

  24. The WordPress site has been set up and all the contents of LH transferred; now it’s just a matter of choosing a theme, figuring out what I want to do with the side pages (I’ll probably add one for copyediting), and—most importantly—getting the situation with my domain-name provider, Gandi, straightened out (it’s a long story: the e-mail address I originally gave them was abandoned, so they couldn’t send me my password when I forgot it, so I set up another account to pay the bills and never got around to reclaiming the original one, which I now need to do to transfer the domain, why am I so lazy and improvident?). At any rate, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

  25. marie-lucie says

    A big thank you to JC and the M of T. It is so nice to see only the comments and not a sea of spam.

  26. m-l: No, LH isn’t converted yet. When it is, the difference will be instantly visible, I’m sure.

  27. Yes, it’s weird that the spam suddenly dropped off but it’s just a coincidence. When the changeover happens, the site will look very different.

  28. You were probably misled by my saying “all the contents of LH transferred”; I just meant the text of the post and comments has been successfully copied onto what is still a dummy or practice site. It won’t go live until the issues I mentioned have been dealt with, at which point this version of LH will disappear and all links to it will be automatically routed to the new one.

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