RUMPELSTILKSKIN = no language exists to adequately describe the post-information, para-modern age

”the idea we cannot banish problems that plague us until they are properly identified for what they are. Knowing the name of the problem is understanding the problem.”
--Wikipedia article on Rumpelstilskin

  • Arabic: جعيدان (Ju'aidan)
  • Czech: Rumplcimprcampr
  • Danish: Rumleskaft
  • Dutch: Repelsteeltje
  • English: Rumpelstiltskin and Tom Tit Tot (from English Fairy Tales, collected & edited by Joseph Jacobs, 1884)
  • Finnish: Tittelintuure
  • French: Grigrigredinmenufretin
  • German: Rumpelstilzchen
  • Hebrew: עוץ לי גוץ לי (ootz li gootz li)
  • Hungarian: Pancimanci
  • Iceland: Rumputuski
  • Italian: Tremotino or Praseidimio
  • Japanese: ルンペルシュティルツヒェン(Runperushutirutsuhyen), がたがたの竹馬こぞう(Gatagata-no-takeuma-kozo)
  • Korean: 럼펠스틸트스킨 (reompelseutilteuseukin)
  • Polish: Titelitury
  • Portuguese: Rumpelstiltskin and O Anão Dançarino (the dancing dwarf)
  • Slovak: Martin Klingáčik
  • Slovenian: Špicparkeljc
  • Spanish: Rumpelstiltskin and El Enano Saltarín (the jumping dwarf).
  • Swedish: Bulleribasius and Päronskaft (pear stalk)
  • Greek language : ΡΟΥΜΠΕΛΣΤΙΝΤΣΚΙΝ

The name Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally "little rattle stilt". (A stilt is a post or pole providing support for a structure.) A rumpelstilt or rumpelstilz ("rattle stilt") was the name of a type of goblin, also called a pophart or poppart ("rapper" or "thumper") that makes noises by rattling posts and rapping on planks, similar to a rumpelgeist ("rattle ghost") or poltergeist ("noisy ghost"), a mischievous spirit that clatters and moves household objects. (Other related concepts are mummarts or boggarts that are mischievous household spirits that disguise themselves.)


PLAYBOY: If man can't prevent this transformation of himself by technology--or into technology--how can he control and direct the process of change?

MCLUHAN: The first and most vital step of all, as I said at the outset, is simply to understand media and its revolutionary effects on all psychic and social values and institutions. Understanding is half the battle. The central purpose of all my work is to convey this message, that by understanding media as they extend man, we gain a measure of control over them. And this is a vital task, because the immediate interface between audile-tactile and visual perception is taking place everywhere around us. No civilian can escape this environmental blitzkrieg, for there is, quite literally, no place to hide. But if we diagnose what is happening to us, we can reduce the ferocity of the winds of change and bring the best elements of the old visual culture, during this transitional period, into peaceful coexistence with the new retribalized society.

If we persist, however, in our conventional rearview-mirror approach to these cataclysmic developments, all of Western culture will be destroyed and swept into the dustbin of history. If literate Western man were really interested in preserving the most creative aspects of his civilization, he would not cower in his ivory tower bemoaning change but would plunge himself into the vortex of electric technology and, by understanding it, dictate his new environment--turn ivory tower into control tower. But I can understand his hostile attitude, because I once shared his visual bias.