Just what does Cultural Assimilation mean? – Doug Irvin

Just what does Cultural Assimilation mean? – Doug Irvin

Reading or watching the news, it’s easy to tell what groups are most represented in the media. There is positively a competition to see who gets the largest scare fonts, or who will generate the most column inches of coverage.

And the main issue seems to be group rights that are perceived to be trampled on by the government of that country.

Refugees from Islamic societies are in arms (not always figuratively!) because Italy dares to serve them pasta, instead of the types of foods they are used to. Mexican spokespersons (legal or otherwise) are fighting to gain benefits and rights for the people they represent. And curiously, the same people are often in the news supporting union measures that would limit or eliminate any jobs the migrant workers would do.

But it wasn’t that long ago – certainly within my lifetime – when such activities were not only not needed, they weren’t even contemplated.

I could claim membership in several groups. Of Irish and German descent on my father’s side, and Irish and Indian on my mother’s, I represent a large portion of Americans who also have mixed ancestry.

But that’s okay. I rather like it like that.

America has been described as a melting pot of nations and cultures. It’s never been so. Instead, it is a thick and chunky stew of varied tastes and shapes. It’s only been the last few decades that the stew has decided to curdle and separate. It can’t successfully; it can only be rendered useless. But that, I think, is the intention of the masterminds behind all the ruckus. There may or may not be a conspiracy, but it’s really hard to see how the idea of America can be destroyed without one.

For America is more than a country, a nation. Its actual borders are enclosed only by the hopes and dreams of people wanting a chance for themselves. And during the 19th and most of the 20th Centuries, the groups representing America expanded those borders not by maintaining their separate status, but by working together despite their differences. Communities abounded with ethnic clubs such as Sons of Italy, Oktoberfest societies, even Native American ceremonies where non-natives were allowed to observe.

We were different, together. America was most vibrant as a society when the differences combined to impel us all forward. And that is true cultural assimilation. It isn’t the destruction of cultural imperatives to create homogeneity of thought and practice. It is enjoying the differences that could separate us, but are allowed to unite us. We are different, but we are one. That is America at its finest.

But why is there such a fuss today about different races being oppressed? How did that idea get started?

Well, there have always been segments of society that sought to magnify the abuses different peoples faced. It’s true – America has had a great deal of prejudice and abuse in its history. And, yes, some groups had a greater proportion than others. But individuals of all races and cultures face obstacles. Some fail to conquer them. And some conquer their barriers and succeed beyond what was expected.

People like Helen Keller, who as a deaf-mute was expected to be stuck in an asylum all her life, yet became an internationally renowned speaker and orator. Mickey Mantle, who overcame the polio that struck him in child hood yet caused him to struggle all the greater to become a sports hero. Ben Carson, who as the son of a single mother of limited means and education, became an internationally acclaimed brain surgeon.

Animal scientists tell us that the most crucial time in an animal’s life is when it is born or hatched. A tiny lamb must struggle to gain its feet and walk; although wobbly, those first steps enable it to overcome other challenges. Birds must fight to break out of their eggs; if you do it for them, to save them the struggle – they’ll die. They MUST win their fight or they won’t even try to survive

And those struggles continue on past the birth process. But success breeds success.

Those seeking to make things easier for various races and groups are not doing them a favor, but are causing a hindrance. Those crying out against abuses are correct, if they can stop the abuse. But when they start demanding special favors, requiring more than others, they become traitors to their people.

America – as a system – is not designed to promote any particular group, but it is designed to allow those who struggle against difficulties to rise above the crowd.

And cultural assimilation? Today some say that’s the voice that whispers, “You aren’t any better than anyone else. Why even try? Don’t make waves. Go along to get along.” That’s not the way America succeeded. America never achieved greatness by just getting along. America was born in turmoil, faced dangers throughout its existence, and now faces another one.

To make America great again, it’s not enough to proclaim the glories of our ancestors, from wherever they came. America is great when we make our ancestors proud of their descendants.

Never mind what they did; what are you doing? Be different: stand out.

139 responses to “Just what does Cultural Assimilation mean? – Doug Irvin

  1. Yes! We are a country that allows, even encouraged strivers to succeed.

  2. We are headed back to tribalism and conflict, and the few top dogs in power benefit from this, since the conflict is among the working and lower classes. And the big media is actively encouraging a race/nationality war. Truly sad…

  3. My mother told me a story this weekend about my grandfather. He was a police officer in town and often rode a trike. When she would get out of school he was still working, so she would have to walk to her grandparents house. He would ride alongside her on the police trike as she walked, and no matter how much she cried or how many dogs barked and scared her he wouldn’t get off the trike until she got to the house all by herself. He did the same thing for her younger siblings as well.

  4. Be different…

    This is like advocating “change.” It’s meaningless without further specification and qualification and can, in fact, do actual harm.

    • While the later works of Twain might oft seem bitter, and Mysterious Strange is certainly not a thing celebrating much of humanity, the last bit stands out and applies here: “Dream other dreams, better ones.” Of course, don’t just dream – work to make the dream real.

    • Yeah. Besides, it’s “Conform, in photographic negative.”

      The only real escape is to have real standards and be indifferent to whether most people agree or disagree with them.

      • The Other Sean

        “The great thing about standards is that there’s so many to chose from.”

        • “Less for thee, more for me” seems to be the most accepted standard nowadays.

          • The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
            ― Marcus Aurelius

        • Did I say it was easy? Or simple?

          And actually, the standard is the simpler and easier part. The hard part is wrenching your gaze from what other people are doing.

          • The Other Sean

            Is there an ANSI or ISO number for the standard?

            • Too easy. And simple.

            • “At the time, the tone will be 440 Hz.”

              • “The whole point of education is that it should give a man abstract and eternal standards, by which he can judge material and fugitive conditions. If the citizen is to be a reformer, he must start with some ideal which he does not obtain merely by gazing reverently at the unreformed institutions. And if any one asks, as so many are asking: ‘What is the use of my son learning all about ancient Athens and remote China and medieval guilds and monasteries, and all sorts of dead or distant things, when he is going to be a superior scientific plumber in Pimlico?’ the answer is obvious enough. ‘The use of it is that he may have some power of comparison, which will not only prevent him from supposing that Pimlico covers the whole planet, but also enable him, while doing full credit to the beauties and virtues of Pimlico, to point out that, here and there, as revealed by alternative experiments, even Pimlico may conceal somewhere a defect.’”

                ― G.K. Chesterton,

        • So grow up. Exercise mature judgement and find a standard that the best conforms to reality.

          Here’s my suggestion the Constitution.

  5. Don’t like the Italian food? Cook your own. Perhaps a business opportunity, considering the percentage of young males in the immigrant population.
    That is how it works. I was so glad when a local chain of Mexican restaurants with Mexican-American owners. Finally, we got rid of that awful Tex-Mex bunch of pretends.

    • Refugees from Islamic societies are in arms (not always figuratively!) because Italy dares to serve them pasta, instead of the types of foods they are used to.

      Refugees. Refugees usually are not initially in a position to cook for themselves or to start up businesses.

      You might think that refugees would be thankful to be fed at all. But when your world has been turned upside down it might be a comfort to have food that you recognize as such. And, if you are an observant Muslim, food that is halal.

      • Is it possible for pasta to be non-halal? As long as they avoid meat sauces.

        • As long as they avoid meat sauces.

          That certainly would go a long way to assure the food is halal.

          Excerpt from the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America site, answering the question, ‘What is Halal?’:

          While many things are clearly halal or haram, there are some things which are not clear. Further information is needed to categorize them as halal or haram. Such items are often referred to as mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.

          All foods are considered halal except the following sources:

          1. Swine/Pork and its by-products
          2. Animals NOT properly slaughtered according to Islamic method or dead before slaughtering
          3. Alcoholic drinks and intoxicants
          4. Carnivorous animals and birds of prey
          5. Blood and blood by-products
          6. Foods contaminated with any materials from above categories

          Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, and flavors are questionable (mashbooh), because the origin of these ingredients or components there of, may be haram

        • Actually, it isn’t so much that they fear non-halal food, as that the starchy pasty isn’t the starchy falafel they are used to. It’s a matter (to continue the food allegories) of going to a chinese restaurant and expecting to find burgers & fries.
          I mean – if you are afraid of changes, why make changes? It goes back to the quote attributed to Einstein: to do things the same way as always, but to expect different results is insanity. We’re definitely living in the Crazy Years.

          • I think you misunderstand. They are not going to Europe for a change in cultures. They are going to Europe to conquer it for thier culture. And they aren’t waiting around about it… They expect the indigenous Europeans to learn thier place quickly.

            • I wonder if the Europeans will roll over and submit.

            • A bit of both, I think, and to what degree it is more the latter than the former is a matter for debate — as would be the portion which are both.

              One factor in this might be that theirs is not a culture which deplores “arrogance” but rather one which encourages it. European deference to multicultural pieties renders them as defenseless to strongly assertive “visitors” as Three Penny Opera’s Barbara:

              One day comes a man
              but what kind of a man
              do you know why he does what he does
              He walked into my room
              and he hung up his hat
              and I just didn’t know where I was
              He was a lean man
              he was a mean man
              didn’t own a cravat,
              smoked no cigar
              and God knows he never made me feel a lady
              there just wasn’t time for “Sorry.”

            • I have this story second hand…

              A group of muslim refugees are being rowdy on public transit in Vienna. Elderly Austrian woman glares at them. Rowdy young muslim man says something like, “We’re taking over, get used to it.” Elderly Austrian woman gets a nasty little smile. “That’s what the Jews thought.” Muslim refugees get very quiet.

              • Can I put both mentalities six foot under?

                • Good Lord, yes. Though I have more sympathy for the apocryphal Austrian woman since she might very well have been using the only weapon she had to hand.

                  • I once knew this sweet old lady. If you were going to cast a grandmother, who always had fresh baked cookies, you’d have picked her. All sweetness and smiles.

                    She was a former member of the Italian Resistance. She, had helped smuggle Allied pilots out of Italy, and could probably whack you without breaking that smile.

                    Always respect little old ladies. Always.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      J. D Robb gave Eve Dallas an interesting case (a short one). This older gentleman was poisoned by his “sweet little wife”. He had this bad habit of eating cakes she had made for her baking club. So she poisoned this cake and warned him that it was for her baking club. She told Eve all about it and then offered Eve a cookie. Eve almost took the cookie but had second thoughts. The sweet little lady took a cookie herself and told Eve that it was safe (which it was). Eve decided that the sweet little lady would be very helpful in the prison’s bakery. [Smile]

                  • I don’t. The Jews of Germany and Europe in general had done their very best to assimilate, support, and defend the countries they lived in. Muslims, not so much.

                • Hmm. Threatening to do something, where you may not be sincere, is not morally on par with doing it.

                • The reason European culture is dominant globally is because the Europeans have historically demonstrated an unusual capacity for and competence at violence. The World War may have scared Europe sober, but those cultural undercurrents are still there. The modern nobility may think themselves above such things, but they’ll fare no better than their predecessors.

          • If you are in Syria the option to not make changes is not exactly on the table right now. Well, no. Let me rephrase that, there are those who certainly want to make sure that no changes are made in the government — and to assure that they are bombing the people of Syria. So if you don’t want to make changes I guess you just have to accept possibly being targeted because of your fellow citizens who would prefer not to continue with Assad and his friend Putin.

        • Don’t make excuses for them. If they were hungry they’d eat. If it violated thier deeply held religious belief then this is thier chance to be pious.. Maybe they will be rewarded with mama from heaven. Decent people don’t complain that the free food you offered them is not as good as what mama used to make. They take it or say ‘no thank you’ and buy/make what they want

  6. Many voices, one spirit. (In this case Voices = opinion) That spirit is ‘America’.

  7. It’s been pointed out that cultures die because not enough people think they are worth “assimilating” to keep them alive.

  8. I mentioned at a lunch with friends that the UC system considers the term “melting pot” a micro-aggression. A Latvian woman, who arrived in America as a five year old in the late ‘forties, described being terrified when learning that America was a melting pot and that she and her family would become Americans. She has, of course, become thoroughly American, but still hates the symbolism.

    To use a metallurgical metaphor, alloys are changed by adding various ingredients. Some alloys have amazingly good properties. Others are totally useless. I think adding Islam to the mixture results in a hard brittle alloy that will shatter into its component materials.

    • It depends how Islam changes as it’s assimilated into American culture — especially in the second and third generations.

      An insular minority with violent resentments would be bad. But that’s pretty much what the Irish immigrants in the 19th century looked like… at first.

    • If Muslims respect the rights of freedom of religion and speech of those of different religions, and accept that they are a religious minority, they can be as American as anyone else. The difficulty is that in their home countries, they do not. Apostates are murdered and executed and Christians and Jews are second-class citizens. Many immigrants seem to want to establish the same Islamic supremacy in the US that they are leaving behind.
      There are those who have become so indoctrinated by the Marxist notion that Western Christendom is the root of all evil, that they suppose militant Islam is their ally against it, and so they pretend friendship in the name of multiculturalism and tolerance. They do not realize that Islam has even less tolerance for atheists and pagans than it does for Christians and Jews.

      • Well, it will be difficult for them to assimilate and liberalize, as Islam explicitly rejects the concept of “the rights of freedom of religion and speech of those of different religions”.

        It is not possible to be simultaneously a good Muslim and a good American. It is entirely possible to be a bad Muslim and a good American, or vice-versa, or bad at both. The fundamental concepts of Islam and America are diametrically opposed. The word “Islam” means submission, after all.

        America worked best when the majority culture was able to quickly (two generations) assimilate relatively small number of immigrants, whose home cultures shared numerous traits in common with the base culture. The French and Germans and Swedes and Irish and Italians may have been different from the English, but they all shared a common European heritage. And the different creeds of Christianity have far more in common with each other than with Islam or Buddhism, etc.

        Of course, like the author states, it all works better when there’s nobody actively working against it.

        • I was speaking one day with a Moslem, first generation immigrant from Bangladesh. I had mentioned that my daughter had gotten a job right out of high school and moved into a house with other young people. The Bangladeshi immediately went on an anti-American rant. He began that America was a nice country but some things were JUST WRONG!! (emphasis his) His daughter had also moved out at 18. He called the police to get her returned home. He was shocked that officers of the law would allow his daughter this freedom. He insisted that no woman should ever live on their own. The should be protected by their father until he gave her to a good man that he had picked out to be her husband. He went on and on about how America flaunted Allah’s Law at its peril. He was confident that America would some day see the error of our ways.

          His story had a happy ending in that his daughter eventually chose a Moslem man as her husband.

    • Strange. My mom arrived as an 18 year old in the late ’50s and she could not wait to become more American than anyone else I will have to ask her if she’d ever heard of the melting pot idea: mostly she was busy working three jobs to support herself and her family.

  9. I miss the naivete of childhood.

    • Randy, I don’t see it as naivete or childish. These were the ideals America as a system strove for. It’s the same idea Emma Lazarus had when she wrote The New Colossus, which is inscribed on a bronze plaque at the Statue of Liberty.
      True, we’ve never attained that perfection. Should we stop trying because we failed. You know, athletes set impossible goals for themselves, because the striving for the goal enables them to outmatch competitors. Should they stop trying?
      It isn’t childish to see a bright and hopeful future and work toward it. Perhaps if more people stopped mocking those who care, and get behind them and push, we could arrive at a closer approximation.
      We aim for the stars, not because we hope to reach them today. But today a high aim can gain us the Moon, then Mars, the moons around Jupiter and Saturn – and eventually, we’ll stairstep our way to those bright points of light we see in the dark.
      Now if you meant something else than a mocking ridicule, accept that I’m not slamming you. But if you were – you can find the source of America’s dysfunction by looking in a mirror.

      • The naivete I meant was not in holding that as an ideal, but in thinking that was how things were.

        • They’ve never been that way. But that’s always the goal. I grew up in the 1960’s and marched in local protests against racism. The goal then was to achieve equal rights under the law. That goal _was_ achieved. But too often groups move the goalposts further down the line, and then cry injustice because the goal hasn’t been reached. But if you pattern it as mileposts, we’ve come a tremendous distance since the 60’s

          • They’ve never been that way.

            Someone I knew remembered going to elementary school with adults from Norway or Sweden. They had immigrated for work cutting timber, and wanted to be Americans. In particular they wanted to learn English.

            • There’s no Little Saigon in Arkansas.

              You might wonder why there might be. For years the USA gave asylum to “boat people” and other refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Somewhere between tens and hundreds of thousands; a quick web search shows vastly different figures. But a lot.

              A great many of them were staged through camps in Arkansas; ex-military bases, mostly. Every state decided how many refugees they would take, and eventually the Fed lost interest, or the money ran out, or something, so they just turned everyone loose and said “have fun y’all bye.” So proportionally Arkansas got way more than its share of refugees.

              If you look in the phone book it’s full of Vietnamese names; the ones who didn’t move away or Americanize their names. Most of them never *asked* to come to the United States; they just got “saved.” Some sizeable number went back to their families back home when they got the chance. But all of the ones I met who stayed were gung ho to Americanize and fit in. I once worked at a place with half a dozen of them; as far as I remember all of them worked more than one job, and most of them were going to school too.

              I was chatting with an older man in the lunchroom one day, asking him about the old days. He’d been born in the the Kingdom of Vietnam and grown up mostly in the French colony of Vietnam. I asked him about the current government.

              “Vietnam has no government! They are Communist!”

              I visited one guy at home. He permitted no Vietnamese to be spoken there. The children spoke only English. His wife only had one outside job and therefore less opportunity to work on her English; they would sometimes resort to French when they didn’t have enough English vocabulary in common.

              Assimilation? Few people even remember there ever *were* any boat people. You see some old guy in overalls selling watermelons off the back of a pickup truck, his last name is as likely to be Nguyen as Zapata.

              • Vietnamese Catholics are a growing force in US Catholicism, mostly because they show up. 🙂

              • I tutor a Laotian woman who is taking classes in two universities in the nearest metropolis. Her English is bad, and I edit her school projects carefully to make sure I am using mostly her intended words and not mine. But she tries – hard – to succeed. Her parents speak little English, but they fully approve of her endeavors.
                The point being: she is trying to assimilate into the dominant culture, even when she is often lost.
                Could I help out a Mexican immigrant? Or a Muslim one? Sure could!
                But no one from those groups have *asked*.

      • Hear. Hear. Just because most of the world sucks at basic arithmetic doesn’t mean we should abandon calculus and higher mathematics in order to pander to their failure.

  10. What people need to assimilate to is:
    High Social Trust habits, Pro-Liberty and Live-and-Let-Live mindset, Use your f#(^ing turn signals.

    I don’t care what foods you eat, what music you like, or how you dress (i.e. the things that rich tourists think is ‘culture’). I care that people not corrupt/game the system, abuse their authority, lie habitually, etc.

    Eat your native food and wear your silly fashions if you like, but don’t come here and sign up for welfare, unemployment, low-income housing, disability, free school lunch, etc. that taxpayers pay for… then do business under the table so YOU don’t have to pay taxes or lose your dole eligibilities. Don’t sign up to get your kids free Christmas presents from half a dozen different church charity drives because you are ‘poor’, scoop all the pennies out of the ‘leave a penny’ dish, or take things from people’s front yard and laugh at what kind of stupid people are just leaving valuables around WANTING to be taken advantage of. And whatever you do, don’t vote for the same ‘give me free stuff and have daddy gov’t solve all my problems’ politicians that ran your old banana republic. If you want to live that way then move the #@!! back to California or New England.

    And get off my lawn.

    • If you want to live that way then move the #@!! back to California or New England.


    • When I first began visiting Baen’s Bar and hanging out primarily in Ringo’s Tavern, Walter Russell Mead’s “Four Philosophies in American Foreign Policy”* was much in discussion. Although he was mainly focused on foreign policy these philosophies carried domestic implications as well.

      At present it appears the Wilsonians are ascendant (we can hope they are peaking) but the melting pot is essentially a Jacksonian concept, reflecting the Scots-Irish philosophy of assimilation into clan by accepting critical memes regardless of culture of origin. The Republican Old Guard is likely dominated by Hamiltonian philosophy, not caring whence a man comes so long as his money is good.

      * Hamiltonians, Wilsonians, Jeffersonians and Jacksonians.
      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Russell_Mead for links defining each.

      • The Other Sean

        Wilsonians may or may not be peaking, but they’ve been reeking for a long time, reeking of Marx and envy and hatred of success.

      • Please elaborate: Scotch Irish, that is to say, the left-handed hand shake people are the source of assimilation theory? I am not being snarky: I would like to know more about this.

        • It has been long enough since ever i read this thesis I misdoubt my ability to accurately summarise. I endorse looking for Professor Mead’s essay (he currently blogs at Via media and I suspect you will find much of iinterest there. The particular article I had referenced would be “Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World” — it seems to no longer reside on the interwebz but a search for it reveals various books, reviews and articles referencing or even containing it.

          IIRC, there was also a strain within some of the Amerindian tribes of welcoming assimilation into their tribes, so it might be overstating the matter to call the Scots-Irish the source, and such was not my intent in earlier remarks. If you can stand James Webb, try his history of the Scots-Irish, Born Fighting for further development of the subject.

          • Special Providence is an entire book available at Amazon.

            • So I noticed. Ah, I remember him when he was just a twenty-page article; my how he’s grown.

              I think I had his address bookmarked but that would have been about three computers ago, so no telling what’s become of it.

  11. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Mexican spokespersons (legal or otherwise) are fighting to gain benefits and rights for the people they represent.

    There are six flags over Texas.

    One of them is the flag of the United Mexican States. This flag has a Eagle on a cactus holding a snake, which is from the founding of a city of the Mexica’s Aztec Triple Alliance.

    The Aztec Triple Alliance was a fairly evil polity. They killed many people in horrible ways, much of them slaves taken from neighboring tribes.

    If the Carolina killings were incited by the display of a flag symbolizing the evil Confederate regime, other killings are incited by the display of a flag symbolizing the evil Aztec regime.

    Texas causes crime in surrounding states by its official display of the Mexican flag.

    American culture has no more place for Mexicans than it does for Confederates.

    • You mean I can’t call myself a Confederate-American? Aw, shucks. 😉

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I’ve actually mellowed a bunch since I was a kid. One of my teachers in elementary school was a Civil War Confederate reenactor, and I didn’t feel that was appropriate for someone paid by federal funds. Eventually I realized that this was a little too intrusive to be anything like a good idea. (I’m slow.)

        Yeah, most of the United States is far from the Mexican border, they don’t hear what we hear in my neck of the woods, and folks telling us it doesn’t happen irritates. Yeah, parochial lectures that dismiss the Mexican patriot and the Mexican fighting man are risible. Yeah, a lot of hippy bullshit that wouldn’t be as bad elsewhere is harmful here.

        I’m more irritated at the hypocritical political posturing than anything else. That and the troubling freedom of speech issues.

        The strongest criticism I can make, without contradicting my anti Democratic Party values, is to draw the parallels between tolerance for Mexican or homosexual symbols and tolerance for historical Democrat symbols.

  12. In our modern “mulitcultural” society you better NOT stand out. You better fit right in to one of the approved cultural templates or you will be torn apart like a painted albatross.

  13. A minor nit pick:

    Mickey Mantle did not have polio as a child.

    Kicked in the left shin during a [football] practice game during his sophomore year, Mantle developed osteomyelitis in his left ankle, a crippling disease that was incurable just a few years earlier. Mantle’s parents drove him at midnight* to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was treated with the newly available penicillin, which reduced the infection and saved his leg from requiring amputation.

    Osteomyelitis is described as “infection and inflammation of the bone or bone marrow. It can be usefully subclassified on the basis of the causative organism (pyogenic bacteria or mycobacteria) and the route, duration and anatomic location of the infection.” [Wiki]

    Poliomyelitis, derives from the poliovirus and is a viral, not bacterial, infection. [Wiki]

    “Myelitis involves the infection or the inflammation of the white matter or gray matter of the spinal cord.” [Wiki]

    Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone marrow, leaving the myelitis designation unexplained.

    *The distance from Mantle’s hometown of Commerce to Tulsa is (now) approximately 93 miles via I-44. How much of a drive that would have comprised in 1947, before the Interstate and in a vehicle of unidentified vintage is anybody’s guess. As Mantle’s father worked in a lead mine it seems likely the vehicle would have been a pre-War construction.

    That concludes this portion of today’s nitpicking.

    • Likely “unimproved” (graded dirt, not gravel) roads and 6-volt headlights.

      A steady 35mph might be possible, but 25 to 30 would be more likely. somewhere between three and five hours at a guess.

      Most cars of the day had fuel economy in the mid-teens; best not to run out of gas. Even in the 1960s we sometimes had to sleep in the car until a gas station opened; it was extremely rare to be able to buy gas after 5 or 6 o’clock. And if you ran dry in a city or county with a “blue law”, you couldn’t buy gas on Sunday.

      • The Other Sean

        US Route 66 connected Commerce and Tulsa, and the entirety of the route was paved before WW2, IIRC.

      • I drove into a thunderstorm one afternoon; the world turned black. My 6v headlamps did no good at all.

    • Reality Observer

      I think there may have been a confusion with Wilma Rudolph, there.

    • My apologies. I went from a fallible memory. And my sons have still not forgiving me for getting rid of the Mickey Mantle Rookie card I had as a preteen. The idea still holds, tho. He had to overcome a potentially disabling condition – and he did.

      • No apologies required – de nada, zu nichts, de rien, figurati!

        Americans not only adopt foreign words into English, we swipe whole idioms.

  14. Is it a measure of the high standards of this site that, thus far, there have been no Borg references 🙂

  15. I’m really not worried about this. Assimilation will happen whether the initial generation keeps the old ways or not. In America, most simply don’t care where your folks are from, and that makes a difference.

    Europe, though, is another matter, since there is a different view of what makes a French or German. That encourages non-assimulation.

    • The question, of course, is will it happen before someone does something monumentally stupid (of a level to precipitate a Kratman book)

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Obama was elected in 2008.

        • Monster level bad, but not the straw that broke the camel’s back. I fear that our civil war will turn hot. I think the next 50 years will be quite exciting.Hopefully we will come out of this like we came out of WWII. A long period of peace, plenty, prosperity and discovery and innovation. Consider the state of the world between 1945-1965. They were quite good for the US.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            ‘precipitate’ is an interesting word in this context. In chemistry, it means you have something in a solution, something starts it coming out, and then it rapidly comes out.

            We’d been building up a lot of stuff in the general culture.

            Look how few people really understand the underpinnings of counter-proliferation. A lot of people just heard ‘you can no do that’, and find it unduly restraining.

            Our culture became saturated in toxic ideas, and Obama became the seed around which disaster crystallized.

            • There’s that weird thing in history- there’s few clear victories in cultural wars, and most victories are Pyrrhic. Cromwell and the Puritans banned… most everything in England, but it didn’t take. Stalin had to turn to the Church he tried to eradicate in order to help motivate the Russians. And pretty much every group that conquered China would up more Chinese than the Chinamen.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                I’m more talking international politics. Before, because of culture and internal politics, we had clouds of toxic cultural ideas. With some of that vapor precipitating, to form droplets. With Obama, we’ve substantially increased droplet growth, and they seem due to start falling at any time. We are going to have some very heavy rain, the other precipitation.

  16. I never realized it until my current job, but one of the great unifiers of American culture is cheese pizza.

    People with religious vegetarianism eat it. People concerned about halal and kosher eat it. Little kids eat it. People with autumn hunger for dairy products eat it.

    If America is not a melting pot, it is definitely a melty cheese pizza.

    • The Other Sean

      But pizza also divides America. For example, New York, Chicago, New Haven, Cincinnati, and Dayton/Columbus all have distinct pizza styles about which people can passonately disagree. Thankfully, disagreement is usually less heated than sports team, let alone religion/ideology, but still…

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I’ve speculated in the past that if not for sports, we would have a much higher rate of internal endemic warfare.

        • football is pretty aggressive. Many rivalries are displayed in football. Army-Navy game. In AL one of the first questions is: Auburn or Alabama? War Eagle or Roll Tide?

          • My father was a high school band director for a few years, and held a rather jaundiced view of football.
            When asked that question in 1990, he told the questioner that as far as he was concerned, football was what happened before and after the halftime show.
            He was then asked, not quite jokingly, if he was a Communist.

          • An atheist is a guy who watches a Notre Dame – SMU football game and doesn’t care who wins – Eisenhower

            But I wouldn’t even be watching the game, so what does that make me? I recall one cartoon (Cathy perhaps?) where a gal is cheering in one panel, and then again in the next panel, and finally the guy asks “Who are you rooting for?” “The clock.” In that particular case, I agree with her.

      • While I love pizza, I can’t digest cheese. Consumption of pizza has to be planned ahead of time as the aftermath is unpleasant and can last more than a day.

        That aside, why is it that pizzerias will promote extra cheese, cheese baked into the crust, and put shakers of cheese on the tables, but they act like tomato sauce is radioactive waste? Around here some places even brag about not putting tomato sauce on their pizzas. I ask for extra tomato sauce and they act like I’m some kind of nut.

        • Pizza Hut has a no cheese option. I like no sauce because I find it too spicy.

        • Pizza sauce is ordered in smaller bags or cans, and has to be used up faster so it does not dry up or discolor. It also doubles as marinara dipping sauce, for which one must pay. Finally, there have been some tomato shortages the last few years, which obviously affected pizza places more than regular home consumers.

          • I have noticed a trend toward pesto instead of tomato sauce, and one local pizza place even used refried beans as the base (admittedly, its toppings include salsa and jalapenos.)

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I don’t. I have a restricted diet, am too cheap to restaurant even if there may be a place which can make a cheese pizza I can eat, and am generally too cheap and too lazy to make it for myself. (I think I’ve essentially forgotten to eat today. I’m not too tired of eating beans or hotdogs, so I’ll probably do one of those.)

      • The Other Sean

        The New Haven area pizzerias produce several varieties of non-cheese and non-tomato-sauce pizzas. Some of them refer to their product as “tomato pies” and by default don’t have cheese unless you ask. Another “family” of pizzas are clam-based – not my thing, but very different. In just about everywhere relatively-major city I’ve been to in the US I’ve found local pizzerias offering some type of pizza that would be acceptable to people with most common dietary issues, be it no gluten, no cheese, even a crustless(!) pizza in one case. OTOH, where you live you may not be so lucky.

        • I love the fact that one can now get a sauce less pizza.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Reportedly there are restaurants in town that can handle my dietary needs. I’ve even had burgers and pizza from them that apparently didn’t mess me up. Of what little I do get from restaurants 1) burger king meat patties and fries and 2) chick-a-fil-a waffle fries substantially out number all other orders.

          Frying up a pan of hot dogs just seems less stressful, and less of a waste of time and money.

    • I always thought as what somebody called civic religion. Shared ideas and history and holidays. Columbus Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Washington’s Birthday. Thanksgiving New Year’s Flag Day Veterans’ Day

    • Actually, Italian food, whether fake like pizza or real, is a unifier. Went on exactly one date with a vegetarian a long long time ago. Took her to an Italian eatery. Solved the what to eat problem.

  17. Speaking of assimilation or lack thereof, and heavy handed response, school election results are being withheld because the “results” weren’t diverse enough. Quote from the principal ” We’re not nullifying the election, we’re not cancelling the election, and we’re not saying this didn’t count.” Yeah, right. http://www.ktvu.com/news/33724074-story