The Dumbest Idea In History

You know, recently we have been hearing a lot about how this or that or the other thing — authentic foods, yoga, certain fabrics and attires — are “cultural appropriation” and therefore a manifestation of racism and should be stopped.

This goes hand in hand with the weird and rock bottom stupid idea that culture is inherited in the genes.  This is what gets the stupid-left (yes, there is a smart left.  Mostly they pull the strings of the dumb bunnies) all in your face and screaming when you criticize a cultural behavior, like, say, wanting your women covered in sofa-slipcovers.  They call you not ignorant or provincial but “racist” and thereby reveal that in their tiny, blinkered minds, people are born with the innate fear of the magical rays given off by women’s hair, that send men wild with incontrolable lust.

It might be easier, honest to Bob, if they had children or, for the few of them who DO have children, if they’d paid any attention to their kids’ development instead of to the weird movie going on in their heads which leads them believe things like that a baby recoiling from unfamiliar appearance means the baby is racist.

The only culture babies are born with is the fauna and flora in their intestines.  No, seriously. Anyone who has or knows anyone who has adopted a child from another country/different race knows that kid grows up to be more like their family than like his/her birth family.

No baby adopted as an infant from China learned Chinese instead of the English of her adopters.  (My older son went one better and totally rejected the Portuguese I spoke to him the first year and a half of his life, learning only English.  My guess is because that’s the COMMUNICATION he saw happening, while observing his surroundings, and since no one else spoke Portuguese he tuned it out because it must be gibberish. He must be deficient in those Portuguese genes.)  No baby adopted from Africa has an instinctive liking for African music, unless he’s been raised with it.  (And then comes the question of which part of Africa, but we’ll leave that alone.)

If you’d taken my boys away at birth and given them to a perfectly normal white, middle class, suburban family, they’d probably still be odd, but their oddness might not include science fiction and fantasy.  And though they’d probably still both be good with written expression, they might not be good with written expression as we recognize it.  If they’d grown in a family that didn’t read or write that much, they might be better than their families, they would still not be up to a level recognized as excellent in society at large.

What they would still be is still tall and swarthy and built like brick sh*thouses.  Because, you see, that part is encoded in the genes.  You can’t change your black eyes to green because you grow up with a different family.  But you can be incredibly organized if you grew up with parents that required incredible organization, even if you come from a genetic background –oh, Portuguese — that is prone to the organizational method known as “let’s all pile in, and may G-d sort it out.”

I’m not saying there are no genetic characteristics that affect things other than appearance.  Of course there are.  They are a little harder to sort out from “raised with parents with those characteristics” but I’m fairly sure there are SOME.  Like both my kids are too stubborn for …  well… anything. (I remember trying to get Robert to obey me in some small thing (He’d thrown a paper on the floor, I think, and I told him to pick it up, and he was in one of his non-obeying days) which took me half an hour and a friend, watching it, said was like breaking a prisoner of war.  (Not really.  I didn’t torture him. It’s just that I had to talk him into obeying.) He was three.)  And DO trust me, we did not TRY to make the d*mn kids stubborn.  (And Robert is a lamb unshorn compared to his brother, he who made pre-school teachers tear out their hair.)

But innate tendencies do not a culture make.  Innate tendencies might dictate whether you leap out of bed with a song on your lips and incite murder in the mind of your roommate who drags self out of bed with groan and crawls till noon by the grace of coffee, but it does not dictate what language you speak, what attire you wear, or whether you think women look best when disguised as sofas.  Those are things you learned from your relatives/guardians when you were too young to think.  They might be filed under “must do” at a level where you have never examined them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t examine them. And change them.  It just means it takes time, is painful, and no one is going to do it without major upheaval requiring it.

I would never have changed my language from Portuguese to English without having moved to the US.  I mean, for one it would be weird, and mom and dad don’t speak English.  Going around the house with an interpreter would have made them think me crazier than they already thought me.  And I would never have given up my fresh bread with butter for breakfast, if ya’ll had bread delivery in the morning.  (And why don’t we have that?  It would seem to me there’s an entrepreneurial thing waiting to happen.  Bread, bagels, doughnuts or cinnamon rolls, newly made and waiting for you, still warm, in a delivery box by the door early morning.)

But circumstances dictated I changed those, and while it was difficult and painful, it got done.  Because I’m human and humans are creatures who learn and adapt.  Which means they can learn new habits, new languages, new expectations: everything that makes up a culture.

In fact, throughout history, we’ve learned and changed.  We’re not still in a cave somewhere chipping flint the way our first vaguely human ancestors did.  Or in the branches, afraid to appropriate the culture of those who walked upright.

No, when a group of humans found something, the other group followed, learned, improved.  You can still find very isolated tribes who don’t have the concept of the wheel, counting above three or past and future tenses.  BUT note the point is “very isolated.”  If they hadn’t been isolated, they’d have picked up these concepts from the cultures who contacted them. It’s called learning more “functional” concepts.

The “functional” here refers to concepts that allow you to live longer, reproduce more and raise more fat babies who will have more fat babies.

Because Western culture, the dominant culture of the world at the moment, went a little (okay, a lot) crazy after the long war of the 20th century, some seriously non-functional-in-the-long-run concepts have crept into it.  In the short run they confer a brief advantage in the fat-baby race, but in the long run they lead to fewer HUMAN fat babies, and perhaps to the extinction of those who adopt them.

One of those is this notion that people come pre-packaged with culture.  In the short run, having infected our social services, it means you’ll get more tolerance for refusing to assimilate, and we’ll indulge your ideas that all women should be covered up, and that they all should live to produce your fat babies.  This might even work on enough women to give you a genetic advantage.

But the idea that culture is innate is not only a STUPID idea (note I’m not painting this post on cave walls, so we must be capable of learning and changing), it’s an EVIL idea.

Let it take hold and sooner or later it leads to genocide.

Oh, sure, the remnants of Judeo Christian ideals, imposed on that stupid idea, means that we tolerate self-harming and definitely society-harming behaviors and shush people who criticize them as being racist.

The problem is the idea of inherited culture is fundamentally incompatible with Judeo-Christian ideas, which require self-control, discipline, ability to change and follow a set of ideals, and which in Christianity’s case, is big on redemption and conversion, both of which require you to change, to adapt and to become different in your interactions with the world

So if the idea of inherent and race-dependent culture wins out, the idea that all humans should have equal rights and that we should support and take care of those less fortunate because they are human like us and their kids might be fine, goes out the window.

What you have left is the idea that some humans are fundamentally unable to work in the modern world.

Sooner or later, then, a leader arises who says “Hey, these are sub-humans.  Let’s get rid of them.”

In fact, this has happened not once, but several times throughout history, because the idea that you’re born with your culture is one of those stupid notions humans can’t quite get rid of.  (Possibly because we are tribal creatures, at heart.)

Note this is not what I want to happen, it’s a horror I dread, but it WILL happen.  It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.  From the idea that telling someone to learn the language of the country he was born in and lives in is racist comes the idea that genocide makes perfect sense.  Because if some people can’t learn and adapt, well, then, they’re a drain on society.  And if not everyone is — within statistical variance and excluding obvious impairment — equally able to learn and contribute at least enough to pull their own weight, then why should the more able be saddled with the less able?

At the end of this thought process mass graves yawn.

But I’m starting to hear such rumbles.  All of us are.  And they’ll grow as the short-term-incentives we provide lead people down disastrous long term paths.

We must fight that idea loudly and derisively every time it comes up.  Telling someone to learn English is not racist.  Language is NOT encoded in any race’s genes.  Telling someone to show up on time for a job is not racist.  Some cultures have no sense of time, but that’s culture (and tracks fairly well with the cultures that industrialized later.)  Telling someone like me (who grew up in a culture that doesn’t prize organization) that I need to be more organized and start posting these on time is just sense.

Culture is not race.  Humans, as humans, are incredibly adaptable.  All of us came from people capable of overcoming, improvising and adapting.

Given the right incentives everyone can do it.

Does this mean people need to leave behind colorful modes of dress, interesting dishes, beautiful art?  Oh, please.  No.  It just means the main culture will absorb, change and use those parts of any culture that catch its attention.

Cultural appropriation?  Flummery.  It’s called being human.

And now I’m going to appropriate some fire to appropriate some coffee, so I can appropriate this keyboard to write stories in my appropriated language.

And proud of it.



222 thoughts on “The Dumbest Idea In History

  1. Note that the people most inclined to argue that race = culture are also prone to insist that “gender is a social construct.”

    Stupidity of that density is both nature and nurture.

    1. The only real constant with those ‘people’ is “which is to be master, that is all”. Asserting their superiority over all and sundry, and pushing us all down that they might climb.

    2. Well there you go with that racist, white, western logic thing! 2+2 is what your betters say it is!

    3. Of course, Witness all the jesting about “transracial” and the SJW hysteria that thinking you’re a woman means you’re a woman but black is determined by genes.

        1. No, a lot of them are not only accepting but eager to slander any woman who objects to a man in the restroom as a bigot. So much for “safe spaces.”

    4. Or they say that “heterosexuality is a social construct but homosexuality {or whatever} is innate.” At which point I tip my head to the side like a confused dog and go “huh?”

    5. The thing is, gender is a social construct. The problem is that the common language uses sex and gender as synonyms. Society is what says that dresses and makeup are feminine, while drinking beer and watching football are masculine.

      Of course just because it’s a social construct doesn’t make it arbitrary.

      1. THIS. So tired of vile progs taking cromulent technical terms and rendering them useless or worse by using them inappropriately in a generalist context. They’ve done this to too many words, and I don’t know what if anything can be done to retake that linguistic ground.

          1. Or of educating them by rote in subjects where an understanding of theory is necessary for correct usage.

          2. Distinguo. It is not actually possible to educate someone above his intelligence. The boobs in question have not been educated at all, but have received credentials as if they were, based on years of tenure as wards of an accredited postsecondary kindergarten.

            1. Boobs don’t think they need an education, as long as they are perky and friendly, they assume they will be given everything they need.

      2. As I like to say, nouns have gender, people have sex. Nouns that have gender are declined, often based on prepositions; people whose propositions are declined don’t have sex.

  2. A few years back there was a Chinese couple who went to my family’s church. The couple were both from China (IIRC one was from Hong Kong) and spoke good English. Their boys were born & raised in the US and acted like any other American boys.

    1. Since Han Chinese are by far the dominant ethnic group in China, with major privilege in that society, I think that means a Han ethnicity Chinese person on a US college campus who picks up a fork will be immediately denounced for cultural appropriation and loudly picketed.

  3. why don’t we have [bread delivery in the morning]?

    We used to — and dairy, as well. The economics of having delivery trucks and route service persons (aka, milkmen, the subject of many a salacious supposition in days gone by) would peg the price too high. There are also the associated costs of collecting payment, what with deadbeats and route service persons skimming the till (and providing a little free butter to favored customers.) Not to mention in some neighborhoods the level of trust required to have such product delivered to a holding box simply does not exist (well, okay, I just mentioned it; blot that from your mind.)

    Because people discount their cost of travelling to a store to purchase their produce, dairy, bakery goods, butcher’s product and sundries the perceived costs of home delivery seem comparatively much higher.

    1. I remind one and all that Schwan’s food delivery company is still in business. They deliver a lot of food every year, all over the USA.

      Not great food maybe, but still.

      1. Depends on what you’re buying. Schwan’s is also the parent company for Red Baron (and Tony’s, and I think Freschetta as well), so occasionally a new pizza line might get tested as a Schwan’s seasonal product first.
        People I know that make punches for weddings, parties, etc. swear by the frozen juices for flavor and convenience – they’re also good for making your own juice blends, if you’re not a fresh-only snob.
        The frozen meats are good, and have consistent pricing as well as being individually wrapped, which is something much more convenient to someone living alone, or without children.
        And, their Ice Cream and Novelties… You might pay more than at the store, but you get what you pay for. When I was employed, I had the Schwan’s truck delivering at least one large box of ice cream sandwiches every 2 weeks. These were so fresh that, even frozen in contact with ice cream, the cookies were typically crisper than an Oreo right out of the pack, unlike those mushy-cookie ice cream sandwiches you get at the supermarket.
        And, interestingly, they’ve been running their fleet of home delivery trucks on Natural Gas for over a decade, which helped with costs, plus it made running the refrigeration units with the trucks parked a lot easier (since gas-powered refrigeration has been around as long or longer than electric)

    2. When you go grocery shopping every couple of months, your cost of travelling once is considerably cheaper than having something delivered daily or even weekly. Or alternatively, when you work on the other side of the grocery store and drive past on your way to and from work, then there IS no travel cost involved.

      1. This also depends on how many people are signed up for delivery. If everyone on your neighborhood gets milk and eggs delivered daily, the cost may be more reasonable.

        That said, my usual grocery store is one (horribly uphill) block out of my way from the commuter rail to my house.

      2. We get something called ‘Bountiful Baskets’ in my area (which is very much a rural food-desert–the nearest grocery store is twenty minutes away, but is overpriced and of generally ‘meh’ quality, while the nearest proper grocery store is an hour’s drive). Every two weeks, you get, for $15, a good-sized basket of fresh fruit and veggies. The quality is not always the best (depends on season, so it helps to keep an eye on what is actually IN season), but it’s cheaper than buying the same amount of produce at the grocery stores. And they always have ‘extras’ for reasonable prices–we’ve done most of our canning the last three years out of their extras, and the only thing thus far with ‘blech’ quality has been the apples (but they still make good applesauce). What with gas/food costs around here (the wilds of Wyoming), it’s a viable alternative. Sure, you have to pick it up from the delivery site, but in our itty-bitty ghost town that’s no distance at all. We even got real, actual maple syrup a few months back. It was ‘grade B’ but considering the cost of the stuff in general–and considering that the ‘grade B’ was still super tasty–it was entirely worth it.

        1. I’m not surprised it was tasty — to my understanding, until they recently up and revised the system, Grade B just meant the darkest and maple-iest syrup you could buy. (I think now it’s called Grade A Very Dark or something, unless your area hasn’t switched yet.) Less popular (and cheaper) because the lighter colors are considered prettier and the milder flavors easier to balance, but good stuff.

          1. The original grades were “how close is this to sugar.” Because the mass adoption of maple sugar was an attempt to put the sugar plantains in the Caribbean out of business.

        2. –And I see you said it was only a few months ago, so I guess your area is still using the previous system. It’s spreading kind of patchily, I think.

    3. Because you can buy a bread machine and program it to have hot fresh bread ready when you wake up in the morning. That’s the real competition for fresh bread delivery.

    4. With all those caveats, I note that re home delivery of food, the Bezos juggernaught rolls on: Amazon Grocery is now available in the SF Bay Area.

      As far as I know, however, they don’t deliver still-warm fresh baked bread.

      1. Uber has started delivering food in some markets… I suppose a bakery with enough customer demand for the service could try to make a deal with someone to do deliveries, if they don’t want to hire their own people.

        1. Amazon bread will be delivered suborbitally via Blue Origin. They load it on unbaked on a MIRV bus and the re-entry heat makes each delivery toasty-warm when it lands on it’s GPS-guided edible parasail.

          1. The folks who run the Weehawken Burrito Tunnel (google it; I’m at work) should be running scared.

      2. Giant/Eagle has been doing home delivery of groceries for a good bit now. So have some other delivery services. I’ve been able to have Amazon ship SOME grocery items to the FPO address here in Bahrain, but others may not happen.

        I’m PCSing to a destroyer attached to the Ike the early part of next year, which is deploying back over to this AOR later next year. I intend to get a bunch of Priority Mail Large boxes and fill them with the sort of treats and supplies and such I like, and then have them mailed to me, once a month or so, for the length of the deployment. Curate my own Feedbox/Graze/whatsit boxes, and space them out so they’re not piled up in the depot until the mail gets delivered. (This is my general idea for a small business catering to deployed military personnel that I intend to open when I retire from the Navy here in a few years.)

        1. Meanwhile, ask your Chain of Command to contact, they are superb at getting packages to deployed service personnel, with over 1,300,000 shipped to date.

    5. Amazon, Google and a food store here in California (Raley’s) has been seriously looking into it. Raley’s has been working with Google in the SF Bay area (around silicon Valley) into this, and has been running a pilot project on it.
      For a lot of people, it is a convenience they’re willing to pay for, and Google thinks it may have the analytics to make it work reasonably.

      However, I heard that having to explain the concept of a ‘milkbox’ to a bunch of twenty-somethings who had never ever heard of such a thing was pretty funny.

    6. I remember the Helms Bakery truck stopping in front of our house in southern California every week day until the mid-60’s. (This was in Whittier, in suburban L.A. county.)

      Still warm bread, cookies, pastries, pies, … the smell was wonderful. Cash on delivery. It took us kids some time to recover when they shut down in 1967. Store-bought bread just wasn’t the same thing.

      Come to think of it, we got milk delivered to our door almost that late. It wasn’t so bad when that stopped, since there was a working dairy four blocks from the house with a cash and carry outlet.

      It’s all housing tracts and strip malls there now. I think all the light manufacturing is gone, too. (It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized what the building with “Sierra” on the side of the wall made. Bullets. They’ve since moved to Missouri.)

              1. I don’t want to use a tilde because I’m afraid I would be culturally appropriating it. The umlaut not so much, but just to be safe I’m going to stick with the pilcrow.

                    1. This thread is looking like a conversation between aliens in Piers Anthony’s Cluster series.

                    1. ARF! ARF! Thus speaketh the Great and Wonderful Sandy of Annie.
                      Punjab says you better not disagree with G and W Sandy.
                      Daddy Warbucks says your really don’t want him to go The Full Trump on you.

                    2. That reminds me. I was watching Shaun the Sheep with my niece today. Since the show is Irish and I’m only 1/4 Irish, is that cultural appropriation? What about my niece, who is only 1/8 Irish?

              1. Comma, comma, noun, subject, verb, noun, noun.
                Comma, comma, noun, subject, verb, noun, noun.
                Comma, comma, noun, subject, verb, noun, noun.
                Punctuation’s hard to do.

  4. Cultural appropriation is a concept almost too dumb for me to fully grasp it (especially as I age and my intellectual joints tend to lock in inconvenient ways) but it seems to be a one-way ratcheting.

    As I understand the concept, cultural appropriation is only wrong when perpetrated by a dominant (i.e., inherently oppressive) culture. When a subordinate culture accepts practices and benefits of its oppressor culture (such as Arabs using iPhones or womyn using tools*) that is acceptable compensation for the evil of being oppressed. It is only when a dominant culture enjoys the spoils of its conquest of others (such as White folk learning to clap on the off beat) that cultural appropriation of the vile sort has happened.

    *I keed, I keed: womyn have been using tools ever since Eve learned Adam came with a conveniently manipulable handle.

    1. Oh no, it’s still wrong when a subordinate culture accepts practices and benefits of its oppressor culture. Then it’s “cultural imperialism”, the nasty (white) oppressors extinguishing the beautiful (not sure why they like that word) cultures of the (brown and black) oppressed. If you accept the ideas of “cultural appropriation” and “cultural imperialism”, logically they add up to “cultural isolationism”, something you’d expect from white supremacists rather then “progressives”. But they deny they support cultural isolationism.

      1. Rather than? Progressives have a long history of white supremacy. They brought us the wonders of segregation — which had been struck down in the courts before their era — while sneering at the old-fashioned notion of the equality of man.

        1. Were you so much superior to your fellow man as are they, you, too, would sneer.

          After all, some of their “fellow men” believe that society should be structured so that individuals experience the consequences of their actions no matter how odious those actions might be to the wiser heads who would save them the burden of decision. Some of them even believe NASCAR more edifying than Opera and that (shudder) representational art, executed with actual “talent” and “skill” is of greater merit than abstract expressionism! As if anybody ought be able to experience a work of art and grasp the artist’s message. Some of them have even gone so far as to assert that popular entertainment should entertain rather than instruct the lower orders in proper thinking.

      2. Excerpted from Power Line’s Steven Hayward:

        A few questions. I gather yoga comes from India originally. What else do they have in India? Well these days they have parliamentary democracy. Isn’t that a “cultural appropriation” from Britain? Shouldn’t they have to stop that, or give it back? Love to take a survey of Indians today and ask how many would like to abandon this “cultural appropriation”? I’m guessing a large majority of Indians rather like democracy, elections, human rights, rule of law, etc.

        I’m sure today’s postmodern left will say that Indians suffer from “false consciousness” from centuries of Western colonialism and oppression—nothing that a few hundred thousand PC counselors from the UN couldn’t cure, so they can get back to the business of setting up authoritarian governments.

        1. I wonder how many modern Indians know that modern India is a British invention. Before the British the subcontinent was a patchwork of warring states – it’s why the British were able to take over in the first place.

        2. It’s very simple. If India takes parliamentary democracy from Britain, that is cultural imperialism, and it is bad and the white man’s fault. If Britain takes yoga from India, that is cultural appropriation, and it is bad and the white man’s fault. It’s all perfectly simple. Now go back and learn your catechism.

          H. Smiggy McStudge

    2. So, um, I just gotta get some clarification here, RES. Are you saying that Adam was a tool?

      *Joins the rest of the ladies in carefully setting down a glass of wine.*

  5. I wondered if you were going to talk about the cultural appropriation thing. Bravo.

    Here’s a story local to Canada, Drudge picked it up this morning.

    Yes friends, Yoga classes are cultural appropriation, and ONE SINGLE COMPLIANT was enough to get this class cancelled.
    Further developments today, it seems there’s a lot of people like me who were not amused.

    In that article appeared this quote from the U of Ottawa website, which I think explains the whole thing:

    “A video on the Centre for Students with Disabilities’ website continues to highlight the yoga service, which was suspended because of the ongoing debate about the “cultural issues” that surround it.

    Also on the centre’s website is a description of its effort to create a safe space at the university. It highlights the complexity of the centre’s commitment to “challenge all forms of oppression.”

    “We also acknowledge that ableism is not a siloed issue, but one that affects a variety of communities and individuals. In working to dismantle ableism, we also work to challenge all forms of oppression including, but not limited to, heterosexism, cissexism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, queerphobia, HIV-phobia, sex negativity, fatphobia, femme-phobia, misogyny, transmisogyny, racism, classism, ableism, xenophobia, sexism, and linguistic discrimination.”

    The explanation, clearly, is that the Student’s Union is peopled with unlettered children who are mentally challenged. “ableism is not a siloed issue”, forsooth.

    I’ve run into this kind of thing quite a bit as a professional physical therapist. Since the 1990’s there’s been a lot of this “ableism” bullshit rolling around the industry, to the point where many therapists write their notes basically in code, so that they won’t get hauled up on the carpet for politically incorrect terms being used.

    I generally begin such conversations with something like this: “If the patient cannot reach down and wipe their own ass after using the toilet, that is not called “differently abled.” It is called DIS-abled. It is a potentially fatal problem, not an ‘opportunity’ or a ‘challenge’. If you don’t want me using words like “disability” and “problem”, you are a dangerous imbecile and you better stay the hell away from MY patient.”

    It helps that most of these PC enforcers are fat fugly middle aged women, and I’m a large scary monster.

    1. Having a prosthetic or missing limb is differently abled iff they can still function with minimal assistance. Spending your entire life in bed, full of bedsores and excrement because you need 14 men to move you is not.

      And sadly not exaggerated

    2. I ran “ableism is not a siloed issue” through Google translate and neither it nor I understand WTF it represents.
      Best I can determine, it involves placing able-bodied people into bins of corn. I think their problem is there are so many ‘bad’ words, and so many euphemisms for what replaces the ‘bad’ words, that you can no longer even say some thought that might be true, but ‘bad’.

      1. I think it means that “ableism” (whatever that means, like so many other badthink -isms) is not an isolated problem, but is part of the societywide discrimination towards all things abnormal.
        It’s still stupid.

      2. No, I think I’ve got this: Abel was the shepherd. Cain would’ve been the one with the silo. Therefore, cainism would be a siloed issue, but ableism is not. In other words, the sheep don’t belong in the silo. Probably it makes them sick to eat that much grain. Really, it’s a bad idea, sheep in the silo.

      3. Could be missile silos, but they are deep and dark and cold, and I hear tell not fun to be around even in the best of times.

    3. Yoga has been sold to Westerners, for a tidy profit; it has not been “culturally appropriated.” One must wonder what part of “voluntary exchange” has them confused.

      Management needs to realize that by tugging the forelock for pressure tactics from Side A they are inviting, nay, encouraging pressure tactics from Side B. The appropriate response to a complainant is “Thank-you for bringing this to our attention. We will certainly reconsider the [product and/or service] which you found offensive. Please fill out this form (in triplicate) detailing the nature and basis of your complaint in order that our steering committee can review it fully. Our decision process will be aided if you can provide a full documentation of the historical basis of this issue underlying this complaint as well as your qualifications to act as representative of the offended group/culture.”

      There needs to be something to be read at corporate meetings for comic relief to break up the tedium of financial reports and there are only so many illiterate resumes and job applications submitted.

      1. All that means is that innocent yoga practioners have been ruthlessly corrupted into decadent, materialistic Western ways.

      2. … as well as your qualifications to act as representative of the offended group/culture.

        This is what just got an anti-racism rally at CU Boulder cancelled – the organizers were too white.

    4. Reminds me of the individual who wrote a piece in Salon (IIRC) about how horrible and disempowering it is that [non-Egyptians] belly-dance. Not only did a lot of non-Arabs fuss right back, but women from Saudi, Lebanon, Syria and other places chimed in with “Are you saying that non-Egyptians can’t dance? I grew up doing it and you’re full of” and so on.

    5. My wife, Japanese, is taking Yoga in a Jewish Community Center, her in Indianapolis. And the person at the front desk who registered her for the class was a Sikh.

      The very epitome of the “Melting Pot.” 😉

        1. So, maybe I shouldn’t patronize (escuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, eat at) an Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, or whatever restaurant because that’s cultural appropriation? FOOOOOL! I am encouraging DIVERSITY in my community. WHY do YOU hate DIVERSITY? Thou art Double-Plus UnGood!!

    6. Whoever wrote that drivel needs to be fired. Out of a cannon. Preferably into the flight path of a 747.

      1. I know Trump is famous for saying “you’re fired”, but I really prefer Arnold’s take on it.

    7. A single complaint? My God. Think of the havoc I could wreak if lacked any sense of decency. I could ruin anything I pleased.

    8. One complaint can be important if it comes from the right person. Case in point 2006 William and Mary President Gene Nichol removes cross from the Wren Chapel. Notice that name Chapel. Historically, W&M was founded to educate the colonist and to Christianize the Indians. Perhaps that is why the Wren Building has a Chapel in the first place. Myself and fellow alumni raised so much hell that the Board of Visitors did not ‘renew’ his contract.

      When the smoke cleared, the one complaint was not from a student, but from a Jewish friend of the President. Now, I doubt it was a complaint, probably more something along the lines “Why is there a cross here?”, and would have been satisfied with historical significance. The cross has been returned, but now sits in a protective glass display case.

  6. “Culture is not race. Humans, as humans, are incredibly adaptable.”

    Agreed, but the problem is you need some incentive for that adaptation, because adaptation is always a process of self-transformation and sacrifice; if that isn’t perceived as necessary (“Adapt or die”), if, in short, people aren’t forced to adapt, most adults will resist it as strongly as they can and adapt as little as is feasible, especially when what is at stake are core concepts of identity and ego.

    And we live under a prevailing philosophy that balks at the idea that any sacrifice should be treated as obligatory, or that any group has the right to impose its definition of “necessary sacrifice” on another by any means, so supplying such incentives — or even refusing to alleviate the ones that exist, like the difficulty of getting or keeping a job if you can’t speak the language or have no sense of punctuality — has become a repugnant idea for many. Culture isn’t genetic, but if it can’t be subjected to the pressures necessary to change it (and some such attempts have been made to immoral degrees, in the past), I fear that it may as well be treated as such.

  7. And with my usual deft foot-in-mouth timing I see that in fact the *previous* post on this blog in fact discusses this very idea. Next time I’ll learn to catch up on my reading before opening my virtual trap. Beg your pardons, all.

      1. Much obliged for your graciousness, ma’am (hat tip). A sorely missed quality on the Internet these days.

  8. Using ideas from other cultures is wonderful. We can invent new things by combining traditional art forms with modern processes. The internet has made it possible for people from everywhere to keep in touch, teach people on the other side of the world how to do something, maybe even come up with a synthesis of processes from multiple cultures that ends up being better all around.

    Now, when it is really quite miraculous that I am friends with a Thai-born Australian who raises colored Merino Sheep, and is a remarkable fiber artist who has taught me some of her processes, these SJW idiots want us to stop it, because I am disrespecting her art by learning it and applying it to my art?

    The world has gone completely mad.

    1. “Now, when it is really quite miraculous that I am friends with a Thai-born Australian who raises colored Merino Sheep,”

      What are you, a racist or something? The currently correct term is Sheep of color, and labeling them as Merino is blatant discrimination against sheep of non-Merino ancestry.

        1. I’m looking for a Colored (Or Unusual) Goat (Angora) Registry. I be wanting a COUGAR for me bad self.

              1. I believe it originally started out as “dead fish”. Sarah would tell someone she was throwing a dead fish at them. At some point, people started specifying type of fish, but somewhere along the line it solidified as carp. I don’t recall the reason, but it might have had something to do with the name sharing its letters with “crap”.

        2. How does one colour a goat, and what colours do they come in?

          You should get some of those spider-silk goats. Think of the stuff you could weave from that!

        1. I guess all those jokes about being from [insert target of joke here], “where men are men and the sheep are nervous” is insensitive to the very real tragedy of Ovine Rape Culture.

          Not to mention the story my brother’s mother-in-law, from England, told of the first time she heard about a “tupperware party”.

          1. It is perhaps, slightly worrying that I have such a through grasp of obscure English terminology/slang that I can understand immediately why your brother’s MIL might have been slightly taken back …

            1. I don’t know much about “obscure English terminology/slang” but I don’t want to know what the MIL thought was being talked about. [Wink]

              1. One meaning is “party where everyone gets drunk.” Fix THAT one firmly in your mind, Drak.

                No, you don’t want to know the other one… Wish I didn’t, actually.

              2. unfortunately I happen to have read Sarah’s free novels, so I know quite well what that obscure slang is.

        2. I so need to make a shirt for conventions that parodies the one which reads, “Sorry, I don’t date outside my species.” It would read ‘I date outside my species.’ How far to go though? Is that enough, or should the back read, ‘Aren’t you lucky?’ What, me ego?

    2. Well as mentioned before, the English language is a massive pidgin, so if the wank using about appropriation is doing so using the English language, they are appropriating someone’s culture. So they can shut it, right?

  9. Couple all that nonsense with the increasingly-prevalent idea that an individual is not responsible for their actions and if they somehow screw up then it’s society that’s at fault (unless that individual is a White cisgendered conservative, in which case they are responsible for all of the world’s ills a guilty of crimes that their ancestors may or may not have committed centuries ago) and you have a surefire recipe for societal implosion.

    And I know I’ve turned into Mr. Pessimist in the comments both here and on MGC as of late, but I fear that said societal implosion and the pushback you mention in the post are now inevitable. Reasons being ,1, like that old saying goes, “you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into,” and we now have a whole generation who have been taught pretty much since birth that a) they are uber-special and the world needs to bend over backwards to accommodate their specialness and b) nothing bad that they do is there fault. That’s hardwired to the point where most of them can’t be un-taught that. And 2, there are too many people on both sides who *want* the pushback to happen, either because they don’t realize just how horrific it will be and think that they’ll easily win, or else they just plain old don’t care and want to watch the world burn.

    1. You, pessimist, here? Perish the thought.

      I don’t notice any such thing, says the guy who grew up on gloom and doom. Certainly, I haven’t seen you say any such thing that was very far from the norm.

      We older (stop laughing) folks have seen more of this slow motion train wreck stuff, and perhaps get less excited. Or at least have more experience controlling our emotions, and finding a way to experience it that is healthy for us.

      1. When the Patriot Act passed many friends and acquaintances were upset. And then they were upset that I *wasn’t* upset.

        “Remember all the times I tried to tell you about this stuff, and you just rolled your eyes or ignored me? None of this is new; they just gathered up all those things and tied them up in a pretty bow. The sky fell years ago, and attitudes like yours were major reasons why.”

    1. If you are a cis-gendered person of penis & pallor anything short of sackcloth and ashes is likely to be insensitive, unless, of course, you are identifying with the oppressed.

      Of course, if claims of Jesus being a person of colour* are to be entertained (instead of merely entertaining) then your ensemble is a proper expression of ancestral solidarity and anyone criticizing it is guilty of attempted cultural hegemonism.

      *Briefly: Jesus was of the line of David, David was of the line of Moses, Moses was able to pass as a member of the Pharoah’s household, the royal families of Egypt were melanin-endowed, therefore Jesus was melanin-endowed. The fact you could drive a convoy of trucks through the logical holes in that argument are irrelevant because anybody challenging the argument is racist, a propagator of the propaganda of cultural oppressors, kikeophobic and a beneficiary of the oppression of indigenous peoples.

      1. Ehh, that’s not the justification I heard.
        More like: Jesus was a dude who grew up in the Middle East, descended from Middle Easterners, etc.
        At the very least, he probably looked more like Saladin than Richard.

        1. I have also heard a rather blasphemous version that goes: If God wanted Mary to bear his child, he would have to get sperm from a worldly source. The most likely avenue would be to have a Roman soldier in the area rape Mary. Now, the practice of the Romans, was to employ foreign nationals in the Roman Army as far as possible from their homelands. Therefore Jesus’ father was probably a northern European.
          Anyway, most of the Jewish people I know are somewhat melanin-deficient. Is that a development of the last 2000 years? If so, it should be well documented historically.

          1. That would probably be because most of the Jews you know are Ashkenazi Jews, the ones whose ancestors came over here from Central and Eastern Europe back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, who are a bit different than the Sephardic or Mizrahic Jews, the three main ethnic divisions of the religion.

    2. Depends. Do you have a lot of family members with dreadlocks, tribal tattoos, and religious beliefs that are a synchronicity of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and Wicca? If so, then yes, your cultural appropriation will be considered insensitive.

  10. Definition of “Cultural Appropriation”: when too many of the wrong kind of people are now into the same cool foreign thing I was into.

  11. This brings up a lot of things to me:

    DNA and language. I understand studies indicate that a newborn is wired to hear all the sounds all the human languages make. As they learn whatever language they are around, their brain literally becomes incapable of hearing some of the different sounds. So, babies are very culturally plastic.

    My cousin adopted one of those many Chinese girls the ‘one child’ policy had being abandoned in ditches. She apparently had the start of Chinese culture, he said the first month back in America, he had to eat rice in the basement, because she had a fit (wanting it) whenever she saw it. Her other little ‘gift’ from China was rotten baby teeth. Their dentist was very concerned; however, she had good food and care, and her permanent teeth came out beautiful. Fast forward 15 years, and she is as American as apple-pie.

    Transcendental Meditation, came in with Yoga and all things Indian with the Beatles and Hollywood stars fawning over Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late 60’s. I read an article that said that, getting your unique mantra from your Guru was a crock, but the technique of concentration on a white circle in a black field while slowly counting to 4 with breath, hold, exhale, hold; that has helped me through life in the last 45 years. I also read studies of Catholic Nuns praying over their rosary beads has the same impact. It is focus and rhythm. Unbeknownst to most of us, the original Pope apparently cunningly phrased the prayers so their natural rhythms induced the transcendental state.

    Chop Suey – is it an American Invention of the San Francisco gold rush, or is it cooking Chinese tsap seui using American food stock. Either way, it is certainly unique. Pizza may have existed in a form in Naples Italy, but they ‘culturally appropriated’ American tomatoes to achieve that near perfect food we eat today. The SJWs may enjoy eating the same bland Solyent Green or Yellow three times a day, but some of us want variety, and stealing ideas from other people’s cooking is indeed as old as Ugg and Grog sitting in their respective caves cooking dinner.

    Culture isn’t some thing that sits on the shelf and is an absolute and unchanging feature of either DNA or the unseen kooties in the air in different concentrations. Culture is what we all together decide to think and do. When the Canadians adopted free Yoga classes, they weren’t stealing anything from India, they were taking ideas, that by any indication of the number of attendees, our culture approves of the idea so much we want to incorporate it. It is like an Internet picture. If I copy it to my hard drive, I didn’t ‘steal’ it from the person that created it (public domain items), he/she/xir/it still has their copy. The only thing my ‘appropriation’ does is recognize the value in the original and its creator.

    Sarah, your title: Dumbest Idea in History… You do know this is a moving target, and by next month, I would bet that the SJWs will have an idea even dumber than this one.

      1. Nah, this Thursday, because Thanksgiving is a ritual reminder of the oppression of matrilinial, matriarchal First Nations people by omnivorous colonialist Protestant patriarchs.

          1. Already there:

            White House: At Thanksgiving, Talk About GOP’s ‘Fear’ of the NRA

            Americans “sitting around the Thanksgiving table” this week ought to discuss Republicans’ failure to pass a law preventing anyone on a government watch list from buying a gun, the White House urged today.

            Speaking this afternoon at the daily White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest attacked Republicans for focusing on the threat from Syrian refugees instead of taking action on gun control.


            I wonder if Josh is okay with allowing those “thoroughly vetted” refugees to buy guns?

              1. As a life long ‘conservative’ Republican In Name Only, I follow Democratic recommendations after a delay of a few years. This Thanksgiving, I will be talking to my parents about Healthcare.

        1. Thanksgiving is literally about what they call cultural appropriation, the nasty white Protestants eating the food of the Wampanoag culture.

          1. Got an e-mail from one of the food delivery chains here in Dallas reminding me to consider having them deliver my “Friendsgiving” dinner…..

            1. Friendsgiving is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s when I have to endure my spouse’s friends, instead of her family. So a four day weekend turns into a one day of rest instead of two. Unfortunately the ice storm has been canceled and it’s just going to be wet and cold, perfect for the muddy dog…

    1. I am super, super amused by the incongruity of the fact that the person squalling the loudest about “cultural appropriation” will themselves- typically a white westerner- be pretty much against traditional ‘western’ or ‘American’ culture.

    2. You can still find pizza with tomato sauce in your area?

      Here, many pizzerias – even the chains – don’t put tomato sauce on at all, and those that do usually have a large sign saying they’ll gladly leave it off at your merest suggestion.

      1. According to the FDA, it can not be called a pizza without tomato sauce. But, yes. Here pretty much every pizza has tomato sauce, and you can have extra sauce for free! I think the ones you are referring to are called ‘Tuscan’ or ‘white’ pizza around here. Don’t know if either name is historically accurate, but it gives them a label.

    3. No human is incapable of hearing and noticing any human phoneme, unless brain damage or another illness occurs. What babies do is that they put phonemes that go unused into the low priority category. They can always re-prioritize the phoneme whenever needed, just by listening a little harder, after getting a hint that it is important now. So can adults.

  12. Saturday, my family and I went to a local Chinese restaurant. I ordered a curry that was billed as a Scottish curry. At a Chinese restaurant. But it was because the owners, who came from British-controlled Hong Kong, lived in Scotland for a decade or more and absorbed some Indian recipes from all the Indians and Pakistanis in the area, combined it with their traditional cooking and Scottish/British cooking and then immigrated to the US. Eventually, they opened their restaurant. I approve of that multi-culturally appropriated dish.

    I find it really funny that the reviews compare it to the Panda Express (chain Chinese restaurant) and others that claim that their food wasn’t real Chinese because (patron) has had real Chinese food before (in the US). Because Chinese people wouldn’t know how to cook their own food AND make it appealing to Americans.

    1. We have a nice Thai restaurant in town, owned by a naturalized couple. Most of their help are Thais on work visas.

      I go there and have Thai food. In the kitchen, they’re noshing down on Domino’s pizza. From what Tic says, Domino’s is good stuff compared to the back-home varieties…

    2. “Because Chinese people wouldn’t know how to cook their own food AND make it appealing to Americans…”

      Riiiiiight. Tell that to my wife and her multitude of relatives from here and over seas.

  13. Any time I hear the term “cultural appropriation” I am reminded of this scene from Flint & Drake’s “Fortunes Stroke”

    “Consider these robes, men of India.” She plucked at a heavy sleeve. “Preposterous, are they not? A device for torture, almost, in this land of heat and swelter.”
    Many smiles appeared. Irene matched them with her own.
    “I was advised, once, to exchange them for a sari.” She sensed, though she did not look to see, a pair of twitching lips. “But I rejected the advice. Why? Because while the robes are preposterous, what they represent is not.”
    She scanned the crowd slowly. The smile faded. Her face grew stern.
    “What they represent is Rome itself. Rome—and its thousand years.”
    Silence. Again, slowly, she scanned the room.
    “A thousand years,” she repeated. “What dynasty of India can claim as much?”
    Silence. Scan back across the room.
    “The greatest empire in the history of India, the Maurya, could claim only a century and half. The Guptas, not more than two.” She nodded toward Shakuntala. “Andhra can claim more, in years if not in power, but even Andhra cannot claim more than half Rome’s fortune.”
    Her stern face softened, just slightly. Again, she nodded to the empress. The nod was almost a bow. “Although, God willing, Andhra will be able to match Rome’s accomplishment, as future centuries unfold.”
    Severity returned. “A thousand years. Consider that, noble men of India. And then ask yourself: how was it done?”
    Again, she smiled; and, again, plucked at a heavy sleeve.
    “It was done with these robes. These heavy, thick, preposterous, unsuitable robes. These robes contain the secret.”
    She paused, waited. She had their complete attention, now. She took the time, while she waited, to send another whimsical, mental message across the sea. Thanking a harsh, cold empress named Theodora, born in poverty on the streets of Alexandria, for training a Greek noblewoman in the true ways of majesty.
    “The secret is this. These are the robes of Rome, but they are not Roman. They are Hun robes, which we took for our own.”
    A murmur arose. Huns? Filthy, barbarous—Huns?
    “Yes. Hun robes. We took them, as we took Hun trousers, when our soldiers became cavalrymen. Just as we took, from the Aryans, the armor and the weapons and the tactics of Persia’s horsemen. Just as we took from the Carthaginians—eight hundred years ago—the secrets of war at sea. Just as we took, century after century, the wisdom of Greece, and made it our own. Just as we took the message of Christ from Palestine. Just as we have taken everything we needed—and discarded anything we must—so that Rome could endure.”
    She pointed her finger toward the north. “The Malwa call us mongrels, and boast of their own purity. So be it. Rome shrugs off the name, as an elephant shrugs off a fly. Or, perhaps—”
    She grinned. Or, perhaps, bared her teeth.
    “Say better, Rome swallows the name. Just as a huge, half-savage, shaggy, mastiff cur of the street wolfs down a well-groomed, purebred house pet.”

    Hmm. Remindes me. I’ll have to get that set of books into my Kindle app.

      1. Eric Flint is a rare person. A liberal who can actually think. I am reminded of Christopher Hitchens, the only leftist that seemed immune to Bush Derangement Syndrome.

  14. Re. backlash. Given the approving nods and comments I’ve read on the ‘Net today about the Black Lives matter activist getting hauled out of the Trump rally, and the number of suggestions that he should have been roughed up, I’d say its already far too close to the surface. Some day soon, someone’s going to look up from his Saturday brunch to see a bunch of black-in activists marching into the cafe, or see his wife being driven away from her favorite yoga studio, and say, “F— this s–t.” And the multi-culti activists won’t have a clue what hit them, or why.

    And may G-d help us all when that day comes.

    1. I’ve seen a couple of videos where the Vegans enter a restaurant and start a rant about killing chickens. They had better stay away from the places I eat. I try to be wonderfully tolerant of parents with young children in restaurants. Youthful enthusiasm is a joy, if somewhat noisy. However, youth does not extend to the behavior of 20 somethings making *sses of themselves, and neither does my tolerance.

      1. If killing chickens is murder, than why stop at chickens? Why not go after the chicken-brained, the dumb clucks in human form who attempt to impose their extremist ideologies?

        After all, if meat is murder, might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb?

      2. I’ve been expecting this too. I just wonder which side the jury is likely to be on afterwards.

        1. Depends heavily on region, and town, or section thereof. The whole restaurant intrusion thing has yet to be tried outside of blue sections of blue cities in blue states for a reason.

      3. If the activists bother you, I’ll loan you a pair of roosters guaranteed to change their minds about the appropriateness of chicken killing. That sort of activist doesn’t get far around this area: too many people butcher their own meat still.

    2. The Prophet approacheth:

      This is why they want us to avoid the lessons of History and the Classics.

  15. Followed a link (from another site) to a Yoga journal article regarding the roots of Yoga asana & vinyasa forms and exercises. The author traced many to a Scandinavian model that was introduced to India in the early 1900’s. He ended up saying that this cultural appropriation was a good thing. Wonder if he would see that this arrow works both ways?

    1. So, basically the same thing as “Authentic” African-American culture being an adoption of red-neck values (as Thomas Sowell has pointed out)?

      1. Which, for the most part, originated among back country Scottish clans. Who, undoubtedly, picked up at least some things from the Picts. (BTW, has anyone else noticed that the most popular color for overly made-up Black women is – blue? Hmmm….)

      2. This is certainly true of ‘soul food’. It is simply the food that all Southerners eat, black or white. I understand that the idea that fried chicken and watermelon are code words for black originated in the North. In the South, the whites were too busy eating fried chicken and watermelon to ever wonder why the blacks ate it.

          1. I’d guess when the film _Birth of a Nation_ was rediscovered, and when activists-of-color decided to create ethnic heritage that hadn’t existed until after 1700.

  16. > bread delivery in the morning. (And why don’t we
    > have that?

    Have you checked? I can get milk, bread, and ice cream (?!) delivered to my door every morning in my not-urban area.

    They primarily service restaurants, but they will deliver to residences too.

  17. Every time I hear someone blithering about the evils of cultural appropriation, It reminds me of the “One hundred Percent American” essay written Ralph Linton in 1937.

    1. Don’t remember where it happened, but I saw an online article today with a photo of a sweet, baffled looking lady who had intended to donate a free yoga course to students at the local college. The people in charge said no, yoga is cultural appropriation.

  18. Our species is unique in that we have developed complex language, and with it, the ability to pass wisdom from generation-to-generation via messaging that occurs after birth. This unique behavior (and mental mallebility) has helped us excel at surviving and thriving in an ancestral world of hardship and existential threat.

    During the past few millennia, this aptitude has become more complex and the result is that we now pass along a very broad range of memes that, taken together, may be called “cultural” traits and behaviors.

    When this process was slow, positive cultural traits tended to persist, even though there were harmful digressions along the way.

    Today, in an environment of mass communication and endless repetition of messaging, this process is very fast, often chaotic, and at risk of being hijacked in service to pernicious ends. Changes are now happening and spreading faster than ever; and the normal feedback mechanisms for inhibiting extreme swings are no longer able to provide a remedy.

    Who would have thought that university students (supposedly the intelligent cohort of young people), could become so virulently and passionately anti free speech and intolerant of dissension? Given this, it is not hard to imagine that they could also be mentally hijacked by a charismatic tyrant and motivated to do physical harm to others.

    1. “Given this, it is not hard to imagine that they could also be mentally hijacked by a charismatic tyrant and motivated to do physical harm to others.”

      Already happened; his name is Obama. We’re just fortunate that raising them the way the Left has leaves them less capable of either organization or sustained effort.

  19. I can attest to the adopted child from China thing from my own life. I have a niece that is adopted from China. She’s currently five years old. She came to us when she was 19 months old and only knew three words. All in Chinese. We all had to learn to say “no” in Chinese (we don’t use it anymore) but other than that it’s all English. Now that she speaks she has a distinct Texas drawl and loves princesses and ninjas. Man I love that kid!

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