Prepare to Be Assimilated – a 3 month old blast from the past

Prepare to Be Assimilated – a 3 month old blast from the past

*I usually don’t do this recent a blast from the past but this is the other side of the coin from mine “I was born American” post.  And it serves to illustrate the case nativists are just another side of the coin of the crazy “culture is inherited genetically” SJWs who think it’s racist to ask you to drop your culture in favor of the country you’re now living in. Yeah, acculturation is hard.  Harder from some cultures than others. It is neither impossible nor undesirable.  The creed for immigrants should be what Dave Freer set out in a post months ago “Fit in or f*ck off.”  America tolerates a greater range of “oddity” unlike say European societies or — much worse — everyone else.  That’s fine.  It’s part of what makes it great.  It gives it greater range. Makes it more anti-fragile. But being odd or eccentric is not the same as being an embedded foreign-national who refuses to adapt and claims the right to have society adapt to them. And ultimately that’s what’s offensive, be it from the “disabled”, the “safe room requiring”, the nativists who hate not getting their way, or the don’t-intend-to-assimilate immigrants: the constant whining that society adapt to them and their path be eased.  Put down that rattle, put down the pacifier, and fit the world as is, and do your part, and don’t intentionally demand special accommodations.  Yeah, you can try to change society, but you can’t demand society fit your every demand.  It never does. Fit in or f*ck off, or at least STOP THE WHINING.*

Yesterday I was surprised when Dave Freer sent me a post that echoed almost exactly what I’ve been thinking.  In a late night (for me.  He has temporal privilege, living in Australia) conversation last night, I found that we agree in more than one thing, including how nasty things are going to get if we don’t get at least a partial course correction soon.  That is a post for another time — how the fact that the left’s eschatology and the belief history comes with an arrow and that they are the inevitable “end of history” (a belief that’s religious in nature because no rational principles lead to it) has caused them to be blind to the fact that silencing opposition is NOT winning — but for now it remains scary that both of us are worried about the same things.  Why scary?  Because I’ve known Dave for… twelve? thirteen? years and the man has a gut feel for the future. Even when you really wish he weren’t right, he tends to be.

But today I want to talk about assimilation, or, in sociological terms, acculturation.  I, and Kate Paulk, and Dave Freer, and a ton of the rest of us are immigrants who went to another country with the intention of living there the rest of our lives and who had incentives to fit in and be part of that country.  (In the case of two of us, husbands. And in my case a philosophical belief in the principles the nation was founded on.)

But even then, with the best will to fit in, it’s a HARD thing.  Really hard.

It’s not just in your head either, though it is there too.

Humans are tribal, and living in a multi-ethnic society doesn’t make you less tribal.  This is why people keep looking for racists under their bed, because you know, it’s baked in, and they know they’ve “discriminated” at some point.  Only this isn’t the racism of the progressives.  Minorities can be (often are) as racist or more racist than the majority.

But more importantly, in a multi-ethnic society that tries as hard as it can to eliminate racism, you get a different kind of “racism” that has nothing to do with race.  You get tribalism that fastens onto odd things.  It’s best expressed in “Ya’ll are not from around here.”

What you might not realize if you have never immigrated and acculturated is that the way you move, the way you speak (absent accent), the way you eat and the way you walk (not to even mention handwriting) are ALL culturally linked.  Most of it is not identifiable at a conscious level, either.  Most of it is so deep that all it does is trigger the “ya’ll are not from around here.”

I know I’m fitting in better because it’s been years since people stared at me while I went about my daily business and before I opened my mouth came up to me and asked “Where are you from?”

(And btw, the reason I stopped resisting identifying as Latin is because other people are making that identification for me, usually people who have a grudge (and who, bizarrely, manage to think I’m Mexican.)  My kids came to the same decision for the same reason.  It’s one of those “you say that I am” and it actuates even when my hair is colored light brown — it has no color of its own anymore — and I’m pale from a combination of lack of sun and illness. SOMETHING is triggering this response in people.  I don’t know what it is.)

Now, when you don’t fit in, for whatever reason, you’re going to find that some people — often not the sanest people in the world — are going to have issues with you and often be hostile.

Remember this as we go through the stages of assimilation.

It starts when you find yourself in a completely different land and you realize there’s no going back.  I came over after Dan and I discussed our options and decided where we were going to live.

The choices were here or there or between and wherever, a sort of multinational, above nationality existence.

We chose the US for several reasons. To begin with there was that philosophical belief set I had which conformed best to the founding documents of the US.  Then there was the fact that Dan could never be REALLY Portuguese, even if he moved there, learned the language and acculturated completely.  He’d still be a foreigner living there.  Being Portuguese means sharing ancestry.  Our kids would be considered mestizos.  Our grandkids would probably bear “the Americans” as a nickname.  Our great grandkids might too, and by the sixth or seventh generation, THEN they would be Portuguese (and might not remember why they had that nickname, and might think it was just some ancestor who liked American movies.)  Then there was HOW we wanted our kids to grow and the options we wanted them to have.  We decided the US was our best bet.  There were no doubts our kids would be Odd and the more free the society the more outliers thrive in it.

So I came over and set out to acculturate.  Part of this involved watching a lot of old TV because it gives you the catch-phrases, the “feel” of things.  I also read a lot and pretty much everything, which helps, though what helped most was reading auto-biographies and NOT by famous people, who are presenting an image, but the sort of “my grandma wrote an autobiography and we printed a hundred copies and donated one to the library” candid shots of normal people you can get in those.

Even with the best will of the world, even wanting more than anything to fit in, it’s very hard.  Not just in America.  America might be one of the easiest places in the world, because it is multi-ethnic and a country of immigrants.

But even so, people catch the subconcious signals of “something wrong about you.”  They stare.  They don’t trust you.  Sometimes they think you’re stupid, because “smart” in a society is not an IQ test but a series of signals a lot of them subconscious.

I muddled through, but sometimes there there were days I felt so homesick that I’d give anything to never have set out on this course.  And people treated me oddly, and it’s very easy to use that as an excuse for failure.  I learned not to do it because, through friends who did it constantly, I identified it as a trap.  I chose to ignore it.  But I still knew it was happening, and it made me long to go back to my tribe, to the place I belonged.

Some number of immigrants do this.  It gets to be too much for them.  They run back “home” where “things make sense.”  I might have done it but for that philosophical conviction.  That’s how hard it is.

At this stage many people make plans to retire in the “homeland” or at least to go back after death.  I guess it’s a comfort.

And I still had that option, six years in, because the hoped-for kids had failed to materialize, so if something happened to Dan, or simply if it got to be too much for me, we could always “go to Portugal.”

Only then I had Robert.  And the most important reason to live here and stay here came into being.  And if I was to raise this child American, I certainly wasn’t going back, even if a tragedy happened and something happened to Dan.

This is the point at which you’re most offensive to natives, btw.  You know just enough of your new society to see all the warts, but not enough to see the good side or necessary side of the warts.  And you’ve been far enough from your native society for a while so it creates this glow of nostalgia.  You know you’re “trapped” in the new place, which creates resentment.

This is when the words “In my country” — meaning in the old country — come out of the mouths of immigrants.  I was lucky to watch a Turkish immigrant in a group we belonged to alienate everyone with this behavior, so I didn’t do it.  I thought it, sometimes, but I didn’t DO it.

So then came the serious-fitting-in part, helped, btw, by dad.  We took Robert back to meet the family after he was born and dad who, btw, longs to see me every year, told me not to be running back for every important event in the kid’s life.  “Don’t be like those immigrants from France who raise the kid to be Portuguese, while in France.  You made your choice, now make sure your kid knows his place. Raise him American.  We’d love to know him, of course, but he’s American and that’s where he has to fit, and live and thrive.”  This was much like Dave Freer’s FIFO advice yesterday.

So… I made my choice.  And I really started trying to fit in.  This did not involve changing our diet so much, or my clothing choices (I’m odd, okay) but a closer observation of people.  I’d have got rid of my accent, if I could.  Though being a mother helps with this too, because unconsciously you start picking up speech patterns and gestures from your kids.  I might still strike people as somewhat odd, but it wasn’t as in your face anymore.

I also stopped reading in Portuguese, because when I do that a lot, it affects my word choices and rhythm of language in English, and I was trying to get published.

And at some point, I stopped being stared at when I was at the grocery store, and I stopped feeling I stuck out as a sore thumb.  I still couldn’t write people who grew up in America.  (I still can’t write people who grew up NORMAL in America, but that’s something else.)

I don’t know when that happened because I was busy just living.  Somewhere along the line I stopped thinking of Portugal as “home” and Portuguese as “we” and instead changed that to America.

Then came the shock of going to Portugal after a five year hiatus and being in a foreign land, rubbed wrong by the way these people moved, the way they talked, the way they prepared food, a myriad little things.

Now, be aware I’m not an “ugly American”.  I’ve been to other countries (neither America nor Portugal) and reveled in the differences particularly in food and dress but also architecture and just ‘different’.  That’s the point of traveling, I think.  But it’s also easy to enjoy the difference when you know in two weeks or whatever you’ll be back home and have things your way.

It’s harder when the back of your brain remembers doing things that way and — this is hard to phrase, but it’s something like — is afraid of relapsing and of getting “trapped” in the old place.  It’s a feeling of being in a foreign land that is nonetheless eerily familiar, and yet not familiar enough that you could survive in it on your own. Because of how familiar it is, you see the warts.  Because you’re now acculturated elsewhere, it’s easy to see the solutions too and you find yourself saying “Back home we do it this way” then stop, aghast, realizing what happened.  And it’s a relief to come back to your adopted homeland.  And you feel guilty it’s a relief, because you love the people you left behind, and they would be hurt if they knew how much your prefer your new place.

This is where I’ve been for at least 15 years.  It’s where I’ll be the rest of my life.  There will always be little things that aren’t “right” about America, things I learned so far back that they’re not conscious.  Nothing big or philosophical, but the little ways of doing things.  Sometimes I can’t explain to my husband why I hate an area he loves, or vice versa (this is important while house hunting) all I can do is wave my hands and say “No, just no.” And I know I give the “indicators” of class and intelligence all wrong.  (Not REAL class or intelligence but how those markers are perceived in the US.)  I KNOW that was part of my trouble in the field.  I also know that my “I’m getting really, really angry” is mistaken for shyness or fear here, which has led to some — in retrospect — funny situations.

I will never fully belong either place again.  That’s okay.  It’s a choice I made. And of the two, I belong here the most.  Say I 90% belong here, opposed to 10% in Portugal.

But the process to get where I am was neither easy nor unintentional. And it involved consciously NOT romanticizing where I came from, which I find is a big temptation for immigrants of all types and colors.

So…  So this brings us to taking in refugees from a culture so different from ours as to be mind-boggling, (and you wouldn’t get HOW different unless you’d lived in one half way there), from a religion that considers itself at war (physical, not just spiritual) with us and modernity, from a place where tribe is primary above all…

Do I understand why they want to come here?  Sure.  Even if half the reason is probably wrong of the “streets paved with gold” variety.  They want a better life (or a life) for themselves and their children.

Will it be an easy road to acculturation?  No.  For one, our culture right now ACTIVELY DISCOURAGES acculturating.  It’s considered a “betrayal” of your “native” culture.  I was accidentally  in the room yesterday (I am ill, okay) while someone watched an episode of Dr. Ken, in which his wife accuses him (a second generation Korean) of being a lapsed Korean and brags about how she has passed on “her culture” (she’s second generation Japanese) to her kids.

The entire episode could serve as a cultural dissection of “the crazy years.”  These two people AND THEIR KIDS are AMERICAN.  That’s the only thing they are.  Yeah, okay, they come from elsewhere, as do most Americans.

BUT the message heard, loud and clear, is that you’re supposed to hold on to all this culture from an imaginary homeland, even when you marry someone from elsewhere, and pass this entire undigested baggage to your kids.  The message is that not only is there no escaping your roots, but it’s somehow bad to want to.

This is the message these new refugee-immigrants will get, though TV, through movies, through social workers.  How important it is they hold on to their all vital tribalism.  Not just in food and clothing, but in thought.  How it’s somehow “racism” to demand they fit in into their new homeland.

Remember I’m saying this as someone who’s been there.  Acculturation HURTS.  Even when you want it, it’s a very painful process.  Think of the worst days of your teenage years, and multiply them by five or ten years of consciously dragging yourself through this process.

It’s hard enough to do when you chose this, when you love it, when you were born with many American inclinations, love the way you fit here, and when your tradition doesn’t demand you hold yourself as an enemy of your new land’s ways.  (And btw, I think that’s why it’s considered “racist”: acculturation and pushing for people to assimilate hurts people.  Bleeding hearts don’t understand that sometimes hurt is part of the growth process.)

I can’t even imagine trying to do it when immigration was forced on me, when going back was never an option, when my habits, culture and religion all encouraged me to be suspicious of my new countrymen and caused them to suspect me.

Hard?  Rather say impossible, or close to.  And then add to that telling you that you’re NOT SUPPOSED to assimilate.  And you’re supposed to raise your kids in the old culture.

People who have never acculturated, people who are frankly quite ignorant of what “foreign” or “abroad” means, beyond their easy, lazy, fluffy headed vacations talking to other people like them abroad, call those scared of such an influx of people in that bind “ignorant.”  I guess because they lack a mirror.

Is it scary?  It is very scary.  Can it end well?  Of course it can.

But the way it ends well is where our society cheerfully smiles and says “fit in, or f*ck off.”  We’ll embrace little Achmed and little Fatima as our countrymen, but NOT if they go around demanding Sharia, telling us to stop eating pork, and that we can’t write/make stupid parodies of Allah, as we do of every other religion/belief in our culture.  Sure, they can roll their eyes at the stupid parodies, or write outraged blog posts about our disrespect.  But they don’t have the right to try to curtail us by law, or to bring their f*cked up culture, which caused their problems to begin with, here.

I don’t see it happening, at least not while our current multi-culti elites are in power.  Which means what we’re doing is importing trouble for later.

Further more, what we’re doing is being horrible to these people and ensuring they’ll never fit in, either place.  And not like me, not 90%/10%.  No, we’re talking they will fit about 30% either place.  And because they’re not self-selected immigrants, they’re probably not odd, not used to NOT belonging.

Of such discontent is strife and war born.

UNDERSTAND this is not what i want, not an expression of my desires.  It is what it is, and how the human animal works.

It is impossible to have this deranged belief that culture is genetic and that people can’t and shouldn’t change (a belief belied by history) and a multi-ethnic society.  At the end of that road is a war none of us wants to imagine and a far more restrictive society than any of us would like.

The only ways out of it are to either take no immigrants, certainly no immigrants in a large group (which makes it harder to leave the old country and its hates and loves behind) OR to hand to every refugee a little handbook.

The cover would say “Fit in or f*ck off.”  And the inside would explain “At home we did it–” is banned, that it’s gauche to try to pass the culture you left behind to your kids.  Oh, food and attire are fine, no one complains of that, but do not try to pass on “we hate x because in the 11th century, they”.  And the only way to stop passing that on is to be American as HARD as you can.

Which hurts.  It hurts like hell.  The generation that immigrated will never fully heal from it, and their kids will still bear scars. [Mine don’t.  I chose this.  They might be more patriotic than their generation, but I don’t resent acculturating.  I chose it.]

But it’s the only way to make good on your choice of America.  It’s that or go back.  There is no other choice.  Making your new country fit the old is the WRONG choice.  Else, why did you leave.

Fit in or f*ck off.  No, this doesn’t mean becoming the Borg.  America is the society on Earth with the greatest tolerance for oddities and outliers.  BUT you do need to fit in minimally to succeed.  And you need to start thinking of America as “we” and not holding yourself up above the rest of your countrymen.

This goes double and with bells on if you were born and raised here.  Stop imagining there is a perfect society elsewhere and that you somehow belong to it.

Life is in great part the art of adapting to the flaws in reality that don’t match your desired state.

Sometimes all you can do is Fit in or F*ck off.


232 thoughts on “Prepare to Be Assimilated – a 3 month old blast from the past

  1. My father came to America as a toddler. He acculturated fairly well but he retained the religion from the old country (Orthodox Jewish) and acquired American mannerisms. I do wonder how he did it. All my relatives of his generation and some from my generation are dead so I can’t ask.

    Regional differences between (liberal) North and (conservative) South are very large. I feel like an immigrant in the South and that I had to acculturate to it. Even though I’ve been living in the south for 15 years I don’t feel 100% Southern. Moving from a sleepy southern town to a large southern metropolis has helped a good deal. I find it easier to live in suburban Dallas than in Montgomery, AL.

    1. I moved to Virginia from Michigan over 30 years ago, and still not Southern. My kids are better at it, but still not entirely Southern–too many Northern relatives and trips back “home!”

      1. My wife is Latvian. Her parents spoke Latvian at home. She started learning English in kindergarten. When people ask her where she is from she says Michigan. Usually ends the discussion. 🙂

        1. Good choice–actually a number of Latvians in Michigan. 😀 Unfortunately the only town people know of in Michigan is Detroit!

            1. Doctor Victor Von Doom wants me to tell you that he’s the rightful ruler of Latveria not Latvia. 😈

      2. VA isn’t the Deep South. When moving to the South I jumped into the deep water: I moved from NYC to Montgomery, AL. There are few greater cultural differences in our country.

        1. NYC to Wayne County, NY is almost as great. Potato farming here is almost as important to the economy as it is in Maine or Idaho.

      3. It still remember hearing a small cousin read aloud. Her parents were both from New York and she spoke like them. Except that they were living in North Carolina and she went to school there — and read with a Southern accent.

    2. We left Texas 19 years ago and moved to Illinois. The kids almost immediately lost their Texan accents. The wife being a southside Chicago Irish girl never had one, but I made it a point to keep mine. It makes those who so not know me underestimate me and I have pulled more than a few surprises on unwary yankee libs…….

        1. Yeah. I worked a summer in Myrtle Beach. I knew it was time to go back home when I told my aunt to wait a minute while I fetched my pocketbook…

        2. *nod* Yep, same here. I’m hardwired for it. It does make it easy to pass for a local, especially with a knack for languages and a very generic face thrown in. I’ve passed for a gaucho(southern Brasil), a New Yorker, a very pale nordestino (northeast Brasil; that was a trick), a Utahn… never tried to pass for a Texan. The one time I’ve been down that way (WorldCon) I was surrounded by other out-of-towners.

          It gets me in awkward spots occasionally, though. I pick up speech patterns (rhythm, intonation, vocabulary) as well as accent, and it’s easy for someone to think I’m mocking him or that I’m putting on airs or somesuch.

          1. It gets me in awkward spots occasionally, though. I pick up speech patterns (rhythm, intonation, vocabulary) as well as accent, and it’s easy for someone to think I’m mocking him or that I’m putting on airs or somesuch.

            I once started stuttering (well, more than normal) because I was listening to a friend who has a bad stutter. He wasn’t happy with me.

        3. Hilariously, with technology, I did this over VOIP – rather, Ventrilo, thanks to online gaming. I used to sound, according to several American friends, ‘Like a Brit with a slightly French flavour.’ Over time, I lost that accent and now sound solidly Midwestern – or so I am told – because I had to start mimicking the accents and phrases that my friends were using for them to understand what I was saying (I don’t really understand that, to this day. My accent wasn’t deep Scottish brogue, but from the way they reacted, it may as well have been.)

          This one, alas, has stuck and aware of my desire to at least start picking up the accent and some of the turns of phrase, Rhys has been helping me. I sound VERY Filipino, however, after maybe 30 minutes of talking to my mother, and it wears off over the next ten.

        4. Unfortunately, long enough in the environment of “living with my husband”, and that default-picking-up-accent means I’ve started speaking with traces of British South African overlain on Pacific Northwest / Deep South / Canadian mix that is Alaskan.

          Confuses the heck out all our new neighbors in Texas.

      1. I’ve mentioned this before. My two oldest children were born in SC, and subsequently lived in IL, CA, VA, and ME. Spent weeks at a time in MD and then WV with grand-parents, and frequent visits to NJ for the other set. First week of school in NY my oldest son’s English teacher declared he could tell where anyone was from just by listening to them speak. My son stood up and started speaking extemporaneously. After 2 minutes or so, the teacher stopped him and asked- “Where the hell are you from?”

        And I’ve never lost my Jerseyisms, and my wife still speaks with her MD accent.

        Where I live now is halfway between Syracuse, where carbonated beverages are soda, and Rochester, where they’re pop.

        1. …where carbonated beverages are soda, and Rochester, where they’re pop

          I confuse the hell out of the yankees up here in Illinoisy by calling it “coke”

  2. Regarding the relationship between multiculturalism and fascism, I wrote a post about it nine years ago. Here is the link.

    Highlights include,

    “Advocates of multiculturalism like to pretend they are the vanguard of liberalism. In fact, in both ideology and effect, they are the enablers of fascism.”

    “They put forward the doctrine that all cultures are equal and that to criticize another culture is racist. That the later doctrine is in fact racist is something they are seemingly blind to.”

    “Multiculturalism racist? Why yes. The idea that all cultures are equal and your culture is good for you and my culture is good for me and that no one can say one is better than the other is based on a racial deterministic view of culture. That is to say that multiculturalists believe that people have a culture in the same way that people have blue eyes or black skin or red hair. Thus from the multiculturalist point of view, to judge one culture superior to another, is to judge one group of people superior to another.”

    “This was the same view held by the Nazis. They believed that national socialism was true for Germans. They were willing to admit it might not be true for all people. But it was true for them and that was all that was important to them. They differed from the multiculturalists in believing that the German “volk” was superior to all other races.”

    and this,

    “The problem is that if, like the multiculturalists, one rejects the use of reason as a means of relations between people of different cultures, there is nothing left to regulate the relations between cultures, but brute force. It is exactly this that the Nazis argued. Since, according to the Nazis, there was nothing but German logic and French logic, there is nothing to do about conflicts of interest but fight. Of course that is what the Nazis did do. They fought and killed without mercy or reason.”

    “In essence the multiculturalists follow the Nazis up to these last two steps and then flinch from the logical conclusion of their own ideas. That they do draw back from murder and genocide is of course to their credit, but the problem is that they spread one of the basic ideas of fascism.”

    and this,

    “By accepting the racial determination of ideas the multiculturalists has put himself in a trap where the only two alternatives are supine surrender to inferior cultures and fascist genocide. The liberal alternative of education and assimilation of the people from the more backward culture is blanked out of their minds by the false alternatives of their racial determinism.”

    and this,
    “Because the idea of fascist genocide is so terrible, the multiculturalists understandably, given their premise, cling violently to their wrongheaded ideology, even as events make the need for action plain. They tend to deny that any problem exists. If they control the media they will tend to down play the aggression of the violent group. They will even lie and suppress evidence that contradicts their fervorent hope that all is well. If they control the state they will tend to use its power to keep the question of civilizational conflict from coming to the fore. They may even pass laws making cultural criticisms illegal. Though they thought themselves the vanguard of liberalism, they find themselves suppressing free speech in the name of fighting racism, real and imagined.”

    and this,

    “In fact the multiculturalists’ dirty secret, which they hide even from themselves, is that they, to the extent that they do want to stave off Islamic domination, think that the fascists have the right, indeed the only idea, of how to win.”

    anyway there is more, check it out at the link above.

  3. I don’t have stories from ancestors about “becoming American” (my term for assimilation) but IMO a strong part of it is the acceptance of the Core American Ideals.

    There have always been “different takes” on the Core American Ideals but that’s part of being Human (and Odd). [Smile]

    1. When I was a teenager assimilated was a bad thing to be in my community. It meant that you fallen away from and disliked your Jewishness, you didn’t observe the mitzvot anymore. Acculturation on the other hand was a very good thing. It meant that you were an American Jew. You believed in and celebrated the “civic religion” (I don’t know who coined the term). You observed July the 4th, Columbus Day, Presidents’ Day and observed as my father put it “fiscal new year”. We were American Jews or (grrr) Jewish USAians. (I really do refer the term American. It’s more traditional and more euphonious. It rolls trippingly off the tongue.

      1. Yes, Acculturation is the better term.

        And that “Civil Religion” was a very strong part of “Being American”.

        1. I know why. You explained it before to me. Twice! I’m just being Odd and using a phrasing I prefer. I’m sure it’s the equivalent of wanting to be a Jesusian rather than a Christian but… In my posts I’m going to use the term I prefer. For me American = Usaian.

          1. I tend to find the people who insist on calling themselves Christ-Followers rather than Christians smug and annoying. Probably just me, though.

    2. No one ever told me any tales of becoming American, either. Neither branch of my family is big on long-term family history stories, and I don’t think there are any who arrived after 1900 (maybe earlier, no idea), so I have no stories from that time. Everyone in the family seemed to take the Constitution and Declaration of Independence for granted until fairly recently, but now a bunch of them have woken up.

  4. I might still strike people as somewhat odd, but it wasn’t as in your face anymore.

    This does not strike me as odd in the least. Now you may not have meant this in the way, but:

    In college I knew a young woman who was fluent in two languages, French and American English. In photographs of her you could tell which language she was speaking. If she was not speaking you could tell in which language she was thinking. The expressions were different, the face is set in a different manner.

    1. This relates to an idea I had, which I got by expanding on a quote from a Nero Wolfe mystery (Fer-de-Lance), where Wolfe tells Archie that he’s not pronouncing “Fer-de-Lance” correctly because he doesn’t sneer when he says it (or words to that effect). Thinking about this led me to the hypothesis that the accent of a language may have a lot to do with the local mental attitude.

      Thus, the French (in general) have an outlook of superiority over others, and tend to haughty pronunciations, while many of the British pay more attention to their personal appearance to the world (stiff upper lip!).

      I don’t know if there’s any basis to this, but it’s fun to think about. 🙂

      1. stiff upper lip!
        The most interesting observation I’ve read on the whole “Upper Class British Don’t Show Their Feelz” was that the suppression of public displays of emotion was the ruling class’ collective response to the the horrors across the channel of the French Revolution. The British power classes watched as their neighboring peer culture went fugbuck nuts and sprayed gallons of blood everywhere, then turned around and unleashed a megalomaniac who waged aggressive war on everyone, whom they had to spend their own blood and treasure to eventually stop. The British upper class collectively concluded that it was the French ruling classes outbursts of emotion, and the lack of control thereof, which were in the end the root cause of the whole thing. Determined to never let that happen in Britain, they modified their behavior and censured those who didn’t comply with their effort to stomp out any overheated emotionality.

      2. I have heard that there is research into the relationship between language and thought — the syntax and grammar shapes how one thinks. But I have never heard that accent or sound would have similar results. Hm? Interesting, need to think about that one…

  5. …while someone watched an episode of Dr. Ken, in which his wife accuses him (a second generation Korean) of being a lapsed Korean and brags about how she has passed on “her culture” (she’s second generation Japanese) to her kids.

    Which is even kookier that it sounds. If Dr. Ken had held to Korean-ness he would have probably never have considered marrying his wife, as her Japanese-ness would have been viewed as repellent.

    1. For that matter, if he held to his Korean-ness, her Japanese-ness would cause her to reject him. [Sad Smile]

      1. *chuckle* Aff told me about a friend of his, who he described as a very “Angry Asian woman.” I think he asked her about why she sounded so pissed off all the time, and she replied “I’m half Korean, half Japanese. The Koreans and Japanese hate each other. So I’m constantly at war with myself.”

        I remember asking where she lived, and he said the US, whereupon I said, “Ah.” And then I had to explain, because he got confused.

        From all accounts she was actually rather nice to her friends, and woe betide you if you pissed her off. One of the stories I heard was a fellow clan member of the gaming clan they belonged to insulted her, among a few other things. She flew from New York, to Darwin, knocked on his door, punched the guy in the face, hard and flew back. Then she hopped onto their forum and said “Next time, I’ll hit you harder.”

    2. I was going to repeat my observation from three months ago, but you beat me to it. There is some very ugly history between the Japanese and the Koreans. The woman would have to be pretty Americanized not to consider that. Of course, maybe she is also Korean, but her family lived generations in Japan pretending to be Japanese.

      1. Well, remember, this is Hollywood, not a documentary – the screenwriters may have insights from these hyphenated-American communities, but the Hollywood culture in which they simmer is perhaps arguably not really USAian.

  6. The message is that not only is there no escaping your roots, but it’s somehow bad to want to.

    Oh! Yes, I see. Certain people (SJW types and those they have influenced) do think that whatever your ancestors were mark you — that somehow how they thought and acted as a group has become permanently attached to the DNA.

    But there are some things in your past lineage that are to be recanted. For example, if you are the descendent of a white settler who pushed the Native Americans off the land you still carry that DNA and therefore the burden impugned guilt. This is why regular public self-flagellation, if only verbal, must be made. (Raspberries)

    Anyway, I guess I am bad. As an All-American Mutt my head would spin over all the various cultural obeisances I would have to make.

    1. Now that is strange, I must have gremlins.

      I composed this in a mailing format. I did not have close italics after the word are in the first line of the third paragraph. They were after the closing word to the first paragraph.

        1. More Gremlins than a 1972 AMC factory
          I am so stealing that line. It’s a good one to describe some of the stuff we get out of India and China these days.

    2. Yeah, and where’s the collective guilt from the various collections of native-merkun for having pushed the previous collections off the particular land in which they happened to be residing when the Europeans showed up?

      And where’s the collective guilt for what, from the genetic studies, appears to be something of a near-complete ethnic cleansing of the even earlier collection of folks who came across from Asia?

      The European push across the Americas’ only unique characteristic was that it moved along a different axis of advance from all the previous instances of new sets of people moving in.

      1. Thanks, ‘Mike. I was reading CACS’ post and wondering about that.

        If I’m a ‘Breed descended from Cherokee who moved in and pushed original Choctaw off of their tribal lands when they settled into the Carolinas and Tennessee and Kentucky, then do I bear the burden of impugned guilt for that? Or is that canceled by the fact that “Indigenous People of Color” can’t be Imperialistic and Colonialist?

        If I cared, I’d be so confused! (And possibly even guilt ridden.)

        1. I “loved” hearing some Navajo talk about a certain area of land in the American Southwest as being “land that the Great Spirit made for them”.

          They apparently forget that other Indians were living there first and the Navajo didn’t “ask” if those Indians would be willing to let them have that land. 👿 👿 👿 👿

          1. Well, obviously those other guys were squatting on their land, so they had it coming to them! 😈

          2. Yeah, weren’t the ahh… errr… derp!… oh! Anasazi the previous holders of that area prior to the Dineh and the Tineh and Pueblo moving in? (Dineh = Navajo and Tineh = Apache)

            And then there’s the push shove shove back era between the Navajo and the various Apache tribes over parts of that whole region…

            That’s why I always get a snicker out of the “Native American” thing and respond with “Which ones?” – a Cherokee is not a Choctaw is not a Chickasaw is not a Blackfoot is not a Cheyenne is not a Sioux is not a Comanche is not a Navajo is not an Apache is not a… and so on. And more often than not, the relationships between nations has been less often peaceful coexistence and more often “War to the knife” over territory and resources.

            Just like everywhere else.

            1. I had to laugh when the evidence of cannibalism in the Southwest began to accumulate. It wasn’t too long before the ‘we have been here forever’ crowd started to switch over to ‘those were some other guys who were here before us’.

              1. Well, I think they “finally” blamed the cannibalism on people who came up from Mexico. [Wink]

                  1. Toltec gangbangers from the Hidalgo ‘hood were the supposed culprits (at least last time I read up on the subject).

                  2. Snerk. I once watched an Ojibwe friend of mine on an inter-tribal board make a Canadian Blackfoot’s head explode by calmly pointing out that given the migration patterns from Siberia, all of the actual First Nations were currently located down in lower Patagonia, so they should change their names. She suggested “Canadian Indian.” He… was not amused.

                    Uhhh. *bemused* When I was growing up, it hadn’t yet been rendered completely un-PC to acknowledge that Texas had cannibal tribes. The Karankawa for one. IIRC, someone over at Bad Eagle’s once told me that the Snake word for the Karankawa translated best to “Those b*stards.”

                    Treat that as anecdotal until verifying. I barely speak T’Salagi. I don’t even pretend to speak or understand Comanche.

                    1. I once pointed out that we know for a fact that there were whites in Florida before there were Seminoles — who moved in in historical times and made no bones about claiming it by right of conquest.

                      The other guy still wanted all the title handed over to the last known non-white occupier. HIS title was impeccable, however gained.

            2. If not them having *more* war over resources because they were stuck in stone-age-to-bronze-age tech levels.

              Wich results in, over time, millions of unnecessary deaths

              But that’s ok, because tis their culture.

      2. There were several ‘Native’ groups that moved through North Carolina over time. For example, at one point the Mississippi Mound-Builders reached as far as the lower Piedmont.

        1. And when the concept is advanced to it’s logical conclusion, leads to some truly horrible things.

      1. Medieval people would not have understood it in the least. And not just because they would have blamed the stars rather than the genes; it was a proverb that the stars dispose* but can not compel.

        *as in “disposition”.

    1. I’m a northwest European mutt. The only culture I understand is American. This may be because all of my ancestors didn’t really fit comfortably in their original cultures. I grew up in LA. Its culture was changing. I’ve assimilated with the Northern Nevada culture that I moved to.

      1. The only culture I really “get” at a blood and bone and gut level is Texan, and to a slightly lesser extent, Southern Oklahoman. I’ve been all over the US., and I can tend to get along with just about any American culture anywhere – but the muscles at the back of my neck only truly relax when I’m among my own kind.

        1. I’m a recent immigrant to TX and wonder how long do I have to reside in our fair state before I can call myself Texan? I’ve been living in the Metroplex for 10 years.

          1. Snicker. Heh: I was about to say “ten years”, as long as you’ve assimilated the culture.

            Quick test: you don’t have an “I heart NY” bumper sticker, do ya?

            * You haven’t tried to Californicate any place other than Austin, right? (California on the Brazos only thinks it’s in Texas. We humor them: it’s the only polite thing to do.)

            * You understand that “warsh” refers to whut you do with clothes, right?

            * You know what a “Texas Starter Kit” is.

            * You probably know what a “Cowboy assault rifle” is, or at least you can figure it out in context.

            * You know that a “Cowboy Cadillac” has a bed that will handle a stack of full length two by fours.

            * You understand that “barb whar” isn’t asking where the barbs are.

            * You know that beans go on the side, not in the chili.

            * You are aware that hogs, no matter what breed, go on the spit, not as pets in the living room. They’re cute when they’re young, but…

            * You know that to “stomp a mudhole in someone and walk it dry” is a friendly greeting to someone you dislike, not a verse from a C&W song, nor a form of line dancing.

            * You know that “But he needed killin’, your Honor,” is a perfectly acceptable defense that Damn’ Yankees have unfortunately made illegal.

            * You know what Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Sam Bass, Audie Murphy, and Bill Jordan all have in common. You may know more than one thing…

            * You know that rattlesnakes, no matter how religious you are, are not for handling – they’re for eating.

            * You know that a “Texas Heeler” is an Australian Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog mix, not a variant form of Two-step or Turkey Trot.

            * You know that no matter what the Left says, Dick Cheney did NOT exceed the bag limit on lawyers when he potted that one a few years ago. We’re just ashamed of him for not cleaning and eating his kill…

            * You know why George H. W. B. is not a Texan, and G.W.B. is. (That one’s a bit tricky.)

            * You know what the Confederate Air Force is, and may even know where it is.

            * You know where the U.S.S. Texas is parked.

            * You may know why the S.S. Bugara is part of Texas military legendry.

            * You know why “Remember Goliad!” is a battle cry, and “Remember the Alamo!” is the Texican equivalent of “Molon Labe.”

            If you answered “No” mo the first two, and “yes” to at least five of the others ones, well…

            Congratulations, pardner. You may not have been born in Texas – but you got here as fast as you could. You can learn the rest as you go.

          2. Mr Bear has given a pretty comprehensive Texas Naturalization Test. Of course, you lose all points if you like vinegar-based sauce on your barbecue.

        2. Florida cracker here- our family has been in the state since well before the invention of air conditioning. I tend to do best near large bodies of water with tropical climates.

    2. An example that culture is not genetic was unearthed in Eastern Europe 20+ yrs ago by archaeological work in several Romanian / Ukrainian villages where the entry of Celtic culture was sudden, in that the grave goods changed from those of an Eastern steppes / tribal culture to those of a more technologically advanced Celtic culture in an approx 100 yr period, in or about 500-400 BC, while the ethnology of the skeletal remains did not change at all.
      The professor’s take was that the Celts were as much an absorptive and (forcefully??) inclusive teaching culture as there were an expanding and migrating tribal group / nation.
      He attributed this to the lawgiver / historian / artist / bard functions of the Druids, and tied that to a Greek record that noted, after an expedition to set up a trading post at (now) Marseilles, was killed, that the next such voyage took a document of introduction from the Celtic chief in Turkey (Galacia) to the Celtic Chief in Marseilles, where it was accepted, and a trading post allowed to be established, trading Greek metals and wines for Celtic furs and other products.

  7. One good thing about the American culture is that it appropriates worthy new ideas from immigrant culture and warps them a bit until they fit in. Work to become American and we’ll take cool new stuff in trade. Usually this is win win. We may get a small fever as it is worked in. Sometimes the fever rages as a ‘cool new thing/idea’ is found to be harmful. Also, the body politic can only assimilate so many things at once. Socialism is like HIV, a retrovirus that gets in and destroys the American immune system. It is difficult to kill once established. Islam on the other hand is more like Ebola the Plague.

      1. Teach real history? “Socialism/Communism/Marxism *has* been tried. May times. This was Venezuela then… and Venezuela now. This was Stalinist Russia, that was Pol Pot, Mao, etc…”

        1. butbutbut that wasn’t “Real Socialism (TM)” Why can’t we be like the monocultural Northern European countries.

          1. “The 5 year plan in 4 years!” (If it’s going to fail in 5, might as well have it fail all the sooner. But the next 5 year plan…. oh crud. The amazing thing is the disaster took so long to finally collapse.)

        2. The most effective treatment for Marxism is to live in a Marxist/Socialist country. Most expats/refugees will be inoculated against it due to their own experiences. However it is also the most dangerous. Many people will not survive the experience.

      2. History should be one, but right now Education that should teach history is a major vector. A mugging by reality is often effective however sometimes quarantine is only option.

      3. Some of us are trying to inoculate the younger set. It can be a challenge, especially when they are already “help the world!!!” idealists (at age [young teen]).

        1. ^ This right here. Most of my younger minions on job no. 3 are this, even the ones who oughtta know better.

          Some of ’em are turning out okay, though. They need the right kind of example set. And consistency, which some of them never got at home. Teach ’em well, and they can sometimes be the ones that show up early and stay late, do extra whenever they can. Because while home may not be a happy place, if we can show them that they can *earn* respect (and a paycheck), it helps.

          Okay, yeah, there are some that may not survive to adulthood (if I hear “but don’t you caaaaare?!” one more time…). Might improve the gene pool for the ones that are left, anyway. *chuckle*

      4. America got a whole bunch of useful words when it appropriated Yiddish as many Jews acculturated.

      5. Vaccine for Marxism – no problem. Teach a class and grade according to Marxist principals. After every student in the first class under the new grading regime gets a C, the word will get around quickly The student evaluations would also be comedy gold.

    1. “Islam on the other hand is more like Ebola the Plague.”

      And intriguingly may have the same in-built limitation; in its purest form it is so toxic to the cultures it invades that it destroys its carriers before they can spread too far.

      1. Unfortunately the most virulent forms of the Religion of Peas spread explosively outward and infect the neighborhood before they cause collapse in the center.

        1. Is the Religion of Peas devoted to daily devouring of delicious vegetables?

          1. Not really, because peas are involved, and peas aren’t ‘delicious vegetables”. Well, perhaps snow peas… and split pea soup…

                1. Q: “what’s awesome about burning your mouth with fire?”
                  A: Burning your mouth with fire. Tasty, tasty fire.
                  After all, I’m a fan of Toad Sweat- that wonderful, habenero based, sweet icecream topping.

                  1. I prefer sweet or sour. I have a severe case of GIRD. I had the surgery and take the meds but still wake with a mouth that tastes of stomach acid.

            1. While I admit canned peas aren’t my cup of tea, in fresh, frozen, or soup form, or as part of a dish (casserole, roast, stew, etc.) I quite enjoy them.

              1. There are few vegetables that are not markedly improved when they have been gathered fresh picked out of your garden.

                1. Generally (and fresh raw peas are the only way I will eat them) but I have to say I far prefer canned green beans over fresh ones.

  8. Sarah, yes, this is what you should have fired out or linked too immediately that Vox blogged about your previous post. It won’t satisfy hardliners, but nothing ever does.

    When people start yelling about race and multi-cultural it’s fun to replace those two words with the word “tribe” and then ask them how “multi-tribe” they are and how well that idea fits within each tribe.

      1. You like have several cultures in your gut. Sure, they might be bacterial, but…

        1. How will the multi-cultural loonies react when they discover that researchers are discriminating on some gut cultures and favoring others. They even recommend genocide for cultures that they deem ‘bad’.

        1. OK, that visual is messed up enough to make even MY head hurt. And that’s difficult. 🙂

          1. I bet there’s a parrot powered bike in an anime. There seems to be every other possible flavor of strangeness in them, after all.

      1. I’ll never know- but I wonder if Vox had his post already prepped when you posted yours.

          1. If he’s psychic, I wonder how much he’d charge for the next set of Powerball numbers. I don’t want a gazillion bucks, just a few (10-12 million) would be fine.

            1. From what I read on Vox’s blog – its difficult to say where the tweet was supposedly tweeted and who tweeted it. The details aren’t shown. Anyone could have tweeted it then said “Look what Sarah did”. If you Sarah don’t have a tweet account – anyone could create one just to play around with you and Vox.

              1. Uhave an ecoes my blogs. Thecwording would never be mine. I don`t tweet. I was not where i could tweet. If itvwasvsomeonecelse, why did it have my accountcandcno time. Pull the other one.

          1. That seems most likely – but with the “cuck” meme he’s promoting – its quite probable that he had a prepped post ready to use on someblogger in order to get the responses he expected and Sarah was the first blogger that posted one he could use.

                1. You are welcome here. A sense of humor goes a long way. Real trolls don’t have one.

                  1. Thanks Oldgriz, but as this daft laptop keeps changing what I’m trying to type you’d be amazed that my comments aren’t full of swearwords. With that and wordpress it’s best to treat my comments warily – I have to recheck them once posted to make sure the darn machine hasn’t changed what I’ve written … again.

                  2. He’s pretty good when he’s using his own words.
                    And he’s smarter than small peter or the weed.

                  3. It’s easy to be on edge when we get periodically flooded with trolls.

                2. One of our well regarded regulars is alleged to not have a reflection.

                  1. The idea that the Un-Dead don’t have an image in a mirror is incorrect.

                    What happens is that the Un-Dead make you ignore that they look like in the mirror.

                    IE They can’t hide what they truly like if you see their image in a mirror. 😈 😈 😈 😈

                    1. Chris Nuttall described one of them “sparkling” as he turned to ash after being hit by a powerful sunlight spell. [Evil Grin]

                    2. Well, that’s effective. Though if their name is Armstrong, they might have bishie sparklies passed down the family line for GENERATIONS!

              1. I’ve watched a bird attack our sliding back door.

                I had a bag of bird seed sitting near the door and I would go toss a handful to the chickens I had at the time every so often. This robin decided that he was going to get that awesome treasure and started out by flying into the door several times, then stopping on the step and pecking at the glass. Took me a couple of days to figure out why he was doing that.

                1. That’s… pretty smart for a robin. And admittedly, a robin more capable of logical reasoning than your average SJW.

                  Man has clucky birds. Observe man with bag of food. Bag of food in sight. I can eat some of the food. It is inside. Fly to it… hey, why can’t I get in? What is this solid air???!

                  1. Then, there’s pigeons….

                    Place I worked had windows that lined up with each other. One day we heard this huge “WHUMP!” and saw a cloud of drifting feathers. Turned out a hawk had moved into the area, and a panicked pigeon catching a glimpse of a “gap” between the buildings will use it to get away,,,,,

                    This started happening 2-4 times a day, as the hawk would hunt this area for 3-5 hours. What was funny was the behavior of the local cat population. They quickly learned that the first “WHUMP” of the day meant that “pigeon off of glass” was on the menu, so 3-6 cats would converge and wait patiently below “with gently smiling jaws.” This went on for about three months.

                    1. Once at work I heard this “WHUMP” — glanced over and saw two black birds in conflict, shifting out of sight of the glass doors — and after a bit angled around to see what it was.

                      Two black vultures, facing off.

                      Shortly thereafter, I saw a co-worker standing uneasily by the front door — there are a black vulture standing mantled to attack. Not looking at the door, but angled toward it — looking at its reflection, I think. I agreed with the co-worker that it might be wiser to take another door because it was, after all, a raptor.

                    2. The local Harriers use the birdbath at Redquarters as a buffet. We loose a dove a month, more or less, to the hawks. There’s a flushing-covey sound, a series of “whumps” of dove-vs-glass, then absolute silence. All we find are feathers, most of the time. The Harriers are good about taking away the left-overs for a later snack.

                    3. Aff told me this story about his old cat, Jack. Apparently, there was a female pigeon that would come and peck around the yard, and Jack would ignore it. Such was its’ longevity that Aff started recognizing it from his window.

                      However, if the pigeon brought along a companion – a mate, Aff theorizes – Jack would pounce on the mate and eat it, leaving the female pigeon alone.

                      This happened several times, and whenever the female was alone, it could hang about the yard unmolested. But only if it was alone. Aff started to wonder if the pigeon and Jack had an arrangement, in exchange for the female’s life. “Pigeon femme fatale.”

  9. I think part of the problem is that different people mean different things by the word “culture”. To many, all the word means is tastes in food, dates of holidays, types of sports watched and played, formality vs. informality in public manners, preferred style of comedy, general emotional affect, and a whole bunch of other qualities that are — I don’t want to call them “superficial” because they’re often quite personally meaningful and relevant, but let us say “non-disruptive” because in all but the most stupidly antagonistic individuals they do not need to lead to conflict. Which is why the idea of “multiculturalism” always seems so seductive and high-minded; it allows for all sorts of variety and apparent sophistication while offering the possibility of perpetual mutual peace.

    The idea of “culture” as a fundamental set of shared values, and the idea that different value-sets can be, in fact, genuinely mutually exclusive — that to accept one is ipso facto to reject the other — is one that a lot of people seem to have a difficult time grasping, largely because, I think, one of the key values that has become dominant in the West is itself the belief that value systems are not worth killing or dying over.

    1. Food, dance, and apparel are cosmetic. The real measure of culture is how a factory is run.

      1. Eh, food isn’t always purely cosmetic. Introducing limes to the British Navy made a big difference to that navy’s effectiveness, and I’ve read arguments that a lot of how Chinese culture evolved had to do with the paucity of high-protein meats vs. the availability of high-carb rice farming and the differences in general physical health and time availability those factors created. But I agree with your point.

        1. Chinese cuisine is predicated on cheap labor and expensive fuel. European on the opposite. Hence the tendency for Chinese cooked dishes to be chopped up finely.

          1. Confucius stated that lives were implements of strife. There should be no strife at meals. Therefore, knives should stay in the kitchen and be used to cut food into bite sized pieces.

            1. Fun fact about primary source: always be wary of people’s explanations of what they do. These tend to be ex post facto.

    2. one of the key values that has become dominant in the West is itself the belief that value systems are not worth killing or dying over

      Which is a problem when we’re faced by groups (externally & internally) who believe that their value systems are worth killing for and dying for.

      When individuals or groups don’t think Core Values (such as Free Speech & Religious Freedom) are worth killing for, then they are vulnerable to individuals/groups that are willing to kill to silence “unbelievers”.

      1. This is the dangerous proposition. Most conservatives don’t shout down with slogans or hatred. Meanwhile the statists threaten and scream at any speaker to the right of Stalin that tries to have a platform. They also decide that they have the right to destroy lives and careers for differing opinions. No actions required. Meanwhile on the other side, people may individually boycott but usually it takes heinous actions to actually group people together.

        1. This.

          Think of a the collage types splattering them selves with blood at Milo’s speech.

          Then realize that their are communist clubs on almost all campuses.

          I would actually make sense to splatter blood there.

              1. Those are student clubs so the schools “have” to allow the students to form them.

                Now if those stupid Christian students tried to form a club…. [Sarcasm]

                1. The high school I went to had half a dozen “clubs” organized by the school. Other than the chess club, they were all official enough they had teachers and grades.

                  As far as I know they didn’t prohibit student-organized clubs, but if any existed I wasn’t aware of them.

                  1. My high school didn’t recognize any clubs other than the officially-organized ones, which also had teachers (including chess club), but no grades.

                    1. My highschool class authorized me to claim that we had a mass murder club.

                  1. As long as they’re not cryogenically frozen to come back and plague us again when we least expect it. Why can’t we just send the commies to Siberia? The commies did, after all. 🙂

    3. Ponder America’s happy habit of nabbing holidays from different countries- as long as they provide a good excuse to party.
      Good multiculturalism has an element of judgement in it- this is good, we’ll appropriate it. This is bad, leave it out.
      Bad multiculturalism says that no one has the right to pass judgement* on another culture, and mugga wugga oppression mugga appropriation wugga wugga.

      *says the person making a judgement

    4. As an unrequited, erstwhile anthropology student – I blame sociology (and Leftist Anthropology) profs who took a concept from “Pappa” Franz Boas that a Culture was ‘suis generis’ (in and of itself) and watered it down to translate into some social justice platform. All too often I see sociology confused with anthropology and a minor (but important) admonition to anthropologists to avoid allowing bias to color their observance and recording of different Cultures became “no one say anything bad about anyone because Groups…except those white guys who go sticking their noses into everything. They’re BAD.” Somehow we’ve gone from the encouragement to learn about other cultures and nations and heritage to fights about ‘misappropriation’ and all because no one wants to actually look at comparisons.

      I agree with what you said “…one that a lot of people seem to have a difficult time grasping, largely because, I think, one of the key values that has become dominant in the West is itself the belief that value systems are not worth killing or dying over.” That’s it in a nutshell – what began as a semi-science-enhanced liberal art to help get a better grasp of the complexity of humanity has turned into a politicized endemic of self-hatred. That’s not what I got into anthropology for, for sure.

      1. Then there is the concept that discrimination is bad. Always bad and never allowed anywhere. That means you can’t discriminate between good and bad, better or worse, heat or sick, hard work is no better than lazyness. On and on. Therefore any disparate outcomes must be the result of cheating or bias. Common sense has gone out the window.

  10. ‘Do not try to pass on “we hate x because in the 11th century, they”’

    One of the thoughts I’ve had on Americanism for a long time is that one of the key parts of being American is getting over whatever they did in the 11th century. In fact, one could argue that a good reason a lot of us are Americans is because we were already over it and were sick of hanging out with people still obsessed with whose great-great-etc.-grandparents did what to whom back in 1066. This goes for the positives as well as the negatives: you shouldn’t hate someone for what their ancestors did back then, and you don’t get to lord it over anyone else because of what your ancestors were doing.

    Seriously guys, after a thousand years, it’s time to, well in the Clintonian phrase, “move on.” And if you can’t move on, please stay in your own culture and don’t try to drag us back down to your level.

        1. some of our ancestors *escaped* Europe just ahead of the people with knives and ovens. I consider 15 years as just ahead of an event. It’s also 8 years after the last event. WWI was awful enough to make sure to leave before another one happened.

    1. In the time of the US / UN action in the Balkans / Bosnia, etc I was watching a BBC reporter in a remote town to cover a report of atrocities committed by residents of that town against one over the ridge from them, and as the local spokesman was describing the action as vengeance for murdered men, raped women, and burned homes and buildings, the cameraman lengthened the focus to show the town behind the reporter and the speaker, showing no damage at all.
      The reporter finally caught on and asked when the neighboring village had committed these atrocities, the local speaker replied that it was on the morning of April 22, 1344.
      That was a teaching moment for me, as I then had no idea that there were people who held grudges generationally.

  11. The loony left has prevented America from keeping the eminently sensible “You’re welcome here, so long as you leave your ancient feuds and old baggage at the door, and bring in the good stuff that makes everyone’s life better.”

  12. > And at some point, I stopped being stared
    > at when I was at the grocery store, and I
    > stopped feeling I stuck out as a sore thumb.

    When you learn the trick, let us know. I was born here, have no particular eccentricities, and I get quite a lot of that.

  13. Now, be aware I’m not an “ugly American”.

    This is a delightfully ironic use of the phrase. In Eugene Burdick’s book, the nominal “ugly American” was Homer Atkins, a plain, honest man sent by the U.S. government to advise a fictional Southeast Asian country on engineering projects. He was not a jingoist, nor was he disrespectful of the natives of the land to which he was sent. Indeed, his role in the story was to reveal the crudity and insensitivity of the other, far slicker government functionaries who had preceded him, and of the policies they strove to impose on their hosts.

    1. That caught my attention as well, Francis. In the book and the movie, the Ugly American was the good guy.

      It’s been distorted by popular culture to the association and meaning used in the quoted reference, though.

    1. I’m okay with normal having a wiiiiide gray area where most Odds happily reside. The outside normal things aren’t the head-tilty “wha?” stuff. They’re the “it is okay to stone your daughter to death for honor” stuff. *That* isn’t, and never should be, considered normal. Nor is guys in the high-school girl’s bathroom, claiming to be trapped in a man’s body, for different reasons, still not normal.

      Dangit, I’ve spent the last thirty-five years trying to be normal enough, I don’t want people moving the goal posts on me now! *grin*

    2. If I stand up straight I’m normal – to the surface of the Earth. 🙂

    3. Diagonal parked in a parallel universe, that is me. As a colleague observed, “You add a lot to the faculty. Our total eccentricity level has gone up at least ten percent.” I should note that the individual who said that is a genuine Odd in his own Odd way.

      1. Our total eccentricity level has gone up at least ten percent.”

        Above or below the common center of gravity?

    4. After wondering just who was defining normal, I decided to identify as functional.

          1. Humph!

            I’m the normal one.

            It’s the rest of the world that’s abnormal. 😈 😈 😈 😈

  14. I grew up overseas. Spent 5th grade in USA. (Note the USA, Americans usually say, US). I was already aware of culture differences, so I watched how I felt. 5 years was the turning point. After 5 years, I felt at home where I was. Didn’t mean I was or felt like a national, just that this was now home.

  15. The Oyster Wife and I leave for Wild Wild West Con tomorrow, and we’ve got a long drive to and from ahead of us. So, two questions: who among the Huns, Hoydens, and lurkers have audio books available? And for Our Beloved Hostess, where can we buy your audiobooks to get you the best payout? My lady wife in particular has developed a taste for audiobooks, so books to add to the list that also get my friends paid are great.

    Oh, also: anyone who wants a book in this week’s promo needs to send it to me by noon tomorrow. I’m not attempting to put that together on my phone at a con on Friday, so what I have before we leave is what goes in.

  16. Things I take away from last night’s votes:

    I had unrealistic expectations.

    This doesn’t disprove the theory that Trump loses, because a majority are closed, and Trump loses in closed primaries without the crossover from Democratic voters.

    I am finding myself potentially warming up to Rubio. If Cruz is fixing, Rubio is kicking the can. The theory is that Rubio is too closely tied to big money donors, hence compromised on immigration, and going to accept the miserable status quo. Trump is one of those donors, except he is too far to the left to ever donate to the GOP. Trump is likely going to make things worse by playing to certain kind of factionalism, then not following through enough to make it viable. If you strike a king, you must kill him.

    I want Kasich and Carson gone.

    Bernie is getting my hopes up for injuries on the part of the Democrats.

    1. (Nods) Kasich and Carson gave Trump Virginia and Arkansas last night.
      As if to counterbalance, Kasich nearly took Vermont.

      I can tolerate Kasich being in the race, so long as he manages to keep Ohio away from Trump. Carson needs to drop.


      1. Some of the #NeverTrump folks think Kasich is angling to be Trump’s VP.

    2. In my precinct caucus, we had a pretty good debate about the merits of Cruz v. Rubio. Supporters of both candidates I think left with a better understanding of why someone would support the other and a respect for both men.

      Trump supporters were outnumbered by Kasich supporters. I thought those guys were a myth; I wanted to photograph them and send it to the Weekly World News.

      Alas, my Trump-bashing speeches went unsaid, because there was only one woman in the room brave enough to speak up for Trump. We argued her points, we decided that it wouldn’t be sporting for the entire room to pile on her.

      Ultimately, my conclusions were:

      (a) Caucuses are kinda cool for the whole “citizens participating in democracy” thing. It feels far more satisfying to hash out the issues with your neighbors than to just punch a button in a primary.

      (b) If my precinct ruled America, we’d all be just fine.

  17. I’m from VA and living in CA. Is it a betrayal of my native culture if i acculturate to CA?

    1. Luckily, here in California, we have only comedic parodies of culture, so you are safe honoring your Virginian roots.

      1. then i need to be able to buy ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity magazines’

        its part of my culture. And my religion.

        (USAian bible, Book Of Armaments, Chapter two, verses nine through fifteen.)

  18. Interesting.
    I have never felt nostalgic. Not once.
    I guess it helped that I knew from the start I was going away for good. that I had nobody there to go back to.
    It definitely “helped” that my whole life I was made to understand that being a Jew in Russia, I was not one of them. Eventually, sometime around middle school, you decide “You’re right. I’m not one of you.”
    A funny consequence of that is that it took me a while, maybe 10 years, before I was able to NOT get irritated at the accusation of being a Russian.

    So I never thought of my country of origin as “home.” Never wanted to “go back for a visit” and still haven’t.

    Could that be why I never got those weird suspicious glances? Or did I get them but didn’t care enough to notice? Could it be that the internal feeling of belonging, of being at peace with where I am (unlike what I was made to feel back in the USSR) somehow translates into not projecting “otherness” to the outside world, mannerisms and accents notwithstanding?
    I definitely have an accent, and I definitely eat differently (I can’t force myself to hold the fork in the right hand when using a knife). But I am an American. I am always identified as such when traveling abroad, even before I open my mouth. My immigrant wife is an American. Our American-born kids are obviously American.
    We do try to get them to speak Russian at home, so that it is easier for their grandparents to talk to them. And maybe some time in the future they would be able to appreciate the wonder that is classical Russian literature.
    Plus, it just never hurts to know another language.
    But they don’t want to speak Russian. And if they don’t, I won’t be heartbroken.

    And no, I don’t have any sympathy for the scores of Soviet immigrants I know who bitch about how wrong things are here, who subscribe to Russian TV and live “there” while being geographically here.

    Fit in or f*ck off. That’s how I see it, too.

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