Diversity and Memory

Human memory is very short.  This is one of those things that drive me bonkers when people talk of how it was “when”.  Unless you were alive “When” what you’re getting are the stories you were told.

And stories are inherently untrustworthy.  Yes, even oral transmission.  Yes, even the sagas changed.  Okay, some societies were more successful than others at transmitting long, complex stories orally.  But even then, without writing things drift over time and become weird.  And if it’s not something considered sacred or important, things drift over 100 years or so.  What I call the space grandmother-to-grandchild.  Because children misunderstand or their imagination adds bits that they then pass on as “as true” as the parts they were given.

I was reminded of this when I was singing a song I learned as a lullaby.  I was singing it when working on the house for sale, and Robert who understands only rudimentary Portuguese said “Oh, for the love of, mom stop it.  I don’t want to hear about a woman taken by death.”

At which point I stopped and blinked at him.  “What?”  I’ve actually always rather liked the song, which is of a stranger who knocks at the door and demands the daughter of the house accompany him some space (he is supposedly blind.  So this is charity.)  She walks him to the edge of the village, where they’re overwhelmed by his companions, and then it turns out it was a duke who tried to marry her but she refused him because she didn’t want to leave her family/status behind.

The problem is there is a lot of varied symbolism, and son who had just taken a class in myth (and the Jungian theories thereof) had started an interesting rabbit.  It is possible the symbolism is for death, including that the stranger arrives at exact midnight, that he knocks on the middle door, that no one else in the house will wake, etc.

Being me, I spent sometime tracking the song.  It seems to be very old (about 14th century) but the version I was taught was only collected as fragmentary bits, and the only version they have complete removes all the spooky stuff and instead is a frank Cinderella story, making the stranger a king and going on about how rich the girl was afterwards.

The point being as far as wording, it’s all completely different, and there’s only echos and hints to give “this is the same story.”  That is less than a thousand years of transmission, in a language that didn’t change significantly.  (Medieval Portuguese sounds more like Spanish but it’s perfectly understandable.)

So, in my explorations of “What if there were people we know nothing about, entire civilizations, say at Classical Greek level?” I kept face-palming when coming across intimations, that surely, of course, there were these long sagas transmitted orally for… seven thousand years, or ten or twenty.  Look, sure, we’d get some of the same general “feel” but the details and language would be completely different.

The closest you have to this, that you can verify is the transmission of what I call “Bible lore.”  When the church used Latin, people got taught a mishmash of what was in the New Testament and well… whatever they understood.  And they passed that to their children.  And it got passed on.

I spent most of my time in the village correcting the stories that had passed on, (yes, I was an insufferable kid.)  Stuff like “No, our Lady wouldn’t be around at the time of the deluge, unless you mean Balaat, which means “our Lady” in Phoenician.  What is wrong with you?”  But nothing was wrong.  Just invasions, language changes and people assuming what was now had more or less always been, projected backwards.

Human memory is vague and transmission is uncertain.  All of us about my age (almost mid-fifties) who have kids, have gone through this.  At some point I bet your kids came to you and asked, “When you were a kid, what was your favorite computer game?” or “when you were playing x or y how did you get around level 4?”  And when you said you didn’t have computers as a kid, they assumed you’d grown up in poverty.

This is funny, and obviously kids figured it out when they grew up. But when the change wasn’t as rapid and catastrophic, that wasn’t necessarily true, and people just happily projected their circumstances backwards.

We see that in America, to an extent, with the projecting backwards of some sort of “paradise” around WWI and WWI.  A “freedom” paradise at that.  When, no, actually statism was rife and the way of the future and everyone believed in it.  Which is what got us where we are, and why we must fight back.

It’s also what drives me to frothing at the mouth about the “diverse past” brigade.  These are the people who will go insane, because you have no black and/or Chinese/etc people in say Medieval England.

EVERY time I talk about this, and how stupid it is, we get “the begs” “But there were moors.”  “But the silk road” “But–”

The begs are bullsh*t.  No, they seriously are bullsh*t.

Before the 14th to 15th century Europe was remarkably genetically uniform.  Sure there were the Moors, who mostly are “Mediterranean” looking and mostly were in Mediterranean parts of Europe.  Sure there were Chinese that someone had seen, somewhere.  But there were no more than about 1 in a million of people who were TRULY exotic looking.

Look at the digs they’ve done of medieval villages.  Not only were they all the same race, they were usually all relatively closely related.  “Genetically uniform.” Unless you’re digging in a major port city, like London, and even there the “diversity” is less than you find in any of our very white suburbs.

I grew up in a relatively diverse country and WELL AFTER the middle ages, but people from the next village over were “foreigners” and people from 200 miles away had derogatory names attached to them. We did have a black person in the village.  She was known as “the black person.”  And we had a descendant of Chinese.  The family was known as “the Chinese” though you’d need a microscope to see any difference between them and the other villagers.  Then there’s my sister in law known as “of the (female) Moor.”  Their entire family is.  Who knows how many generations back.  I’ll note they run to redheads and blonds, so —  You figure it.

“But Sarah you grew up in a uniquely insular and closed in place.”  Not even.  Not hardly.  We were about 30 miles from the sea, and the village was “diverse” in that a blond (Portuguese blond, which means light brown hair) or a relatively tall woman (like me) occasioned little remark.

We once had my aunt from Brazil (she married my uncle) come back and try to trace her origins.  This took us, circa 69, on a long trip through the mountains of Portugal (they’re not real mountains.  The tallest mountain in the country is 1km if you count the tower built on top.  But mountains enough) driving through old roman roads and dirt tracks made for ox carts.  We found villages where work stopped and a holiday was declared because they had visitors.  In these villages the title for an older woman was “auntie” because she PROBABLY was.

In the middle ages?  With no transport except shanks pony?  People who trace such things say divorces happened in the following way: you couldn’t take your wife anymore, so you walked fifty miles away and declared yourself a bachelor.  Your wife, meanwhile, when you didn’t return, was officially a widow.

Now people move around, they always have.  So here and there you’d find one person who’d started out in Africa, or maybe one who’d come from Asia.  But they’d be so few as to be irrelevant in terms of population, really visible and yep notorious in terms of “oddity” (to the point people would come to gawk at them) and in general “Strange”.

So unless THEY are the point of the story, to put them in the story being treated as just another person is not historical.  It’s wishful thinking.

The problem we have is that the left wants to project “diversity” into the past so we will all think that every society was this mosaic of different, exclusive societies.

This is because the left is what is known as “delusional” and “Self defeating.”

When there was “diversity” in the past, and it didn’t end in a war, it was like when Portugal imported an untold number of slaves in the sixteenth and seventeenth century (seriously, even beggars had slaves to beg for them); they were never sent back, but by the mid twentieth century black people were almost as rare as blonds in continental Portugal (I once mentioned this in a group discussion and some idiot came back with she’d been to Portugal in the eighties, and she’d seen a lot of black people and they’d taught her their lovely songs, or something equally asinine.  Yep.  Thousands (maybe as much as a million) black people came to Portugal after the African colonies were handed over to the USSR and their Cuban mercenaries under the guise of “independence.”  Those people were like Cubans in Florida, escaping at great peril from a murderous regime.  BUT that was post 75, not before.)  So what happened to all those black people?  They got “genetically swamped” and the general hue of the population got slightly darker.

And that’s what happened to any “diversity” in the past.  I found, reading a biography from the 19th century, where the high class British woman says all servants are “Portagee” that apparently there was a large influx of Portuguese into England at that time.  What happened to them?  They got genetically swamped and I guess some Englishmen can tan.  (In my day the outflux of immigrants was to the countries half-depopulated by WWII: France and Germany, most of all.  And sometimes in France I come across someone with a Portuguese name.  But most of them? They’re Frenchmen.)

The truth is that diversity in the past was more melting pot than salad bowl.  Sure, if you had some reason to be resentful or separate (thinking of the Mouraria in most Portuguese cities (aka the Moor neighborhood that remained after the reconquest)) you’d have your separate area.  Though I’ll note genetically by the 20th century those areas were the same as the rest of the country.  Linguistically and religiously too.  In fact, Jews are the only minority in a majority population that succeeded in keeping somewhat separate/keeping language and customs/and some genetic integrity.  Note I said “some.” Jewish people in Germany looked more German than Jewish people in Spain.  (Leading to the story On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi.)

Mostly diversity is what you have when there was some great population dislocation (invasion, mass immigration, etc) and it’s a step on the way to “reconstituted homogeneity.”

By projecting the type of “salad bowl” diversity they favor into times that were startlingly (to us) non diverse and where what “diversity” there was was on its way to being smoothed out, what the left is doing is trying to create the idea that all this “separate but equal” forever is the NORMAL state of affairs, and the way human societies are.

The reason this enrages me is that it works.  People see this in books and movies and series, and become confused, so that I get the “begs”.  “But there were moors!”  “But there was contact with Asia.”

It works on projecting the lie backwards.  It doesn’t make it any less of a lie.

What it does is make people believe the gulfs between populations are so vast, so insurmountable, that we should each “stick to our own kind” and balkanize society.  After all, all these diverse groups have been keeping isolated since ever.  There must be reasons for it.

What the left can’t understand is that if people believe and embrace that, what they’ll have is not their beautiful mosaic of cultures.  Because humans are naturally tribal, and naturally loyal to their own kind, what they will get is the new-racialist theories that are starting to appear.  “Hey, if these people have always been there, won’t mingle with us are and incapable of learning our language/customs, we don’t need them.”

The Jews are the only group that managed to keep separateness in Medieval Europe.  They paid for it in suspicion, progroms and frankly massacres whenever things went wrong. They are still the object of suspicion and hatred by the new racialists.

If you convince the majority that all these other minorities have been around that long, that separate, that’s the level of suspicion and hatred you’ll be calling down at them.

And this is why I say the left is delusional and self-defeating.  The end of their careful lying is the exact opposite of what they think they want.

I don’t like where they’re pushing us (as opposed to where they think they’re pushing us.) but that’s the least of my annoyance.  Mostly I’m annoyed that they’re forcing lies on future generations.

To decide where we’re going and how we’ll live, we need to know the truth, the unvarnished truth and how things worked themselves out.

To build a future based on lies is like building a bridge with rotten boards.  It might look pretty, but it will mean death and devastation long before you get to the other side.

 

 

444 responses to “Diversity and Memory

  1. I had a very clever, insightful and humorous observation, but it slipped my mind.

  2. The past was wonderfully diverse and also racist, sexist, chauvinist and several other kinds of -ist that have yet to be invented.

    Thinking two mutually impossible things at one time apparently damages the brain.

  3. Look at the digs they’ve done of medieval villages. Not only were they all the same race, they were usually all relatively closely related.

    Saw a story recently about a Chinese skeleton being dug up in Britain; don’t recall if it was a medieval skeleton or older (can’t check because I found it via FreeRepublic, which is down at the moment).

    Point here being that it was odd enough to be news.

    • And that was, I THINK in London.

    • And it was Roman, not medieval. Weirdly a lot of the routes closed after Rome fell. (Or, some now think, after Islam went on a rampage.)

      • Around the same time, so hard to tell, I would think

      • Part of Central Asia (the critical link) got depopulated in the 500s-600s because of a plague outbreak and climatic burp. Then the “little” mess with the Byzantines giving up the Arab part of their empire around 550-650 because they didn’t have the population to keep fighting the Persians, and then the destruction of the Persian dynasty… Yeah, a few minor trade glitches might have been possible.

      • Some trading people slithered through. St. Columbanus (who was kicked out of a Frankish kingdom for deploring royal behavior) got a lot of help for his monks from a rich Christian Syrian merchant lady living in a Frankish river port. But she was definitely an exception.

      • No central government to police the highways. One of the few reasons for having a government.

    • As I recall it was a fairly common practice among early European explorers to the New World to upon return bring representative samplings of the natives as “curiosities” back home. Reasons could be anything from slavery to proof that they hadn’t just sailed a couple hundred miles away and waited a few months, but I suspect a strong component was simply to offer the home folks something new and different to tickle their fancies.

    • Yeah, the silk road wasn’t actually a road. Things got traded from point to point, but people didn’t follow it. That’s part of why Marco Polo’s narratives were such a big deal—he claimed he had, at least part of the way.

  4. Human memory is not only short, it is effected by what it knows, it is limited in viewpoint and it becomes a mite fuzzy over time. So even if you were ‘there’ when something occurred what you have to tell will be probably be incomplete and possibly even inaccurate.

    This is why it is advisable, when reading history, to find multiple primary resources.

    • It doesn’t take long for stories to get garbled. Case in point, an ancestor of mine had a murky death. We knew the approximate time of the year but not where or why. A brief wire alert in newspapers was the only source we had for a while. Come to find out, by going to local papers, the story was much more complicated, but we could see why nobody ever talked about it.

      • Also, at least when it’s family, people prefer certain narratives over others.

        Like mine. My oldest uncle died about 20 years before I was born, in Canada. He had been born in USA when grandfather moved there and lived there for some years.

        Now the family story I was told was that grandfather and grandmother had met in USA and got married there. But when I decided to see if I could find something online some years back – well, I did, since quite a lot of documents concerning the Finnish immigrants to USA had been put online, and also some old Finnish church documents. And grandfather had a pretty rare surname (not the one I have, after he came back to Finland he bought a farm, and in western Finland the custom was that people used the name of the house as their surname, there were no real family surnames except for the nobles. So he changed his when he bought the farm and took the name of that farm).

        Anyway, I found him (the names, his and his parents, and the dates etc matched with what I knew, and that rare surname makes it highly likely what I found was him and his oldest son), and how many times he had traveled between Finland and USA and I found who he had married and when and where. Turned out that he had married grandmother in Finland and she had, most likely, never been out of the country (at least I could find no records) but after marrying her and buying the farm he had visited USA one more time and brought back a two years old son. Now what I don’t know is if that uncle was a bastard, or if grandpa had been married there and the first wife had either died, or he had divorced, or maybe he was a bigamist, but it looks pretty damn likely grandmother was not the mother.

        But whichever, seems they didn’t want their younger kids, and probably more important, the village where they settled (grandmother was not from there either), to know the truth.

        (And grandfather’s two brothers and one sister had gone to USA too, but it seems they stayed there. Who knows why grandfather came back, I suppose it’s possible he had always planned that, or maybe it was decided that coming back to look after great grandfather was his job. Anyway, looks likely I have some second cousins and other relatives over there. Most likely in Minnesota).

        That uncle, btw, went back to USA when he was 16. He did send postcards and letters, and from what he told in those, at least according to my father, he never married. And he died fairly young. He worked in mines (that’s why he ended up in Canada) and did get some sort of lung disease.

        • Also, at least when it’s family, people prefer certain narratives over others.

          Which is why I found out about Great Aunt Minnie the button buyer who had a life long affair with a married Catholic gentleman whose wife was permanently ‘in hospital’ from the other side of the family.

          • Um… we have reason to believe that Dan’s Maternal Grandmother was a flapper and a liberated woman. Because even though his grandparents came from the same town, they met and married in Chicago just before the expo.

        • Ours is warts and all, on both sides. Maybe they figured we’d found out. The only exception is one easy to figure out and is readily admitted when someone does.

          We seem to have a century and a half limit. There are very few things that go further back, of the “This is important to remember” variety. One is the statement “We came from Holland,” backed up by a wooden shoe carefully passed down. Except we don’t know if the “we” was the grandmother who said that – likely because she was a descendant of French Huguenots – or a long shot to someone of our surname who’s children were in Holland at one time.

          The other is considerably darker and a warning about interest in the occult, and probably controversial even though it was a statement by a participant that caused an ancestor to essentially say “What have I gotten myself into?” and not something that would lend itself to a “spook show.”

          Anyway, I’m saddened not to remember more of what I was told on both sides of the family, detailed things that could be verifiable. Such as a local folk story that our family had details of what actually happened, including the name of the person involved. Some seemed far-fetched, but are confirmed. I can easily see the stories paring down until in three more generations they are gone with the exception of just a few. By then our Civil War stories are likely to be as forgotten as our Revolutionary War tales. In six the WWII stories will likely follow as well.

          • Oh, the southern branch of the family was storytellers pretty much one and all. They certainly didn’t leave out the scallywags and ne’er-do-wells either. The problem was that they were storytellers, you never could be sure of what they told.

            • Funny thing about those Southern families, it almost seems an embarrassment to not have a horse thief.

              Scalawags, OTOH …

              a white Southerner acting in support of the reconstruction governments after the American Civil War often for private gain
              https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scalawag

              Not so much. A carpetbagger in the woodpile might be more acceptable.

              • Terry Sanders

                Yep. A Southern-fried publican (pun not intended, merely unavoidable).

              • Er. We had murderers, arsonists, tax evaders, even a politician the once, but no horse thieves. Oh, but we was moonshiners from waaaaay on back, apparantly. That’s what some folks still call us around here, *despite* the last active still I know of being taken over by the kudzu monster about fifty years ago.

            • My aunt has a letter from President Theodore Roosevelt (handwritten corrections and all) to one of my relatives to prove he was a scallywag. It runs, in essence, that this is the last job Roosevelt is going to help him get and he really needs to stop drinking. My aunt has it framed and stuck in the closet (because of UV fading.)

          • In six the WWII stories will likely follow as well.

            Maybe not– they have video to anchor on to.

            I’ve noticed WWI stories sinking into WWII, but not so much WWII into . Vietnam, Korea, ETc. (Although Korea to Nam is aided by MASH.)

            • It’s more like “On D-Day, the US had amphibious tanks in the landing. A lot of them didn’t make it to shore. Your Uncle [redacted] was in one of them. He also saw a concentration camp.” They’ll (hopefully) know of WWII, but not what their ancestors did or how their families were affected.

              Already I don’t know what happened to the photos an uncle of my wife took. He drove a truck and delivered supplies to a liberated camp – and took pictures. Nor do I remember the names of the guys who really came up with the fork they welded onto tanks to tear through the hedgerows, The uncle mentioned above knew them. We had just studied about it in school and when I said we were taught two different men came up with it, he said “When have you heard of an enlisted man given credit for anything?”

              Hopefully, six generations hence they will know of WWII, but they won’t have that “hook” that ties it to family. It have made a huge difference with ours in how they view history, as about people more than events.

              • Still 1/4 asleep. Uncle [redacted] was a gunner on one of the tanks that made it (obviously). He never spoke of it to us – but Aunt [redacted] did. For he had nightmares about it off and on the rest of his life, and would talk in his sleep.

                • Stories from my dad’s father are similar. Only time we got real war stories was when he was drunk. Really drunk. The majority of his stories take place either in Canada or Britain and had nothing really to do with the war per se.

                  • The relatives who saw combat all told what they thought were funny, like an uncle in the Pacific who’d gotten into the habit of filling his canteen when they cross streams, only to one day find a dead Japanese soldier upstream right after he’d done so. He also told about the Japanese soldier who slipped into the chow line. But he never said why he was awarded two bronze stars, and I didn’t know about those until after he died.

                  • We found out recently why one relative didn’t talk about it– going through is photos, there are several of him with his buddies from flight school. They’re all labeled something like “Joe, Jim, Jack and Bob, on the steel beach

                    Last two or three with all of them together have a note that goes something like “James Theodore Monroe III, Peter Robert Smith, MIA.”

                • Dad, in the few times he talked about Korea, always described the action in third person. I suspect a way to distance the horror.

              • That’s kinda like when my dad opened up a little about being at Ben Hua during the Tet Offensive. He mentioned about the VC being dug in at the end of the air field with Air Force APs being entrenched nearby, like a WWI renactment. Except for the F-4s that would takeoff, drop their ordinance on the VC positions the circle back and land.

                According to him this lasted a month, until a group of (telling #1) Marines or (telling #2) Airborne troopers came in from bush, looked at the situation, especially the APs, disgustedly and then went in and cleared out the VC position.

        • We have wondered for years why my grandfather legged it from Ireland in 1910, nearly to the end of an apprenticeship which would have guaranteed solid employment as an estate gardener. (Yep – professional estate gardener, in the days of Gertrude Jekyll, when keeping an enormous estate garden in spectacular fashion throughout the year was a huge job…) He was never … forthcoming, and all the official records were burned during the Troubles in Ireland in the 1920s. He was – according to my grandmother – a charmer; short, handsome and dynamic. (No, the marriage was not happy.) We have always suspected that an ex-girlfriend and an angry father with a shotgun had something to do with it. His older brother scarpered at the same time, for having had a fight with a local policeman – or so the story went.

        • And a further complication:
          something that looks like a “the family just liked a different story,” especially when looking at official documents in isolation, might not be.

          Lady dies in her 30s. Single mother, living a long way from any relatives, history of abuse by partners, chain of boyfriends, it’s certified as definitely not murder by the police. Family says it was probably a blood clot or something.
          Death certificate says it was alcoholism.

          Open and closed family lying about it, right?

          Well…. if you can find the whole file, you find that the cause of death wasn’t recorded until just before the end of the year, and that they had a record back-log, and that the backlog vanished in the week before Christmas break.

          If you can dig up the initial autopsy, you find that they also specifically noted that there was a lack of evidence for alcoholism– because that’s the first thing you check after murder, because it’s fairly obvious.

          However, “alcohol abuse” is the go-to diagnosis that nobody looks at too hard.

        • Um, we may need to talk. Would the surname in question have looked anything like Okersted or Akersten, if Swedish-ized and run through Ellis Island?

          The paternal Finn line of my family tree has a long history of “I’m never talking to you again” quarrels that actually stick for generations, and they were up throwing tantrums and being alcoholics and generally not getting along around and in the Great Lakes at the US/Canadian border. My dad’s third cousin called our house on the phone in the wee baby days of internet searches, and Mom hung up on him because Dad has no living family in the US. Except it turns out he actually does, twenty-odd of them.

          Grandpa Henry or Heikki did spend a year in Finland, his senior year of high school, living with an uncle there. Or so the story goes. He wasn’t talking to his sister by the time he met my grandma Irja, and his dad was cut out a couple years after, so there wasn’t anyone to contradict or clarify his tales by the time my dad was old enough to remember, and there are tales Dad tells (Grandpa died when I was one) that are clearly mutually contradictory about his dad.

          • Hm. Probably not. It was Savilahti. If they kept the Finnish name it might have been shortened to Lahti (which is a common surname, unlike Savilahti). Lahti means bay, savi means clay, the closest translation, or rather meaning, for savilahti would probably be “muddy bay”, while Akersten or Okersted seem like they might come from words (sten = stone, åker = field) which would translate to something like stony field, and name does not sound similar to Lahti or Savilahti.

            On the other hand grand aunt presumably married somebody. And who knows, I guess people might have picked up names they just liked, or wanted, how strict were the check ups when entering the country back then anyway? Or changed their names legally once in the country, or before entering the country. I don’t have any stories of what that generation might have been like, except for a few of great grandfather who was said to have been both very strict and rather miserly, but what I was told and knew about my father and his siblings – er, it kind of sounded like they might have been sort of in the local juvenile delinquent category when young, and not exactly pillars of community – the ones who stayed in their home village – later either (well, war had an effect, all the male ones were on the front lines and one uncle was a full on alcoholic, at least partly probably an effort to deal with PTSD, and the others probably suffered at least to some extent from same. My father did drink, while he never crossed fully over to actual alcoholism he had periods in his life when he veered pretty close to it). So I suppose it’s possible grandfather, and his siblings, might not have been of that type either, and maybe there was some other reason for the whole brood to decide to immigrate besides something like a fondness for adventuring. 😀

            • My husband’s Danish grandfather had a last name that was apparently the town he came from, rather than Hansen, which is the last name he started with. At least the surname he ended up with actually *sounded* like a surname, unlike some of them, and was less common than Hansen.

              • I had a great uncle surname Ting. Joke was that the ancestral name was Johnson, but that when his grandfather John Johnson came through Ellis Island right behind another John Johnson, he said, “Sam Ting”, and it stuck. Mom and her cousin did some research for a big all-family reunion in honor of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary and found out the original family surname was Tingdahl, apparently after the valley of some creek or riverlet in Sweden from whence they came.

            • My grandma Irja was a Makela, and I understand that’s about the most common name going.
              It just seemed with an uncommon last name, the families moving back and forth between new world and old, and hanging out around the Canada/US border in the new world, that there’s more possibility of relations in common than with other Finn immigrant families. Grandma’s family came over and they stayed here. Suppose we’d have to drag out birth certificates to see if anyone matched. I wonder where Dad’s stashed them?

      • Reminds me of one of the family stories that my father’s, father’s, father’s, father was of German nobility. Only you go searching for German (well, Prussian, Hessian, etc.) peerage, and there aren’t any Housts, von Housts, or Von Houstenbergs or phonetic sound-alikes; nor any on the distaff sides. Even supposed to be a family castle in the Dusseldorf area that my father allegedly visited back in the 1950s when he was stationed in the Med. No record, nothing. Nothing in my parents, grandparents, or great grandparents records or papers. And Oh My God what a hoorah I stirred up when I contested the story. Which, sad to say, provides a bit of support for Scott Adams assertion that belief and emotion trump facts when it comes to human decision making.

        • “This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humouring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.” – RAH

    • Human memory, especially when orally transmitted, is subject to introduction of considerable noise. The image called to my mind when I tell my nephew “When I was a kid your father and I rode our bikes everywhere” is probably significantly different than the one generated in my nephew’s thoughts.

      One-speed versus ten-speed, and we rode sans helmets or knee-pads. But we had baseball cards in the spokes!

      • Byzantine_Corporal

        And when my 12 year old self got to the beach I’d lean my bike against a tree and get changed in the public restroom – which had a grid of open-front small storage spaces for people to leave their clothes in while swimming.

        When I, all unmolested, got done swimming, all unsupervised, out as far as I dared (and that one time hitching a ride back on a passing sailboat, and needing it!), and changed back into my dry clothes, my bike was still there!

        I kind of miss that homogeneous high-trust society. My kids and grand-kids have never seen it.

        • Oh, I see, Byzantine General is back and still crazy.
          You DO know that while homogeneous societies are high trust, so can non-homogeneous societies be (Singapore) It’s not race, it’s how law is enforced, not having an intellectual class with nostalgie de la bue, etc.
          BTW you weren’t banned by name OR IP so your name change is … proof of insanity.
          But I’m glad you’re back. These people keep complaining about the lack of chew toys.
          Of course, if you’re as bad at it as Ken you MIGHT get banned.

      • And people get weird, too. The village’s “kindergarten” teacher, once ran up to meet me, as I came back from college, and told me how much she missed the days when my brother, my cousins and I were all “little together” and in her class.
        My brother is 9 years and change older than I. My cousin (raised with us, more or less) is 14 years older than I. My other cousin in the area was 20 years older than I.
        But this woman would swear we were all little together.

        • More evidence we’re somehow related– my mom was only noted as different from all siblings before because she had long hair, and if you asked the teachers they were all in everything together.

          Her eldest brother was a pre-boomer, she wasn’t even a teen for the “summer of love.”

          • We went to a family reunion once where my mom was mostly unknown (after my grandfather was killed in WWII and my grandmother had three small children on hand, so her SiL took the baby), and somebody came up to her and called her by her sister’s name, somehow missing the fact that my mom is a good half-foot taller…

        • Meredith Dixon

          Ten years ago, when I was researching my undergraduate college’s history, I knew that up until the early ’70’s almost every dorm had had its own dining hall, but that then the dining halls were consolidated into two larger ones. But I didn’t know whether all the small dining halls had been closed at once, or whether the closing had been staggered. So I asked alumnae who had been students then whether they had eaten in a dining hall in their dorm or in a separate and larger building.

          With regard to one particular dorm, three people responded who said they had lived in that dorm all four years, which was somewhat unusual; most people lived in different dorms each year. One said she had always eaten in her dorm and only saw the new dining hall when she came back to campus as an alumna. One said she had never eaten in her dorm, that the dorm dining room had already been turned into a student lounge when she was a freshman. The third one said she had eaten in her dorm for the first two years and then she had come back in the fall of her junior year to find a lounge where the dining hall had been.

          Clear, useful information, right? Sadly, all three people were from the same class.

          Sometimes it doesn’t even take a generation. 🙂

  5. Gypsies? And those untouchables in north spain?

    • Untouchables????
      As for Gypsies, it’s not as … clear cut was you think. First of all they weren’t that widespread as you think. Where they were, yeah, they did get what the Jews got (with more reason in most of the cases, as they actively preyed on the locals.) And they weren’t (OBVIOUSLY) a settled population.
      So, what the heck does that have to do with the price of potatoes?

      • Maybe the idea of a people that resisted integrating with those surrounding them? There’s some in the Southern US, and some in a hospital my father was at once, but I could have ridden in the same elevator with them and not have noticed.

        This brings up an odd memory: There was a persecuted group in part of Europe who were required to enter churches by the side door and use a different font. One tale went a prominent townsman had his hand cut off for violating that law. Yet there doesn’t seem to have been any racial difference between them an their neighbors.

        • You’ve just described the Amish. As someone of PA Dutch ancestry, I can guarantee to you that the Amish were genetically identical to the rest of us in central and southeastern PA. They had a higher incidence of genetic maladies as they didn’t intermarry with the rest of us and therefore had a much smaller population base, but otherwise there was no difference.

        • There was a persecuted group in part of Europe who were required to enter churches by the side door and use a different font.

          My Russian professor once told a long, involved story about a theater that required persons of a specific ancestry to enter and leave by a certain door. For reasons I forget, this turned out to be a bad idea.

          The punchline was “don’t put all your Basques in one exit”.

          • On a serious note– you would not BELIEVE how many “troubling stories” end up being misunderstood jokes.

            Heck, I was one at one point– a nag wouldn’t stop pressuring me to “volunteer” to be her servant– oh, I mean, “helper” for a special olympics type meet, and I put on my best over-the-top face and made an outrageous joke about how I’d been deeply scarred by losing a race at a special olympics as a kid, and it was just too painful.

            We’re talking like 90 miles over the top.

            ….about a week later, I get the rumor back about how she’d been telling everyone I was a certified retard…..

            I’m a calibration tech, because I turned down nuke. I can’t not “show off” how smart I am, I seriously can’t tell when folks are asking a question vs when it’s supposed to be ignored. She was a glorified secretary who couldn’t manage to do that job correctly….

            • > turned down nuke

              Almost certainly a good idea.

              After my ASVAB scores came in I had Navy recruiters zeroing in, pushing nuke.

              Prestige, fast rank, ego stroking, dessert topping *and* floor wax…

              Of course, you had to sign up for an eight year hitch since the training took so long.

              Being not completely stupid, I asked what the dropout rate was.

              “75%”

              “75% of what?”

              [long pause] “Per class.”

              “And I’s still be stuck with an eight year hitch?”

              “YOU wouldn’t have any problem!”

              “I’m seventeen, not seven…”

              I’m pretty sure there’s stuff in my refrigerator that’s been there more than eight years, but that was almost half my life back then.

            • But she was obviously fully qualified to stock the gossip and rumor mills.

        • I can think of a couple of different “groups” that tend to view others as resources to be preyed on, but they tend to be rolled into the bigger group they exploit– the barracks bastards (that *is* the polite name for them) in most military but especially the Army, the “Mexicans” that are actually a sub-group of illegals or affiliated (no records, no roots, no consequences), various sub-groups of poor people (those have their own name, usually variation on leaches, but good luck identifying them BEFORE they rip you off).

          Really should be a term for “users who move around and don’t have traceable identification so you can stop them,” but I don’t know of one.

          • “Professional freeloaders.”

            • #truth, although I’m looking more at the groups with a different philosphy of property.

              And now that I’ve typed that, danged if I know how to tell a freaking thief from someone who doesn’t have the same view of private property. Maybe how they react if I take their land?

              • You’d want someone who gave and took equally freely and without disappointment or anger. The concept of personal property just doesn’t exist for them. I “think” I remember reading about a few groups like that in one of my anthropology or sociology classes. They were either native Americans or some religious group.

                • I’ve got similarly vague memories…but they’re all Far Away, in time or space, and for heaven’s sake the anthropologists act like the “do not SHOW it” thing doesn’t exist.

                • Traditional Marshallese are much that way. If you need something and it’s not currently in use, grab it. After all, on an island of 1/2 square kilometers it’s not like you’ll be taking the thing *away*, and once you’re done with it the next person who needs it can come along and grab it. But for pity’s sake, don’t take anything that belongs to the chief.

                  Makes for some interesting interactions when you inject some Western culture vis a vis things like bicycles, especially when ferries do allow you to take things away.

            • Patrick Chester

              Yes? 😉

          • Most of those prefer urban areas, where it’s possible to fade into the general population. Out in the country they’re usually just passing through.

            They *have* to be mobile, otherwise their victim pool vanishes once word gets out.

          • Terry Sanders

            My father used to tell a story (true or not I can’t tell) about a road contractor in the 50’s/early 60’s. The punch line went something like?”Those Negros I hired? Oh, they turned out to be just a bunch of n*****s…”

        • I read about that group in The Discovery of France.

  6. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    No argument with the majority of your post.

    However, I saw a documentary on the story of Troy and there was an interesting comment on Homer’s “catalog of ships”.

    There were cities mentioned as sending ships to fight at Troy that didn’t exist in Homer’s time but are now known to have existed at the time that the Trojan war likely happened.

    While we don’t really know how soon Homer’s works were written down and if Homer had copies of older written documents to create his story, but what we do know is that Homer’s works were written in a manner that made memorizing them easy.

    Of course, Homer was telling of events that happened about 400 years before his time, not a thousand years before his time.

    IMO there’s plenty of evidence for a “guild” of people who “held oral knowledge” of the past that had better accuracy than “what my grandfather told my father who told me”.

    So I’m not completely convinced that “oral history is complete bunk” but I do believe that some people have a completely idiot view of the past. 😀

    • Oral history I think will hold for about five hundred to a thousand years, if there’s a reason to pass it on. The Homeric myths were the origin story of the population and thus would fall under “careful passing on.” And yet, I bet before being written down there were some wild variations running around.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Imagining the fights about “which version is correct”. 😉

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Look at all the known variations of the voyage of the Argo. Everyone wanted to lay claim to Argonaut ancestry, with said Argonauts being native to their own city.

          • Fair quibble– there was also a big business in re-writing myths.

            Think like all the romance stories that are re-tellings of various fairy tales; one of my favorite authors has two very different versions of Beauty and the Beast.

            • I love Robin McKinley too. In fact, when I was re-reading her books recently, I realized how strong of an influence she had on my writing.

              Not that this is an issue, particularly, just that I hadn’t realized how much of my voice comes from her as opposed to, say, Jane Yolen or Connie Willis or any number of my other favored authors.

            • And the fun thing is that Beauty and the Beast really has a known and modern origin. Using old motifs, sure, but it was definitely new with her.

              • Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, of course.

              • I love tracing fairy tale origins. The oldest mostly intact tale that we have is Little Red Riding Hood, from France in the 9th century, though what is interesting is that several elements of the Cinderella tale actually date to classical times, such as the magic shoes that only fit their owner (not through size alone, though!)

                • Nah. The oldest known variant of the Search for the Lost Husband is Psyche and Cupid, and of The Girl Helps the Hero Flee is Jason and Medea.

                  Those being the ones I remember off the top of my head.

                  • Ah, but Little Red Riding Hood is still found in its “original” form even today, while those two have morphed a bit. Recognizably, but LRRH still has its original characters and events (in its half-dozen variants, including her escaping through tricking the wolf, or the version where she unknowingly partakes in a meal consisting of her grandmother.) That’s what I meant by “intact.” 😉

                    • both of those are as clearly the original form, the variations being no more than you are citing here for Little Red Riding Hood.

                      Heck, the iconic red headgear is Perrault’s.

          • Terry Sanders

            John Maddox Roberts had Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger mention that every town in Italy with the slightest pretensions had been founded by one of Aeneas’ crew. Just ask them, they’d show you the statue.

        • So you know the story of the women going to find Jesus’ empty tomb, right? Fairly important in Christianity, right? Take a look at the variations in the Gospels as to just who went to the tomb. Sometimes there are quite a few names (my favorite phrasing is “Mary and the other Mary”) and sometimes there are just a couple. The Gospels are highly inconsistent on that point, probably for several reasons. (One of the reasons is that they probably didn’t think it was all that important to remember, of course!)

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Not wanting to get involved in theology here but notice the different times of day that the tomb was visited.

            IE Each of the Gospels may have been talking about different visits. 😉

          • This “inconsistency” is a strong argument against the hypothetical “Q” document. Be that as it may, look at eyewitness testimony of an event. There will be variation, because each had a different viewpoint and noticed different things.

            Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Salome head for the tomb. Other women follow. The first three discover the tomb empty, and Mary Magdalene goes to tell the others. Mary, mother of James and Joses, looks in, sees an angel. Mary, mother of Jesus, and Salome head back and tell the other women. Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene has told Peter and John, and they go to check it out. Mary Magdalene returns, sees the angels, and, weeping, has the encounter with Jesus. The other women arrive, see the angels, and go to tell the disciples, and they encountered Jesus.

            • And with the Gospels, remember that paper was not so cheap as it is today. A writer would prune down stuff to keep it on the scroll.

              • A friend of mine is going to divinity school. I picked up a Bible so I could argue Christian theology with him.

                They must have had a *serious* paper shortage while they were writing Genesis… a lot of things I had thought were just short quotes turned out to be entire passages.

            • One other thing that our Deacon brought up was, it was very very chaotic at the time, with people running back and forth all over the place. It wasn’t a neat or clean event.

              • There’s also the little fact that there were, indeed, people who wanted to kill them. So adding information without having a good point to it was kind of a bad idea.

          • If the ladies were local, there as also the issue of getting violent attention brought down on their heads, too.

      • The folk process is ALWAYS with us; heck, it’s still going on. I’m fairly sure no one will remember that Springsteen wrote “Blinded By the Light” and gave it away to Manfred Mann’s Earth Band when he couldn’t actually sing it in a way that appealed to his audience.

        Certainly even the “Homeric myths” went through it… starting with Homer:

        “When ‘Omer smote ‘is bloomin’ lyre,
        He’d ‘eard men sing by land an’ sea;
        An’ what he thought ‘e might require,
        ‘E went an’ took — the same as me!

        The market-girls an’ fishermen,
        The shepherds an’ the sailors, too,
        They ‘eard old songs turn up again,
        But kep’ it quiet — same as you!

        They knew ‘e stole; ‘e knew they knowed.
        They didn’t tell, nor make a fuss,
        But winked at ‘Omer down the road,
        An’ ‘e winked back — the same as us!”

      • None of us being from a background where there is nothing but oral records and transmissions, I think it’s really, really hard to try to transpose our experience onto one of these pre-literate cultures successfully.

        I worked for a guy for a few years back at the beginning of my military career. He was a legit member of McNamara’s Hundred Thousand, and probably one of the most successful examples. He was, I learned later, legitimately so dyslexic that he was functionally illiterate–Reading, writing, all that crap, was utterly alien to him. He simply couldn’t do it.

        Yet… When I ran into this guy, he was a Sergeant Major in a Combat Engineer battalion, and functioning just fine, running on a million-and-one little dodges and memory. Nobody, but nobody really ever cottoned on to his problems, except for a select few that looked the other way.

        How he did it was amazing to think back on, and realize what he was doing; the new manuals would come in, and in order for him to keep abreast of them, he’d have junior NCOs backbrief and read them to him in group “training sessions”. He’d only need to hear something once or twice, and then it was his forever, and he’d be able to quote it chapter and verse, referring back to it with a precision that was scary to recognize in retrospect. He had a memory for things that he’d heard or witnessed that was scary-good, because he’d be able to recall specific moments when the information had been read to him, or passed on–Months down the line, he’d be going “Don’t you remember when we went over that…? Sergeant Frederickson spilled his coffee right after you read that paragraph, Corporal… Can’t you remember that?”.

        I don’t think we really comprehend just what an oral-only culture can transmit, or for how long. Look at the way the Polynesians are able to map out and memorize complex ocean current and island chain patterns, with a few sticks and shells, for example. Inca quipus may be a linked example, thinking about it, because they look a lot alike–Oral history/tradition linked to specific non-written memory cues, songs, and other things may be a hell of a lot more persistent and consistent down the years than we’re willing to acknowledge. Just how is it that autism-spectrum “disorders” persisted as long as they did in primitive cultures? In Polynesia, those sort of people became navigators, and in other cultures? Storytellers.

        I would not be so bold as to say these things are ephemeral, and only last for so long. I would suspect that to a modern person, whose memory needn’t be trained or who doesn’t rely on being able to navigate through a mountain chain last crossed by someone’s grandfather via oral tradition-passed cues may not have a really good idea of what life in those circumstances is like, or the potentialities involved.

        I don’t doubt but that there were land-based equivalents to the Polynesian three-dimensional models of currents and island patterns among our ancestors–Probably describing how to get from one end of the Eurasian land mass to another, safely and quickly.

        Evidence for this? I present to you the autistic spectrum, which is a “dysfunction” that likely wouldn’t have survived in our ancestors, were it not a survival trait in the various environments we explored and came to dominate.

        • Even after writing came along, educated people were still taught “the art of memory” and expected to commit a fair amount of text to memory. Look up one of the learning texts — it is brain-stretching.

          • When I was in elementary school, we were still expected to memorize songs, poems, and speeches – things like the Gettysburg Address and Hamlet’s soliloquy. I’ve long since forgotten many of them, or pieces of them, but some still hang around in my memory.

            • Wheels, what the heck? EVERY comment in moderation?

            • So was I – sixth grade teacher, Mr. Terranova – set us a poem to memorize, (some of them quite long ones) as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. I can still pull into mind lines and stanzas, as well as lots of song lyrics. (My sister and brother and I used to sing in the car, on long journeys, as I used to get carsick, otherwise.)

              • There’s a particular e.e. cummings poem that I remember quite well because I wrote music to it. Found out later that somebody like Janis Joplin also wrote music to it, but I’m not fond of that era’s style, so I keep mine.

            • The Charge of the Light Brigade

              (shudder)

              • In fairness, there were poems which were memorizable, by such authors as Kipling, Tennyson, Service and others. Anyone attempting to memorize any poets of the last fifty years might well opt to erase the memory with a shotgun.

          • Which is one reason I think there’s more potential there than many of us realize, in this day and age of common literacy.

            Consider–Look at those Polynesian “aides memoires”, those things that look like something a kid threw together out of driftwood and cowrie shells. Would you even recognize those for what they were, absent the knowledge of context and metaphor they represent? How could you?

            Yet, someone who did know the context and metaphor might look at those and instantly recognize them for what they were–Maps.

            How many things have we got in the museums that we don’t recognize at all as being records, simply because we’re not aware of the meanings they contain? Perhaps there are complexities to some of the artifacts we’ve found that we simply don’t recognize, because they’re supposed to cue memories and memory chains we’ve lost due to the oral tradition not being passed on to us?

            My personal suspicion on a lot of this stuff is that we’re in a situation where we don’t even recognize that these things contain meanings, at all. With things like the Incan quipus, we know those were records of some sort, but have no clue how to go about deciphering them. What about things we don’t even recognize as carrying meaning?

            I would not be a bit surprised to find out that there are things we’ve passed over and ignored, not aware of what they were supposed to cue up in terms of memory and meaning. That antler, for example, that had what we presumed to be random markings on it? Perhaps it was a map, telling the person who knew the meaning embedded into it that Great-Grandfather’s favorite hunting ground or pasturage was in a particular valley that was the sixth one over from a major landmark, and that you reached it by going through the third draw up…

            Writing and literacy were innovations, but I’m pretty sure that there were things the old oral traditions did to help cue up memories and information that we’re completely oblivious to, no longer having the context and meaning to go along with them.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            I’m not sure if my memory is entirely natural, or if it was helped a little in childhood by a mild interest in some of the memory/observation exercises I’d seen through the Hardy Boys and McGurk mystery properties.

          • In most countries learning is STILL mostly memorization. And because my kids are mine, I presume it’s mostly training. I should have made them memorize things. I didn’t. So they both, like Dan, have ALMOST no capacity to memorize anything.
            We were supposed to memorize entire epic poems by second grade, the railway tables by fourth, etc. ad nauseum.

            • Memorizing the railway tables would have been a problem where I grew up. At the time they were constantly being adjusted.

              And the bus schedule? Well that was useless. The 12, which was the one that ran nearest the house, was supposed to run every twelve minutes. This did not take in account the effect of boarding and exiting passengers. Sometimes you would find yourself waiting twenty or more minutes and then there would be two traveling in tandem.

              • *Many* cities’ bus schedules don’t actually account for their being passengers embarking and disembarking. Its… kinda funny.

                • (or, they account for some standard number of them that only exists between ten and eleven AM or so…)

                  • During good weather…

                    When the weather is bad more people opt not to walk, which further complicates things, so that when those two buses arrived there wasn’t even standing room left.

                    • John Pepple

                      Ugh. It reminds me of the many times I had to wait for buses in sub-zero weather in Minneapolis when I was younger. (That’s below zero Fahrenheit, by the way.) And yes, they were usually late.

            • Hrm. When I was a kid, we were taught that memorization was the basis of *all* learning. The sequence went, memorization, then practical learning (using what you memorized, like multiplication tables or vocabulary words and such), then understanding and synthesis. Those probably aren’t the words they used back then, that’s just how I understood it.

              The thing is, I was always taught that you don’t retain anything long-term that you didn’t build the foundation on with basic memorization- but memorization could not take the place of actual understanding, so it was only the first step in learning. This is what p*sses me off about modern ed.- Common Core and such. They skip steps and expect kids to work with stuff they don’t own (have memorized), understand stuff they’ve never worked with enough because they didn’t memorize, and put all of it together to work on something bigger (like using basic math in algebra) when the whole foundation was rotten.

              That’s probably why yesterday I had to teach twenty-five year olds how to do simple math (what’s 20% of 40,000? He didn’t know how to calculate his down payment on a house) that I learned in grade school… *shakes head* Well, the kid got the idea, but he’d never had to memorize anything. Not multiplication tables, vocabulary words, heck, not even phone numbers.

              Memory is sort of like a muscle. The more you use it, the easier it gets. My memory is not so good these days, but it could be worse. *chuckle*

        • That still leaves the fact that people prefer some stories over others. And what they prefer can change as circumstances change, different generations wanting different stories depending on things like politics, who are the enemies and allies at the moment and what they claim. Like who they want as their ancestors, or who won what battle and so on. What they then teach the next generation can be at least somewhat, shall we say, edited, and probably occasionally completely changed. Even in times when most people learned to use their memory way better than any of us do keeping the important stories and histories was still a job for specialists, and those worked for the rulers and most likely were always likely to take into account what said rulers might prefer to hear.

          • You’re no doubt correct, once you reach a certain level of sophistication and complexity for a society.

            However, when your oral traditions carry stuff that is vital to survival, and the information isn’t necessarily political or story-telling in nature? Things like the Polynesian navigation data, and the like?

            As well, there is going to be a certain effect of the audience protesting the story-teller changing the story from what is the agreed-upon narrative. Anyone trying to change things up with kids, after the umpty-umph reading of the same monotonous story can tell you how well that works, with a favored tale. You might get away with changing the wording, slightly, but the meanings and the rest? Your audience will cut your throat, metaphorically. I don’t know that there would have been a lot of room to make changes, especially with well-known stories that had a history. Distort current events? Sure, but you’re gonna have a hard time changing crap around in people’s memories.

            Hell, I could point to a half-dozen things in my mother’s hometown that the local gossips remembered from generations back, that didn’t make it into the “recorded and agreed-upon history” for the town–And, yet, which were backed up in contemporary letters and accounts written in private journals.

            I would bet good money that were you to go looking, on a scientific basis, for the actual details for a lot of this stuff, you’d find that the local “oral tradition” has an alarming correspondence with actual reality, vice what got recorded in the local papers. Of course, there were probably as many lies, but still, the actual kernel of an event was there for the seed to form.

            • Hell, I could point to a half-dozen things in my mother’s hometown that the local gossips remembered from generations back, that didn’t make it into the “recorded and agreed-upon history” for the town–And, yet, which were backed up in contemporary letters and accounts written in private journals.

              This may fall into the “family secret” category– that is, A tells B, after a promise B won’t tell, and that means B can tell C but they will both act like they have no idea. Only a gossip would let on that they had a clue.

              • Once was privy to an interesting conversation. The subject was a judge, circa mid 19th Century, accused of fathering children by a slave. Now, if you wanted to know who was kin to whom, you went to the old matriarchs, who made no bones about it, and were highly ticked then one of those displayable family trees didn’t show a patriarch common to both families. Anyway, it turned out that those in the conversation had only heard this one rumor about the judge, nothing more.

                The final conclusion? It was likely a political slur, because the knew the local families where that had happened, but the judge was never included among them. Not being kin to anyone affected by the rumor, I was apparently considered neutral, which is why I got to hear that conversation in the first place.

            • > oral traditions

              …seem to be quite regional in the US.

              My parents didn’t pass on anything I remember, and I didn’t pick up anything outside their home, other than the usual school propaganda about the Pilgrims, Sacajawea, and so forth.

        • It’s partly training and partly natural inclination. My mom used to refer to me as “The Resident Expert” because I have a very good positional memory, as in “I know this quote should be right around here, ah, there we go.” So I could look things up very quickly and bring her the information, pre-Internet. (It was a very useful skill when I was working at a bookstore, in that I could often take someone right to the book without having to look it up first.)

          Of course, that can always backfire. Someone I knew at summer camp was bragging me up to someone else, years later, and turned to me and asked me a question about who was in charge politically in some European country. I said I had no idea, he said, but why don’t you remember that? and I said that it’s impossible to remember something you never knew to begin with…

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I’m skeptical of world building ‘LOL herblore and medical diagnostic wise women’, partly due to issues of records and oral transmission, and partly reservations about the capability of original measurement and analysis.

      I have reservations about a story I heard from the person it originally allegedly happened to. Partly because the source doesn’t get rated as one hundred percent reliable. Partly because I am pretty much alone of all descendents in my ‘politically motivated attempted murder for which I must carry a grudge’ interpretation.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod.

        Oral histories have their limits.

        I mentioned Homer and the Trojan War but I really doubt that the Greek gods got openly involved in the fight as Homer had them doing. 👿

      • And how would they meet the requirements for medical recordkeeping with oral medical records? They’d have to have HIPPA-compliant oral record keepers following them around to document when those records were accessed and by whom, who all had agreed to the requisite verbal forms to grant access to spouses ans such, and to regurgitate on demand all the regulations whenever any question came up.

        And don’t even talk to me about compliance audits.

      • I’m skeptical of world building ‘LOL herblore and medical diagnostic wise women’, partly due to issues of records and oral transmission, and partly reservations about the capability of original measurement and analysis.

        Best version I heard of splitting the baby was from Vathara’s Embers— she’s describing a form of very primitive CPR that amounts to hitting the place we’d put our webbed hands on, called something like a primal thump, and the person doing it is thinking something like “the stories say that this SOMETIMES works….”

        Hell, if they’re dead anyways, why not, right?

        (That’s the sample bias you’re going against for magical herbwomen.)

        • Feather Blade

          “precordial” I think.

          But I’m too lazy to go look up the footnote she put it in.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            “precordial thump” is what the footnote says.

            • Oh, well in that case, it is certainly the sound made by somebody who’s imbibed far too many precordials.

          • Precordial refers, I believe, to the round of drinks served after the apertifs and before the desert liquers.

            Or perhaps it describes the attitude of wariness prevailing before the members of the party become relaxed.

            I am never entirely sure. Context matters, after all.

    • From what I gather in Plato’s writings, lots of people memorized things very carefully. I can’t remember the exact passage, but it was reported that someone had had his grandfather repeat a story again and again till he had it memorized. So, I don’t think there was a guild so much as a culture of careful memorizing. Plato himself rails against writing as a device that will cause people to become worse at memorizing. This puzzled me because Plato himself wrote an awful lot, until the day it hit me that he didn’t actually write it all down himself. He had dictated things to slaves.

      • Terry Sanders

        There’s a story about an Athenian house that collapsed during a dinner party or symposion. The bodies were mangled beyond recognition, but the only survivor (he’d apparently stepped out for a moment) walked around the pile of stone and named each corpse.

        He’d memorized the guest list and where each guest was sitting, out of sheer habit. Orators did that.

    • Bards aren’t just a D&D invention. They existed for a reason – to pass down history.

    • Also, Homer mentions “boar’s tusk helmets” which did not exist at his time but later excavation was able to reconstruct. Bits and pieces can stick.

    • Mark Twain’s account of having to learn the Mississippi is interesting in regards to the heights memory can attain. During his apprenticeship, he was constantly appalled to learn what he needed to commit to memory. The Mississippi as it looked going upstream, and the name of every single bend and point and plantation. The Mississippi at night. The Mississippi going down stream, and the name of every bend likewise. The location of every single hidden bluff reef, wreck, snag, and sandbar. The river when in high water, low water, ect. And so on and so on- especially since the river changed constantly.
      And to his eternal pride, he did learn it all.

    • let’s see, there are roughly 150,000 words each in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Can you imagine the variations we’d get if everyone here, without resorting to any references other than memory, write the history of the American Revolution in 140,000 to 160,000 words? In our so copious spare time of course. 😉

  7. there was a large influx of Portuguese into England at that time. What happened to them? They got genetically swamped

    Mrs. Chronda has been getting into the DNA genealogy lately. According to ancestry.com, her brother clocks in at about 90% British. Ancestry.com claims that actual Britons today only clock in at about 70% British.

    I have no idea what goes into those DNA ethnicity tests.

    • Bullsh*t mostly, according to my son. NOT DELIBERATE bullsh*t, but don’t put much faith in them.
      Every conception, half the DNA gets “wrapped” and functionally thrown away.
      What that means is that what they say is there IS there. What they say isn’t there, might or might not have been in your ancestry. It just isn’t manifest in YOU.
      I know, clear as mud. But that’s about it.

      • What that means is that what they say is there IS there. What they say isn’t there, might or might not have been in your ancestry. It just isn’t manifest in YOU.

        I was surprised and amused at the differences in DNA ethnicity between her and her brother.

        As for me? Well, I have documentation for about 12% Eastern European, but only 6% according to the DNA test. So, yeah; absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

        • I got involved in DNA genealogy about 5 years ago as an adjunct to pen-and-paper (really keyboard-and-computer) genealogy.

          One of the things I learned early on is that many participants have an overly inflated idea of what it can do. And that most of the time “6 % XYZ DNA” really means “these specific sequences in these specific locations (for 6% of your total DNA) most closely match those seen in the reference samples from the XYZ group”.

          For some groups that for many generations tended to only members of their group (Ashkenazi Jews, Canary Islanders, French Canadians, to a lesser extent colonial era New England) you tend to get long sequences that are very common, which makes identification more certain. And the larger a percentage is seen (say, >4-5%, the more likely the match is to be correct.

          But people need to remember that even in previous centuries, genes were not fixed – people mostly married others from one or two villages over (say, no more than 30 miles off), but enough moved to and from larger towns to mix things up a bit, and a few (traders, sailers, soldiers) went a much further (and may have left genes behind them all the way). And national boundaries (and national identities!) varied considerably over time. Yes, it’s possible to statistically identify a “British” group – but it has considerable overlap with NW France, the Benelux, and Western Germany. Wash-lather-repeat for most other populations.

          And every one of the major DNA companies has its own proprietary algorithms – they generally agree in broad strokes, but may disagree on specifics.

          Apart from that, there’s a considerably variance on what any two siblings may inherit from their parents. Yes, you get 50% from each parent – but it isn’t always the same 50% as your brother. On average, full siblings will share somewhere between 45% and 55% of their DNA with a full sibling, 23% to 27% with a half sibling. But go out a couple of generations and the variance is considerably more – statistically, about half your confirmed-by-family-tree 4th cousins will show no more genetic link than the population group you both belong to, while an occasional 8th cousin may pop up with a confirmed genetic link. (I speak from experience on that last – I’ve confirmed the family tree links of several 8th cousins and a couple 8th 1R that showed up on DNA tests).

          And I’ve had several confirmed-by-family tree 2nd cousins test – at that distance, they all showed up as closely related, but some shared twice as much as others – thats just over 50% variance in inherited DNA in 3 generations.

          • My mom’s 4-H DNA brief had a line about how it’s theoretically possible for siblings to have anywhere from totally identical DNA to not a single line in common.

            And then she’d draw it out for them.

        • This reminds me of some discussions I had with my mom… the kids and I stayed with my folks for several months, so we watched TV, which means we saw really dumb commercials.

          Finally decided that the commercials weren’t aimed at us– we may not approve of our ancestors, but we very much know where we came from. I can tell you my great grandmother’s occupation, and yes it was NOT “housewife” for three of the four, and the fourth was questionable. (which pissed off many a social studies teacher…)

          It’s aimed at the people who don’t have a sense of family. Whose history stops at the folks they met and got to know, which probably doesn’t really include their grandparents.

          It’s not because we’re all het up about how awesome our ancestors are, it’s because we talk and family has a lot of stories. Heck, the uncle I call The Bard has pretty much borrowed every sea story he heard first hand and recast it as something he did. 😀

          But if you don’t have that? If you have maybe two aunts, two uncles, sort of knew your grandparents?

          You feel the lack of roots, sort of, if you’re the kind to look that way– and this “ancestry DNA” thing fills that desire.

          • I am in touch with one uncle who is a genealogy nut (though I really need to get in touch with the other genealogy nut uncle from the other side of the family and get them talking), and one of the fun things is that he managed to put together a salic descent genealogy back more than fifty generations. (Once you get a member of British royalty in there somewhere, that becomes easy, because you can just grab that info.)

            Because of this, every time we do The Pirates of Penzance, my bio has a line about how I am 50th in descent from Cerdic the Pirate, who terrorized the Saxon Shore ca. AD 360. (His descendants got to the throne several different directions, IIRC, so he’s well-documented.)

            • A distant relative with the same last name got interested in genealogy. She worked real hard gathering up info on all her relatives up to the current generation. We are all descended from two brothers, John and Edward who were on the 2nd colony ship to Connecticut. As part of her marketing campaign to sell family histories to everyone, she organized family picnics around the country.

              My aunt Mary attended one. She said that she felt hoodwinked into going because it just looked like a generic white peoples party. Then all the descendants of Edward stood up. They definitely looked like they were related to each other. Then she stood up with the John group and they all looked like our family. She said she was stunned. They all had big heads like us. Not egoism, just hat size.

          • I’ve been tempted, I’m adopted and only know my biological father’s background, and even if I had contact with my biological mother’s side, I’ve learned that she was adopted too, so who knows where that half leads.

      • And, yet, when they go to look at the record in recoverable DNA from burials and the like, they find a great deal of congruence with the modern populations, going back thousands of years–Enough so that they can identify some direct descendants in the modern populations from some really remote eras.

        I think that this is an area of biology we’re only starting to really explore, and I suspect there are going to be an awful lot of surprises coming along as we study more.

        What I suspect is that there’s an element of damn near Lamarckian influence from the environment that communicates itself into the expressed gene pool via methylation or other mechanisms we haven’t found yet. As well, the behavioral influence of genetics and epigenetics has yet to be plumbed, and may well never be, for various and sundry reasons. That still doesn’t leave out the unavoidable fact that there are influences which are communicated down the generations–Somehow. Mechanism unknown, but yet observationally verified. I’m voting for genetic something, not wanting to go all metaphysical or quantum, because those are not yet areas we can even say actually exist, in an experimentally validated way. Or, for that matter, be able to even begin to prove. As of yet.

        What may be interesting is the idea someone floated to me of there being a potential for quantum entanglements being involved in the things like “race memory” that we’ve come to believe as being real. I listened to a gentleman go on for a couple of hours about what he’d observed and researched, and what he had come to think might possibly explain a bunch of things in this arena we’re not yet able to do more than edge towards, in formal study. End of the discussion, I wasn’t convinced, but I was intrigued by the ideas he had–Which were geared towards trying to come up with a working hypothesis for things like “race memory” and “the soul”. From a purely scientific quantum mechanics point of view, that is…

        Couldn’t quite decide if he was nuts, or on to something, to tell the truth. Most of what he was talking were third- and fourth-level inferences based on current theories that aren’t at all well-agreed upon.

      • The whole Anastasia story, which was supposedly wrapped up, is starting to get muddy again. Someone noticed the difference between the DNA of the royals who contributed blood to quash the Anna Anderson claim.

        • At this point, all seven Romanov bodies, plus their servants, have been recovered. There may still be some quibbling about which body belongs to which sister, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that they’re all accounted for and all died in the massacre.

          Plus, if I remember the ultimate end of the Anna Anderson story, not only did the DNA identify her as not Anastasia, but it positively identified her as someone else.

          Whatever interesting discoveries might be in the Russian royal family DNA, I’m extremely skeptical that it could reopen the Anastasia saga.

          • According to Rachel Dolezal, genetics don’t matter. If Anna identified as a Romanov then she’s a Romanov.

            • An old line about “And I am Queen of Siam!” comes to mind, but instead I will turn to Dorothy Parker:

              “Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
              a medley of extemporanea,
              And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
              and I am Marie of Romania.”

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Suppose that through space alien domestication and breeding we somehow had distinct purebred varieties of human. Say, red, blue, pink, and green. These varieties have distinct genetic traces across many chromosomes, and have been isolated for near enough to infinite generations, and any variations well mixed inside the group.

      A kid of a red/blue might be anywhere from 100% red to 100% blue, excepting maybe the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. Same with a pink/green. The kid of those kids might be depending on the parents 100% of any color, or any combination thereof.

      So on the testee side, for every generation you’ve lost half the markers that might identify a population, and on the tester side, who knows what markers past populations lost as they became the modern populations we actually collect the markers from. Yeah, statistics, and really old genetic samples. Using the data to estimate a specific person’s ancestry is still on par with predicting the weather, say, a hundred years out.

    • They’re actually reporting “we took your DNA, and samples from a bunch of places, and there’s the most checkboxes in common between you and them in this place.”

      They just then define that as “you’re genetically (wherever)” instead.

      Make your own joke about guacamole being a fruit salad. (Tomato and avocado are both fruit.)

      • My brother had it done, just for fun. The interesting thing was that it put him as well below 50% Polish, but it said his most recent ancestor from that region was in a time period that would coincide with our dad. (His parents were both Polish, though they met and married in the U.S.)

      • Of course, not all DNA locations are equal…

        “We have a 97% correspondence between your DNA sample and Pan Troglodytes…”

  8. There’s such a tendency to project how we see the world now to the past that it’s not even surprising anymore. One show my wife watches had an improbably fancy sandwich because it was supposed to be in pre WWI Canada and in a small, remotish, town at that. Those ingredients wouldn’t be available in all seasons, if they would be available at all. Apparently no one caught that, because having fresh vegetables out of season is at least two or three generations old in most of the US and Canada, and some writers think it’s always been the case. The type of diversity the SJWs imagine is more American than European, and was somewhat the case even in the late 18th Century. But that’s just the 18th Century, and American history wouldn’t make a thick veneer compared to the Old World’s. Even then, I suspect some who go for those genetic tests are in for a surprise.

    • The type of diversity the SJWs imagine is more American than European …

      I am reliably informed* that America prior to the 21st Century was a horrible swamp of intolerance, ostracism, racism, sexism, LGBQT-phobias and patriarchy, so it seems unlikely our enlightened SJW community would imagine what you describe. Only insane people could simultaneously hold two such diametrically opposed concepts of the same era.

      *If by “reliably informed” one means “routinely harangued.”

  9. The leftist cognitive dissonance in this area is very obvious. While they’re all over the salad bowl concept of society and the evils of cultural appropriation, it seems that every TV show these days has at least one interracial couple. Think about that–if appropriating some culture is evil, wouldn’t appropriating their young men and women and bringing them into the mass culture be even more evil?

    • There you go, being logical again…

    • scott2harrison

      Only if the husband is white. If he is black, it is a reparation.

      • That assumes he keeps his white wife in the ‘hood. If he moves to the ‘burbs with her, the argument stands (I think).

        • scott2harrison

          No, in that case he is an Oreo so they are just another white couple, not really interracial.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Nope.

            He becomes an Oreo when he becomes a Republican not when he marries a white and moves to suburbia.

            You got to keep these things straight. 😉

            • scott2harrison

              That used to be the case, but I believe that currently he just has to be insufficiently progressive. Moving to the suburbs should be conservative enough to qualify.

              • Either way, I’m evil! Yeah! I got to be evil!

                I took him from his native jungle (not really, we met here) and brought him to rural Idaho.

                Totally evil. My boys are going to be thrilled that they are legitimately evil spawn.

                • Yeah, like Dan who took me from my simple and communitarian village life! I think your kids would like my kids… 😀

                  • I have a suspicion that the unidentified ‘white’ ancestor on my husband’s side was Portuguese. Not just because the family hails from Cameroon, but because that picture you posted of your second son? He wouldn’t look at all out of place in our family pictures.

                    I’m not sure the world would survive my kids meeting yours. But I’m sure my kids would love yours during the moments before and while they destroyed reality in whichever way they chose.

              • Terry Sanders

                Wrong. His skin color upsets the neighbors; therefore he is a living rebuke to Evil White Racisses (is that the correct plural?) everywhere.

                And even if all his neighbors are Progressive and Enlightened and all that stuff, he still offends some of the audience. That counts.

                • But if the neighbors aren’t Progressive and Enlightened and stuff, and they still believe that Old Fashioned Judge by Content of Character not Color of Skin thing, and they also aren’t upset by his skin color . . . then what does that make him? Invisible?

                  (Besides, y’know, just a guy who lives down the road and is a good neighbor.)

                  • Terry Sanders

                    The original comment waa about interracial couples *on tv.* That means the progressive neighbors are mainly there to assist him in upsetting the audience. All virtue-signallers together.

                    • Terry Sanders

                      Ah, sorry ’bout that, Holly–it was early, I was half- asleep, etc.

                      The correct answer to your actual queation: The people you imagine are what the “Progressives” *claim* to be (reverse racism is the *correct* way to be color-blind),. So the above apples.

                    • It’s fine, Terry. My comment was kind of making fun of people who want to believe that the old fashioned content of character folks are evil white racists, because many of our neighbors resemble that description, and the rest fit it except for the skin color. As far as I can tell, when it comes to SJWs, people like us are totally invisible. Whites can’t be non-racist if they’re non-progressive, and hispanics, blacks, and native americans can’t possibly be in political agreement with such whites, or live in a neighborhood together happily.

                      So our color is invisible. I might have to use that.

          • Well, that’s true. Diversity is always important and to be glorified, so long as everyone is uniformly leftist. Did I forget to mention that? 😉

    • I’m an American.
      We’ve been (mis-)appropriating desirable parts of other cultures for over 400 years.
      Failure to uphold that tradition is 100% proof positive that you’re not behaving as a proper American.
      Take THAT you Subjectively Discriminatory Diversificationists!

      • Yup. Our culture is the creative creole culture of all our voluminous forebears. Incorporating them into us is our affirmation of their desirability!

  10. c4c

  11. One ‘game’ of Telephone should be sufficient for enlightenment as to accuracy of oral messaging.

    • Most of the games of telephone I was involved in managed to stay fairly accurate unless someone deliberately changed things. Which in no way refutes this claim…it just adds an additional, potentially malicious, wrinkle.

      • Not my experience. I remember playing with my class and having “Lisa has a dog” become “Alicia is a big, fat pig” (which did not endear the person who had started the thread to Alicia). I suppose it’s possible that there was some malice in there, but for the most part, the evolution seemed logical, (“has a” -> “is a”, “Lisa” -> “Alicia”, “dog” -> “hog” -> “big, fat pig”).

        • It is possible/probable that I played with smaller groups. I don’t think we ever had more than about ten people involved in a game of telephone, and the concept of, well, whispering was apparently foreign to a number of my friends/classmates.

    • Conversely, ever try “changing up” a favorite story with kids? LOL… Yeah, try that, and see what happens.

      I think that there are a lot of different things going into this–Sure, oral transmission of ephemeral stuff, like who has been boinking whom off in the berry bushes, is going to be rather… Distorted, by transmission.

      However, things that are not rumor/communication, things that are commonly told fireside stories, and lore? Those are things that are a lot less likely to be subject to such things, especially when passed down along a line of selected-for-memory-skills types like storytellers. If you were an ancient-times tribal storyteller, you telling the story differently than your predecessor might have had dire consequences to your continued employment. Minor differences, sure–They’d creep in, from style if nothing else. However, the major high points of the narrative? They’re going to remain the same, or you’re gonna be unemployed. People may not be able to tell the tales themselves, but they’d remember the details as you go along, and changing them up is not going to go over well.

      We lack a truly oral tradition, and have for the last few thousand years. I don’t think we really know how it went, back in those days, and trying to extrapolate backwards is fraught with peril. We do know that humans managed to spread across the world from their starting point in Africa damn quickly, and very successfully–And, that in the face of the changing conditions at the end of the last Ice Age. I find it hard to believe that they re-invented the wheel with every few generations, so to speak, and I suspect that they had mechanisms by which the oral traditions were passed, and kept accurate down the years. I’d also suggest that the way writing got started was because of the various “memory aids” and cues the oral knowledge-keepers used to pass on things became systematized and more commonly used.

      When you’re the autistic dude who can’t hunt very well, it would serve you well to keep your esoteric knowledge esoteric, whether it was navigation, medicine, or historical. I suspect, too, that there are a lot of these little “aides memoires” that these shaman/autistic/wise men kept secret to themselves, and that we’re not even aware of what we’re handling when we find them.

      I can’t remember where the hell I read it, because it was years ago, but one of the guys who’d found a bunch of “sacred objects” buried with what they took to be a shaman somewhere in Eastern Europe had the theory that some of the things he found were tactile “anatomy charts” used to help diagnose problems–There were bumps on these “spirit dolls” that corresponded with where the abdomen would swell and harden for appendicitis, for example, and it was stuff that he only found because his little brother was studying for a career in medicine or was a doctor, and he recognized the significance of what had been found on those figures.

    • Suitable revenge would be for Americans to provide telephonic help services to Indians for all American products sold in India.

    • One of the reasons for epic poetry is that scansion and rhyme served as “error checking” to ensure that the data was passed on correctly. You say something wrong and it breaks the rhythm. Not perfect, but better than straight prose recitation.

      • Exactly…

        And, get the rhyme wrong, and your audience will let you know. Emphatically. Same with the flow–There is a reason why song and music are so thoroughly intertwined with storytelling. They serve as memory aids, and error-checking features in usage.

      • Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter less because it sounded pretty and more because it helped the actors remember their f***ing lines.

        I can still quote Gloucester’s ending soliloquy from Henry VI, part III; and that was from a acting class nearly thirty years ago.

    • Patrick Chester

      ….and I can’t find a good clip of the grapevine scene from Johnny Dangerously. “That isn’t what I said.” “No, but I know this grapevine.”

  12. Sarah, niece of my heart, I do hope you know that when I refer to you as Portagee it is will nothing but love and admiration on my part. Not some aspersion such as that 19th century high brow English beyatch.
    For the record, it originally came to my mind based on a vague recollection of old John Wayne movies where the Duke would refer to one of his best buds with that appellation.

  13. To build a future based on lies is like building a bridge with rotten boards. It might look pretty, but it will mean death and devastation long before you get to the other side.

    This was my take on why the USSR collapsed. The theory sounded pretty for a while, but it was built on myths of pseudo-scientific rationalism in the first place, and when it incorporated the definition of “Truth is what serves the Party” (the leaders of the party being “enlightened” despots with the emphasis on despots), after a couple of generations everyone (in Russia, anyway) figured out that the Party was lying and always had been, and quit believing.

    I don’t know when the media in this country pensioned off Kipling’s honest serving men, and began reporting only those facts that support the narrative that the publishers want to construct, but it’s fairly evident that that has occurred.

    • The media has been FUBAR for longer than any of us recognize, I think.

      Walter Duranty, anyone? The distortions of Hearst, et al? Yellow Journalism?

      What is really amazing to me is how long the illusion kept up, to be honest–I was starting to cotton on to the contradictions and lies when I was reading and contrasting multiple newspapers every day, and buying foreign papers on weekends to peruse, back in the early 1990s. When the Internet came in, and I had hot and cold running news in my living quarters, the various things they were pulling became really obvious.

      I think at least a part of the insanity we’re seeing in the “news media” these days stems from the fact that they can’t even keep things straight in their own heads, and it is driving them nuts to try. They know that the evidence for their malfeasance is only a mouse click away, and so they double down on shrill and insistent, trying to make the doubts in their own heads go away. What we’re seeing is, I believe, an example of institutional cognitive dissonance writ large, and in an heretofore unprecedented way.

      Wait and see what comes out of this deal with the Seth Rich killing–If it turns out to be accurate that he was killed for being the DNC Wikileaks source, something I suspected since the beginning…? Wow. You’re gonna watch a huge swathe of pop-culture news credibility just implode. Given that the Washington, DC metro police were apparently told to “stand down” on the investigation? Holy shit… That pretty much makes Watergate look tame by comparison. If they trace his death back up the chain, to the people who gave the orders? My God… Death of the Democratic Party structure as we know it.

      • The whole concept of “journalistic objectivity” comes from the Progressive movement in the 1890s and early 20th century. Before that everyone knew which way each of the newspapers in town slanted, and if you really wanted to find out what happened you read them all and extrapolated. The progressives managed to sell the concept to the public (and also the concept that they were the ones providing “objective journalism”). After that, their propaganda machine reigned unchecked till the internet and citizen journalism made it impossible for them to hide their distortions anymore.

        • Newspapers were cheaper back then. And you had a lot more of them. All this consolidation, added to costs of printed media, means you have far fewer sources, fewer well trained journalists, and central control over what gets published and what doesn’t. (Sounds like the same problem with Brick and Mortar versus Indie, doesn’t it?) Makes you really wonder who’s wagging the Turner and Murdock empires.

      • Shirer’s “The Nightmare Years” isn’t as well-known as “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, though it ties in closely. The Reich was his scholarly work; Nightmare was mostly an autobiography, and he talked about being a foreigh correspondent in Germany. Shirer was an important correspondent; he dealt with censorship on his end (sometimes directly with Goebbels), but he also talked about how his employers were only interested in articles that said what they wanted to hear. Which didn’t include anything that made Germany look bad, which greatly simplified dealing with the censors…

      • I do the snide “Comey didn’t want to commit suicide by shooting himself in the back three times with a shotgun” type stuff at times, but… you know, dang if there isn’t some raise-your-eyebrow stuff around, especially now that it’s coming into fashion to actively follow and assault people who don’t agree with you politically. (on the left, notably, when you remove “because the purple dragon said to” type cases)

  14. And there are little things like assuming the river has always been ; here, when less than a hundred years ago it was over there.

    • You’ll see that sort of thing in how people give directions to stuff, at least where I am (New England). I saw a sign on Saturday advertising an upcoming boy scout yard sale in a neighboring town. The sign read “boy scout yard sale at old Shaw’s” followed by dates and times.

      Shaw’s is a supermarket chain here in New England. I cannot remember exactly *when* the supermarket location in the neighboring town changed, but it’s been at *least* 15 years. And there’s no signage on or near the building anymore to indicate what it used to be. Ergo, those directions assume that you’ve been in the area long enough to be familiar with where things used to be and/or what they used to be named.

      • When I lived in New England, we got lots of those. “Turn left at the red house” – it was painted blue 8 years ago. “Turn at the second light from the end of the road” – you just gotta know where the road ends. “Two miles past the Lowell’s barn” – the barn burned down two years ago, assuming you know who the Lowells are.

        Another imported couple we met said that they were talking to locals about the dearth of road signs, and were told, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t deserve to be there!”

        • Try an actual property deed 😀 My parents had property where one corner of the LEGAL DESCRIPTION was, in this order: “old oak tree” (crossed out) “dead oak tree” (crossed out) “oak stump”. Another corner was defined as “large boulder on beach” (the beach was primarily large boulders). My parents shocked the community by hiring a surveyor…

          • *tries not to cackle madly*

            Our old family property deed included a hanging post, a still, a spring, and an iron nail for the four corners. The nail is actually the only thing anywhere near its original location, far as I can tell (and I used to go about grubbing in the dirt as a vocation).

      • I used to live in the Old “Johnson” house, and the New “Johnson” house was across the street. The old house has a plaque on it; the new one doesn’t.

      • You ought to hear some of our place names at work. One of them is a skating rink that was out of operation before I started school. We joke about that, but I really should do a gazetteer of company place names.

      • First house I lived in was The Striker Place.

        It was owned by my dad’s employer, who had lived in it when he got married.

        He was born a few months after the last recorded Indian raid in California, which I think was the last one in the US. He was too old to be drafted for WWII. (I don’t know his age, or when he was married.)

        It was used by one other employee– or maybe relative, or maybe both– between him and my dad.

        There was nobody named Striker in the valley.

        But when I went to the valley in 2005, it was still “the Striker place.”

        It is also not an impressive house, by any means.

        • A couple decades ago, when eminent domain guaranteed the neighborhood university was going to cleanse the neighborhood, one house we considered was a retrofitting of a farmhouse built (IIRC) circa 1820. It was beautifully rehabbed in a mode appropriate to its period, the four rooms (LARGE rooms, 15 X 20) positioned side by side, two up and two down, with kitchen, den, guest, bath and garage neatly tucked in behind the house. Not suited to our needs, unfortunately, else we would have proudly proclaimed ourselves owners of the house named for its first owner, farmer Lowe.

          No, there was a basement underneath the John B. Lowe House.

          • My aunt and uncle moved into their SIL’s old family home outside of Ashville NC. They really hated the small rooms on the ground floor. After much hemming and hawing they decided that livability was more important than history so started knocking down some walls. A 90 something neighbor lady strolled over with some her young kin to see what was happening. The old lady was ecstatic that they were restoring the original floor plan. Seemed the family 85 years ago had too many kids so they subdivided the living room.

      • Happens here in Appalachia, too. Almost the same thing, as I give directions to my father’s house with “turn left at the old Food City (closed after I graduated high school), right at the cornfield (fallow since the farmer’s moved on twenty years now), and left again at the old church (burned down in ’86, I think).

        • Feather Blade

          Oh yes.

          “It’s in the building that used to be a Tidyman’s before they built the new one (which has been vacant for the better part of 20 years)”

        • I remember how to get to one local nature park (hiking trails and such) with “turn left where the long woodpile was”. And it still works for me, but that’s not going to help *anybody* else since that woodpile has been gone for over a decade. The fence it was next to is still there, though, I think….

      • There are a large number of people who can find their way to the new room at my parents’ house in spite of not remembering the days before the addition. (Mostly because they were never there. But we have photographic evidence that one cousin was present at a time before it was built, and just doesn’t remember it.)

    • I remember being taught about erosion and river bed changes in elementary school. My Mississippi ancestors who lived near the river might not have graves anymore because they might have been washed out to sea as the river has changed course. One of the reasons I like looking at old maps and then compare it to today’s Google earth images.

      • I like survey maps for this. As an added bonus, you also can get a quick sampling of what kind of trees were prominent in an area in the description of property corners.

  15. I grew up in a relatively diverse country and WELL AFTER the middle ages, but people from the next village over were “foreigners” and people from 200 miles away had derogatory names attached to them.

    I had a friend whose husband retired from the Coast Guard in the mid-1970s. They bought a small farm in central Connecticut. Well over a decade later, it was still referred to as “the (previous family’s name) place,” and they were still considered “the new people” and “outsiders.” A bit distressing to her, since by that point, they’d been active in the local church and community and their boys had attended through high school.

    • We rented a house in Groton, MA for a couple of years. The landlady told us that we would never be accepted as locals, our children wouldn’t be considered to be locals (we had none at the time, so if we’d had any they would have been born there), but our grandchildren might be considered to be locals if we all stuck around that long. When telling locals where we lived, they were puzzled by the address but understood immediately when we referred to it as “the old ‘s place”.

    • I’ve been 17 years now in my house, still referred to as “The Old T______” Place”. Most of the streets in town still have at least one family on the street that the street was named after. And there’s still a church on Church Street, Railroad Ave. runs next to the railroad…. There’s one numbered street in town. I’ve heard 3 different stories as to the source of the number. So much for oral histories.

      • My husband’s family is from CT. They founded Norwalk. My son Robert was the first in the line born outside CT since the 1600s. Dan says he could go back, but the boys MIGHT be “strangers”

    • Terry Sanders

      I once had a character mention his family’d moved to the show’s South Georgia setting in the 1840’s. One of the other fellows on the porch expressed surprise. Ol’ Woody admitted that yes, they were fairly new around here. “We don’t talk about it much.”

      The local patriarch assured him they didn’t hold it against him.

  16. In investigating histories of peoples, it was really interesting to find out that the “first” invasion from the east into Europe was a group of blond, blue-eyed horse-riding nomads. They eventually moved further west into Hungary/Romania/etc. And, yes, they started out in the East Asian steppes.

    Diversity! 😉

  17. Also, to examine the accuracy of information transmission overtime, look as to who might want to shift the content or context of that information.

    For example, we have voluminous written documentation of the intent of the Founder Fathers in regards to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, and it has been less than 250 years. Yet, a great number of people believe an entirely wrong alternate history as regards that document. And that’s not even an oral transmission, but a written one.

  18. I seem to be the official whipping boy here, but here goes…

    WHY is there always this assumption that two groups will always mingle? (Unfortunately, I do seem to be taking the side here of the people I hate, i.e, the Left; then again, it wasn’t that long ago that they were running a Time magazine cover showing the “future American” who was a perfect mix of races).

    In order for two groups to genetically intermingle, you need either rape(without subsequent abortion), or consensual sex.

    Rape only has a significant effect in terms of genetics when one group has total control of another, not only on the macro political level, but on the micro persecuted level.(An example was slavery in the antebellum South).

    Other than that, a girl has to say Yes. And girls don’t say Yes to Lesser Men.

    • I don’t doubt that you are right about the lack of diversity in old Europe, you understand. I just suspect that the intermingling was almost entirely local male/immigrant female, rather than the other week around, and then only exceptionally pretty immigrants (and generally light-skinned ones). In other words, I think it was less a case of immigrants intermarrying and more a case of them either dying off or leaving.

      • (Rolls eyes.) You MIGHT believe that, if you never read first hand accounts.
        There was a good deal of very-dark male immigrant, local well-born woman. It normally got excused with the kid looking so dark because x (recently, up to the 20th century, because mother drank too much coffee.)
        Your theories are ridiculous and not based on reality.

        • I recently read a book about slavery in XVI century Portugal, and there’s plenty of documentation proving that out of wedlock relationships between slaves and free men and women were quite common at the time. Marriages between slaves or former slaves and native Portuguese also did happen. As did marriages between slaves or former slaves of different ethnicities. For example the book mentions the existence of records of 3 marriages involving free Japanese, one was a Japanese-Japanese marriage, another a Japanese-Portuguese marriage, and the final one a Japanese-slave marriage (there’s no details on the ethnicity of the slave.)

          Regards,
          Rui Jorge

      • “the intermingling was almost entirely local male/immigrant female”
        Then you don’t know women, imho. “Going bad boy” is NOT a purely modern phenomenon. (No, it’s also not all women, but it’s a goodly piece of them.)

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Not even going “bad boy”, it could be he’s strange looking but cute. 😉

        • All the stuff from Rome about how suddenly all the aristocratic kids resembled a certain gladiator? Yeah.

        • Women love bad boys. Not even “some women”; women with” nice guys” spend pretty much their entire lives bitterly hating them.

          What women DON’T like is men who cannot force their way out of their lowly position. And that, the overwhelming majority of the time, has been the position of immigrants. They had to keep their heads down, or get them kicked in. Women saw this as weakness and despised them.

          The ONLY reason things are different today is that the governing class has, for political reasons, made darker people the Real Men. Every dark man is seen as a badass ruthlessly dominating the mean streets when he isn’t winning an NBA championship, and every white man is a fat, balding accountant who shuffles sadly home, staring at the ground lest he should unintentionally attract the attention of the dominant race and get mugged once again.

          • And just so you don’t misconstrue what I am saying: I am saying that this is the subconscious perception, not that it is reality. The perception is almost universal, however.

          • The over-generalizations are strong here…….

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Another assumption.

            IE The immigrant is “always low status” and “has to keep his head down”.

            To be blunt, you have fallen into the Leftish view that “Older Societies Are Always Racist”.

            For one thing, the immigrant may be “higher status” than the woman so she sees “marrying him” as a leap in status for her.

            Second, the immigrant doesn’t have to keep his head down as long as he gives proper recognition to the customs and laws of his new home. A successful immigrant can become part of his new home by putting his money into the “local church fund”, by showing that he honors the same standards that his new neighbors honor, and so forth.

            The new immigrant isn’t necessarily going to come in as the “lowest of the low” but may come in “below the highest and above the lowest”.

            When we look at the immigrant experience in the US, we see immigrants being successful by accepting the ways of their new land while still adding something to their new land.

            Yes, Medieval England wasn’t the US, but it also wasn’t the Evil Racist Land that Lefties would have you believe.

            • I don’t think it was an evil society; quite the contrary, I think in most respects it was preferable to what we have today.

              It was somewhat unfair that a dark man who had personal courage was unlikely to have that courage recognized. Then again, it is unfair that courageous white men today are not recognized either.

              The reason their society was preferable was that a cowardly white man would be despised by women then; whereas a cowardly darker man today is still seen as a member of the Race and thus desirable to women.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                And I’m disputing your “views”.

                As in: “you don’t know what you are talking about”.

                • Sophomoric twerp with no real experience of the actual world or how it works.
                  A parrot of the Alt-White squawking words he doesn’t understand.

              • “Then again, it is unfair that courageous white men today are not recognized either.”

                Citation needed, you blithering twit, especially given the popularity of movies like American Sniper and Lone Survivor.

              • It was somewhat unfair that a dark man who had personal courage was unlikely to have that courage recognized. Then again, it is unfair that courageous white men today are not recognized either.

                Really shouldn’t project your own flaws out on others.

                My husband is “white,” at least these days. (go back a few generations, and neither of us are)

                I, and all decent people that know him, recognize the good and brave things he does.
                LIke, say, moving halfway across the country to be able to afford any family at all, much less ours.

                Now, the guys looking for f***-buddies? Not so much. They scream about how he’s a coward for not being a violent idiot who attacks the targets they approve of.

          • “The ONLY reason things are different today is that the governing class has, for political reasons, made darker people the Real Men. Every dark man is seen as a badass ruthlessly dominating the mean streets when he isn’t winning an NBA championship, and every white man is a fat, balding accountant who shuffles sadly home, staring at the ground lest he should unintentionally attract the attention of the dominant race and get mugged once again.”

            Are you delusional, or are you communicating to us from Farnham’s Freehold?

            • Volksdeutsche Expatriate disciple. EVERYONE who says “He is a jerk, but he says things that–” Yeah… no.

              • Umm… I’ve said that on occasion.

                Or rather, I think he’s very intelligent, but with some *weird* blindspots, and I think at some point the VD persona took over the core personality.

                I don’t *think*, I’m a disciple

                • I don’t think you’re going to tell us he has the courage to say what we only think…

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Very intelligent and lots of pet theories about everything is sometimes always worth listening to, and sometimes a complete waste of time. One can use intelligence to disguise the flaws of one’s pet theories, or one can use it to find flaws, and ruthlessly discard the ones that don’t hold up.

              • Generally the truthful part of statements like that are to the left of the “but”…

          • Ken, you’re full of it. I have never liked bad boys. I married a high tech red neck from AL. He’s a computer consultant by profession. He doesn’t shuffle, unless he’s gravely ill. He’s competent, resourceful, a dutiful son and quite loving. He is the nicest guy I’ve ever met. I love him with every fiber of my being. I hope to spend the rest of my life with him.

            • He’s been reading up on the “game” so he thinks all women are looking for idiots.
              Sigh. Idiot women are.

              • Reading, but there’s an obvious abundance of a lack of practical knowledge on the subject.

              • ^ This. Ignorance is curable, but idiocy is bulletproof.

              • My theory is that the hindbrain is stupid and easily fooled, and the forebrain needs to override it. A “bad boy” doesn’t give a d*mn what anyone else thinks, he’s going to do what he wants. A good man doesn’t give a d*mn what anyone else thinks, he’s going to do what’s right. The hindbrain only sees the “doesn’t give a d*mn” attitude, and puts out attraction signals. A smart woman will let her knowledge of the man’s character, which her forebrain has but her hindbrain doesn’t, override the hindbrain’s attraction signals and say, “Yes, he’s confident and strong, but that just means he’ll feel perfectly fine about himself when he beats me up for burning the toast” and go look for another man, who combines confidence with goodness.

                The PUAs are teaching men how to send off confidence signals. (I won’t say “fake” confidence signals, because this is one area where “Fake it ’till you make it” really works: as men see themselves having more success with women, even if that success is “She finished an entire conversation with me without walking away, and actually laughed at my jokes”, they truly do get more confident). This results in them finding more women attracted to them — but if their character hasn’t changed, then there will be a filtering effect in the women they will find attracted to them. If they are men of good character, then they’ll find the intelligent women attracted to them as well as the not-so-smart ones, and they’ll come away with a generous view of women (“You need to be a good man, but you also need to act like a man, and be resolute and confident, and then you’ll get good women attracted to you”). But if they are NOT men of good character, then the only women they’ll find attracted to them are the ones who haven’t learned to let the forebrain override the hindbrain. The smarter women, who let their forebrain override their hindbrain, will avoid those newly-confident jerks. Result: the jerks come away with a very negative view of women, because the only ones they end up interacting with are the not-too-smart ones. And so they think that all women are, basically, bimbos, because the non-bimbo women quickly take themselves out of the jerks’ path and so are essentially invisible to the jerks.

                BTW, that “the hindbrain is stupid and the forebrain needs to override it” thing works on men, too, though when men are evaluation women it’s usually her looks, not her confidence, that the hindbrain is scanning for. Hence why all the advice from older men to younger men is along the lines of “Yes, that woman is hot, but she’s crazy. Stay away from the crazy ones.” If the hindbrain were scanning for character and the forebrain needed to scan for looks, then the vast majority of advice would be the other way around, e.g. “Yes, she’s got good character, but she’s really plain. It’s important for marital happiness that you be really attracted to your spouse, so look for a women who’s both good and beautiful.” But that’s not the direction that the advice goes. Young men are naturally attracted to beautiful women, and need their elders to help train them to recognize the importance of character as well as beauty, because the hindbrain is stupid and doesn’t understand about character. And young women are naturally attracted to confident men, and need their elders to help train them to recognize the importance of character as well as confidence, because the hindbrain is stupid and doesn’t understand about character.

                • … when men are evaluation women it’s usually her looks, not her confidence, that the hindbrain is scanning for.

                  Do not underestimate how much brains and confidence go into making a woman look lovely. The reason beauty pageants traditionally have the bathing suit portion is that it is a powerful test of a gal’s self-confidence.

                  Of course, as with men, self-confidence can be an expression of lack of self-awareness, and all the brain power put into “feminine wiles” is brain power not available for other activities.

                  • Terry Sanders

                    There are other, and more obvious, reasons as well.

                    That said, I have observed that my late wife’s attractiveness (she wasn’t bad looking at all, but still) was frequently dragged down by her extremely poor self-image. When she wasn’t thinking about herself as a woman, it was kinda fun to watch guys drift in her direction. As I frequently reminded her.

                    I’ve been told the same is/was true of myself, but how would I know?

                • “Now, if you must marry, take care she is old —
                  A troop-sergeant’s widow’s the nicest I’m told,
                  For beauty won’t help if your rations is cold,
                  Nor love ain’t enough for a soldier.
                  ‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier . . .”
                  ‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier,
                  ‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier,
                  So-oldier OF the Queen!”

                • The PUAs are teaching men how to send off confidence signals.

                  Yep and if you read some parts of the game community (Dalrock is a good example) their argument is that we are not teaching young women this:

                  A smart woman will let her knowledge of the man’s character, which her forebrain has but her hindbrain doesn’t, override the hindbrain’s attraction signals

                  PUAs seem more interested in teaching men, as you point out, to take advantage of a culture that is supposedly not teaching women the overrides. Other parts are more about teaching men to select women who have learned the overrides or teaching women how to develop them.

                  Why we aren’t teaching women (if we aren’t…I’m still out but think the PUAs have at least a partial point)? I think birth control and women entering the work force in mass make it appear, on the surface, that chasing bad boys doesn’t have the downsides it once did.

                  • It might be noted that the PUAs are not teaching men, they are raising up predatory males. The goal of being a man, being a mensch, is something entirely different; it is to be a man of good character regardless of whether you benefit materially from it.

                    A society dedicated to producing predatory males, rather than men, is worse than doomed, it is not worth saving.

                    The same goes for a society dedicated to producing idiot women, as well. Part of the problem of our current society is that it mocks and degrades good women and men.

              • In defense of the game crowd some of them say idiot women are looking for bad boys and then argue our society is training most women to be idiots.

                To be honest, I’m thinking on that point, that we are raising idiots by new, improved modern methods of childrearing, the game folks may be more right than wrong.

                • To be honest, I’m thinking on that point, that we are raising idiots by new, improved modern methods of childrearing, the game folks may be more right than wrong.

                  Sadly this argument has certain merits.

            • I’ll be right there, love.

          • Historically a lot of “Immigrants” were conquerors.

          • >Women love bad boys. Not even “some women”; women with” nice guys” spend pretty much their entire lives bitterly hating them.

            Go blow it out your nose, you bitter, slanderous twerp.

            Just because your manipulative attempt at being a dishrag didn’t get you laid, and guys you identified as jerks did get sex, doesn’t mean that genuinely strong men who didn’t have to be asses and who actually did the work involved in being mature adults are secretly hated by their wives.

            Go snarl about how the grapes were nasty anyways.

            • There’s a great phrase that fell out of fashion about a century ago: “Measuring by his own bushel and coming up short.” It specifically refers to cheating—having a “bushel” that was smaller than the supposed measurement—but then goes on to talk about how when you measure by your own restricted standards, you think everybody is a cheater.

              Is there a modern equivalent? Other than “projection”?

              • “He who accuses all mankind convicts only one”?

              • “Deaf, dumb, and blind
                You just keep on pretending
                That everyone’s expendable
                And no one is a real friend
                It seems to you the thing to do
                Would be to isolate the winner
                Everything’s done under the sun
                When you believe at heart everyone’s a killer”.
                “Dogs”- Pink Floyd

            • THIS.

              I have to agree with the bitter slandering. I mean, do they know how much sex our husbands get regularly?

              I also point how it’s pretty much denigrating the women too – we’re just ‘sluts’ who’ll ‘have sex with anyone’ – as opposed to ‘doesn’t find sexual desire unless with spouse, who we love fiercely and adore both in and outside of bed.’

              Yeah, WE EXIST.

        • “Black Jack Davy”

          • Hmmm … I saw them in concert, opening for Procul Harum, around the time of the Below the Salt album …


            There was a program on the local NPR that focused on traditional music and one evening they did three hours of different versions of that song (or rather, of “Gypsy Davy”), claiming it was the single song with the most variant versions.

            • Depends on who you ask and how. The tune that has literally been set to new lyrics more than any other is “Greensleeves.”

              • Ooh, oral song transmission. You know, you can follow that any place you are—ask school-aged kids about songs they know, and there’s a good chance that they’ll know a completely new variant of a song you thought was set in stone when you were a kid. (Though “The Cat Came Back” is interesting in that its variations are more stylistic than lyrical; I’ve heard it every way from upbeat to doleful to jazz.)

            • When I took voice lessons, (not to get on The Voice, so much as to avoid seatmates at baseball games sidling away from me during the National Anthem), teacher recommended that we Google our assignments to see what other folk do with the material. One of our songs was ‘Wayfaring Stranger’. Wowsers! Scores of renditions of dozens of variations. Heck, two variations of the first three words. And this song hasn’t been around as long as a lot of those ‘traditional’ tunes. Give it the same longevity . . .

        • Isn’t there a popular phrase of “Once you go dwarf you pretty much stay dwarf”?

          Okay, yeah, that is the D&D PSA version but you get the idea.

      • Does the word exogamy mean nothing to you?

      • Perhaps a little reading is in order for you: see Sabine Women, Rape of.

        No “rape” in this conquest isn’t explicitly rape in the modern, legal sense.

    • I meant “micro personal level.”

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      There’s an assumption here that all members of the newbies are always as lesser than all members of the “original” group.

      There is also the assumption that men of the original group won’t marry (or even have sex) with the women of the newbie group.

      If a Chinese male or female was brought to Medieval England, he/she might be considered “strange” but likely wouldn’t have problems with getting a willing sex partner.

      The same for a group of Chinese in Medieval England, IMO they would have to work to remain “genetically” separate from the English they lived among.

      • Since when do you need to work to not have sex?

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Assumption on your part again.

          While “Upper Class Women” might not want to have sex with that Chinese man, the maids would likely “invite him into their beds”.

          No, even if there was a “large breeding pool” for the Chinese in England, there would be English girls would be willing to marry the Chinese boys (or even have sex with them) and there would be Chinese girls would be attracted to English boys and get married to them.

          The only way that the Chinese would remain a separate group in England would be if the Chinese elders were able to enforce a “don’t marry/have sex with the round eyes” rule or if the Nobles tried to prevent their Chinese “toys” from marrying the English commoners.

          Sarah has already told you about records of “outsider men” marrying into Portuguese villages.

          My thoughts are that humans being humans, there is no way to prevent humans marrying the “exotic” new comers into an area.

          While humans do have a “distrust” of the outsider, there is also an attraction to the exotic. That applies to both men and women.

          You are saying that nobody would have sex with the outsiders.

          I’m saying that is idiotic.

          • Modern Mexicans talk about “La Raza.” Older Mexicans hewed to a de facto caste structure defined by percentage of “Spanish” blood; ie features and pigmentation.

            Matters were similar in the Old South (and French New Orleans), where percentages of white, black, and Indian each had specific names and social limits. By the 1860s, some “negros” were as pale as “whites.” But race was a legal issue, not a genetic one.

            • yes, sure, but reproduction still happened.

              • That was the point I was trying to make. It happened often enough for a caste structure to grow up to accomodate it.

            • We currently have a Mexican priest that I originally assumed was from Spain, because he is simply not pigmented like the vast majority of Mexicans that I’ve seen here in California. (And quite honestly, most of the Mexicans I know are legal immigrants or descendants thereof, therefore American, therefore intermarried, so this guy has a lot of that “Castillian” heritage to show through.)

          • I remember hearing a group of white people talking about an Asian porn movie they had gotten hold of. They were laughing about the men in it, referring to them as “rice dicks.”

            Draw your own conclusions.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              “Just a bunch of assholes” that you are foolishly thinking is the majority opinion.

            • Y’know Ken, you really lower the tone of this place. (And I speak as one who fully intends to convert the world to the Way of the Kilt..) You seem to think all women *uniformly* go for Bad Boys because. Everybody says racist things (strangely, mostly when you are in hearing range.) Maybe your real problem is the guy in the mirror? Sarah’s place, Sarah’s rules–but if this were my blog I would spray you with Windex. Lighten up, Francis. Or get a puppy.

            • group of white people talking about an Asian porn movie

              Fallacy of hasty generalization.

              There’s also Maria Ozawa, a porn star of Japanese and French Canadian ancestry who prefers, both professionally and in her personal life, to be with Japanese men.

              Personal taste varies widely. The small minority doesn’t need everyone to see them as desirable to end up interbreeding. They only need someone to find them desirable.

              (Insert joke about, if I can do it…)

          • “The only way that the Chinese would remain a separate group in England would be if the Chinese elders were able to enforce a “don’t marry/have sex with the round eyes” rule or if the Nobles tried to prevent their Chinese “toys” from marrying the English commoners.”

            Can we say “honor killing”, boys and girls? It’s going to fail, eventually, but it will definitely slow them down. Heck, if Em’s parents were still alive in 2000, she wouldn’t have been able to marry me without ostracism.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nod.

              The “Honor Killing” is a “good” example of “trying to keep the blood line pure”.

              And “ostracism” is another example of that.

    • You can follow the mixing of various groups in the US while doing family history. It will often take a generation or two but sometimes, it doesn’t take long at all.

    • Professor Badness

      Delving into my own family history here.
      My Jewish blood came to the states from Scotland, where they had moved after spending a couple generations in Ireland. Along the way, they had not only picked up local blood, but also some of the local clan names as well.
      So my Scottish ancestry is also my Jewish ancestry is also my Irish ancestry.
      So yes, people mingle.

      • We might be related (distantly.) Paternal grandmother’s family went from Portugal to France, to Ireland, to Scotland, as part of some great Jewish movement. … that’s the side the converted at least three times back and forth. Crazy poets and scribblers.

      • I’m 1/2 cracker derived from the Welsh, 1/4 Polish, and 1/4 Hungarian.
        My Hungarian born grandfather was Catholic, but has a Jewish name- who knows what mix led to him? He was born in Budapest, yet had no problems assimilating, fitting in, getting married (to the daughter of a Polish immigrant), serving in the US armed forces, retiring as a major, opening a series of successful restaurants, and raising a family.
        And I’m sure many of the Americans here can share similar stories of immigrants from diverse backgrounds marrying and mixing.
        So, Ken, you are an idiot.

      • Also an all-American mutt here. Mostly English, but with Dutch, French, and Minorcan in there as well.

    • girls don’t say Yes to Lesser Men.

      Oddly, every girl seems to have a different standard as to what constitutes a “lesser” man.

    • I seem to be the official whipping boy here …

      Not official, but if you are going to insist that we all measure one gravity as sixteen feet per second per second you will have to expect a certain level of flogging.

    • I am so sorry. It must be miserable to be you.

    • WHY is there always this assumption that two groups will always mingle?

      Because beside contempt, familiarity breed children.

      • Because that’s just what they do. Any border area between two groups is going to have a lot of mixing & mingling on both sides.

    • WHY is there always this assumption that two groups will always mingle?

      Because humans are both human and horny animals.

      However, counter to the abortion worshipers, it’s not “jump anything that moves to get genital friction,” there’s a desire for the other half– and that value for the other half extends to the kids generated.

      So if there’s social contact, there WILL be genetic contact.

      Which means their kids will be OK to a big section of both sides.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        IMO he was also operating under the assumption that RACISM would stop such inter-mingling. 😦

  19. Human memory is very short.

    I know, I keep forgetting that.

  20. Your story of the village holiday because Strangers reminded me of my parents adventures in Indonesia, where my father worked for a year. My father could make friends with anybody and did, which resulted in them being invited to a few weddings (one ULTRA rich) because foreign guests were essentially a luxury good that showed status 😀 One wedding was not so lavish. In fact, it took place in the utter back of beyond, in a kampung (village/compound) that took hours to get to.

    You would have thought the circus had come to town. Everybody had to come stare at them. Small children hung their faces over the fence edge, eyes as big as dinner plates at the EXOTIC STRANGERS! And my mother has beautiful silver-streaked hair, so not only was she exotic but a revered elder! (Grey hair was quite rare too). Everybody had a good time.

    I wonder how the “diverse past” nutters explain that you can *still* trace the path of certain historical armies simply by blood type? (Doesn’t have to be rape or equal status for genetic exchange. Even in a uniform group there are … strata. A low status girl might well keep company with a nice polite foreign guy if none of her own group pay any attention to her.)

    • Or be swapped for something, and she decides, “Hey, none of the local guys will look at me, so why not? Can’t be worse than at home.”

    • The myths of ancient Greece are full of stories about small steaders offering nubile daughters to heroes passing through. It doesn’t require any great stretching of the imagination to suppose conquering armies might seem to offer similar opportunities for improving the local livestock.

      If nothing else, the visiting team might have many desirable souvenir for which local girls might think to trade their favors.

      • There’s a reason “Your mother wears army boots” was considered an insult–generally well after the fact when people could pretend to forget the realities of war.

      • Some stories of folks with “Buffalo Spirit blood,” too, because… well, YOU look at a buffalo, and then a healthy young man of African ancestry who even on a bad history has been eating better than your family does in good times for generations…. WHOOF. If you can get your head in the right angle, it’s enough to make it so you can see the whole “demigod” thing.

  21. What you get is Vox Day pontificating on how Portuguese can never become “real” Americans, and unaware of the fact that there were a significant number of Portuguese fishermen who were in New England from at least the 16th century on, whose descendants were probably cultural Anglo-Americans long before the Beales. 😄

    • Although Vox Day is an obnoxious jerk, I do think he often says things that are true that no one else will say. Or alternatively, things that are 30% true.

      The problem lies in the fact that most of his audience sees his words as Revealed Truth, rather than the words of a gadfly trying to provoke thought.

    • There was a Portuguese founding father. He was called the Colossus of [somewhere] because Larry Correia sized.
      Dan and I have a disturbing number of things that run in both families and when we were both thin people kept thinking we were siblings. Our relationship has to be at least from before the 1600s, but who knows. (And he got the “will burn while doing yard work gene, which obviously I don’t have.)

  22. c4c

  23. So unless THEY are the point of the story, to put them in the story being treated as just another person is not historical.

    Many years ago there was a comic book that I followed. It was one of my favorites at the time, “Arak, Son of Thunder.” It chronicled the adventures of an American Indian (purportedly last survivor of his fictional nation–but…complications later in the series) who ended up adrift in a canoe, was found by Norse seamen (at the very beginning of the Viking Age) and adopted by them. He then had travels through Europe, including Charlemagne’s court, the Byzantine Empire, and on into Asia.

    Throughout that he was the oddity. People thought his skin color was strange. People thought his hair (particularly when he returned to the “traditional” hairstyle of his people) was strange. His habits were strange. Oh, and his not being a Christian when passing through Christendom? Near got him killed more than once.

    I mention it because this comic book got “Diversity” in these past civilizations right. If you’re going to have a “diverse” character he’s going to be the oddball, looked askance by everyone.

    Oh, and part of the reason this one stuck in my head was that I found the series ending highly unsatisfying and that was a large part of the reason I started on the novel “The Hordes of Chanakra”, which ended up going in completely different directions, but interestingly enough not in the element that I most thought needed fixing.

  24. When the spookier British Isles songs got to the Appalachian Mountains, the supernatural endings were replaced with criminal punishments or just flat conclusions. That’s what happened to the Blue Ridge versions of Twa Sisters (or Cruel Sister) and The Ballad of James Harris or the Demon Lover. That’s what Child found when he went song collecting there.

    • In my non-existent free time, I’d love to collect as many versions of Twa Sisters as I could; both from the lyrics standpoint and the musical standpoint. I find it unsurprising, but fascinating, that the story exists in so many cultures/languages/regions.

  25. The closest you have to this, that you can verify is the transmission of what I call “Bible lore.” When the church used Latin, people got taught a mishmash of what was in the New Testament and well… whatever they understood. And they passed that to their children. And it got passed on.

    *carefully pushes her hobby horse to a corner*

    Sadly, the folk-theology doesn’t depend on the Church using Latin. Just folks using “my authority” instead of bleeping SOURCES!

  26. Our roots in USA are quite shallow – all sets of grandparents immigrated here. My kids are 50% German (hubby is 100% both sides), and 50% Norwegian (Vikings anyone?) and 50% Croatian (my side). I used to tell them they were doomed coming from such pillaging, roaming, warriors, etc. backgrounds (ignoring the fact that the Austro-Hungarian relatives were probably all peasants who were annoyed by being conscripted or invaded, your choice.) Obviously, all the ancestors had wonder-lust or at least the courage to start all over again on another continent.

    Fortunately, neither offspring paid any attention to me and both have turned into absolutely lovely adults.

    This was a fun discussion to read. Thank you all even the ones I didn’t agree with.

    PS Sarah, my husband’s pulmonologist is of Portuguese descent. (Because of you, I recognized the spelling of his last name and asked if he was. Instant connection!)

    • Ah! Yeah, Portuguese have always produced more children than could be kept in the country. So, they’re everywhere.
      We had a Portuguese neighborhood two streets away from us in our last house. My younger son knew every Portuguese soccer-related word by 10. Never learned the others. 😀

  27. I’ve understood since I was a kid that for most populations once immigration takes place the populations blend . My ancestral German lineage that moved to Russia and didn’t really intermarry with anyone other than other German settlements being the exception (and I think that had more to do with the political situation in Russia more than anything), every other move ended up with lots of blending. When my grandfather was trying to trace some of his grandparents siblings/cousins who didn’t move to North Dakota he found several that ended up in Argentina with first names like Juan, Ignacio, Felipe, etc to go with the Gustin, Yantzer and Miller surnames. This seemed so incongruous to my child’s mind. But they intermarried down there just as they had up here. My grandfather’s generation (the generation that fought in WWII) was really the last that was remotely isolated enough to stick to just the other German-Russian communities when marrying, and even they were mobile enough to trek from one end of the continent to the other that the diaspora blanketed the country. Pretty much everyone living in ND has close relatives living in one/all of a handful of states (MN, WA, CO, AZ, FL). Most of my cousins that didn’t marry someone already from ND are married to people who aren’t of German or Scandinavian ancestry.

    • I have cousins… okay, let’s make this easier. The place I have FEWER cousins is the US. And I’ve been successfully avoiding THAT set for 28 years. They’re “integrated” so my kids probably won’t be able to speak to most of them.

      • My maiden name is so uncommon that if you encounter it in the U.S., it’s almost certainly within two degrees of cousinship… and if you encounter it outside the U.S., it’s probably no further than two centuries back for the connection. (Plus it would be extraordinarily hard to find outside the U.S.)

        • A lot of American names are that way, particularly ones created on-the-spot by immigration clerks at Ellis Island…

        • My maiden name is so uncommon that everyone who has it in the exact spelling of it is related to me.

          • my mom has that on her mom’s side. Apparently most of her relatives on that side left for Holland centuries ago. … we might be related to Dave Freer, distantly, on that side.

  28. Jewish people in Germany looked more German than Jewish people in Spain.

    This makes me LOL about folks having hissyfits about “whitewashing” Jesus in paintings.

    They can’t even tell a Scotsman from an Irishman, and they’re acting like they’d be able to tell a Jew of the county a painting was in from a Christian?

    • Mark Twain remarked that in the French paintings, Jesus, Mary, and the Disciples all looked French, while in the Italian paintings, they all looked Italian.

      • Unfortunately, that amusing observation that makes sense when you think more closely has been snapped up as an actual outrage.

        One of the popular attacks on Christianity is that it’s a white people religion….

  29. FWIW: A couple of us have tried to convince my father to write down his memoirs. He knows that when he dies a lot of information will be lost, but he would rather give us the oral version than write it down.

    • Dragon! or one of the other speech to text programs that way he can still tell you the stories but they also get written down at the same time for saving.

    • I’m not even kidding. When we lost our Great-Grandmother at almost 100 years of age back in 2011-2012, we lost so much of our families history it wasn’t even funny.

      • Same with my great grandfather. I have a pile of notes and such, recordings on tape from the ’80s and ’90s, but a lot of things are just gone. The unknown unknowns *and* the known ones, like the ancestors that are related to us, but aren’t in any official history because reasons (land and law at the time).

    • Give him an attentive listener with a microphone. For most people, that’s a lot different from writing or simple dictation.

      • For some. Back when I did history interviews, an amazing number of people wouldn’t say a word with the recorder on, but in a one-on-one conversation, they would loosen up.

        Yes, I’ve tried that with my father. But once I start to jot something down, he’s say “Don’t write that down.” Sigh.

        • It’s amazing what kind of mics and cameras you can conceal these days. You may not be able to reveal them until after the subject is gone…. but your interest is for posterity. Something to think about.

  30. “These are the people who will go insane, because you have no black and/or Chinese/etc people in say Medieval England.”
    ———————-

    Amusingly enough, there really was at least one black Samurai.

    Yasuke was an African slave from Madagascar, who was freed by Oda Nobunaga and made a samurai. AFAIK, he was the first foreign samurai. He apparently makes a brief appearance in the recent video game Nioh, whose protagonist is another historical foreign samurai – a European, in this case.

    Given that the game is full of fantasy elements, it’s probably best not to use it as a source of information on either of the individuals in question (or anyone else in the game, for that matter).

    And, of course, the presence of Yasuke doesn’t mean that there were any other black samurai, or even any other Africans in Japan at all prior to the Twentieth Century.

  31. “So what happened to all those black people? They got “genetically swamped” and the general hue of the population got slightly darker.”

    As I have said for many years. If we want to fix the problem of racism, everybody should just F#(K everyone! In a dozen or so generations, everyone will be a nice shade of tan, and nobody will have any reasons to hate anyone. (of course, they will anyway. Humans have little need for a VALID REASON to hate other humans.)

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Actually, there’s some reason to think that the cueing really goes off speech and not physical qualities. Apparently you are biased to trust people who speak like you were raised among, and distrust everyone else.

      • The whole plot of “My Fair Lady”.

      • Yep… That’s why I said that people have little need for a valid reason to hate. AAANNNDDD the reason I lost my Kentucky accent ASAP when my family moved to Illinois when I was a small child.

        • I was an Air Force brat – we moved every three years or so to a completely different area (e.g., Southern California -> Japan -> South Carolina -> Texas). I developed a chameleon accent so I could fit in with whoever I was talking to.

    • There’s an interesting question to be answered here, and that would be: “Just what the hell is it that goes into human attractions…?”.

      Exogamy is a thing, or we wouldn’t have so many crosses with the different varieties of human. Take an Australian accent into a bar in Sydney, and you’re nondescript. Take that accent into a bar in San Diego, and the girls will be lining up to give you their number–Likewise with an American accent in Oz. That’s just the way it is.

      However, there’s also the reverse effect, and it does exist in some individuals and populations. In one family I know, one daughter was like a founding member of “Exotic boy of the month club…”, and dated her way through the full range of ethnicities and races before settling on a guy who was literally from the end of the Earth, Tierra del Fuego. Her sister? That girls boyfriends looked like they were related to her, all of them. She wound up married to a guy who for all the world, looked like her twin. Same family, and whatever it was that tripped the circuits for exogamy worked overtime in one daughter, and didn’t exist in the other.

      I would go out on a limb and speculate that there’s something going on in the genes, because if you look down the family tree in several lineages that are familiar to me, it looks as though every few generations the kids go through a spurt of “Let’s go boink the exotic stranger…”, and then there’s a couple of generations of “Yeah, let’s consolidate and stay near home…”. This is consistent enough that it’s damn near a given expectation–You go back and look at the family tree as far back as the colonial era, and it’s “local boy, local boy, local boy, dude who showed up from nowhere, local boy, local boy, local boy, travelling stranger who stayed…”.

      To a degree, I think that “we” are merely riding a tide of genetic information that we’ve got limited awareness of, and very little control over–The genes get what the genes want, and when they feel like a little “strange”, they go for it. We’ve got very little visualization of this stuff, and I think that if we did, it would surprise the hell out of a lot of people, to know what has been going on back up the family tree. For some of us it would probably be very humbling; for others, a huge “WTF?”.

      I’ve never been able to take the idea that I’m a lone individual, autonomous and discrete, very seriously–You are your family, whether through the gene lines of genetic information passed on in your cells, or culturally, in the behaviors you picked up from the environment. What we are is an expression of things done generations before, and I suspect that there are long-term goals and effects going on in our lives that we don’t even recognize; the drive for “sex with strangers” and getting the exotic hybrid kids that result from that would be one example of this. Likewise, the drive to mate with the known, in order to consolidate. I would not be a bit surprised to find out that a lot of this “mate selection” stuff is somehow linked back into the genes, and there’s some form of methylation effect that trips certain behavioral paths. Similar to how a woman under high stress will have higher levels of estrogen during her pregnancies, which will lead to more male fetus deaths, and the surviving ones will exhibit more feminine traits and have a higher rate of effeminate/homosexual behaviors in later life. This observed fact from post-WWII Europe might indicate a mechanism by which a conquered population would subvert the conqueror and adapt–More female babies survived from the “old regime”, higher male deaths in gestation, higher rate of male reproductive maladaptation, resulting in the conqueror mating more effectively with the conquered population, and thus… The original local genes effectively manage to drown out the incoming exotics.

      It’s a theory I’ve heard, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find that there was something behind it. Proving it experimentally? Good luck–With a lot of this sort of thing, proof is not going to come from experimentation, only survey and deduction, so it’s not like you’re going to run a double-blind experiment where Germany wins WWII as a control, and another where they lose…

      TL;DR–In my opinion, there’s a lot more going on in the background of our genes, mate selection, and a whole host of other things than we really like to think. That “wild child” daughter in this generation? It may be that her genes are urging her to bring in some new stock, the old lines are getting too inbred… And, likewise, the granddaughter who wants to marry the boy who looks like her brother? Hers may be urging her to take a break from the wild, and consolidate…

      It’s a funny thing, but in my experience, the girls who marry the exotic? They don’t tend to have daughters that do the same, for whatever reason. This is consistent enough in my observation that I think there is probably some “there” behind it all…

    • I’m not so sure. In my experience, skin tone only becomes *mostly* consistant. You still get some variations. As an example, I’ve got a Japanese national friend who’s dark enough to pass for a (relatively light) filipina. That’s coming from a group that’s well-known for having pale skin. Variations will still occur.

  32. People who trace such things say divorces happened in the following way: you couldn’t take your wife anymore, so you walked fifty miles away and declared yourself a bachelor. Your wife, meanwhile, when you didn’t return, was officially a widow.

    Interesting and logical.

    It is also 1000 story ideas.

    Mostly diversity is what you have when there was some great population dislocation (invasion, mass immigration, etc) and it’s a step on the way to “reconstituted homogeneity.”

    That statement is dangerously close to a certain someone. The biggest difference is you see intermarriage as a natural part of the process.

    The reason this enrages me is that it works.

    Not only does it work but in ways the idiots on the left never expect like the “non-diverse” group deciding it is damn well going to engage in identity politics too it is too dangerous not to do, which is where were are.

    And this is why I say the left is delusional and self-defeating. The end of their careful lying is the exact opposite of what they think they want.

    On this I disagree…it is exactly what they want…the war of all against all is their path to power by pledging to protect us from the other.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      On this I disagree…it is exactly what they want…the war of all against all is their path to power by pledging to protect us from the other.

      Unfortunately, for them, they have convinced most of us that “we are the evil ones that must be destroyed”.

      So why should we trust them to protect us? 😦

      • 1. I don’t.

        2. This why gun grabbing is so big for them…once they are the only (or biggest) gang with guns they have an advantage in convincing us…it isn’t dissimilar in what happened in terms of creating the feudal gentry in Europe. Feudalism, in some form, is arguably one of mankinds forms of organization. It is not an accident their weapons policies, environmental policies, economic policies, etc all point towards creating an elite overclass and a large underclass dependent with a mediating clerical class dependent on the elites. Most people on the left think they will be elites when at best they’ll be clerics and that will mostly be only the most craven (hence their competitions to be most craven).

        3. They are relying on people not paying attention until it is too late.

  33. But I suspect that there were Japanese in Africa in the 1600s. When the Portuguese set up trading stations / harbor forts along the East coast of Africa on the way to India / Indonesia / China / Japan, they needed soldiers to hold them safe. As these were times of disruption in Japan (the wars which resulted in the Tokugawa Shogunate) there were many peasant-class soldiers on the losing sides, and out of work. AFIK This group was called “Ashigaru” to distinguish them from Samurai or Ronin. I believe that the Portuguese used these Ashgaru to protect their forts. There are some written references supporting this.
    In Swahili, (a lingua franca of coastal East Africa) soldiers are called “Askari” – To me this sounds suspiciously alike, and I can imagine the reaction of African village warriors to the armor and training of Japanese warriors in combat – ouch!
    JPDev

    • Ashigaru were commoner soldiers, and not necessarily associated with any losing side. Additionally, if a given ashigaru managed to survive the destruction of his lord’s clan, it wouldn’t have been difficult for him to sign on with a new lord.

      I’m not saying that your theory is impossible. But I am skeptical.

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