The Dumbest Idea In History- a Blast From the Past From November 23 2015

The Dumbest Idea In History- a Blast From the Past From November 23 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the end of this thought process mass graves yawn.

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

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

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

Given the right incentives everyone can do it.

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

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

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

And proud of it.



246 thoughts on “The Dumbest Idea In History- a Blast From the Past From November 23 2015

    1. To suggest that Our Esteemed Hostess might be capable of time travel … I would be willing to ponder the possibility. We have evidence that she not only does so, but that she also visits alternate universes. Just read her books. 😉

            1. I can claim relations to more than one Merlin…eccentric fellows, all of them, but not from New Orleans or workers in radio.

              1. The one I knew would eat “special” mushrooms, climb the radio towers in the cow field that contained said ‘shrooms, and commence to unscrewing the flashing light bulb atop the tower.

      1. 15 51 65 61 45 48 87 41.

        But that is next month’s Sinaloa State Lotto. They ‘draw’ that by firing into a crowd of people born in different years. The process is random enough that it won’t always be the same as you move between timelines.

    2. I wonder if this is because of that tiny tiney hole we left in the spacetime continuum last time our hostess let us play in her lair unsupervised.

      Oops, I wasn’t supposed to mention that, was I?

      1. How could people get thinking correctly pre-coffee? [Puzzled]

          1. And at least one of us is allergic to coffee. I do like my tea, though.

              1. If I take caffeine or chocolate or tea or decongestants I feel like I’m having a heart attack. I have Mitral Valve Prolapse and other heart issues. I even have a cardiologist.

              2. Interesting. I knew a man who was put to sleep by caffeine. He told me that when doing drugs in the 1960s, he would take the LSD first; if he fell asleep they knew it had been cut with amphetamine.

                Myself, I have no reaction to caffeine either way. (I onnce drank a liter of JOLT Cola while working on a programming project one evening; I became too sleepy to work and went to bed about 10:30.

              3. Both I and several anesthesiologists over the years have noticed that anesthetics work less effectively on me; I wake up faster and more alert than most people.

                  1. Exactly the opposite. Overly sensitive. If dosage is 2, take one. I had a major migraine slam into me out of no where when I was 22. Stood up & bang. Hubby immediately bundled me over to the emergency room where ultimately I was given a shot of “something” for the headache. I don’t remember a whole lot of the next 3 days. We never did fill the prescription for the narcotic pills. Same way with alcohol. I have no tolerance.

                    Some other incidents have happened to tell us that above was not a one time incident. Always tell physicians that I am not allergic, but drugs hit me fast & hard.

            1. ADHD kids tend to grow up to be ADHD adults. I know that caffeine doesn’t keep me awake, but it does help me focus.

      2. and incite murder in the mind of your roommate who drags self out of bed with groan and crawls till noon by the grace of coffee,

        So… that’s you? Because I’m pretty sure that described me to a tee. (I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON) Also, seems to me that insomnia may have genetic predispositions (I’m third gen night owl, kids are fourth gen…)

    3. Was there a typo that got fixed that I missed somehow? 2015 isn’t the future.

      1. When Sarah (before coffee) posted it she replaced the 2015 with 2018. 😀

        1. Ahh. Thank you for clarifying. Too bad we can’t ask Mrs. Hoyt from the future about the upcoming elections. 😀

  1. Culture is not race.

    And race is not culture. To confuse the two is to display gross ignorance of the world and its history.

        1. Even there. I’ve seen people describe Harry Potter, the series where everyone carries around a deadly weapon from the age of 11 on up, as a metaphor for gun control.

            1. Yup. Nobody seems to notice that all the magical truces and the hiding happen just about the time that firearms are becoming common and powerful. Which I’m sure is totally coincidental, and not at all a result of Hogwarts being threatened with cannons.

              1. Not what i meant. What i meant is that Dolores Umbridge was *wrong* to try to disarm the students and make them not learn how to defend themselves…. the story made that pretty clear.

              2. Yeah, while Rowling does get that hiding from the world is a lot of work, her justifications for it are — flimsy.

          1. I noticed that, too. And was waiting for someone to walk in with a second wand in a forearm holster.

          2. The Spouse is inclined to point out that in the Potter books the image of government is not good. Neither the muggle government or the Ministry of Magic fair very well, portrayed as incompetent, bureaucratic and so desirous of maintaining power that it will willfully ignore the truth even when it pokes them in the eye with a pointy stick. Not only that, but the press is irresponsible, when it is not down right criminal. 

              1. The Spouse also points out that while reflecting the real world, the author who so beautifully exposes the problems of government and the people who gravitate towards it in the Potter books supports big government herself.

                The Spouse also points out that, in spite of his expressed politics, Josh Wedon is an honest story teller, and, thus we got Firefly.

  2. I first encountered the “schedules are genetic” thing was in grad school, listening to a fellow TA venting because she’d been informed by the head of the Black Student Association that scheduling the African-American history class for the 0830 time-slot was racist. Apparently African-Americans were (in his view) genetically bound to attend class no earlier than 1100. She explained that he’d have to go to Facilities, because they set the class schedule based on room availability. He’s probably in Congress today. Or a community organizer.

      1. There was some suspicion among the TAs that the students’ social lives, which took place mostly between 5:00 PM and 4:00 AM, might also be a factor. *Attempts to look academic and serious* But to suggest that excessive partying might be deleterious to a student’s academic health is racist if the student is a minority, because it is their culture. *twitches* I’d never make it in an ivory tower these days.

        1. It’s also sexist if you suggest that avoiding getting drunk at parties leads to less waking up next to a naked someone you wouldn’t have been seen with sober.

          1. “Teaching”

            Yes. Hubby originally planned on teaching math, until he had to do his first student teaching session, in Middle School … he decided this was not a career for him … he switched to Forestry.

            My sister is a teacher. She teaches chemistry & natural science at the middle school level. There are always a few problem kids every few years or so; but most of them get “religion” by peers (outside of class) to not disrupt her class; rumor down the grades that her middle school science class is fun & easy if you pay attention (the answers are on the walls).

            Mostly, it is the parents & admins that are a pain. She’s not allowed to “fail” anyone. She does (she swears the kids she does fail work harder at failing than they would to get a passing grade), admin changes the grade. Ought to be an interesting next couple of years, her last 2. Her retirement is fully vested. She can prove harassment (she is not known for keeping her mouth shut to get along).

            1. roomate’s wife was going to teach middle school math

              until LAUSD sent her to south central for her first teaching job.

              she’s like… 4’11″…

            2. I did take up a teaching course at my mother’s insistence later on – she had been a biology teacher before she had me – but it was an eye opening one instead. You see, this was still smack-dab into the whole push that Filipino HAD to be the language of teaching, when, in reality, the language is severely crippled when it comes to non-social verbiage and terms. My students during the student-teacher phase of the course didn’t have the necessary vocabulary in English to study English. And it was a first year high school class! And because Filipino lacked the vocabulary… yeah. But that was the insistence of the Department of Education. Worse yet was the ‘workbook/textbook’ combination that was the basis of the curriculum. I was supposed to teach adverbs… define, give examples, and there was a five paragraph story where the students were supposed to identify the adverb and the verb it was modifying… and suddenly, plunk, out of nowhere, ‘how to read a globe and maps’ that I somehow had to integrate into the lesson plan. I thought it was a printing error, except no, it wasn’t and the closest my poor frustrated teacher could figure was, whoever was the illiterate imbecile who made the textbook included it because ‘reading’ was involved.

              When the end of the course came and we had to give our feedback, it was far, far worse for the other teachers – teachers in say, music, history, math, basic sciences. The language was, simply put, completely inadequate for teaching the subject matter, and more often than not, the teachers, unwilling to sacrifice their students’ time for what is pretty much a Left-wing nationalist social experiment of feel goods, switched to either Taglish or English to teach, and the students understood the concepts then. I was vocally angry because this was essentially crippling entire generations of children into non-competency, to satisfy the egos of people who ‘wanted to elevate the Filipino language to the same level of the rest of the world’ but didn’t bother to do the real groundwork, because it was just too damn big, and wanted their ‘Filipino is a teaching language’ NOW as opposed to gradually working up to it over perhaps five generations after actually making proper, useful dictionaries. The argument that ‘Filipino is a living language’ falls horribly flat when you don’t have translations for technical terminology, but sure, we have the latest gay slang being easily spread via TV. That’s what they meant by ‘Living’.

              I was so pissed off that I never bothered to pick up my diploma. It was a piece of useless paper, and I wasn’t going to be party to crippling the minds of another generation.

      2. It could have been a case of someone who did not want to get up early in the morning using whatever argument that he thought would prevail.

        When such arguments do prevail we are stuck with their expansion to other applications — until the whole becomes so utterly ridiculous that the whole thing collapses upon itself. Unfortunately we all have to deal with the wreckage.

        1. “Oh, you’re complaining that this is a 9 AM class. And what, exactly, do you expect the standard work world to be like? If you’re lucky, it will start as late as 9. You might as well get used to it now.” – J. Random Professor

          1. Quite a lot of college students don’t really seem to be thinking of what they’re doing as prep for “standard work world”… or even, that such prep might be useful to them.

          2. High school started at 7:30. I was ecstatic when I got to college and the earliest classes started at 9.

      3. Hubby who is definitely a night owl has been getting up at 5 and in to work at 7 for years.

        1. And most likely grumbling under his breath every time. I know I do. Life is hard, you deal with it.

        2. Ma got up early to get work early, and get [stuff] done before most everyone else showed up and became interruptions. Thirty years of that. Retirement meant she could sleep in. She tried that.. for a week or two. Then decided she’d get up when she woke up, and if that was still 4:30 AM, well, it was time get up. She might, on occasion, “sleep in”.. all the way to 5:00 AM.

        3. Three bosses ago, I had a REALLY sweet guy accomedating as all get out on most issues, but I could not get him to realize that I didn’t give a fat damn if he stuck me on the worst shift, the one everyone else HATED, if he would NOT switch me around. I’m an owl, but I can manage any schedule that is freaking CONSISTENT!

          1. This. Rotating shifts tried to kill me. Between blood donations, my blood pressure went from 135/90 to 150/110. Ended up reverting to a straight 40. Don’t care what shift you put me on, just *keep* me there for a while.

      4. OH YES! My mother is a Morning Dove. I’m a Night Owl, always have been. I had my days and nights “mixed up” when I was born and would be up all night keeping my mother awake. She got me “fixed”, but by the time I was in fourth grade I was huddled under my covers with a flash light (or a clock after she found the flashlight in my bed) reading. From time I was in college until last summer I worked evenings/nights except for a two year stretch when I first started dispatching. Now, I miss my night shift. I start my day shift by drinking half a pot of coffee each day. And my mother? She’s still trying mightily to stay awake each evening until 830 so she can go to bed “like a normal person.”

        1. Try one of those B complex energy supplements in the morning?

          I am a morning person, but a sleep wimp–works when I can’t sleep.

        2. Yep. If you put Dan and I and the kids “off the clock” we slowly rotate to breakfast around one pm, dinner at 10 and staying up till one or two am.

          1. That’s me, too. It didn’t help that at one point, I was bouncing between the East and West Coast…and had a work schedule that might have me coming in at 0700 one day, then come in at 2200 the next evening for an over-the-night shift that would not end until 1300 or so the day after. Which completely shatters any sort of a sleep schedule.

          2. My sleep pattern will drift, but not my stomach. There was one period in graduate school where I had my days and nights turned completely over, but still had dinner at 5:30 PM.

      5. True – I am the sole Lark in a family of Owls. It’s been good for my writing/blogging, as I have 2-4 hours of time for work before they get their butts out of bed.
        OTOH, I’m the first to wilt in the evening – bedtime is between 9 pm and 10 pm. On rare occasions, I have stayed up later, thanks to a late afternoon nap.
        Still get up at the crack of dawn

        1. Under normal conditions I’m not a Lark, but I’m not an Owl either. Up between 7 & 8 regardless of when I go to bed. Going to bed varies. Lately it has been extremely late … House has to cool off below at least 80, or 75, if possible. Fans not a lot of help. We don’t have central air. We do have a floor unit, that helps a lot.

          Regardless of when I’m up. Not a grouch, or nonfunctional first thing. Never have been. Known others who you do not say a word to until their first cup of coffee has been downed. Let me rephrase that – Do. Not. Engage.

      6. I am very much a night person, given my druthers. On The Other Hand my daughter just started high school (as in, this morning). She has to get on the bus by 6:45 in the morning. Now, this morning she demonstrated the ability to get herself up (apparently the alarms on her new phone are able to wake her which was not the case with her old phone) but I still need to be up as a backup. And given my own…difficulty…getting up in the morning, first alarm is set for 4:30.

        You do what you have to. Which I’m sure is somehow racist.

        1. My folks rule, starting with middle school:

          If you miss the bus, you are walking. If you are late for class, I will be there in hair rollers & bathrobe, sitting right behind you. HS since we walked, only the latter applied, adding “ever cut class”.

          Missing the bus = being late for class. Never, ever, chanced the latter. Follow through was something we never, ever, doubted of our parents.

          Which when it came to our kids … poor things never stood a chance. Mine, at least, was never late to class, never missed the bus.

    1. Odd. I know some guys with some African ancestry who can be up at oh-dark-thirty even without coffee if it meant putting a fishing lure in the water. And a couple of them even have college degrees.

  3. Some people are dumber than a bag of hammers and are easily led around by the nose because they can’t think for themselves beyond ‘left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot….’. These are the “dumb bunnies”, and unfortunately both sides have their fair share. Though the left seems to actively recruit them and prop them up in front of cameras more often.

    The really unfortunate thing about the dumb bunnies is that over the centuries we’ve been able to take care of more and more of them so they’ve proliferated. Several thousand years ago they probably would have starved to death because they couldn’t pull enough of their own weight in resource collection for the tribe to survive.

    1. Ah, physical ineptness doesn’t necessarily translate to dumb bunny.
      I can do cube roots and quadratic equations in my head, and remember when the Norman invasion was, but for most of my life could walk and chew gum at the same time. Even my current fencing coach despairs when I move my feet before extending instead of the right way.

    2. Several thousand years ago they would have had no choice but to learn how to take care of themselves or die. 

      Now we have a great big ever expanding government run safety net.  In some cases that net, rather than catching you when you fall, ensnares you.

      1. LBJ was very explicit in stating his intent that the net ensnare people in order to get those people to vote for Democrats for life (in order to keep the government bennies coming).

    3. Ten thousand years ago, what we call dumb bunnies would have been just fine running around with a sharp stick and helping to stick it into a very large animal. They might have had a higher fatality rate than the smarter hunters, but they were miles ahead of my clumsy, nearsighted, hay fever challenged self.

      Evolution works slowly. “Follow orders, don’t think too hard, and we’ll have a Mammoth feast.” still seems like a good idea to too many people.

      1. In the early days of gun powder, they were commonly referred to as “cannon fodder”.

  4. Trouble is, the idea that culture is innate is so widespread, and of such long standing, that it may be… innate. Consider the lengthy history/folklore of monarchs having children raised without language in the hope that the children would naturally start speaking the true original language of mankind.

    One of the great things about this century: we have access to an unprecedented amount of human knowledge.

    One of the not so great things: that includes access to the mind-numbingly dumb ideas of the past. And as iron filings to a magnet, so are the Perpetually Outraged to a really stupid idea.

    1. Discussion I dropped out of at MHN for lack of time.

      Some guy, probably from one of the Scandinavian countries, took issue with some historical assertions I made. Which were basically things most Americans know, because of refugees from most of the world’s civil wars for the past century. Reminded me again that most of the world does not have the oral history influence from all the world’s civil wars, mainly they have the oral history influence of the local ones. Either living in another country his whole life, or an academic, who likes written sources, and does not trust enough outside of academia to have learned from oral history.

    2. You may ask, how did this tradition get started?
      I’ll tell you. 
      I don’t know.
      But it’s a tradition.
      And because of our traditions,
      everyone of knows who he is
      and what God expects him to do.

  5. People are probably more likely to be prejudiced against cultures, though. For example, reactions to a southern accent or other accent. And clothing is one of the bigger things that people react to.

    That doesn’t make any difference to the fact that various elements of any culture are either healthy or unhealthy and criticizing the unhealthy elements of any culture is not criticizing a whole people.

  6. I think the availability of information almost instantly on the internet is making us all stupider. And the veracity of that information is doubtful at least some/most of the time. I am old so I remember being trained to do research, verify, cite sources, etc. and I can still recall that information. Can I recall what I read yesterday or looked up this morning? No. See, stupider.

    Remember garbage in, garbage out? No wonder people fall for racist memes. If you believe in nothing, you will believe in anything. (Not original but worth remembering.)

    The western world appears to be turning into a bunch of mobs (present company excepted). Mobs do not build but destroy. I have no answers except to keep on and also be grateful for those who continue to resist the mob mentality.

    1. I think you’re confusing intelligence with memory. I’ve known eidetics who were not remotely smart.
      No, the internet is not making us stupid. It is making some stupid elements very loud, though.
      However, is it not written: the dumb you shall always have with you.

      1. It is making some stupid elements very loud, though.

        A world-size amplifier… and World Class Stupid, World-Blastingly LOUD.

        (See TNH’s twitter bit of late? Bemoaning how some seem to feel unwelcome… and utterly resistant to the idea that there were some contributing factors… and well, you know. Oy.)

          1. *as dry a tone as possible* I can’t imagine why some might sense mild dislike, possibly hostility even, from TNH and her associates. No idea at all…

      2. Eidetics live in a VERY strange world. I had a cousin in law (Sam) who was eidetic. I didn’t know him well before he passed, but my cousin (his wife) told me about it. Because his memory was so firm, he never learned to fill in the way the rest of us do. He could play any tume he every heard…in the key he heard it in. He could not transpose it to another key. For that matter, if he heard it in another key he might not recognize it. He had a really hard time ignoring those realities that everybody else ignores by tacit agreement.

      3. I don’t know: if you define stupidity as merely the accumulation of bad mental habits, the Internet is certainly facilitating those. Over the past decade (and worsening exponentially since I finally got my own smartphone in 2014) I’ve noticed a distinct decline in my own ability to remember information in detail, as opposed to simply memorizing one key point I could use as a search reference, and to concentrate on reading for an extended period of time without feeling the urge to dart off to another work/subject/topic.

        On the other hand, I am aging (I turned 48 this month) so maybe my neurons are just putting in for early retirement.

        1. I’ve encountered two tricks of memory that I wonder if anyone else notices. The first is the number of phine numbers and PIN numbers I know by numeric keypad pattern. The second is that, if I have memorized a phone number or other long string I can’t remember the last few digits without first loading it from the beginning. Somebody asks me for the last four digits of, say, my social security number and I have to mutter the first five to get to them. The person asking often interrumpsmtomsau, “no, I just need thaemlast four” and I have to explain “it isn’t loaded that way”.

          Anyone else?

            1. We have an electronic gun safe, not for guns, but for all our small electronics, & smaller stuff we don’t want to umm, “disappear”. Not as important now because someone is home pretty much all the time (plus we have a dog). We got it after a break in right after the holidays one year.

              I do not know the combination on that safe. I know the pattern, but not the actual combination.

          1. I once had to use my body’s muscle memory to remember an entry code.

            I was working in an office where you had to punch in a code to enter, and one weekday I suddenly realized I had completely forgotten what it was; I simply could not bring the four digits to mind. Not wanting to look like an idiot and a security risk by asking my boss, I basically worked around it by knocking for entry or slipping in with other staff. Then, a few days later, I was reading a book as I was walking back from lunch, walked up to the office door, punched in the code without looking at the keypad and went in… and stopped dead, realizing I still couldn’t remember the code! I finally had to stand outside the door, let my hand move the way it “wanted” to without thinking about it, and look at the numbers my fingers were hitting out of the corner of my eye. Weirdest memory process ever.

          2. I only remembered my first pin thru keypad. And the latter isn’t uncommon. If i hadn’t had to use as my password probably be similar.

        2. You might be different from most, but I found that folks frequently FELT LIKE they knew more than they did– and what they “remembered” was false.

          Just that now, we can quickly check. Instead of doing the “I am going to act like I’m confident, that’ll do it” dance.

          1. Are you okay? We were talking about you the other night at dinner, because we haven’t SEEN you. We were hoping everything was all right, and added you to prayer list.

            1. Having a rocky couple of weeks, but hoping it’ll be over tomorrow afternoon. In a positive way.

              Prayers would be appreciated!

      4. I agree. My overall rote memory is poorer for more recent things (although I have near-perfect memory for distant learning). However, my ability to process complicated thoughts is much better.
        Although, somewhat slower than in younger days. I should have gone on Jeopardy when I was about 30-40-ish – I’d have cleaned up!

    2. Humans seem to like to find something to blame.  Technology is a tool, it is, of itself, neither good or bad.  Technology is neutral.   

      Some people put the new information technology to good use.  For example there are people who take advantage of the internet for research, enabling them to read documents at a click of a button that they would have had to travel all over the world to get before the net existed.

      Some people use the net to do what they were always inclined to do, be bullies.  Also to be petty, nosy, gossiping, rude and back biting.  

      The problem is in people, not the technology.  

  7. That idea does seem to be a pretty prevalent one in the younger generation. I’ve run across a number of idiot Millenials complaining that their parents didn’t teach them “their” languages, by which they mean Spanish or Vietnamese or Swahili or other languages of limited use in a country where the dominant language is English.

      1. Well, there are some pretty decent shows on Vietnamese TV. There was this comedy mystery about a guy who had to help Buddhist ghosts by solving crimes. Also some good action movies antithetical Vietnamese history. I kinda wished I knew more Vietnamese for that, and for food shows.

        But any foreign language has benefits for the brain, and most languages have some kind of cool literature. It’s just that Latin, Greek, and Hebrew are more likely to be useful in the West. Cantonese is quite nice too, or Mandarin if you can stomach the Communist Chinese government constantly screwing up their own tongue and writing system. Beyond that, you can pick whatever. Just write catchy pop songs in it, and it will live.

        1. “But any foreign language has benefits for the brain, and most languages have some kind of cool literature.”

          This is true. I misphrased it. The way these people were complaining, it sounded more like they felt that they should have learned “their” language INSTEAD of English rather than along side it.

          1. Yes, along side. Research suggests that if you learn a second language at a young age acquiring that and any subsequent languages becomes much easier.

            At a home education convention I heard speaker who worked as a translator spoke.  She suggested that there was value in learning a less common language — if you master it.  She got work because there are very few translators available to work in Dutch.  On the other hand there are many available who can work in the various dialects of Spanish.  (I note, last I was aware, the military does not offer a second language pay bonus for Spanish or Tagalog speakers.)

            1. There are also benefits to having acquired a second language in cases of brain injuries (stroke, concussions, etc). It appears that languages learned later in life are handled in a different part of the brain than one’s cradle tongue, which means a certain level of redundancy that a monolingual person doesn’t have.

              1. I can tell that the German language wiring works differently from the Latin and Spanish (learned while young) wiring. The precise difference is trickier to explain.

        2. Also might always be useful for finding work. You never know where a translator might be needed, it isn’t always the obvious jobs, so somebody who can do that too might be a bit more likely to get hired than the equally good but no extra skills having individual. And of course for anybody dealing with customers, no matter what job, the more languages they can speak the better. You never know when some tourists from who knows where come to ask for a latte.

          But yep, while potentially useful not certainly so, and no, not necessary for something like “finding yourself” (“if you do, and when you do, get lost!” …one version of “Hit the Road, Jack” is on the playlists of almost every radio station I listen during the nights…).

          1. Being skilled in a foreign language can certainly be a value added attraction.

            I am involved in a group that runs fan based conventions.  The gentleman who runs the Hospitality department for the Anime con has recruited a woman who not only has her state food handling licence, but also speaks fluent Japanese.  She has proven invaluable working for working with Japanese guests in the green room.

      2. Ot they MAY (and it is ONLY may) be bemoaning being unilingual when they had an opportunity to learn the (according to what I’ve read) hard to acquire second language in the years when it is supposed to be easier.

        I’m unilingual, and think it would be cool to have more, but my natural sloth gets in the way. In my case the parents issue doesn’t arise. Bith of mine were native American-English speakers with some ability to read another one or two. Wouldn’t have helped.

        1. I was a miserable student of Spanish in my high school years.  This was not helped by the fact that in my freshman year my class was taught by five different teachers — five distinctly different teachers.  Our first teacher became ill and she was followed by four substitutes who spoke different dialects of Spanish including a formal Castilian (with lisp), one from Mexico, one from South America and one from the Caribbean.

          Years later I decided to learn Koine Greek. As an older student I found it was not easy, but I found it worth the effort.  The process of learning another language changed the way I thought about my primary language and about thinking.  I concluded that because of the inherent structure of a language it effects how you think.

    1. This mindset pisses me off so much. I can understand the regret of not having the chance to learn a language while young, but that mindset is such a combination of ignorance and entitlement. If the kid wants to learn the language so bad they can certainly find someone to teach it to them.

      1. There are polyglot channels on YouTube, not to mention free language learning apps through many U.S. or state library systems. You can go on Discord and use whatever language you like.

        You know who could complain? Trump with his Gaelic-speaking grandma. But whether he speaks it or doesn’t, he sure isn’t whining about it.

    2. Country? English is the WORLD’S second language. I’m quite serious. Just about every educated person who did not learn English as his mother tongue studies it in school.

      1. I remember when I did Study Abroad, I never got to practice my foreign languages because everyone wanted to speak English with me.

        1. yep. Visit to Germany a couple of years ago, kept finding myself in conversations with young people who wanted to practice their (usually American) English, and/or had spent a couple of years at college in the US. Very little opportunity to practice my bischen Deutch.

          1. Heh. I was stationed in French speaking Belgium back in the mid to late 80s. Both the Belg, and the French across the border, would never speak or even pretend to understand English. Fortunately, they almost fell over themselves speaking English after the first 20 to 40 seconds of my mangling French with wrong tense, execrable word order, and a horrendous accent that was described as a mixture of New Yorker and German.

            1. On the other hand, you score BIG points for trying. I don’t have a lot of French or German, but they appreciate the courtesy. Magyar…was hard. I’ve got more Japanese – and I only have a few dozen words of that language.

              1. Magyar is so odd, apparently the closest thing to it grammar wise is Turkish, at least until you get to the steppes.

                Since I value my physical health, I will not speculate on possible linguistic influences of, oh let’s call it 500 years of Ottoman-Hungarian interactions.

                1. Actually, I think the current theory is “Back on the steppe, the Huns and Turks were neighbors or relatives.” Because they both had weird languages before they moved into Europe.

                  But yes, ending up next door on the relevant invasion routes and plains of Europe? Probably had some kind of influence.

                  Now that some of the Great Courses are available on Hoopla for free through local libraries, I want to see the steppe history courses with video and the maps, instead of just listening to them.

                2. I learned enough Magyar that when I went to a grocery store in Hungary I always came out with the products I meant to buy. Not everyone in my class managed that. (A commonly heard phrase in early morning classes as someone was about to dig into their breakfast: “You do know that tejfol means ‘sour cream’ and not ‘yogurt,’ right?”)

              2. Oh, yes indeed, you do! My mother operated on the premise that since we think broken English is charming, the French probably think broken French is charming, and the Italians feel the same about broken Italian. Worked very well for her.

                And then there’s the story she told about her Father being taken to Italy as a boy, and finding that he and the Italian boys shared a common language….Latin!

          2. Similar problems are had when traveling in Japan. The Japanese wanted to practice their English. (I encountered many who could read and write in English very well, but they had not had much practice in speaking and this showed.)

            A friend who worked a year in Sweden found a slightly different problem. Many of the Swedish she met were eager to practice their English, but were often disappointed with her because what they wanted to practice was British English.

        2. The wanting to practice their English saved my youngest brother’s life. Mom’s pregnancy with the youngest was very risky, so she was actually confined to hospital when we were in East Berlin. There was a young doctor there who was delighted to find a native English speaker, and would visit her frequently, including his off hours, to chat. One evening she mentioned that the sour taste of the pickled fish side dish she had during lunch was really souring her stomach… the doctor blinked, asked to check on the baby… and to hear my mother tell it ‘the next thing I knew, people were rushing in, I was rushed to the operating room so quickly that I felt them cut me open. It felt like a thin sliver of ice, running down my belly.’

          The cord had wrapped around my brother’s neck, and was getting tighter, and the doctor had caught the weakening heart beat just in time.

          I went to the Philippines this past May to see him get married to his one and only true love.

            1. I’m not sure – not even my mom is sure, really. She said she was talking about how the pickled fish side dish, while tasty, seemed to have made her stomach sour. It was fairly late in the day – evening – and she was mentioning that she could taste it still – she distinctly remembers talking about the fish and complaining about the taste lingering so much. Mom is one of the sort that gestures while she talks, and she may have pressed a hand to her belly then.

              Everything happened so quickly after that, I don’t think she got a chance to ever ask. She says she remembers they put in medicines in her arm cannula, but did not wait for them to take effect before they performed the caesarean, because she still felt the cut. I said it must have at least partly taken effect then already because she wasn’t in crazy agony.

              If that doctor hadn’t been there though, that would have been the second son that my mother would’ve lost to cord problems. The brother who was supposed to have been born after me died in utero because his cord had twisted so much, the doctor described it as looking like a rope of sausages.

              1. Alright. Didn’t know if metabolic thing or more a good doc and sick/not sick instincts

              2. An “old wives’ tale” says that fetal distress can be associated with odd tastes.

                I would guess it’s another one of those “old wives’ tales” that is accurate.

        1. When I do, usually, their first statement to me is “Allo, my name is Steeeve, thank you for calling the customer support line….”

    3. Latin has influenced me strongly in some ways.

      I studied Latin, and my father studied Latin, but I did not learn Latin from my father.

    4. German was the language of (many) of my ancestors. But the language I wish I had been taught better? Mathematics. Yeah, I can finagle some, but… it ain’t native, not even close. Dadgummit.

      1. That was some of my Father’s trouble with Physics: the native language of that discipline is mathematics, and he could limp along in it, but it never came naturally to him. Fortunately he stumbled on the newborn field of History Of Science before he got his PhD in the wrong discipline, and he never looked back.

      2. Yes. I wish I had a better grasp on the language Mathematics, as well.

        The Daughter was not happy with arithmetic as Elementary school progressed. It was the first subject that she had ever encountered that required any work on her part, and at that level it did not provide much of interest to draw her in. I remember trying to figure out how to explain to her that it would get far more interesting … when she got to geometry and all of that. Then an image struck me. Arithmetic is the alphabet used for mathematics.

    5. Nothing is stopping anyone from taking a class. My dad took Norwegian classes when he was my age (at least). His folks had used the language to discuss children and Christmas presents in front of the children.

      The idea though is that learning that second language as a child would have been effortless and taking a class now is HARD.

      1. There is a strong educational theory, that so far as I know has some foundation (unlike some) that children learn more easily than adults, as a rule.

        Then there are people who have a talent for languages comparable to a talent for mathematics; they pick them up quickl and can speak a,dozen or more.

        One of many reasons I snort when ever I hear somebody say “You can do anything you set your mind to”. Well, you probably can, for certain values of ‘do’. What you CAN’T do is do anything you set your mind to really WELL. Not if you lack the talent in the first place.

        1. I’ve also heard the theory that we believe that children learn language more easily than adults because we discount the hardship of children. 😉

          1. This! How many years did it take to learn English? I’d guestimate that I stopped looking words up in the dictionary(*) around sophomore year of high school. So, 16 years to learn it.

            I “learned” Russian in about three years of not trying very hard, but I couldn’t say much due to lack of vocabulary. I did the math: 1 word per day and you’ll be conversational in about five years and be able to read in about a decade. Wasn’t worth the effort.

            (*) Not that I’ve ever completely stopped. Today it was giclee.

        2. “people who have a talent for languages…” Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti (1774-1849) was reputed to speak at least thirty languages fluently and to read and write many more.

        3. Children do learn the languages more easily… maybe. Or at least they forget how hard it was.
          OTOH they seem to be less proficient at languages learned concurrently.

          1. ‘…concurrently…’

            When I was studying Koine I expressed an interest in learning Latin as well. My teacher suggested that I would do best if I mastered the fundamentals of the Greek first, but encouraged me to pursue it once I had.

  8. My favorite deconstruction of the nonsense of “cultural appropriation” and why objecting to it is bad comes from Fortune’s Stroke, the third volume in Flint and Weber’s “Belisarius” series:

    Irene, as was her way, began with humor.

    “Consider these robes, men of India.” She plucked at a heavy sleeve. “Preposterous, are they not? A device for torture, almost, in this land of heat and swelter.”

    Many smiles appeared. Irene matched them with her own.

    “I was advised, once, to exchange them for a sari.” She sensed, though she did not look to see, a pair of twitching lips. “But I rejected the advice. Why? Because while the robes are preposterous, what they represent is not.”

    She scanned the crowd slowly. The smile faded. Her face grew stern.

    “What they represent is Rome itself. Rome—and its thousand years.”

    Silence. Again, slowly, she scanned the room.

    “A thousand years,” she repeated. “What dynasty of India can claim as much?”

    Silence. Scan back across the room.

    “The greatest empire in the history of India, the Maurya, could claim only a century and half. The Guptas, not more than two.” She nodded toward Shakuntala. “Andhra can claim more, in years if not in power, but even Andhra cannot claim more than half Rome’s fortune.”

    Her stern face softened, just slightly. Again, she nodded to the empress. The nod was almost a bow. “Although, God willing, Andhra will be able to match Rome’s accomplishment, as future centuries unfold.”

    Severity returned. “A thousand years. Consider that, noble men of India. And then ask yourself: how was it done?”

    Again, she smiled; and, again, plucked at a heavy sleeve.

    “It was done with these robes. These heavy, thick, preposterous, unsuitable robes. These robes contain the secret.”

    She paused, waited. She had their complete attention, now. She took the time, while she waited, to send another whimsical, mental message across the sea. Thanking a harsh, cold empress named Theodora, born in poverty on the streets of Alexandria, for training a Greek noblewoman in the true ways of majesty.

    “The secret is this. These are the robes of Rome, but they are not Roman. They are Hun robes, which we took for our own.”

    A murmur arose. Huns? Filthy, barbarous—Huns?

    “Yes. Hun robes. We took them, as we took Hun trousers, when our soldiers became cavalrymen. Just as we took, from the Aryans, the armor and the weapons and the tactics of Persia’s horsemen. Just as we took from the Carthaginians—eight hundred years ago—the secrets of war at sea. Just as we took, century after century, the wisdom of Greece, and made it our own. Just as we took the message of Christ from Palestine. Just as we have taken everything we needed—and discarded anything we must—so that Rome could endure.”

    She pointed her finger toward the north. “The Malwa call us mongrels, and boast of their own purity. So be it. Rome shrugs off the name, as an elephant shrugs off a fly. Or, perhaps—”

    She grinned. Or, perhaps, bared her teeth.

    “Say better, Rome swallows the name. Just as a huge, half-savage, shaggy, mastiff cur of the street wolfs down a well-groomed, purebred house pet.”

  9. So, being unorganized is a Portuguese thing? Hmmm – never knew I was Portuguese. I always thought it was due to being Irish, and the Irish not having a word with the same sense of urgency as “mañana”.

    1. “Every mess in its place.” And if disturbed (enneatened!) then you can’t find anything.


      “Just what is is your decorating scheme?!?”
      “Early post-nuclear. Don’t disturb the fallout.”

      1. OMG! I must be Portuguese! Please don’t task me to post pictures of my workshop or den as proof. Those might be considered weapons of mass destruction.

          1. Thou hast slain me! My last sight, the laughing eyes of a red-headed Irish wench!

        1. It’s not just Portuguese. My family does same and we have no history even living in Fall River area…unless its contagious

    2. Heh. I’ve heard that joke too.

      OTOH, the only modern, approved, fully documented Marian apparition in Ireland, at Knock, was seen by a farmer and his helper who were harvesting by the light of the moon, trying to beat the storms.

      They looked up the hill at the parish church, saw the people gathered around, saw Mary and St. Joseph and Jesus and the angels and all, took a really good look while they rested for a moment… and then they went back to harvesting. Because it had to get done fast, and God would surely understand the need to not starve.

      So yeah…urgency in Ireland does happen. Just has to be a proper deadline.

      1. Well, the Portuguese did OK hosting the 2010 World Muzzle-Loading Championships. I was there, they were fine hosts and the logistics worked tolerably well. Which for 400 competitors is no mean feat.

  10. This does seem to beg the question, if cultural appropriation is such a bad thing why on Earth do the social progressives so champion the gender appropriation of the trans folk?
    I know, I know, any attempt to apply logic to a left wing meme is doomed to failure.

    1. Because it’s not “appropriation”; it’s restoration, of what belonged to them all along by right. Or so the perception goes, I believe.

  11. “And I would never have given up my fresh bread with butter for breakfast, if ya’ll had bread delivery in the morning. (And why don’t we have that? It would seem to me there’s an entrepreneurial thing waiting to happen. Bread, bagels, doughnuts or cinnamon rolls, newly made and waiting for you, still warm, in a delivery box by the door early morning.)”

    Yup…you weren’t born in the USA. 🙂 The answer is logistics. Too much distance between a bakery and the home to be covered. It might be possible to try it in the future with unmanned delivery, but a parcel delivery drone is likely to be considered skeet shooting with prizes.

    1. I’d lay odds that even without the logistics aspect you would find that the amount people would be willing to pay for a “fresh baked bread delivery service” would not cover the costs of running such a business. “Fresh baked and delivered every morning” would simply not add enough value to enough people over “pick up a loaf or two of bread while I’m in the store for other things” to justify the prices that would have to be charged to provide it.

        1. I suspect you would have to put the oven on the vehicle to make it work, given the distances.

          1. What I’ve seen in the Philippines is, there are some mobile sellers that keep the bread warm, much in the same manner that peanut sellers do. I haven’t really paid much attention to the how, having taken them largely for granted.

            *sighs, wishes she had access to good old fashioned pan de sal, before the price of flour and eggs made the buns so small they were at best, two bites for me, a quick chomp for my hubby.*

      1. You’d have to find an answer for the “Why not just get a bread machine, if you want fresh bread?” question

        1. But can do a “night before” setup and have it work a coffee maker and not have to fiddle about in the morning – and not have to be sure to start a specific time? (never had a bread machine, so don’t know)

          1. My bread machine has a delay feature, so yes, for fresh bread. But not fresh rolls or sticky buns. Sure you could delay the making of the dough by the machine, but then you’d have to pull out the dough & make up the rolls/sticky buns (15 to 30 minutes), let that raise/proof for 30 to 45 minutes, then bake them.

            Or you can use Grandma’s Ice Box roll recipe. Have the roll dough ready in the frig already on trays. Then you skip 1/3 of the roll process, you still have to proof the dough & bake it.

            1. There used to be a bread man in the city, just like there used to be milkmen. But that was a long time ago, and the supermarket is good.

              OTOH, there are a fair number of people who go to the supermarket bakery every morning for fresh bread or rolls. You just have to be motivated. (And safe to drive.)

              Of course, if you subscribe to a supermarket delivery service, I’m pretty sure that they can set you up. You may have to pay extra for early delivery every day subscriptions. Usually it just comes “sometime during the day” or “during the evening, when people are home.”

        2. When I was eating carbs that’s what I finally did. I ran two one for breakfast and one for dinner.
          Now that I’ve worked out some low carb breads, I should buy bread machines again.

      2. Boston, NYC, or any metropolitan area it would work fine.
        Eastern Montana? Not going to happen.

        1. You know, after I wrote the above comment, I had today’s listening in Sowell’s Basic Economics where Sowell described the rise of mail order catalogs like Montgomery Ward and Sears and their displacement by Department Stores. That lead to today’s blog post in which I note that Amazon and other online vendors are harkening back to the days of the Montgomery Ward and Sears catalogs (with online ordering and delivery within a few days, sometimes even same day, being a real game changer there) . And that leads me to wonder if services like daily delivery of fresh bread and milk might not be poised to make a comeback as well, perhaps working around drones.

          1. There is a company that delivers hot, fresh baked cookies. They have a limited delivery area, and the delivery person is dressed like big foot, and the cookies are delicious.

    2. I was also thinking “health department,” adding all sorts of requirements for the truck and the house box.

    3. We still have a milk man. If it’s feasible and apparently profitable to deliver milk directly to a bunch of houses, why not baked goods?

    4. Being the honest sort, I’d not thought about that possibility (probability). Yeah, the po’ kids that are good with guns/other projectiles would likely benefit from a less hazardous way of making money than meth production.

  12. The people who cry “Racial Appropriation” are the same people who decided that peanut butter sandwiches are racist. The only proper response is pointing and laughing… and being prepared to eventually defend yourself from a physical attack because these are ALSO the same people who will call you a Fascist, then attack you physically for not agreeing with them.

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

    Yes, but which side finally breaks? Will it be the Perpetually Offended because they’ll finally convince themselves that disagreeing with them is the same as an actual deadly attack? Or will it be normal people finally fed up with the SJW bulls#!t?

    1. Better not attack me over my PBJ sandwich. I have a slice of bread smeared with peanut butter, and I’m not afraid to use it!

    2. “…peanut butter sandwiches are racist.”

      Wait, what?! Bu-how? Isn’t–What–How–Why–?!#$@$#@$#?!?!?!

      This is genuinely the first time I’ve ever heard this notion.

      1. A quick google on “peanut butter sandwich racist” should get you the disjointed details.

        TL;DR version: Portland, OR (I think). There was a teacher that used a “If you had three peanut butter sandwiches, and you gave your friend one,” kind of question in class. Said class had an immigrant kid, who got upset because he didn’t know what peanut butter sandwich was. There may have been some good-natured teasing (because you know what nice, well behaved, wonderful, complete f*cking a**holes kids can be.) Butt-hurt commenced, hilarity ensued, teacher taken to task, peanut butter sandwiches declared a tool of “othering”, “privilege”, “oppression of poor minority immigrants”, “Dogs and cats, living together” and were banned from being used as example items in math (or other) lessons.

        True story… can’t make up that s#!t, nobody would believe it.

        1. She should have used towels. Everyone needs a towel. Is there any culture on the planet that doesn’t have a towel or towel equivalent?

      2. Apparently an inflated exaggeration, based on the observation that since children eat different foods at home than they might at school, it might be good to observe differences in culture.
        Not that that those who have been sensitized by the Perpetually Offended need much more justification than this to cry racism. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard people complain about racism because they had to wait in line…

      3. The short answer: because these are the Crazier-Than-Heinlein-Predicted Years.

          1. The question is, when did the “F*cking Stupid Years” start? Looking at the Heinlein Future History Timeline (which is admittedly off – that comes from predicting the future and changing the conditions), the “Crazy Years” were supposed to start in 1976 and lasted until 2000. John Cartwright wrote back in January 2010, that we were still in the Crazy Years, with no sign of them stopping. (

            I suspect that the Clinton Administration fit the Crazy Years; but the election year of 2007, the one that elected Barack Hussein Obama to the Presidency, actually marks the beginning of the beginning of what we could call the “F*cking Stupid Years”. Certainly, the lack of coherent thought and unfounded optimism that caused people to elect a questionably American, questionably black, junior Senator from Illinois with no background of actually being successful at anything of importance fits the definition of being f*cking stupid.

            However, comparing the level of national mentation, or lack thereof, of the people of American, and the Western World, of 2007 and the level we see today; it seems that today’s level of stupid is an entire magnitude greater than 10 years ago. Perhaps the 1st Obama election therefore marks the beginning of a period we should call “The Stupid Years”; while the 2015 election year leading to the first Trump Presidency, and the campaigns of an unexpectedly strong but still failing Bernie Sanders and an all-but-assumed-to-win-but-didn’t Hillary Clinton, truly mark the beginning of, “The F*cking Stupid Years.”

            And they really are “The F*cking Stupid Years.” Where Black Lives Matter, but nobody else’s do. Where being made defenseless is considered to be the only way to be made safe. Where everyone can have everything they want from the government, but nobody has to pay for any of it. Where you can have a nation-state with no borders, and everyone in the world can make decisions on how to run it except the actual citizens living there. Where speech is considered free, but only if you’re speaking the party line. Where facts are irrelevant, and feelings rule all. Where it’s science if it increases your bank account, and an unfounded conspiracy if it does not. Where it’s okay for one group to hate and commit violence as a form of “peaceful protest”; but for others, merely objecting to it makes them worse than the Nazi’s.

            With such a condition, is it any wonder why so many of us predict the end will only come from a protracted and violent clash between these two mutually opposed philosophies?

    3. Well, you must understand. Memorizing:
      1. you left out [race[!
      2. you perpetuated stereotypes of [race]!
      3. you did not depict the reality of [race]

      requires you to remember three things. lumping all that’s not the first into appropriation lets them use less brain power.

  13. Cultural appropriation – if we agree that culture does change, evolve, metaphorically “live”, then cultural appropriation is how cultures gain the benefit of “hybrid vigor”.
    (Those who don’t so agree are those who hate history.)

  14. Oh, OH! Can I have my women covered in lace slip-sofa covers? Pleeeeease?
    On second thought, that might cause far too many traffic accidents and cases of male whip-lash.

    Babies aren’t born with much, if any, flora and fauna in their intestines. One of the reasons for promoting breast feeding is that they pick up the mother’s microbes to start it off. And as disgusting as it may sound to our overly sterilized society, washing your hands doesn’t remove all of the microbes from elimination and excretion. Nor does gargling with Listerine kill everything in your mouth.

    Show me, ” a perfectly normal white, middle class, suburban family,” and I’ll show you a breeding pair of unicorns. But I know what you mean.

    Telling someone they have to get a job to earn enough money to eat isn’t racist either; which is why I support the limited time on welfare to push people into getting jobs. Again, “Given the right incentives…” I’m not fond of gun point, lynching, torture, or even just plain beating. Work, or go hungry, I can live with. Heck, I’d even park a full quad in my office and pay for the voice activated phone setup for him to answer my phones all day so he (or she) can earn a decent meal.

      1. I like a mouthful of dead cow. Preferably well done, with that crisp boundary of crackling fat and the hot juices that ooze as you slice into it.

        Damn, still two hours until lunch.

  15. Scary thing about the “less fortunate are human like me” thing is you can see this in com box assumptions already.

    Check out the gene editing post on instapundit yesterday…most totally ignored the idea you might not be able to make it work, or the humans destroyed trying for it. Because “unintelligent” (definition unobjective at best) is as bad as BODY DOES NOT FUNCTION AND WILL KILL YOU.

    Talk about an example of no sense!

  16. I was inspired to write a vignette (maybe still will but my lunch isn’t long enough and I have to run to the bank)….

    Two people on shore leave at the one person’s “home” port. The market place is colorful, vibrant, and oh so exotic. Crewman #1 gushes over how great it is and then notices that Crewman #2 is frowning. Asks for explanation. Crewman #2 explains that there are laws that all children born have to be enculturated into their own culture. They study language and music and dance and native crafts. Crewman #1 doesn’t see the problem. Crewman #2 explains that they don’t study math or logic games or learn galactic languages and it puts them at a disadvantage because they end up behind other children in school, so they end up staying here to be a cultural exibit for tourists. Crewman #1 points at Crewman #2 and says that Crewman #2 proves this isn’t true. Crewman #2 explains that his/her mother took the local government to court to have him/her declared without culture by claiming her children had been conceived by a spacer and not her husband. Once declared without culture Crewman #2 had been allowed to take the courses that the majority culture gave their children.

    It had been the father’s idea though the shame meant he had to leave the family. Somehow he was secretly very wealthy and left them with funds. And maybe they find out that he’d done it a couple of more times, too, before someone figured out that bringing suit to have your children declared officially without culture was always women who’d been married to the same guy… or he changes his identity. Something. Oh, and the privacy law of bla-bla means that the government couldn’t require genetic testing.

    1. Fascinating background situation. I assume the reason these cultural-protection laws were passed in the first place was a perception of cultural danger from exposure to the greater galactic environment? Or was it a pre-existing belief system that had to have galactic contact shoehorned into it somewhere out of necessity?

      1. LOL, the necessity for galactic contact is that I usually write science fiction.

        But note that the dominant “culture” doesn’t protect itself. It only protects the minority cultures.

        1. In other words, does its level best to make sure that the dominant culture never faces any competition from any of the others.

  17. Frankly, most “Culture” is crap that was made up by someone who thought X would be fun, and it stuck. Then it gets appropriated and re-appropriated, stolen, modified, spat upon, praised, rebelled against, thrown out, dug out of the trash, found in grandma’s attic. etc.

    Almost NOTHING cultural can honestly be exclusively claimed by any one group. People who think otherwise are delusional.

    That doesn’t make culture bad. It’s the ways of your people. It’s groovy. But it’s stupid to think that anyone OWNS it.

    1. Shhhh. Careful. I’m sure some enterprising crook of a lawyer will find a way to trademark it and make us pay royalties on it.

  18. There’s one other problem with whimpering about “cultural appropriation”. It’s copying, not stealing. If you culturally appropriate playing the bagpipes, it does not mean that some Scot is wandering around the Highlands with an empty space where the pipes used to be. No, he’s still got his pipes, and now sheep on two continents are dealing with the sound of a tyro practicing.

  19. There is a lot of whinging on the Left about “native” children being “kidnapped” and raised in white culture. Look up “stolen generation” for details.

    Some of these same people also whinge about the fate of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white girl adopted by the Comanche who had murdered her parents. She grew up, was married to a Comanche chief, and was the mother of Quanah Parker, a prominent chief. Then at the age of 34, she was identified and returned to white society, where she was reportedly unhappy.

    So apparently it’s all right if “natives” kidnap white children and raise them as “natives”, but oppressive if whites raise “native” children as white. Oh, yes, and it’s oppressive if traditional whites raise white children as traditional whites.

    1. So they think the Plains Indians should have been exterminated root and branch?

    2. If you ever get a chance, see them pull it on one of those “stolen” kids. I know some are still alive, although they’re great-grandparent aged by now….

      Shocker: the ones I knew didn’t want to be illiterate, unable to speak the language, and were familiar with how nasty tribal cultures are.

      1. There was some stuff that could be classified similarly more recently than that. I almost want to say our generation.

        1. You mean kids languishing, & moved from foster family to foster family, or worse kept in toxic (not poverty but truly toxic) environments, because either culturally appropriate foster families were unavailable or inappropriate adoptive parents were all that were available, willing, & wanting? Unless of coarse the child was from “white privilege”, then any could adopt?

          1. White foster parents. I don’t know the details, and it really isn’t my place to say.

            I do think the white run government school may count as having been done not too far back.

      2. Show me some native American kids raised in a middle class or better white family who really think going back to live on a reservation is the thing to do. Not that there aren’t a couple of fairly nice reservations in the country; but most of them aren’t very impressive or places that I’d want to live. Some of them are so bad you couldn’t even raise goats on them.

        1. There’s a reason the liberals have to heap scorn, riducule and accusations like “apple” on those who escape the rez.

          Because there’s like totally an inherent goodness to living where your ancestors were told to.

          1. When you are born into a prison intended to destroy the population you come from, you have a moral obligation to stay there. That’s why the Democrats and the Left are entirely supportive of summary execution for illegal border crossers.

  20. Yeah, this really bugs me!

    The Left Are the Locusts of Culture
    By Sarah Hoyt
    There is a scene in Independence Day where the character mind-melds with the alien, and receives a sudden understanding of the peril the Earth is in.

    Quoting from memory, he says something like “They’re like locusts. They move from planet to planet, take everything it has to give and move on.”

    For some time now, I’ve thought this applies to the left. Certainly, entire fields of endeavor, entire expanses of human knowledge, science, and interest, seem to collapse in the wake of an infestation by the left.

    I used to think this happened because of the left’s charming habit of hiring only on political conformity, and not on talent, intellectual ability or even interest in the field.

    We’ve seen this, in fact, in my own field, where Liberal Arts majors hired by the publishing houses and shunted against their will – or at least their interest – into science fiction and fantasy try to “redeem” the field. Because they’re all of the Margaret Atwood (me, a problem with Canadian Maggie? Other than her pollution of my field of endeavor? Not really. But that one is a biggie.) school of believing science fiction is bug eyed monsters and women in metal bikinis, they will not read the history of the field; they are not interested in the giants of invention and speculation that once strode the Earth and whose names ring like clarion calls to us, the true affictionados: Heinlein, Asimov, Anderson, even Van Vogt, Simak. They will deny that women like LeGuin or Anne McCaffrey or even Diana Wynne Jones or their hundreds of followers every worked in the field. Instead, without touching what they’re sure is icky material, they set about “civilizing” and gentrifying” us by buying a bunch of their old roommates and friends from college to write “deeply meaningful” and “feminist” and “woke” prose. Because they don’t actually care how much money it makes. They don’t want their old professors to laugh at them. So they must – must – publish what those professors taught them was “good”: regurgitated Marxist pap.

    But if that were the worst of it, they would only collapse those fields to an extent. In the same way that a blind pig will find an acorn, surely some of these woke-bunnies TM might still be able to write readable fiction, which means things wouldn’t collapse utterly. …

    1. Which I think sums up a lot of the problems in culture at the moment. The Left has too much spare time. The rest of us have to work for a living.

      1. That’s why they love them some gummit gimmee’s – it sounds like free time to be activists instead of workers.

  21. Very refreshing and well said. It seems this idea has made its way to Australia as well. As an American and Australian, it’s doubly troubling.

    You might find this article interesting on the topic:

    The speech that caused the stir was given by Lionel Shivers on fiction and identity politics:

    It seems another author named Yassmin’s Abdel-Mageid had a five alarm flip out during the speech, walked out, and posted an article decrying it. The Guardian initially backed by her outrage until they actually read the speech…

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