Wednesday, October 17, 2018


If I start at north Doggerland and draw a circle with a radius of about 400 miles, I capture every one one of my ancestors for the last 5,000 years (except for the last 400, which adds in NH, MA, ME, and Nova Scotia). Most likely. Most of that is water, and most of my ancestors lived on one coastline or another along the North Sea. People live near seas and rivers the world over. My wife's family - similar, but with a fair bit of Irish farther to the west. They didn't interbreed with other groups because they didn't even know those groups existed. They thought the people across the bay were dangerous and unreliable.

If I were deeply into whiteness I would rejoice, because these people are about as pale as it gets - as are the current Wymans, until we brought in people from Romania and the Philippines. But I also read up on culture and prehistory, and don't think I would have felt at home with most of those folks. Hell, I didn't like most of the ancestors that I actually knew all that much, and hear bad reports about some of the ones before that. They might not like me all that much either, if they could journey forward in time and sit on my porch.

I have read several accounts of African-Americans going back on a roots journey to Africa and deciding they were lucky their ancestors were sold into slavery and got out of that place, odd as that seems.  We have a similar story, of my mother and her favorite cousin visiting distant never-seen relatives near Jonkoping, in the 1990's and finding those Swedes didn't like anyone - not the people in the next town, not the people in Stockholm, not the Norwegians, not anyone. My mother was glad to get out of there.

Most of your ancestors did about as well as they could under the circumstances, but their times were not ours and you wouldn't have liked them much.  You would have found them slow, ignorant, indifferent to violence, intolerant of people twenty miles distant, dirty, and smelly. On the other hand, they would find you pampered, soft, arrogant, overfed, sexually uncontrolled, irreligious, and wasteful. And they would be right, I suppose, though I don't think I would hang around to hear them talk about it.

We might agree about beer and wine, but even our foods would be intolerable to each other.


RichardJohnson said...

I have read several accounts of African-Americans going back on a roots journey to Africa and deciding they were lucky their ancestors were sold into slavery and got out of that place, odd as that seems.

Years ago I read this account of a return to the "homeland" of Africa.Native Stranger: Black American's Journey into the Heart of Africa. He found out he was much more American than African.

A childhood friend of the African-American persuasion gave a child a Swahili name. Swahili has many loan words from Arabic, which entered the language from Arab slave traders. I never had the heart to tell that.

The alienation from the homeland can begin even earlier. My brother-in-law came over from Germany when he was 12. When he was stationed in Germany with the US Army, he married a German woman. His German wife- eventually former wife- continually complained about the US, which in her estimation suffered much in comparison with Germany. After she and my future brother-in-law divorced, she returned to Germany. A year or two later, she returned, having decided she preferred the US after all. My brother-in-law made many trips back to Germany, and concluded he didn't like the way it was turning out in the last 10-15 years- the "to show that we have overcome our past we will spit on the Amis" phase.

Your mother finding out "those Swedes didn't like anyone" reminds me of the progs who naively assume that Europeans are so much more tolerant and accepting of different cultures than those bigoted deplorables in the US. IOW, the progs rather resemble "those Swedes who don't like anyone outside their tribe." OTOH, I am not very fond of pontificating progs.

I have never been back to the British Isles or to Germany, where most of my ancestors hailed from. As far as we can tell, they all came over before the Revolution- some much earlier. I knew a lot of Europeans in Latin America, both as tourists and work colleagues. I found the English to be cold fish, and some even seemed strange to me. Scots- mostly, but not all, drunks. I found the Germans more compatible.

No doubt about it, America- not Europe- is my home.

Dan Kurt said...

re: Doggerland

Hope your eye is recovering and reasonable recovery beats expectations.

As to Doggerland, I urge you to read this edition of Malaga Bay: . Have an open mind and read some of the author's other web pages.

Dan Kurt

Dan Kurt said...

Try again:
or https://malagabay.wordpress[DOT]com/2018/09/20/shaping-roman-scotland/

Dan Kurt

james said...

WRT the Europeans being more accepting--how often do we hear from non-upper/upper-middle class Europeans? Unless you go over there and figure out how to meet them, everything you hear is going to be filtered.

james said...

I read The Falsification of Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation. The author seems unaware of the MOND research, or the fact that observations have put some serious crimps in most MOND theories. Someone builds a theory that works great for the stars in one set of galaxies, but it contradicts observations of globular clusters around others. Voyager measurements put on other limits at other distance scales. And so on.

WRT his Doggerland, why would movement stop? That's over and above the "no mechanism" and the grandmother of all tsunamis (that didn't bother North America or the rest of the North Sea) objections. BTW, the loss of a huge chunk of overburden less than 1000 years ago under the North Sea would result in many small earthquakes as the underlying crust adjusted to the loss. You can still detect these in North America after the loss of the ice sheets.