We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Which culture are Germans appropriating when they eat the popular currywurst sausage: Asian culture or British culture that emerged from India? Have we, in turn, appropriated the doner kebab from its birth place, Germany, or from the Turkish immigrants who invented it there? Pizza is regarded as inherently Italian, yet tomatoes are a New World fruit. Pasta was brought to the country from China after Marco Polo.

Patrick West

22 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Johnnydub

    We’re told the whole point of multiculturalism is to enjoy the diversity added to our daily lives.

    If these things are off-limits, can we please go back to monoculturalism?

  • Veryretired

    It’s just another offshoot of the “white guilt–western culture is evil” crap that the multi’s have been pushing for a long time.

    Anyone with an honest appraisal of the last few centuries of western ascendency knows very well which way the cultural appropriation has really been going.

    The operative word there being “honest”.

    Delusional thinking is a requirement if one inhabits the magical land of multi-culti PC pixie dust.

    It’s like living on the big rock candy mountain—

  • PersonFromPorlock

    If I haven’t already said it here: I will discuss ‘cultural appropriation’ in English only with those who are ancestrally English.

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    Who needs Multi-Culturalism? Australia has more culture than a vial of penecillin!
    Europe has always been a mix of cultures and races. If you read the book ‘Bloody Foreigners’ (I forget the author), you’ll be amazed at the composition of the average Londoner, though other parts of the country are also mixed up. What is a ‘pure’ Englishman?

  • Dom

    I agree that cultural appropriation is laughable. But you are fighting the wrong fight here.

    By definition, cultural appropriation is one culture that dominates another and takes its customs. White people who wear corn-rows or sombreros are guilty of appropriating another culture. Blacks who straighten their hair are not, since they lack the power to dominate European culture. If anything, Europeans are guilty of imposing their straight hair, and ideals of beauty, on blacks. It’s similar to the two-step you see with charges of racism.

  • Vinegar Joe

    “Blacks who straighten their hair are not, since they lack the power to dominate European culture.”

    I wonder what white Rhodesians think about that theory.

  • Stuck-Record

    To be honest, as insane as these things seem to be, we need to be encouraging these lunatics. It’s only by the general public seeing how completely insane the cry-bully left has become that they will start to affix negative connotations to the word ‘left-wing’.

    A few years of this insanity permeating into popular culture will do the trick.

    At some point comedians will start to realise that they are suitable targets. At that point the left’s monopoly of cool, and their monopoly of calling the enemy ‘nasty’ might start to break.

    We can live in hope.

  • Laird

    Dom, I disagree with your definition of “cultural appropriation”. It has nothing to do with “domination”; it’s merely adopting certain elements (food, dress, language, etc.) of some other culture into one’s own. And it’s perfectly fine. It has nothing to do with “domination”; if anything, it’s a gesture of respect, an acknowledgement that the “foreign” culture is, at least in that one aspect, superior or worthy of emulation.

    I very much liked this sentence by West: “Those who rail against microaggressions are using power to make others feel ashamed and inferior, and make themselves feel righteous. In this manner, the cry of ‘microaggression’ is itself a microagression.” Which is another, and perhaps better, way of saying what I’ve long asserted, that people claiming “microaggressions” are in fact simply bullies.

  • Dom

    Laird, that’s not my definition. I’m just saying that those who talk about cultural appropriation, the ones who make a nuisance of themselves, define it that way. So a snarky comment like, “Beyoncé has straight hair” won’t work. everyone here is talking in a bubble, because the multi cultural crowd generally doesn’t comment here (thank god).

  • Paul Marks

    Interesting how the word “culture” has come to mean utterly trivial matters – such as those the quotation in the post mentions.

    Still if that is what the “culture” means – fair enough, one can then ignore culture (as of no real importance).

    And one concentrate on the basic principles that people hold – principles NOT culture.

    And, yes, ordinary people have basic beliefs – basic principles.

    And it matters what these beliefs (principles) are.

    For example…..

    The principles of the American Bill of Rights, such as the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech) are not compatible with the principles of Islamic Law – which, for example, forbids the mocking of Mohammed.

    One can believe in the principles of the Bill of Rights – or one can believe in the principles of Islamic Law.

    But one can not believe in both these things at the same time.

    A choice is needed.

  • RAB

    Can Blue men sing the whites? as the Bonzo Dog put it decades ago? Of course they can, if a Chinese can play Chopin.

    As for the food, just get it down your neck. Eat, enjoy, fart heartily.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Not to take anything from other comments, but Johnnnydub pretty much nails it.
    Wasn’t that the whole point of Edward Said’s Orientalism, that any Western interest in non-Western cultures, however apparently benevolent, is a de-legitimization of non-Western cultures?

    Thanks also to Dom for clarifying to me the asymmetry intrinsic to the concept of “cultural appropriation”. I myself am quite happy to appropriate Sun Tzu and Ibn Khaldun. As for pizza and pasta, i haven’t eaten them for years. (BTW there is such a thing as “pizza bianca” ie without tomato sauce.)

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    Currywurst is an interesting thing, at least to a foodie. Berlin, unlike the many regions of Germany, had no indigenous style of sausage. It was created after the War when an English wide-boy sold British curry powder on the black market.

    The idea of pasta being invented in China and subsequently brought to Italy by Marco Polo is one of those rare urban myths where we know the precise origin of the myth: the Macaroni Journal in 1929.

  • gongcult

    Chili peppers and tobacco come from the American continent. As one who appreciates both it’s nice to see the rest of planet be able to dabble in them…

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    Q. What do you get if you put a German and vinegar into a big blender?
    A. Sour Kraut!

  • Mr Ed

    So is sterilising surgical instruments ‘cultural appropriation’ from the then oppressed minority of the Quakers*?

    * Lord Lister was of a Quaker family.

  • Watchman

    I seriously hope no-one wants to start enumarating cases of cultural appropriation, using our Arabic-based numerical system. And we clearly can’t count examples where it didn’t happen, as zero is a middle eastern invention (whole raft of jokes may be available there). Roman numerals are out for us too…

    And as for writing about it, well the only bit of text that the British/Irish (and presumably their transatlantic and antipodean kin, who will be the same culture…) can claim to have invented (other than the much neglected æ) is the space between words. So those worried about cultural appropriation should only communicate with blank spaces, which sounds like an outright win for all involved.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Put me in the same list as RAB. I like my authentic ethnic food authentic, but I like food in general. Just don’t call it “authentic,” or pretend it is, when it’s not.

    Also, thanks to PST for pointing out the legendariness of Marco Polo’s Pasta Infiltration. I have read the same. Of course nowadays everything is claimed by someone or other to be either a myth or legend, or a misquote, or a misattribution, or a misinterpretation, or an out-and-out damned lie, except of course for Catastrophic Man-made Climate Change.

    As to the subject at hand, persons wishing to improve their knowledge of political-culinary history would do worse than to view the documentary “Party Games Christmas Special” at the end of the Yes Minister series, which involves much contention with the EU over the British Sausage.

    Update. I regret to inform you that this is no longer available on UT. The Beeb has figured out, like everyone else I’m afraid, that there’s gelt in them thar copyrights. (I hate it, but I’ll defend almost to the death their right to do it. 🙁 ) Well, if you don’t have it, check the DVD series out of the library. Well worth viewing.

    (I think I have Laird to thank for the original nudge in this direction.)

  • Laird

    Julie, if you’re talking about a “nudge” toward Yes Minister I have to decline the honor. ‘Tweren’t me. I’ve never seen the series (other than a few clips probably posted by someone here). I’ve been meaning to check it out, though.

  • Mr Ed

    our Arabic-based numerical system.


    The Indians gave us 0, we owe them nothing. 🙂

    And Roman numerals add gravitas to clocks.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Not you, Laird? Huh! I’d ‘a swore– well, as when you get spanked for something you didn’t do and are told not to worry, it makes up for the times when you should have been spanked but weren’t — charge up the Thanks against one of the times when you jolly well earned a Thanks, but didn’t get any.

    I really thought it was you. And I’m sure it was some Yank. Maybe Rich Rostrom? Well, thanks to whomever it’s due.

    By all means check it out, Laird. You might get a kick out of it, if you enjoy endless hyperloquacious circumlocution and other forms of risible verbomania. :>))!! Not to mention careful explorations of the devious means by which the British Civil Service keeps its Ministers under control.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed,

    *Ee-e-ewww!* There you go again! What, between you and Nicholas (Whoever-He-Is-Today) Gray, Samizdata can field a team that will put Clarke and Dawe to shame.